The birthplace of the modern music festival. Glastonbury. Isle Of Wight Festival. Reading and Leeds Festival. Creamfields. Download Festival. All originated here, on home soil. All of which are legendary UK festivals.
Even stateside during the ‘Summer Of Love’, these festivals took place within stadiums or venues, resembling concerts more so that what we’d consider a traditional music festival (until Woodstock in ‘69 of course), whereas we were already pitching our tents, erecting stages in the middle of nowhere for a proper knees up.
The Isle Of Wight Festival ‘68 was the prototype, with 10,000 people flocking to a small farm on the remote island to see psychedelic purveyors Jefferson Airplane headline. From then on it grew exponentially, becoming the biggest counter-cultural event the world had seen with 600,000 festival-goers frequenting Afton Down in 1970, all hailing the performances of The Doors, The Who, and a little-known legend called Jimi Hendrix.
Then Glastonbury Festival arrived and took the reigns. Throughout the 90’s until now, Glastonbury has become the most globally renowned and celebrated music festival worldwide, cementing its illustrious reputation with countless career-defining performances over the years from artists like Radiohead, Oasis, Stevie Wonder, Pulp, and Beyonce.
Reading and Leeds Festivals fly the flag for rock and alternative music, Creamfields for dance and electronic music, Download Festival for heavy metal, and Wireless Festival in London for hip-hop and urban music. Also taking place in London are BST Hyde Park, All Points East, Junction 2, South West Four and Field Day.
Two of Brighton's largest festivals are The Great Escape, featuring mostly unsigned and underground artists, and Boundary Brighton, which specialises in dance and bass music. Also, the Land Beyond Festival in the city's Wild Park features a lineup of DJs and performers across house, grime, garage, D&B and more.
In Manchester check out Parklife, The Warehouse Project club series, Neighbourhood Festival, Neighbourhood Weekender and Liam Gallagher at Heaton Park.
In Liverpool can catch Sound City (indie), Fusion Festival (pop) and Cream Classical in the Park (featuring DJs and an orchestra).
York Festival takes place at York Sports Club, with the 2020 edition featuring Madness, Lightning Seeds, Westlife, All Saints and Lionel Richie.
In Scotland, you can attend TRNSMT, Glasgow Summer Sessions, Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens and Vibration Festival in Falkirk. In June 2020, the Hella Mega Tour, featuring Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer, will call at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.
Peak season for UK festivals extends from May to September, so throughout the British summer time.
Whether or not you’re looking to join the lineage of cultural pillars such as Glastonbury or Creamfields, or immerse yourself into the atmosphere and community of boutique festivals like Latitude or Wilderness, UK festivals are diverse and abundant so cater to music fans from all walks of life.
Check out our articles featuring the best music festivals in London and the across the UK.