Festivals in the UK are experiencing something of a renaissance. The future of the UK festival scene hung in the balance after the cancellation of many established shows including indie forerunner All Tomorrow’s Parties, beloved Scottish institution T in the Park and the corporate-backed V Festival. It looked like the surge in smaller boutique festivals would also grind to a halt as structural problems and the inclement British weather closed down so many. However, 2018 promises a much sunnier outlook. With the successful debuts of new festivals like Glasgow’s TRNSMT and the reestablishment of old favourites like the Isle of Wight festival, the scene is once again taking off.
TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
Let’s kick off by talking about the return of Scotland’s inner-city TRNSMT festival. In its first year it pulled massive headliners like Radiohead, Biffy Clyro, Belle and Sebastian and The 1975. For an as-yet-untested format that was quite a feat! Although it wasn’t a sold-out show, it garnered lots of praise from both the press and the punters. So much so, that 2018 sees it expand to cover two weekends from 29th June-1st July and then from 6th July-8th July. Stand-out acts include the return of 90s Welsh rockers Stereophonics, Sheffield indie upstarts Arctic Monkeys and droning New York cool guys Interpol. You can also catch James Bay, The Courteeners, Wolf Alice, Blossoms, and Yorkshire favourites, Shed Seven.
TRNSMT also boasts Queen + Adam Lambert on their line-up this year, along with Liam Gallagher, Texas and The Script which proves they can really draw in the big names. Whatever the line-up though, one of the best things going for this festival is the ready access to Glasgow’s numerous bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels both before and after the main event. No trekking through fields of mud to find your rain-soaked tent at this festival! Just head back to your cosy hotel room at the end of it and relax…
Latitude Festival, Suffolk, England
Latitude has been an established part of the British music festival scene since 2006. In its thirteenth year it’s looking as fresh and bold as ever. With so much to see and do beyond the music, you’ll find that you can really lose yourself for the weekend amongst the different arenas, tents and stages. You can go lake swimming, wander through the forest and get crafting! After so many years’ experience, Latitude have thought of everything for the modern festival-goer. They even have their dedicated Music Angels on hand to offer you unlimited charging power for your phones and other devices. So, whether you’re checking Accuweather for the forecast, using Shazam to identify a track or taking some time out at Pokerstarscasino, you can relax in the knowledge that you’ll always have full battery!
Must-see acts this year at Latitude include indie rock favourites The Killers, lesser known Knowles sister Solange and abstract art rockers Alt-J. You can also catch The Vaccines, Wolf Alice, Mogwai and The Charlatans at the festival. It takes place in its long-time home of Henham Park, Suffolk over one mid-July weekend from 12th-15th.
Festival No. 6, Pormeirion, Wales
Festival No. 6 is a slightly younger festival, based in the bizarre but beautiful town of Portmeirion, North Wales. Founded in 2012 it occurs slightly later in the year than the majority of the UK’s music festival offerings, and this year takes place from 6th-9th September. What makes Festival No. 6 so unique is that it is held in a surreal faux-Mediterranean village, complete with pastel coloured buildings, piazzas and statues. Activities over the weekend include swimming in the Estuary gardens’ pool, running along a woodland trail and taking part in a torchlit procession through the site. Attending Festival No. 6 is a magical and otherworldly experience that’s not to be missed – especially as they also have wood-fired hot tubs! Utter luxury!
As well a host of extracurricular activities, the selection of music on offer does not disappoint. Headline acts this year include the ever-evolving Franz Ferdinand, festival circuit favourites Friendly Fires and British indie giants The Charlatans. Other notable names on the line-up are the Horrors, Django Django and The The. Although the weather at this Welsh affair can be predictably unpredictable, you are guaranteed an adventure to remember!
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Green Man Festival is known for its alternative approach to the music festival structure, leaning more towards Glastonbury’s Green Fields than the rough and ready approach of most arenas. Another Wales-based festival, this time set at the base of the breathtaking Brecon Beacons, Green Man welcomes a varied audience with a wide range of tastes. As well as the usual fare of music tents and stages, there is also space here to attend thoughtful talks and discussions, comedy shows, workshops and off-beat performances. The organisers have cultivated a relaxing and inclusive atmosphere over the past sixteen years, which is perhaps what contributes to their longevity. There is a focus on nature and healing not seen at the rowdier venues, and whilst music is still firmly in the spotlight, that doesn’t mean there’s no space to explore other pursuits.
Acts to catch at this year’s Green Man include Fleet Foxes, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Grizzly Bear. There’s also shows from Brian Jonestown Massacre and the War on Drugs. This is definitely one of those festivals where a fantastic line-up and magnificent scenery combine to create a truly special event!