Whilst the bigger festivals often seem like the easy option – chances are you know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for and little research is required – there are probably festivals you’d prefer… You just haven’t heard of them.
So, in part 2 of our festival guides, we’ll guide you through the less famous (and much less expensive) little gems.
2000 Trees, Gloucestershire
With a capacity of only 5,000 people (and 2,000 trees?), this festival certainly doesn’t let the size of the crowd impact their credibility. This year’s lineup welcomes Deaf Havana, Pulled Apart By Horses and Nothing But Thieves – among many more – and previous years have seen the likes of Frank Turner, Wolf Alice, Band of Skulls and Blood Red Shoes perform. Whilst it may not be quite the same scale as Foo Fighters at Reading & Leeds it’s the perfect opportunity to see some personal favourites in a slightly less intense environment. And, you can do so will enjoying the locally produced food and drink at the festival. What more could you want?
2000 Trees was dubbed “the most music-focused festival” by Itch (The King Blues) and Frank Turner called it his “favourite UK festival”; if their opinions aren’t enough to sway you, you’re probably not welcome anyway.
When: 9-11th July
Price: A 2 day camping ticket will cost you around £75, a 3 day will cost you around £95, and a VIP 3 day £150.
Barn On The Farm, Gloucestershire
It would seem Gloucestershire’s good for small festivals! Barn On The Farm is a folk-orientated festival, held in multiple barns… on a farm. Who’d have guessed it? The festival’s in its sixth, and whilst it’s gained a reputation as a place to see the next big thing, it has by no means stemmed from its intimacy; it aims to ‘bridge the boundary between mainstream festivals and village hall shenanigans’.
Barn On The Farm has played host to a fantastic collection of artists; Dog Is Dead, Bastille, Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Lucy Rose and George Ezra have all appeared at the festival. This year’s lineup is yet to be announced – hold tight until 3rd March – but there’s no doubt it will be just as exciting as the previous.
When: 3rd-5th July
Price: *look out for this years ticket prices on 28th February*
Bearded Theory, South Derbyshire
Starting life as a birthday party in 2007, Bearded Theory has become one of the fastest growing UK festivals having set up camp in Catton Park to accommodate for the rapidly increasing capacity. As well as their affordability, Bearded Theory actually let you bring your own drink into the campsite and arena! I didn’t think festivals this nice existed… With multiple stages – The Pallet, Magical Sounds, Woodland, and Something Else Big Top – and more to be added this year, whether it’s mainstage sound, DJs and dance acts or cake and corsets, the festival offers it all. But what about the lineup…
This year’s lineup sees the likes of British Sea Power, James, Afro Celt Sound System, Buzzcocks and Alabama 3 play The Pallet, whilst the other stages welcomes a host of exciting acts including DJs and upcoming bands.
When: 21st-24th May
Price: Adult tickets are £87, 12-16s £45, 6-11s £20, under 6s go free.
With “rave scene and mellow hippy vibes” that are rumoured to work perfectly together, Beat-Herder is perfect if you’re sick of the same old big festivals that always turn into far more stress than they’re worth. Beat-Herder’s glamping options and exciting location (everything’s handbuilt, with new tents and areas popping up every year), it’s the perfect, if slightly barmy, escape this summer.
Basement Jaxx are this year’s headliners, joined by the Parov Stelar band. Also appearing are various DJs, Motown legends Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Lancashire’s own The Lancashire Hotpots. With last years lineup seeing Wolf Alice, Jagwar Ma and Happy Mondays perform, there’s no questioning that this lineup can only get better.
When: 17-19th July
Price: Adult tickets start at £100 + booking fee.
If you’re looking for somewhere to see some of the biggest current DJs and bands up-close and personal Brownstock’s the place to go. Starting with 150 people in 2005, the festival now hosts 6000 for the weekend. With a varied lineup across 6 stages, the Brown family use Brownstock to ensure that Essex is firmly on the festival map: if the main stage isn’t for you, there’s the Good Shed dance big top, and The Stumble Inn, which is strictly house music. The festival has a number of hand built areas showing upcoming bands and other acts, all thematic and entrancing.
Whilst this year’s lineup is yet to be announced, it only takes a quick look at last years – which saw Dizzee Rascal, De La Soul, Razorlight, Roots Manuva and many more amazing acts play – to know that this year’s will not disappoint.
When: 10-12th July
Price: Weekend camping tickets start at £73 (inc. booking fee)
Festival No. 6, Portmeirion
Based in the Welsh coastal village of Portmeirion (home to cult TV series The Prisoner), it’s perhaps one of the weirder festival sites. With small, colourful houses, and quirky architecture, it’s almost like a fairytale. Whilst it’s only in it’s fourth year, Festival No. 6 has secured itself as one of the most unique UK festivals, offering both music and a selection of other arts and culture. As Beck said last year: “This is the coolest, most surrealist, funkiest, freakiest, best festival in the world…”
This year’s lineup is a mix of legends and some of the best upcoming acts; with Grace Jones and Belle & Sebastian headlining, joined by the likes of Young Fathers, Kate Tempest and Rae Morris, this is no doubt set to be one of the strongest line ups of the summer.
When: 3rd-6th September
Price: Adult tickets start at £170, with youth ticket options available.
“The greatest house party… in a field”. Starting in 2006 as 250 people, wanting to take the good parts of a house party to a field. They wanted a place where local music fans could congregate once a year, to play or to party: the festival had doubled in size by the next year. By 2008, it became legitimate. Run by the same core group, Leopallooza is perfect if you want something really small and personal. You may not get the same big bands as other festivals, but you’ll certainly get a sense of community… and it sounds fun.
The lineup is yet to be confirmed, but with last year’s acts including Fenech-Soler, Superfood, Foxes and The Family Rain, and the festival growing rapidly, this year will no doubt but just as impressive.
When: August (Official date tbc)
Price: Weekend ticket £70, but for a cocktail bar, backstage performances and luxury loos and showers it may be worth the Golden Squirrel VIP ticket at £120