There was a time when music festivals were mostly geared at lovers of indie and rock but these days there’s a festival for you whether you’re into pop, folk, dance… or simply haven’t bought a CD since 1988 (in fact, it was probably a tape).
The trouble is, there are so many out there that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all those line-ups and end up missing out completely. But don’t panic; our guide to the cream of the bulging festival calendar will see you right.
IF YOU’RE… A CULTURE VULTURE
Latitude, Southwold, Suffolk, 14th-17th July
While Latitude does have big name headliners – this year indie types The Maccabees and The National are playing – a lot of the real gems can be found in the multitude of smaller tents away from the main stage. There’s comedy (including Russell Howard and Josh Widdicomb), plus literary readings, poetry, live theatre, as well as workshops for kids - if you’ve let them tag along!
IF YOU’RE… TAKING THE WHOLE FAMILY
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, 28th-31st July
The little sister of the main Bestival event on the Isle of Wight, Camp Bestival is firmly aimed at families. Sure, there’s grown-up entertainment from the likes of Fatboy Slim, Jess Glynne and Tears For Fears, but the real draw is the huge amount of stuff for kids. Even Mr Tumble will be there (so if you go to festivals to escape CBeebies, this isn’t the one for you!).
IF YOU’RE… A MASSIVE FOODIE
The Big Feastival, The Cotswolds, 26th-28th August
Blur’s Alex James hosts this relatively new addition to the festival calendar at his very own farm in the Cotswolds. No dodgy burgers here – instead, the likes of Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc and Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussain provide catering, soundtracked by headliners Mark Ronson and Kaiser Chiefs. Plus, it’s all for a good cause – tickets raise money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. A full stomach and a clear conscience? We’re game!
IF YOU’RE… PROUD TO BE A GEEK
Deer Shed, North Yorkshire, 22nd-24th July
Not many festivals boast workshops on tree identification, forensics and bridge-building with lolly sticks, but Deer Shed has a distinctly scientific vibe. This year’s event also has an “at the movies” theme, so you can attend action hero stunt classes and learn to speak in different accents too. As you can probably tell, it’s aimed at families, but there’s live music and comedy as well, with Richard Hawley and Everything Everything headlining.
IF YOU’RE… ALLERGIC TO THE COUNTRYSIDE
Tramlines, Sheffield, 22nd-24th July
Not all festivals involve camping in a field full of drunk teenagers – these days there are plenty of urban events too, for anyone who prefers concrete to mud. Our pick is Tramlines, which takes over Sheffield City Centre. Dizzee Rascal, Kelis, The Dandy Warhols and dozens of other acts will be popping up at different venues across the city. Mmm, imagine waking up in an actual bed.
IF YOU’RE… NOT ONE FOR SLUMMING IT
Wilderness, Oxfordshire, 4th-7th August
Billed as the poshest festival around, Wilderness includes Shakespearean theatre, life drawing classes, horse riding, hot tubs and gourmet banquets. You can even hire an on-site nanny to watch the kids while you get your party on. If live music isn’t too uncouth for your tastes, there’s a strong line-up too: Robert Plant, The Flaming Lips and Lianne La Havas are all set to appear.
IF YOU’RE… A KEEN CELEB SPOTTER
V Festival, Chelmsford/Staffordshire, 20th-21st August
V is long-established as the glammest festival around – more false eyelashes and spray-tans than muddy wellies and waterproofs. The festival attracts some big-name acts who’d look out of place on more musically credible line-ups - this year, Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Bastille will all appear. But it’s a great do for people-watching too – you’re almost guaranteed to spot half the cast of TOWIE and Geordie Shore throwing themselves at Biebs.
IF YOU’RE… AN 80S THROWBACK
Rewind: The 80s Festival, Perth (22nd-24th July), Henley On Thames (19th-22nd August) and Cheshire (5th-7th August)
Does modern music leave you cold? If you prefer to relive your childhood (frizzy perm optional), this unashamedly retro weekender, which takes place at three venues across the UK, will have you reaching for your neon legwarmers. Marc Almond, Rick Astley and UB40 are among the huge 80s greats appearing (line-ups vary at the different locations). We only wish the drinks prices were frozen in 1987 too.