Six summer festivals
Living in a community with like-minded people, no cars, excellent food, the notes of favourite musicians playing, forests decked out in lights , poets to listen to and crafts to learn – festivals are part of the Great British summer for us. Here are some perhaps slightly lesser known festivals running this summer season. Stay tuned for a festival outfit guide coming soon!
The Larmer Tree Festival: July 14-19, Dorset
This friendly festival has been running for 25 years, but remains staunch in its dedication to its roots and intimate feel. Inspired by Bracknell Jazz Festival in the beautiful grounds of South Hill Park in the late 1970s, the first Larmer Tree in 1990 was one day long, had six acts and 150 attendees – not bad! Independent and sponsor-free, this year sees Bill Bailey, Bellowhead, Roderigo y Gabriela, Tom Jones and The Magic Numbers take to the stage. Tickets can be found, here.
Wilderness Festival: August 6-9, Oxfordshire
All very smart and beautifully presented, you can almost see the Wilderness festival’s hint of an orange glow through the tall trees, whispers of poetry rumbling through the leaves and the quiet concentration of mediation groups. Music, food, theatre, talks, debates, workshops, wellbeing – it’s all there to be experienced. The atmosphere working some kind of magic through osmosis, making for harmony – pop a flower crown on for this one. Björk, Ben Howard and Rosin Murphy are a few of the headliners. Buy tickets from the Wilderness store (of course, not shop), right here.
Shambala: August 27-30, Northamptonshire
One of the best for dressing up and meeting new friends, Shambala is genuine fun and full of learning. Whether that’s new music (of course), crafts, or the Art of Dress Up. Embrace it all, dance in the enchanted wood, be healed in the meadows and sit down and ponder in Wandering Word’s tent, as poets musicians, DJs and artists unite. Emily Portman Trio, Zun Zun Egui and Gypsies of Bohemia will all be playing – and don’t forget The Big Swing Dance. Tickets can be found, here.
Festival No.6: September 3-6, Portmeirion
There’s something very appealing about this one. Maybe it’s because it’s in Portmeirion, maybe it’s Belle and Sebastian headlining, and Metronomy, Grace Jones, Ghostpoet and Kate Tempest. Apparently last year the festival won Line-up of the Year at the UK Festival Awards, Best Festival (LMBA) and Most Unique Festival Site (AIF). Music will be playing from ‘every available space’ from the historic town hall to dance tents overlooking the bay – folk, seashanties, male Welsh choirs and rock ’n’ roll, expect it all. Buy your tickets, right here.
End of the Road Festival: September 4-6, Dorset
If you’re partial to BBC 6 Music, this will be right up your muddy festival walkway. Also at Larmer Tree Gardens, End of the Road began in 2005 by a Simon Taffe. He essentially created a bespoke festival for himself and it turned out other people shared his ideals. The line up's tailored to what gets the team excited, without a specific style. However, that said – it has that 6 Music lean, a bit folk, indie, experimental – and with plenty of literature and film. Sufjan Stevens, Tame Impala, Laura Marling, Slow Club and Saint Etienne will be all be performing and strutting around the site. Tickets can be found, right here.
The Good Life Experience: September 18-20, Flintshire
Founded by Cerys Matthews and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, it all looks very fresh, clean and wholesome on the website. Like Scandinavia; chic patterns, forests and rosy cheeks. Expect a vintage fairground, bookshops such as Caught by the River and Dylan’s Mobile Bookstore, Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella), Ben Fogle (from the telly / Castaway 2000), coffee masterclasses, Wilko Johnson etc. The' boom, bust consumption and austerity' inspired the festival creators to begin TGLE in 2014: “Interesting things have come out of that austerity; a retreat to values and fashions that seem to encapsulate simpler times, the good old days”. It’s all about friends, family, the outdoors, books, good food, music ‘from the soul’, craft – all that jazz. Sounds wonderful. Buy tickets, here.