Top 10: Rock Music Festivals in the UK for 2021

Top 10: Rock Music Festivals in the UK for 2021

The UK and rock music is a marriage that goes back generations. Think The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, Clash, Smiths, Oasis and nowadays the Arctic Monkeys, and you've got a set of bands that weren't just genre-defining, but moulders of global rock culture itself.

The same applies to the UK's abundance of music festivals. From Reading & Leeds to Download to Isle of Wight, the country's rock-centric music festivals are the place to experience certified rock gods and discover Europe's best up-and-coming artists. 

In a year that still looks slightly different from normal, here's a selection of the best on offer.

Isle of Wight Festival

Festival lineup (2021): Liam Gallagher, Snow Patrol, Duran Duran, David Guetta, Scouting for Girls, Tom Jones, Razorlight, Primal Scream

The Isle of Wight Festival once attracted enough people for the UK Parliament to pass an act banning its existence. They may have stopped the festival, but its soul lived on and was the inspiration for many others.

And when it finally returned in 2002 under the name Rock Island, the country's answer to Woodstock began its ascent back to the top of the game, welcoming the likes of David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones along the way.

When & Where: 16-19 September 2021; Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Festival 2021 Guide / Book Tickets & Packages

cinch presents TRNSMT Festival

Festival lineup (2021): Courteeners, Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Ian Brown, Primal Scream, Sam Fender, Keane, Snow Patrol

Stepping into the void left by T in the Park, cinch presents TRNSMT has become the go-to Scottish festival to see the biggest rock and indie acts, as well as the best emerging talent.

Held on Glasgow Green in the city's east end, festival-goers will also have the chance to experience Glasgow's thriving nightlife, bars and restaurants after the main festival finishes each evening.

When & Where: 10th - 12th September 2021; Glasgow

cinch presents TRNMST Festival 2021 Guide / Book Tickets


Y Not Festival

Festival lineup (2020)
: Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Bombay Bicycle Club, Levellers, James, Rag'n'Bone Man, Frank Turner, Ash, Pale Waves

Having started in 2005 as a party in a quarry for just over 100 people, Y Not Festival has now grown into a stalwart of the British festival scene, welcoming fan-favourites from the worlds of rock and indie to the scenic site on the southern reaches of the Peak District each summer.

Throw in a selection of DJs for a bit of late night revelry, as well as comedy, cocktails, crazy golf and generally colourful craziness and the result is the 'Peaks' biggest party'.

When & Where: 30 July - 1 August 2021; Pikehall

Y Not Festival 2021 Guide / Book Tickets & Packages

Neighbourhood Weekender

Festival lineup (2021)
: James, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Sam Fender, Miles Kane, The Wombats, Shed Seven, Gerry Cinnamon, The Coral, The Orielles

A relative newcomer to the summer season, Neighbourhood Weekender has quickly become a northern powerhouse. The festival's partnership with Radio X make perfect sense, as the lineups are packed with the same generation-spanning indie rock acts that populate the station's playlists.

When & Where: 3-5 September 2021; Warrington

Neighbourhood Weekender 2021 Guide / Book Tickets & Packages

Black Deer Festival

Festival lineup (2021): Wilco, The Waterboys, The Dead South, Saving Grace (feat. Robert Plant and Suzi Dian, Lucinda Williams, Imelda May, Drive-by Truckers, Jade Bird

A slightly different feel to most others on this list, Black Deer Festival has carved out a niche as the place in the UK for an array of Americana – taking in bluegrass, country, folk, roots, rock, blues, metal and more – in the fittingly rural surrounds of Britain's oldest deer park. To add to the flavour there's also BBQ, custom motorbikes and all manner of other authentically American fare.

When & Where: 25-27 June 2021; Tunbridge Wells

Black Deer Festival 2021 Guide / Book Tickets & Packages

Bloodstock Open Air

Festival lineup (2021): Judas Priest, Kreator, Devin Townsend, Skindred, Saxon, Dark Tranquility, Gloryhammer, Dimmu Borgir, Acid Reign  

With monolithic metal gathering Download Festival postponed for this year, the even longer-standing Bloodstock Open Air can take centre-stage as the destination for devotees of rock music's heaviest and hardest-hitting forms. This year marks the 20th anniversary since the very first edition (with an added day to make up for the postponement last year) so expect a bumper edition.

When & Where: 11-15 August 2021; Walton-on-Trent

Bloodstock Open Air 2021 Guide / Book Tickets & Packages

Dot to Dot Festival

Festival lineup (2021): Sports Team, Palace, Girl Band, Do Nothing, Chubby & The Gang, Sam Wise, Steam Down, Yard Act

A festival famed for spotting talent early – The xx, The 1975, Mumford & Sons all played early in their careers – Dot to Dot spreads itself across the venues of Bristol and Nottingham over the course of a weekend (one day in each city), filling them with its lineup of innovative and exciting breakthrough acts.

When & Where: 25 September 2021, Bristol / 26 September 2021, Nottingham

Dot to Dot Festival Bristol 2021 Guide & Tickets
Dot to Dot Festival Nottingham 2021 Guide & Tickets 

BST: British Summer Time


Festival lineup (2021): Pearl Jam, Pixies, IDLES, Duran Duran, Grace Jones, Nile Rodgers & Chic

BST is now a firm fixture of London's summer of music festivals, welcoming huge names from a diverse range of genres to Hyde Park for a series of unforgettable shows. This time round, Seattle rock legends Pearl Jam and 80s icons Duran Duran are on headlining duties, ably supported by other genuine superstars.

When & Where: 9-11 July 2021; London

British Summer Time 2021 Guide / Book Tickets & Packages

Reading & Leeds Festivals

Festival lineup (2021): Stormzy, Post Malone, Liam Gallagher, Queens of the Stone Age, Disclosure, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Two Door Cinema Club, Lewis Capaldi, Gerry Cinnamon

Historically the UK's oldest music festival, first held in 1961 under the name National Jazz Festival, Reading quickly became a haven for rock music fans: so much so that the flags and banners of Motorcycle groups were a traditional part of the event.

And since expanding to Leeds in 1999 it has made the August bank holiday its own, continuing to be one of the UK's foremost and diverse music festivals.

When & Where: 27-29 August 2021, Reading and Leeds

Reading Festival Guide / Leeds Festival Guide

Latitude Festival

Festival lineup (2021): Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, Snow Patrol, First Aid Kit

Lacking the hard-edge of some of the others on this list, Latitude is a more refined affair. Popular amongst families and those after more than just music, the weekender offers lakeside theatre, woodland comedy, interactive art installations, talks and lectures alongside its indie-centric music lineup.

When & Where: 22-25 July 2021, Southwold

Latitude Festival 2021 Guide

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