1) Let’s Rock Bristol
Ashton Court Estate, Bristol
Price: £108.90 w/e (£82.50 non-camping)
Originally focused on reviving the 1980s, the self-styled retro festival now includes a whole day of ‘90s music too. Acts range from Happy Mondays, Gloria Gaynor and Heaven 17 to Atomic Kitten, Toploader and Black Lace.
Cheltenham Racecourse, Glos
Price: £140 w/e
Technically, ‘mainstream leftfield’ is oxymoronic. Practically, it’s precisely the term to describe a line up featuring The Levellers, Billy Bragg, Kanda Bongo Man, Buzzcocks, Smoove & Turrell and the brilliant, lesser-spotted-at-festivals Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. A thoroughly child friendly affair, as regular nominations for best family festival awards attest, including as it does a kids literature festival and main stage appearance by Cbeebies’ Katy Ashworth.
3) Bristol Shakespeare Festival
June 5-July 29
If you ever thought Shakespeare veneration was much ado about nothing, here’s a festival determined to change your mind. No programme released yet, but the previous dozen outings of this admirably volunteer-run enterprise point to Bardular offerings in just about every imaginable corner of the city: woods, studios, theatres, parks, caves, boats and pubs.
4) Bristol Food Connections
A new start for the fest, with Bristol Food Network handing over the event’s administration to a new community interest company, Bristol Food Connections Ltd. The resulting recipe is scaled down compared to previous years – the city-centre programme, food-trail and fringe fest are gone – but will still incorporate the BBC Food & Farming Awards, launch party, etc. More details to be released after we’ve gone to press.
5) Festival of Nature
* June 8-25
Return of the nation’s biggest free natural history event, with more than 25,000 people expected to attend over the course of three consecutive weekends in Bristol, Keynsham and Bath and lots of river-based events in between. This year’s festivities take ‘Viewpoints’ as their central theme, where “visitors will be invited to think about the natural world ‘through the looking glass’ and discover how birds, rodents, people, trees – and even the river itself – view our natural environment”. 200+ organisations add their expertise and enthusiasm to proceedings, with the opening harbourside weekend likely to include a butterfly tent, hands-on tech fun courtesy of the BBC, Bristol Zoo bringing bugs and animals to hold; Bristol University and UWE laying out hands-on, cutting-edge research to get involved with, and volunteer groups such as the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, National Trust, Avon Wildlife Trust, RSPB, etc. The fest will also lay on theatre, bat walks, fine art, pond dipping, literature, photography, nature trails, music, loads more, all winding up with a free family fun day in Bath.
(Credit Jon Craig)
6) Bristol Volksfest
Birches Farm, Long Ashton
Price: £55 w/e
New location for the V-Dub fest celebrating its silver jubilee. No word on musical line up at the mo (as a card maker, 2016 was headed by DJ Yoda and Neville Staple), but overall this year is set to be the event’s biggest ever and will pay particular attention to commemorating 50 years of the bay window van. Expect car demos, displays, BMX-ing, wall of death, urban art displays, and cinema.
7) Corsham Walking Festival
Small of scale, large of variety, prepare to enjoy such themed strolling opportunities as Brunel’s railway, quarry tramways, geology, wildflowers, treasure hunt, and dog walk.
8) Home Farm Fest
Chilthorne Domer, Somerset
Biggest ever year for the altruistic event – 90+ bands across six stages – including an all-new dance tent. Musical bill TBA as we collate the guide, but pulling in big names is empatically not the point. Instead, it’s all about this: the School in a Bag initiative helps vulnerable children across the globe – be they poor, orphaned, or disaster-affected – and is brilliant in its simplicity. Each school bag is crammed chock full of learning resources and eating utensils, allowing the recipient to write, draw, colour, calculate, express themselves and, above all, learn. Fitting, then, that the weekend has a comprehensive list of children’s ents is in place: kids’ cinema and disco, climbing wall, and workshops from circus skills to water rocket building, puppet making to jestering.
9) Bristol Comedy Garden
Reliably excellent mix of comedy and comestibles. No word on either as we go to press, but safe to assume a bill similar in profile to 2016: Katherine Ryan, Reginald D Hunter, Bridget Christie, Stewart Lee, Shappi Khorsandi, David O’Doherty, etc.
The mighty Bristol Comedy Garden returns to Queen Square this summer (14th to 18th June) with an outrageously good line-up featuring comedy’s marvel Ross Noble, national treasure Greg Davies, British Comedy Award winner Adam Hills plus Nina Conti, Rich Hall, David O’Doherty and many many more. Tickets priced from £18.50 and on sale now www.bristolcomedygarden.co.uk
10) Clifton International Festival of Music
A firm local favourite, this year the classically leaning fest features such treats as the Tallis Scholars, the Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Zeitgeist Chamber Orchestra, a radio panel game, ‘Battle of the Organs’ in Clifton Cathedral, much else besides.
11) Blue Sky Festival
Programme TBA at press time, but expect plenty of free and family-centric events in a programme venturing across music, art, talks, literature, theatre, comedy, and the like. As a marker, last year’s appearees included Michael Rosen, Tony Law and Geno Washington.
12) Forest Live
Westonbirt Arboretum, Glos
Annual series of concerts in one of the West’s most lovely settings. All income goes to protect, improve and expand England’s forests and woodlands. This year’s performers are Elbow with Steve Mason (June 15), Olly Murs with Louisa Johnson (June 16), Rick Astley with Rumer (June 17) and Craig David plus guests (June 18).
13) Ukulele Festival of Great Britain
Price: £43 w/e
Eighth running for the strum-centric shindig. Expect workshops, join-in performances and live acts including the Ooks Of Hazzard, the Ukulele Uff Trio and Strumdiddlyumptious.
14) Glastonbury Festival
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset
Price: sold out
Plucky local farmer lays on some bands and assorted arty folk and invites campers to come and party on his land for a few days. Yeah, like that’s ever going to take off.
15) Bristol Sounds
Lloyds Amphitheatre, Bristol
Add line up!!
Follow up to the Bristol Summer Series which last saw performances from James Bay, Sigur Ros, The Last Shadow Puppets and Catfish & The Bottlemen. No word yet on who might be pitch up on Harbourside this year.
16) Keynsham Music Festival
June 26-July 2
20th anniversary for a truly community affair. Last year, 67 volunteers worked 400+ hours to lay on a packed, free programme for 20,000 attendees. No word on the 2017 bill at press time, but expect loads of family-friendly fare across the arts, culminating in a big multi-stage gathering at the end.
17) Barn on the Farm
June 29-July 2
Over Farm Market, Glos
Price: £110 w/e
Rustic rumble where Tom Odell and Sundara Karma are by a distance the biggest names on a bill also featuring Amber Run, Rationale and Lucy Rose.
18) Nibley Festival
June 30- July 1
Price: £50 w/e
Beauteous location plays host to a relaxed event including musical appearances from The Fratellis, Dub Pistols and Lucy Spraggan.
Head to Kirtan & Sacred Sound, where a bloke called Tom is playing tabla. Consider an invitation to ‘Prepare to meet the vulnerable strength and the sweet surrender’. If your response is “Whooah… deep,” this festival is for you. If your reaction can be acronymed “WTF?” then more fool you, bucko, you should have kept reading the invite: ‘There is no room for logic inside this space’. Thus, a weekend subtitled ‘A Gathering of the Heart’ (“Can a single object gather?” Quiet, logic boy) chock full of events such as the ‘sacred walks’ led by Kimba, who claims to ‘have returned to an earlier knowing that our bodies, these human forms are fluid crystals for greater purpose than is so often experienced’. What purpose you should put your fluid to isn’t specified, though we figure it likely involves other programme highlights such as 57 varieties of yoga, ‘devotional sounds’ and – insert sceptical-faced emoji here – ‘intelligent movement’.
20) Camden Rocks
One of the most concentrated events in the calendar, with but a single day for 250 performers to play out from some of the London borough’s most hallowed stages, including the Electric Ballroom, Underworld, and Dingwalls. Plenty of good stuff to go around, including The Damned, Orange Goblin, Ruts DC, Urban Voodoo Machine, Young Kato, and Bristol’s very own Oxygen Thief.
21) Exeter Respect
If it’s June in the capital of Devon, then respect is due. Truly. “An annual celebration of diversity where we use the performing and creative arts to engage the wider community in saying no to racism and all forms of prejudice,” say organisers. 20,000 people are expected to gather for the 20th running of the free multicultural shindig. No confirmed names on the bill at press time, but expect musical acts of a generally reggae or ‘world’ hue, with past attendees including Asian Dub Foundation Soundsystem, Talvin Singh, Misty In Roots, Kano, and Linton Kewsi Johnson.
22) Field Day
Victoria Park, London
Just a single day this time around, with acts confirmed thus far including Run The Jewels, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Nicolas Jaar, Death Grips, Slowdive, Omar Souleyman and Silver Apples. Quite the adventurous line up for an event that likes to style itself as an overgrown fete. See, for example, a Village Mentality area. To avoid confusion, please note that this is not a place to sit and boast of having “taken back control” while helplessly dribbling over photos of Theresa’s décolletage in the Mail, but an area set aside for team games, brass bands, bunting, and hay bales.
23) Eden Festival
Raehill Meadows, Dumfries and Galloway
Price: £119 w/e
Scotland’s second largest music festival, and a markedly more relaxed affair than the biggest, the generally rambunctious – 2017 break-taking – T in the Park. Cat Power apart, the headliners are all experienced party bringers – Gogol Bordello, 2Many DJs, Boney M, Alabama 3, Alice Russell – on a site boasting 12 stages, “auld Celtic drinking dens”, hammocks, dance and art sessions, and a general sense of unforced wellbeing.
Price: £165 w/e
You may need to fest overseas to guarantee the weather, but not the outstanding natural beauty. Consider Gottwood, named for the forest in which clearing it takes place, an expertly thrown stone throw from the coast. Among those adding electronic wizardry to the leafy surrounds come Helena Hauff, The Black Madonna, Move D, Craig Richards and Erol Alkan b2b Leon Vynehall.
25) Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight
In which the islanders take their annual step out of 1950s torpor to go and bang on the wall and ask that Rod Stewart, David Guetta, Run DMC, Kaiser Chiefs, Arcade Fire et al keep the bloody noise down.
Newton Abbot Racecourse, Devon
Price: £60 w/e
Now a fully-fledged weekend event rather than all-dayer with a camping chaser, featuring six stages ready to bear the likes of Shy FX, Gentleman’s Dub Club, We Are Scientists and Dreadzone.
27) Download Festival
It was always going to be tricky to follow 2016’s triple headline whammy of Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. This time around the biggest talking point is Aerosmith playing their only UK show, closing out a weekend also seeing headline slots from System of a Down – again – and a first bill-topper for Biffy Clyro. Undercard includes Rob Zombie, Slayer, AFI and Sum 41.
* June 9-18
South Bank Centre, London
Following composers George Benjamin and Louis Andriessen selecting distinctly classical artists for their respective curatorships, Meltdown as we know it – a convening of leftfield lights in genre-fluid fashion – began with Elvis Costello’s tenure in 1995. Jarvis Cocker, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, Massive Attack, Nick Cave and John Peel have been among those responsible for line ups since. If handing control for 2016 to Elbow’s Guy Garvey resulted in a wholly predictable beige misstep , 2017’s curator promises an altogether more interesting year: Sri Lankan-born, London-bred M.I.A. has been rattling cages since her day-glo cut ‘n’ paste pop-hop 2003 debut and, while her choices remain under wraps at press time, all signs point towards a thrillsome bill of flair and distinction.
29) Wimborne Minster Folk Festival
Old school folk fest for whom Jim Moray is a relatively racy headliner. Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston are the next-best known acts at an event introducing Songs of the Sea, a standalone shanty fest with haul away! exhortations coming courtesy of The Roaring Trowmen, Exmouth Shanty Men, Shropshire Boatmen, etc.
30) Junction 2 Festival
Boston Manor Park, London
Located beneath a motorway bridge for maximum evocation of original M25 rave culture, this fest sold out in its debut year and boasts five stages of techno goodness likely to repeat the success. Andrew Weatherall, Tarek Charbonnier, Charlotte de Witte, Recondite, Joseph Capriati and Kolo & Dyze are among the sound makers.
31) Parklife Weekender
Heaton Park, Manchester
Price: £99.50 w/e
Heaton Park hosted semi-legendary gigs for Oasis and the Stone Roses, today the site for a festival attendees hope will give them me a sense of enormous well-being: Parklife. Those charged with making it so include A Tribe Called Quest, The 1975, Fatboy Slim, Frank Ocean, Boy Better Know, Jess Glynne, Two Door Cinema Club, Carl Cox, Damian Marley, London Grammar, Flying Lotus, George Ezra, Chaka Khan, Eric Prydz and Andy C.
32) Polperro Festival
Expect around 50 different musical acts to play the village over the course of nine days, including plenty from local faves the Polperro Fisherman’s Choir. Plus wares from the thriving art community, dance, and such splendid local traditions as a great big bonfire.
33) Eden Sessions
June 16-July 6
Eden Project, Cornwall
Yearly shindig gathering a handful of musical aces to perform in front of the eco centre’s splendid domes. This year’s headliners comprise old school masters of the pop single, Madness (June 16), the duo who’ve lived off the exploded blues guitar/drums template for longer than anyone might reasonably expect, Royal Blood (June 22) and Bryan Adams (July 6), the veteran rocker rumoured to be reworking his back catalogue to better reflect advancing age. Expect the set list to include Shuffle To You, The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is Slacks, and that poignant lament for a faulty stairlift, Can’t Stop This Thing We Started.
34) Electric Beach Festival
Price: £27 early bird w/e
A new weekend and a (slightly) new locale for the seaside fest, shifting from Fistral Beach to Newquay’s Great Western beach. No word at press time on who else might be there but, for reference, 2016 saw shows from the likes of De La Soul, the Levellers and Zion Train.
35) Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
* June 16-18
Price: mostly free
Centrepiece is Saturday night at Princess Pavilion, and a bringing together of four fine shanty groups: Kanerien Trozoul, Flash Jack, Portsmouth Shantymen and Bounding Main. Is it the event’s real highlight, though? You pays yer money and… well, you needn’t, actually. Better not to, in fact. If you’re looking to celebrate ‘authentic Cornish culture’, do it properly: not in some ascetic hall, but pint-swigging in one of the festival’s 20+ affiliated pub or getting right into the community spirit and singing along on the quayside. It needn’t all be booze-laden, of course: this is one of Europe’s largest
maritime music festivals in Europe and takes its role as cultural guardian seriously, celebrating seafaring communities and minority languages along the Atlantic seaboard. Thus, the opportunity to learn shanties in Cornish, Basque, Welsh, Frisian, Scots and Irish Gaelic.
36) Goldcoast Oceanfest
Price: £54 w/e
Lovely Croyde Bay plays host to a festival splicing a love of all things coastular – surfing, beach volleyball, beach soccer, surf life saving, open water swimming, etc – with a line up generally comprising 20+ acts. No word on names at press time, though expect similar in stature to 2016 attendees Fuse ODG, Palma Violets, and KT Tunstall.
37) Gregynog Festival
June 16-July 2
Various venues, chiefly in Powys
Pretty much ever-present in the classical events of the year lists, Wales’ oldest music festival was launched in 1933 besides the obvious offers drama, poetry, film, talks and exhibitions.
38) Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival
Price: various, lots free
In which narrowboats and folk music folk converge for a big old weekend of traditional song and dance, town parades, stalls, and so forth.
39) Sonic Rock Solstice
Price: £65 w/e
15th anniversary of the space rock-loving gathering, with the bill of fuzz guitar bringers topped by Dr & The Medics, The Heavy Metal Kids, Night of the Hawks and Dr Hasbeen.
40) 3 Wishes Faery Festival
Three wishes, eh? Okay, here you go: Kill me! Kill me! Kill me now! You know those full-grown people who think it perfectly acceptable to wear animal-shaped woolly hats? Well, when the weather warms they dispatch their headgear, strap on ‘wings’ and congregate for this, the twee-est, most stomach-spilling event on the calendar. Expect faery procession, walkabout fairytale characters, a faery school, faery dog show, unicorns and world record attempt for the most insufferable cunts fairies gathered in one place.
41) Afrika Oyé Festival
Strong contender for Free Festival of the Year, both in terms of quality and size – 80,000 turn out for the largest celebration of African music and culture in the country. This time around the event is celebrating its 25th birthday and, accordingly, is planning a retrospective line-up of acts. They remain TBA at press time, but as a guide last year included Mbongwana Star, Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, and the Ifa Band, also feature. Beyond the music, there’s the venue: splendid Sefton Park, 200 acres of graciously rolling landscape, including the historic glass-panelled Palm House, and so very worth an exploration in its own right.
42) Edinburgh Film Festival
June 21-July 2
The programme isn’t due to be launched until the end of May, but with 70 editions of the fest already run it’s safe to say we know the gist: 1,400 industry delegates, filmmakers and press folk convene for screenings of the best – and, by law of averages, occasionally worst – in new film.
43) Hijinx Unity Festival
* June 28-July 2
Caernarfon, North Wales
A commitment to platforming work made by disabled and non-disabled artists working together as equals will always be the headline, and understandably so, but it does rather obscure the fact that Hijinx reliably stages some of the most innovative, compelling theatre around (see Beneath the Streets, Meet Fred, etc). Full programme isn’t release until May, but we can confirm a weekend of free family-centric performances around the town centre, a schools’ day for 500 local pupils, a community dance gala, and ace performers in circus, theatre, dance and music arriving from France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Ethiopia, and closer to home.
44) British Summer Time
June 30-July 9
Hyde Park, London
Price: from £62.50
Series of stand-alone concerts, with a rum old mixture of acts. Opening night, for example, sees Phil Collins venture out from the critical rehabilitation unit to headline a bill with an undercard of Blondie (yay!), Mike & The Mechanics (WTF?) and Starsailor (…). Second date is the most coherent, featuring as it does Green Day, Rancid, Gogol Bordello, The Hives and The Living End. July 2 convenes Justin Bieber, Martin Garrix, Tove Lo and Annie Mac, the fourth outing features Kings Of Leon, Pixies, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, July 8 is all over the fucking place with The Killers, Elbow, Tears For Fears and White Lies, while the closing night is a trio of US nod-rockers, namely Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks and The Lumineers.
45) Southcider Festival
June 30-July 2
Burton Bradstock, Dorset
Price: £55 w/e
Locally sourced beverages fuel a 500 capacity music festival on the Jurassic coast, where two stages will host the likes of Mad Dog Mcrea, The Eskies, K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade, Pronghorn and The Surfin’ Birds.
46) Primavera Sound
May 31-June 4
Price: 80€ day tickets
Easy accessible via Bedminster International, glorious Barcelona sees itself taken over by one of the finest festivals on the planet. While an ever-increasing number of rivals can match its promise of sand and sunshine, few can come even close to rivalling its line up. Cast your eye down the vastly lengthy cast list for 2017 and among the many and varied highlights you’ll find Run The Jewels, Van Morrison, Kate Tempest, Aphex Twin, Arcade Fire, Slayer, Bon Iver, Grace Jones, Swans, Magnetic Fields, Metronomy, Saint Etienne, Shellac, Sleaford Mods, and Flying Lotus.
Manchester, Tennessee, USA
Sort of Glastonbury, Tennessee, with 700-acre farm playing host to all manner of arts fare including comedy club, theatre, parades, silent disco, classic arcade and – seriously, can you not just try to remember where you are and relax? – 5k run. Music-wise your headliners don’t come much more high profile than U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
48) NoS Primavera
Price: 110€ w/e
Sixth outing for the younger sister of Barca’s big bash, located next to the sea in the 83 hectare Parque da Cidade (literally, ‘Park of Yes Daddy’). Lots of crossover with the Catalan bill, with this year’s attendees set to include Bon Iver, Aphex Twin, Run the Jewels, Skepta, Metronomy, Flying Lotus, Richie Hawtin, Teenage Fanclub, Grandaddy, Royal Trux and Shellac.
June 24-July 1
Price: DKK 2020
One of the global giants, with 135,000 people set to behold the musical likes of Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, Justice, Warpaint, Erasure, Jagwar Ma, and A Tribe Called Quest. Loads of other arty stuff, in a Scandi-Glasto kind of way, with an emphasis on environmental chumminess – see, for example, the availability of rockwool-insulated shelters.
50) Hideout Festival
Island of Pag, Croatia
Price: £139 w/e
Clubbing fest set on a beauteous island in glorious Adriatic climes, with more swimming pools, boat and beach parties than you can shake a cocktail stick at. The only hard part is finding the stamina to keep your arms in the air and, moreover, the facial expression to suggest you still just don’t care.
51) Love International
June 28-July 5
Price: £125 w/e
Second outing for the festival helmed by Love Saves The Day founders Dave Harvey and Tom Paine, and continuing the legacy of the much-loved Garden Festival in the company of the Black Madonna, Ben UFO, Jazzanova, Horse Meat Disco, lots more. See feature on page XX.
June 28-July 1
Nr Gdansk, Poland
Price: PLN 639 4 days + camping
Foo Fighters, The xx, The Weeknd, James Blake and The Kills are among those playing this widely sweeping, high grade arts fest, including a fashion stage, loads of film and top line writers engaging in heavyweight discussion.