As the weather gets (marginally) better and the nights get (slowly) longer, everyone is starting to plan their summer escapades and no summer is complete without donning the wellies and heading to a festival. Whether home or abroad, we’ve got you covered for some of this years most exciting festivals.
Hidden in the stunning and remote Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria is Meadows in the Mountains, a festival for the adventurous. 150 miles from Bulgarian capital Sofia, 850 metres above sea level and less than 1,000 guests means that everyone watching that sunset with you, really wants to be there.
Fly to Sofia and take a shuttle bus (£25) through bear and wolf inhabited mountain roads to the nearest village, then it’s a short climb up to the festival.
Meadows in the Mountains has a unique almost unrestricted music policy which allows partying to continue through the night, so you can watch the break of dawn over the mountains through the rolling clouds.
Stunning views, amazing people, an intimate atmosphere and music you actually want to listen to (Kalabrese, Doubting Thomas, Just Jack), Meadows in the Mountains really is a worth the hype.
DATES: 7.06.18 – 10.06.18
TICKETS: £85 – £120
FLIGHTS: Luton to Sofia from £91 return
Another festival in the mountains although, no where near as remote, is Bilbao BBK. The Basque capital Bilbao won European City of the Year (Urbanism Awards 2018) and this unique festival looks over the cool city which is also renowned for it’s amazing (and affordable) Basque cuisine.
Bilbao BBK launched in 2005 and has featured a stellar line up each year that’s included Amy Winehouse, Iron Maiden, MGMT, The Cure and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Camp on a mountain with 80,000 others and enjoy 3 fun packed days for just £150. Artisan pizzas and burgers add to the summer vibe as do cool campsites with bars, lockers and supermarkets.
DATES: 12.07.18 – 14.07.18
TICKETS: £140 (£148 with normal camping, glamping available)
FLIGHTS: Gatwick to Bilbao from £200 return
Imagine a hand built, temporary city in the middle of the desert, populated by surrealist art, inventors, fun-chasers and festival revellers. This is the festival where you (and the other guests) make the music and where bizarre fashion is the norm (fully light up robot suit anyone?)
In 30-years this exceptionally unique 9-day experience has evolved from a bonfire among friends in San Francisco to an international phenomenon.
Burning Man has a ‘community’ vibe, no money is exchanged, instead people can ‘gift’ you commodities like food or soap, or you can trade. Take enough provisions for the whole 9-days, you are literally in the middle of nowhere.
The theme this year is Artificial Intelligence so expect trippy robots wondering around as well as dust storms, new friends, and maybe even to ‘find’ yourself. The true magic and madness of Burning Man needs to be experienced to believed.
WHERE: Nevada desert
DATES: 26.08.18 – 03.09.18
TICKETS: From £419
FLIGHTS: Gatwick to Reno from £665 return
Location is key for a great festival and Benicassim is hard to beat. Situated pretty much on the beach, a heady mix of sun, sea and music make Benicassim the best summer holiday you’ve ever had.
The Killers, Pet Shop Boys, Travis Scott and Liam Gallagher headline alongside indie giants the Kooks, Jessie Ware, Catfish and the Bottlemen, among many amazing others.
Your ticket entitles you to 8-days of camping so why not make a holiday out it, you won’t find cheaper accomodation or better beach access.
WHERE: Benicassim, Spain
DATES: 19.07.18 – 22.07.18
TICKETS: From £135
FLIGHTS: Gatwick to Valencia from £164 return
Arguably the UK’s most scenic festival returns this year with a line up set to satisfy both its loyal followers and newcomers. Gottwood combines an enchanted woodland setting with a heady mix of electronic musical offerings from the likes of veteran DJ’s Mr Scruff and Andrew Weatherall, eclectic duo Africaine 808 and firm favourite Ben UFO.
Based in Anglesey, Wales this electronic extravaganza has remained intimate despite its success with a capacity of 5,000 revellers, meaning that you don’t often have to wait in depressingly long queues for the bathrooms or any of the delicious food stalls.
Two must see stages are the Walled Garden for a truly magical experience and the Tree House, despite being a tad on the muddy side.
WHERE: Anglesey, Wales
DATES: 07.06.18 – 10.06.18
TICKETS: From £100
HOW TO GET THERE: Take a train to Holyhead rail station then take one of the many taxis to the festival
A long standing member of the festival circuit, Isle of Wight remains a firm favourite. Set up as an anti-establishment ‘counterculture’ event in the 1968, the festival was shut down in 1971 by the local Council, but not before the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who and Joni Mitchell made their historic mark.
Revived in 2002, the Isle of Wight festival still retains its old rebellious rock heritage. This years line up includes Rita Ora, Jessie J, and Camila Cabello while Kasabian, Liam Gallagher, Depeche Mode, The Killers take the festival right back to its rock roots.
WHERE: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
DATES: 21.06.18 – 24.06.18
TICKETS: From £100
HOW TO GET THERE: Take a ferry from Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington or Southsea, after a short crossing you will arrive on the Island and can get a short taxi to the festival
Regularly referred to as one of the UK’s most diverse festivals, Standon Calling returns to Standon Lordship in Hertfordshire this summer with a line up to suit all tastes.
From Paloma Faith to Acid Mothers Temple, Confidence Man to Bryan Ferry this festival comes into its own after dark however, during the day you can combine music with cookery classes and comedy for a truly varied mix.
An annual dog show and giant swimming pool also make this a festival with a difference. Boutique camping is available for the fancier among us with tipis and bell tents available on their website.
WHERE: Standon, Hertfordshire
DATES: 26.07.18 – 29.07.18
TICKETS: From £107
HOW TO GET THERE: Take a train to Ware or Bishop’s Stortford then jump in a cab to the festival
Margate gets lit up again this summer with By The Sea festival, on the 30th September. Uber trendies hang with older rockers at the historic Dreamland fairground, perched on the sea. Take a turn on the dodgems while Jarvis Cocker DJ’s for you, rub shoulders with Bat for Lashes Natasha Khan as she queues for fish and chips post performance.
The intimate atmosphere makes celebrity liaisons and jibber jabber a pleasant likelihood. Dance until dawn inside the retro roller disco or take a ride on the UK’s second oldest wooden roller coaster.
It’s arguably the best value festival in the UK, and a truly vintage Brit experience.
They even brew and sell their own beer.
By The Sea have yet to release their 2018 lineup but previous acts include; The Who, The Rolling Stones, T-Rex, Foals and Hot Chip, so we can safely assume it’s going to be another amazing year.
WHERE: Margate, Kent
DATES: 28.09.18 – 30.09.18
TICKETS: From £76.45
HOW TO GET THERE: The train from London takes just 90 minutes with regular services from Victoria, St Pancras and Liverpool Street