2nd – 3rd May
£60 – Porthleven, Cornwall
Located on top of stunning cliffs, in a sleepy Cornish village, the biannual party happens overlooking the sea, combining idyllic views and a summer time festival like no other. The Masked Ball happens twice a year, once on the May Bank Holiday, and again on Halloween, and neither are to be missed. As well as the dawn of Spring, the Masked Ball also brings to 2015 Bonobo, Simian Mobile Disco and Nightmares on Wax DJ sets, Congo Natty, Andrew Weatherall, Norman Jay MBE and too many more to mention, over a vast array of stages. You can party hard on the cliff edge at The Live Deck, enjoy underground music at Shore’s Ditch or should you be so inclined, find yourself at the Big Gay Disco. I don’t think that last one needs much explaining. The May Bank Holiday is fast approaching and tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss out the opportunity to have some masked fun in the sun!
22nd – 25th May
£95 – Newnham Park, Plymouth
Hidden by an old tungsten mine and industrial estates is Newnham Park, the home of Volksfest for the past eight years. With humble beginnings as a Volkswagen enthusiasts haven, it’s grown to be the local colossus that it is today. Growing every year, we’re now treated to acts from live music, to stand up comedy, cabaret and live dance acts and DJs. Never far from sight, and true to it’s name, the endless displays of Volkswagen vehicles still hold centre stage. As for the main stage however, this year you’re treated to such acts as Ocean Colour Scene and Wilko Johnson, with blasts from the past including Atomic Kitten and East 17 and never forgetting the local legends of Mad Dog Mcrea and Land of the Giants. There’s something for everyone and families are welcome and encouraged. Bring your nan, bring your dog, they’ll have a blast too.
Freedom Community Festival
26th – 31st May
FREE – Freedom Fields Park, Plymouth
Every year since 2000, a host of volunteers have made it their mission to bring a community festival to a little park just off from the city centre. Freedom Community Festival is a free festival, attracting up to 3000 attendees last year with over 30 bands over 6 days and 6 locations. This year will not differ. With local giants, Andy Quick’s Flying Orchestra, Dub Class, Bus Station Loonies, Waterboarders and Worried Shoes, as well as the ever growing acoustic tent, I promise something will take your fancy. As well as live music, they’re hosting events all week encouraging people to get involved with local projects and charities, supporting the community in the area, the team have worked hard to include those from all walks of life. Yourselves included.
£20 – Newton Abbot Racecourse, Devon
This one day marathon of acts is back for it’s sixth year at Newton Abbot Racecourse, featuring headliners such as The Subways, Rosie Lowe, Dub Pistols, DJ Yoda and Beans on Toast. What it loses with it’s day long span and small scale, Lemonfest makes up for in diversity of acts, a range of stages to suit everyone’s taste and final touches such as locally sourced ales and ciders, a street food market and a silent disco. Allowing the festival to cultivate the best local bands, stages such as the Locally Grown, hosted by BBC Introducing allows for live broadcasts and interviews to keep you busy too. At just £20 for the day, or for an extra tenner you can stay overnight, there’s not many excuses to not hit up this local lovely.
10th – 11th July
£45 – Fairfield Farm, Denbury, Devon
Situated on a dairy farm, not far from Newton Abbot, Glasdenbury is a family friendly down to earth festival in a field. With a friendly atmosphere on site, as well as a load of surprises to put a smile on your face, the line up isn’t all about the music (although, it’s still pretty good.) With poetry and spoken word, cabaret and workshops for all ages, there’s enough to keep you busy in between acts on the main stage. With Matt Owens (of Noah & the Whale fame), the Jay Tamkin band, Jessica and the Rabbits, The Rocker Covers, Moriaty and more, there’s an abundance of genres to choose from and maybe even some new ones to introduce yourself to. As well as food stalls, traders, bars stocked to the brim with real ale, ciders and cocktails, you can continue to fuel your dancing amongst the daisies at Fairfield Farm.
Three Wishes Faery Fest
19th – 21st June
£99 – Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park, Cornwall
Now, what would be the West Country without a little faery magic? There’s been tales of pixie activity in Devon for many years, so to celebrate this quirky folklore is 3 Wishes Faery Fest, hosted by Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park. With just a short ferry ride a few skips from Royal William Yard, you can find yourself in a world of the Celtic Faerie Clans. It’s a BYOW occasion (Bring Your Own Wings) as it’s time to brush off your wand and embrace the legend. As well as live music from Peatbog Faeries (of course!), Professor Elemental and 3 Daft Monkeys, there’s also a faery market, walkabout performers, workshops, talks and a bar. On top of all that, on the Saturday there will be a Guiness World Record attempt for the largest gathering of fairies in one place! Pack your wings, your wand and your tutu, it’s going to be a sprite-ly weekend!
30th July – 2nd Aug
£165 – St Germans, Cornwall
Dubbed one of the most original and bohemian festivals in the UK, Port Eliot seems to be growing in popularity year to year. Since it’s birth over a decade ago, it’s seen the likes of Kate Winslet, Jarvis Cocker, Dominic West, Martin Parr and Ralph Steadman pass its gates and the fun doesn’t stop there. The line up includes such greats as Andrew Weatherall, Matthew and Me and Stealing Sheep of which you can all enjoy in the grounds of the Earl of St Germans Cornish estate, the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the UK. The festival allows you to explore the House itself too, with exhibitions in the basement, tours of the historic rooms and conversations in the Round Room. With it’s upbringing in spoken word and literature, Port Eliot redefines what a festival is, providing inspiration, broadening the appeal and expanding to those who wouldn’t have given a literary festival a thought. One to check out.
5th – 9th Aug
£129 – Watergate Bay/Fistral Beach, Cornwall
A combination of live music, surf, skate and BMX contests and all the usual fun filled activities a festival has to offer, Boardmasters is going from strength to strength. With last year boasting a line up featuring Snoop Dogg, Chase & Status and Bastille, this year has had a lot to live up to. Bastille return with the dons of dance Faithless as well as sets from The Darkness, De La Soul and Seasick Steve. This beachside festival is one to mark on the calendar, especially if you have any interest in extreme sports and coastal hang outs. Taking place over five days on a cliff top location overlooking Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach, there’s also a variety of bars and fairground rides to choose from on site.
13th – 16th Aug
£155 – Matterly Estate, nr Winchester
Rising from the underground in 2009, BoomTown Fair has fast become one of the wildest and most inspirational independent festivals on the UK circuit. Starting as a humble village fair, it’s become the sprawling creative metropolis that it is today, with a diverse mix of genres to suit everyone’s tastes. With a variety of different districts, playing host to a line up full to the brim with talent, including the likes of Stephen ‘Ragga’ Marley, Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello as well as DJ and dance acts from across the world including Squarepusher, Noisia, Infected Mushroom and DJ EZ. By creating their own city where only their rules apply, BoomTown Fair creates a unique experience for the average festival goer where you can be completely immersed in the BoomTown attitude and I promise, you’ll make memories to cherish for years to come.
21st – 23rd Aug
£135 – Escot Park, Devon
With humble beginnings in 2003, the festival, managed by the Levellers is getting bigger and better. Spanning across six stages with a family area for the little ones, the festival features a number of big names. From the pop punk stylings of Dropkick Murphys to the classic alt rock of the Happy Mondays, to the quirky gypsy punk from Gogol Bordello to the rhythm and blues of Wilko Johnson, Beautiful Days is a corporation free zone, yet tickets still sell out every year in advance. As well as a strong line up, the festival also hosts a walkabout theatre, site art installations, comedy, theatre, family camping, food and craft stalls, a healing area, play areas and real ale bars run by Otter Brewery. An intimate little festival, celebrating independence and cultural exchange.
Looe Music Festival
18th – 20th Sept
£110 – Looe Beach, Cornwall
The last of the summer festivals, for three days of September, the little town of Looe in South East Cornwall gets hit up with big music, manic entertainment and a smattering of culture for good measure. The festival transforms the sleepy seaside town, beach and streets, giving locals and visitors all over the world a chance to mingle and enjoy the show. With titans Johnny Marr and the Proclaimers claiming the headline spots, local legends Mad Dog Mcrea and Red Hot Chilli Pipers continue the celebration of local talent. With 90 bands over five stages, you won’t find lazy, Sunday summer grooves, it’s all about eclectic high energy music, delivered back to back. Finish your festival season with a bang and give this one a go.
14th – 16th May
£59.50 – Various Venues, Brighton & Hove
Europe’s leading festival for new music, The Great Escape has grown in reputation as being the place to be to discover the newest and hottest talents on the UK scene. Headliners include Alabama Shakes plus the The Strypes, Kate Tempest plus George the Poet and Skepta & JME, the full line up however is huge and a great place to find out about new acts in an intimate setting. With the set up in multiple venues, it’s never going to be the same vibe twice, so cram in as much as possible. The Alternative Escape, the Brighton Dome shows, secret gigs, club nights and spontaneous collaborations all add to the festivities and make this weekend in Brighton one not to miss.
Isle of Wight Festival
11th – 14th June
£195 – Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
With it’s history stemming as far back as the late 60’s, and with such giant headliners as Bob Dylan, The Who, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix back in the day, it’s no surprise that the Isle of Wight festival still holds such a huge following today. The festival is still the behemoth it was then, with this year’s line up including Blur, Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys and The Prodigy to name just a few. And if that isn’t enough to get you going, there’s Groove Armada and Paul Oakenfold in the Big Top for all those with dancing on their minds. Luxury camping (or glamping as it’s grown to be known) is always an option to make the most of this momentous festival. Don’t be put off by the ferry journey, make it across the water for a bloody great party.
12th -14th June
£205 – Donington Park, Derby
Now one for the metalheads, punks and rockers. Download is the place to be if you’re into loud, angry and shouty music. The rock festival giant has been active since 2003, taking over from the Monsters of Rock festival that made it’s home in Donington Park spanning the 80’s and the 90’s. Download has hosted some of the biggest names in rock including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden and AC/DC to name just a few. With headliners Slipknot, Muse and Kiss, this year continues the tradition of hard and heavy, with little to no let up. Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Marilyn Manson fill out the line up, but it’s hard to ignore such a huge mix of artists spanning over four stages and three days. Don your black eyeliner, patch up your jackets and pull on the New Rocks, it’s almost time!
24th – 28th June
£220 – Pilton, Somerset
What would festival season be without Glastonbury? Easily one of the most popular festivals of the year, with an ever growing following and now almost the size of a city, Glastonbury is one hell of a live music event. Beginning back in 1970, where the entrance fee was £1 (including some free milk from the farmers), to becoming the colossus it is today, Glastonbury has become a contemporary gathering for all sorts of arts, from of course, live music, but also dance, comedy, theatre, circus and cabaret. Headliners this year include Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Florence and the Machine, Patti Smith, Deadmau5, Future Islands and many many more. If you can get your hands on a ticket (make sure to watch out for the fake ones!), then this will definitely be hell of a ride.
9th – 11th July
£72 – Upcote Farm, nr Cheltenham
Featuring some of the best new and underground British music, 2000trees is an award winning festival with a focus on a friendly, intimate atmosphere and live music. Started by six friends in 2007, who had grown tired of paying out the nose for festivals decided to create a festival all about value for money as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of environmental issues. With five stages, a trader village and the hugely popular headphone disco, this year’s headliners include Deaf Havana, Alkaline Trio, The Subways, We Are The Ocean and Idlewild. As well as all that lovely stuff, there’s also some amazing food and locally produced ciders, ales and lagers – the best weekend of your summer guaranteed!
16th – 19th July
£200.50 – Henham Park, Suffolk
Ran by the same brilliant minds behind Reading and Leeds, Latitude Festival is said to be similar to continental music festivals, with a comprehensive list of musicians, bands and artists across four stages. Wander from film to music, comedy to literature and theatre to poetry, set in fairylight-lit woods, a lake and featuring a flock of multicoloured sheep, this festival really is a cultural highlight of the season. With Alt-J and Portishead dominating the headliners, other acts include Caribou, Manic Street Preachers, Jon Hopkins and SBTRKT. With it’s 10th birthday this year, there’s no doubt that Latitude will make this one to remember.
20th – 23rd Aug
£165 – Brecon Beacons, Wales
Easily my favourite festival of the year, based in a valley by the beautiful mountain range of Brecon Beacons, Green Man is more like your own intimate party amongst family and friends than a festival. Having seen giants such as First Aid Kit, Modest Mouse, Mac Demarco and Mogwai there in the past, I was elated to hear this year’s line up consists of Super Furry Animals, Hot Chip, Goat and Public Service Broadcasting. Not limited to live music, but also spoken word, comedy and literature, as well as workshops, fun and games and an Enchanted Forest, Green Man is a hidden gem amongst other mainstream festivals. And who can forget the burning of the Green Man on the last night?! I highly highly recommend it!
22nd – 23rd Aug
£189 – Hylands Park, Chelmsford & Weston Park, Staffordshire
Originally the brain child of Pulp’s front man Jarvis Cocker, V Festival was put on due to the fact he wanted to play two outdoor venues in two days. V Festival was born. The perfect choice for those who like to spend their time in the Top 40, headliners include Calvin Harris, Kasabian, Sam Smith, Stereophonics, Olly Murs and The Script are all gracing the stage this year. Spanning over the two parks simultaneously, swapping over the weekend, there’s no excuse to miss your favourite act. With sponsors including MTV, Coca Cola, Carling and Smirnoff, you’re guaranteed to find freebies and attractions to suit everyone.
28th – 30th Aug
£205 – Richfield Avenue, Reading, Bramham Park, Leeds
Being the world’s oldest popular music festival still in existence, Reading has had it’s fair share of musical phases over the years, now settling with rock, alternative, indie, punk and metal dominating. Definitely not family friendly and with 8 stages and a line up boasting Mumford and Sons, Metallica and The Libertines, this year is set to be a banger. Selling out year after year, there isn’t much for me to say that you probably don’t already know about Reading festival, but keep an eye out for the silent arena, the ActionAid tent, cinema and funfair.
28th – 30th Aug
£205 – Bramham Park, Leeds
Leeds Festival, Reading’s sister festival, will be taking over the August Bank Holiday weekend by storm with the same huge line up as Reading. Spanning over three days, this is another classic festival to dominate the summer season. Again, enjoy the ActionAid tent, the silent arena, cinema and fun fair, but also make sure you find time for some 5-a-side football and some great DJ sets at the Piccadilly Party with XFM.
End of the Road
4th – 6th Sept
£195 – Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire
The award-winning End of the Road, specialising in alternative music, such as folk rock, alt country and americana is hosting another huge year of music this year. Running over four stages in the idyllic location of the Larmer Tree Gardens, you can look forward to Sufjan Stevens, Tame Impala, War on Drugs, Future Islands and Laura Marling. Easily one of the most beautiful festivals, it’s not unlikely to be joined by peacocks wandering the area, as you take some time off in the healing field, get competitive in the games area, settle down for some light reading in the library in the forest or chill out in the film tent. With a capacity of 11,000, you’re treated to an intimate atmosphere with a family friendly vibe.
10th – 13th Sept
£195 – Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
Another legendary festival hosted by the Isle of Wight is Bestival. Running for just over 10 years, it’s blagged itself a number of awards from Best Major Festival to Best Dance Event. Bestival, despite being considered a ‘major festival’, is considered quite alternative and diverse, offering a large selection of vegetarian foods; a dress up tent and a ‘secret stage’. There’s so much going on at this festival it’s easy to forget the epic line up they have in store this year, with headliners including The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Duran Duran and Tame Impala, and DJ sets from the likes of Rudimental, Skrillex and Annie Mac. As well as the huge line up of acts, you can also get married in their inflatable church, take part in the fancy dress Guiness World Record attempt or enjoy comedy theatre, short plays, mind-expanding musings and hotly tipped sketch shows in the Amphitheatre.