Festival season is in full swing. If you’ve been watching Glastonbury highlights with green envy and missed out on tickets for the biggies this year, we have a list of affordable alternative festivals with a twist that are yet to come. So you can still have a festival experience this summer, without breaking the bank.
Get your fix fast at Citadel Festival in London
- Headliners: Foals, Bonobo, Wild Beasts, Laura Marling, RY X, Maggie Rogers, Lucky Chops, Hudson Taylor, Picture This
- When & where: 16 July, Victoria Park, London
- Website: http://citadelfestival.com/
All the festival vibes and musical thrills without the smelly pits, no camping is needed at this one-day festival. Confidently advertised as a ‘sun-drenched utopia’, which is bold given our unpredictable English weather. However, the lineup is so good it’s worth a visit even if it does turn into a dystopian welly kicking mess. The festival was launched in 2015 with the aim of bringing something a little different to the London festival scene, a mission that is right up our street.
In their first year there were spellbinding sets from Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club, this year the stadium-slaying Foals headline. An oxford quintet hailed as one of the best live acts in the world. Beyond the music there are a galaxy of experiences and activities to discover throughout the day including; sports, talks, wellbeing workshops, fashion boutiques and family activities. Tickets are still available from £55.25, kids from £6.25.
Family friendly adventures at Nozstock: The Hidden Valley
- Headliners: Seasick Steve, Happy Mondays, The Sugarhill Gang, Hazard & Eksman, Delta Heavy, Hayseed Dixie, Ocean Wisdom
- When & where: 21-23 July, Herefordshire, West Midlands
- Website: http://nozstock.com/
If you miss the days when festivals use to be less about ‘getting mortal’ and more about the music and culture then you will love this gem. Nozstock: The Hidden Valley is homely, nostalgic and goes way beyond a standard festival experience. At Nozstock you will be immersed in performance, art, electronic supersounds, good old-fashioned guitar-strumming and drum-bashing. There are nine stages, secluded theatre areas and plenty of other gems to discover with arts & crafts, folk diversions, dance workshops and late night short films in the Cinema or you could dabble in the intriguing world of sound art. In their own words:
“In essence, Nozstock The Hidden Valley is your chance to romp throughout a weekend of guilt-free debauchery and indulge in a medley of eye-opening encounters, all with the permission of Farmer Noz and his ever-patient cattle.”
Tickets are still available from £115 for the weekend. Wanna take the kids along to enjoy the activities and little Wonderlands kids area? Well you’re in luck, 12s and under go free.
A cultural escape at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
- Headliners: Franz Ferdinand, The Pretenders, Sister Sledge, KT Tunstall, First Aid Kit, Birdy, Feeder, Gallagher and Lyle
- When & where: 3-5 August, Belladrum Estate, Beauly
- Website: www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk
If you truly want to escape and experience something new, then Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival should make your list of things to do this summer. In a recent UK festivals guide, blogger Claire Jessiman said:
“My first encounter with a festival was in 2005 at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival. I was blown away by the whole experience and loved absolutely everything about it. Music, art, food, drink, culture, camping, rain, costumes, sunshine it had it all combined with a chilled atmosphere and amazingly friendly crowd. We returned again and again, with friends, children, multiple tents, a gazebo and even a foray into Teepee glamping. Over the years I’ve watched The Proclaimers, James, The Waterboys, Travis and Tom Jones perform on the main stage set in Italian sunken gardens in the Scottish Highlands. Festivals don’t get better than that!”
Held 3 - 5 August there are still tickets available from £150 and low budget flights if you don’t fancy the long car ride.
Static vibes in the woods at Electric Fields Festival
- Headliners: Frightened Rabbit, Dizzee Rascal, Kate Tempest, Peter Hook & The Light
- When & where: 1-2 September, Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway
- Website: http://electricfieldsfestival.com/
The bigger festivals may have a lot of hype, but often they have lost that independent vibe that once made them special. Electric Fields has the odd mainstream artist, but the setting is anything but. Here you can immerse yourself in intimate and unique surroundings, deep within the stunning forests of Dumfries & Galloway.
You could dance wiv Dizzee, get nostalgic with Peter Hook & The Light or just drift between the different areas dropping by the spoken word tent and discovering new experiences. You can get down and dirty with a good old fashioned tent pitch or enjoy some boutique camping. Tickets are still available from £95.
Drift and dream at Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire
- Headliners: Two Door Cinema Club, Grace Jones, Bonobo
- When & where: 3-6 August, Corbury Park, Oxfordshire
- Website: www.wildernessfestival.com
In their own words this festival is for ‘nomads and gastronomes. Rockers and roamers. Drifters and dreamers. The reclusive, the wise, the weird and the wild.’
Sounds good to us. Wilderness is way more than a music festival, it’s an escape and wild experience. You can learn to paint, write a poem, wonder the woods foraging for snacks, swim naked, attempt some acroyoga - even if you don’t bend that way. Not your cuppa tea? How about basking in the shade of a tree with a cocktail, taking a dip in the sauna and hot tub, catching a sassy cabaret show or visiting the secret theatre in the woods. Alternatively you could just keep it real and wrestle a stranger for his socks - standard.
The organisers wanted to create a place where reality is distant and experience is everything:
‘A humming microcosm in the Wilderness that dazzles and thrills every single sense.’
Sounds like the kind of festival Lady Chastity could get on board with. Tickets available from from £178 with plenty of camping options from general camping, family camping, boutique and vehicle camping.
Do something different this summer
Yes, your mates might be banging on about their Glasto experience or revving up for getting smashed at V Festival - yawn - or Download - argh - but there is no reason for you to miss out on the festival vibes this summer. Whether you let the ticket deadline whoosh on by or would rather stick a fork in your eye than follow along with the ‘mainstream’ and conform - these independent festivals will give the chance to do something different and create memories that will last a lifetime.