Robert Spellman has rounded up 15 UK music festivals this summer that are due to go ahead covid-permitted for Travel Begins at 40.
The idea of a summer music festival feels like a bygone joy. The covid pandemic did for them in 2020, but much has changed since then. With the vaccination effort now well under way and quick testing easily available, many UK music festivals look to be going ahead this summer.
First the bad news. Glastonbury will be a live stream only this year (see below). And BST Hyde Park, which scheduled Pearl Jam, Grace Jones, Duran Duran and the Pixies, has been cancelled. Also scratched is the Cambridge Folk Festival while organisers of the Notting Hill Carnival say they “remain hopeful”.
Below are the UK music festivals 2021, you can be (cautiously) optimistic about:
All Points East at Victoria Park, London
No Iggy Pop and Kraftwerk as originally billed, instead Jamie xx, Kano, Slowthai, Arlo Parks, Bicep and Foals. The line-up change will attract a younger crowd than usual. Moved from its May slot to the August bank holiday weekend. See: allpointseastfestival.com
Big Feastival at Kingham, Oxfordshire
Hosted by Blur bassist Alex James at his Cotswolds farm and now in its 10th year. Solid family event that throws good food, comedy and kids’ activities together. On stage: Chic, Sigala, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Zara Larsson and Morcheeba and featuring DJ giants Judge Jules and Norman Jay. See: thebigfeastival.com
Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle, Dorset
July 29-August 1
An idyllic setting and a good family all-rounder that always attracts big names. This year: Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Kelis, Sophie Ellis Bextor, the Sugarhill Gang, Level 42 and The Selector. Also: Irvine Welsh, Craig Charles, Dom Joly, David Rodigan and LTJ Bukem. See: campbestival.net/
Cropredy near Cropredy village, Oxfordshire
Fairport Convention’s own festival prides itself on star acts and quality lesser-knowns alike. The site is Edenic and the real ale well stocked. Starting on a Thursday, this year its Clannad, Steve Hackett (Genesis Revisted), The Trevor Horn Band, Richard Thompson and Fairport for their usual late Saturday slot, among others. See: fairportconvention.com
Deer Shed Festival at Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire
July 20-August 1
There’s all-sorts going on at this Yorkshire party: circus acts, science demonstrations, literary and spoken word tents, comedy, theatre, cinema, kids stuff galore and some great music. James, Stereolab, Ghostpoet, Tim Burgess, Snapped Ankles and Baxter Dury lead the charge. See: deershedfestival.com
End of The Road at Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire
Music nerd gathering now into its 17th year, EOTR is the place to experience the cutting edge of rock, electronic and dance. This year’s headliners are the Pixies and King Rule, Big Thief, Bright Eyes, Little Simz, Perfume Genius and Aldous Harding are among those on the bill. See: endoftheroadfestival.com
Glastonbury, global livestream event
No sloshing around in the mud this year, instead a streamed broadcast with Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Idles, HAIM, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka and Wolf Alice on May 22. Tickets on sale now at: glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, Powys, Wales
Line-up to be announced. One of the first festivals to cater for hip, musically literate youth. More mainstream these days but expect an excellent and diverse spread of talent. See: greenman.net
Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park, Newport
Popular jolly usually taking place in June, but for 2021 the Isle of Wight Festival has been delayed to September. Tom Jones, Liam Gallagher, Primal Scream, Roachford, Snow Patrol, David Guetta, Duran Duran and Kaiser Chiefs strut their stuff this year. See: isleofwightfestival.com
Kendal Calling at Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria
July 29-August 1
With its Lake District setting, Kendal Calling is one of the UK’s most picturesque music weekends. Stereophonics, The Streets, Dizzee Rascal, Supergrass and 808 State are the star names and there’s comedy, dance, spoken word and more. See: kendalcalling.co.uk
Love Supreme at Glynde Place, East Sussex
A jazz, soul and funk party where organisers stress “the music comes first”. Some superb acts this year, including The Isley Brothers, Sister Sledge, Candi Staton, The Brand New Heavies, TLC, Nubya Garcia and more to be announced. See: lovesupremefestival.com
Splendour at Wollaton Park, Nottingham
One-day event with a solid line-up. On stage are Richard Ashcroft, Belinda Carlisle, The Vamps, Rick Astley, Sleeper and Becky Hill. See: splendourfestival.com
Standon Calling, Hertfordshire
No-nonsense festival with some great acts and DJs. Bastille, Primal Scream, Hot Chip, De La Soul, Sister Sledge, Mystery Jets, Guy Called Gerald, London Elektricity and Flava D are among this year’s bookings. See: standon-calling.com
Victorious Festival, Portsmouth
An esteemed do neatly sandwiched between the seaside and the town. This year: Madness, The Streets, Richard Ashcroft, Peter Hook & The Light, Feeder, Royal Blood, Morcheeba and Supergrass feature on a strong line-up. See: victoriousfestival.co.uk
Womad at Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Artists for the UK festival will be announced on April 12, and organisers hope to announce their international line-up around May 17. In the meantime, the festival is streaming concerts with the likes of Erland Cooper and Jasdeep Singh on its website: womad.co.uk/.
Details are accurate at time of going to press. For all UK Music Festivals 2021, we advise that you keep abreast of government covid regulations at the time. Cover image: WOMAD festival by Guy Peterson.