Aug 2-4, Price: £69 w/e, www.outciderfestival.co.uk
Two large barns host Alabama 3, Skimmity Hitchers, Beans on Toast, Gaz Brookfield, and a lot of drinking.
Aug 2-4, Price: £110 w/e, www.valleyfest.co.uk, Bristol 24/7 recommended
Basement Jaxx, Razorlight, and Tom Odell are the announced acts at time of writing, but this fest is about so much more than the music. Hobbyhorse gymkhana, Junior Jungle, Mr Potato Head sculptures, loads of fancy dress – yes, this is a seriously family friendly affair. Food is key, as befits its organic farm location. As farmer and festival founder, Luke Hasell, told us: “The music side is good, but it’s a sideshow compared to the reason why I started it. We don’t want to ram our organic ethos down people’s throats, but we do want them to properly experience the farm, for it to be more than just a regular festival site.
Aug 3, Price: free, www.redfestbristol.co.uk, Bristol 24/7 recommended
Calling this lesser-heralded annual gathering a lovely community freebie is wholly true, but rather undersells the scale: expect to find 20,000 fellow festival-goers sprawling across the picturesque urban oasis that is St George’s Park, drawn by multiple stages of music, performance, etc.
Islamic Cultural Fayre
Aug 4, Price: free, www.facebook.com/IslamicCulturalFayre, Bristol 24/7 recommended
No word on this one at press time, this properly lovely day out is one of the friendliest events on the calendar. Past years suggest you should expect circa 12,000 people enjoying more than 100 stalls in the bazaar, large funfair, 5-a-side football tournament, glorious food, and school kids performing on one of the sweetest live stages you’re ever likely to see.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Aug 8-11, Price: free, www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk, Bristol 24/7 recommended
41st year for, almost certainly, the city’s most globally recognised festival. Witnessed by crowds of half a million, its mass ascents of circa 130 balloons is second only to an event on the edge of New Mexico desert. Plus, of course, music-soundtracked night glows, air shows, fairground, live music, displays, tons more besides.
Bath Gin Festival
Aug 9-10, Price: £12 per session, ginandrumfestival.com
Live ents, talks, masterclasses, and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking, at an event boasting more than 60 types of gin and a similar number of rums.
Aug 15-17, Price: £115 3 days, www.arctangent.co.uk, Bristol 24/7 recommended
Winner of Best Small Festival at the UK Festival Awards 2018, thanks to adroitly filling a small-but-significant gap in the market: music for those who are hard of easy listening are. Thus, 90+ purveyors of music that is complex, abrasive, progressive, and plenty more adjectives wont to scare off the booker of your average festival. Helps that it’s dead friendly, too. Among those gathering on Fernhill Farm this are Battles, Meshuggah, Cult of Luna, 65daysofstatic, Zeal & Ardor, Three Trapped Tigers, and the Black Queen.
Aug 16-18, Price: TBA (expect approx £40 w/e), www.harmonica.co.uk
A big shift this year, for a festival that has been an October perennial at Bristol’s Folk House for as long as we can remember. Assuming the format remains broadly the same, expect star guests, workshops and tutorials, jam sessions, contests and trade stands.
Didmarton Bluegrass Festival
Aug 30-Sept 1, Price: £65 w/e, didmarton-bluegrass.co.uk
Line up TBA, but expect lots of bluegrass, blues, Americana, rockabilly, folk, plus instrument workshops, Appalachian dance displays and, less predictably, vintage biplanes flying overhead.
The Downs Festival
Aug 31, Price: £55, thedownsbristol.com, Bristol 24/7 recommended
In which the annual single-day fest goes to another level, with a line up including Lauren Hill, Grace Jones, Idles, Loyle Carner, Neneh Cherry, Crazy P, Nightmares on Wax, and High Contrast.
BBC Countryfile Live
Aug 1-4, Price: £26.40 adult day, countryfilelive.com
Essentially a pimped-up old school county show – farm machinery, falconry, livestock, maypole, brass bands, etc – with all the traditional favourites augmented by things like an off-road driving experience, kayaking and paddle boarding, and the titillating thought of maybe, just maybe, bumping into John Craven. (Actually, you can guarantee it – see also Matt Baker, Ellie Harrison, Tom Heap, all of them – by popping along to Meet the Stars.)
Cambridge Folk Festival
Aug 1-4, Price: £179, www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk, Recommended by Bristol 24/7
Increasingly broad in its definition of folk, and all the better for it. Amadou & Mariam performing alongside the Blind Boys of Alabama should be mighty, Calexico will share the stage with Iron & Wine, while other appearees include Lucinda Williams, The Unthanks, Graham Nash, Jose Gonzalez, Karine Polwart, Tunng, and Richard Thompson. Loads for kids here these days, with expert-led music and dance workshops, storytelling, paintings, etc.
Aug 1-4, Price: £110 w/e, www.greengathering.org.uk, Recommended by Bristol 24/7
These days, pretty much every festival makes claims about policies of sustainability and general eco-friendliness. But when this event launched – as the Big Green Gathering – in 1994, it wasn’t so much ahead of the curve as operating in another sphere altogether. Even today, there’s nothing else to touch it when it comes to serious green credentials. All power comes from renewable sources, naturally; showers and saunas are wood-fired, using chiefly scrap wood and offcuts; this year there’s a #BYOM campaign asking attendees to bring your own mug; and food is all 100% meat- & fish-free. And that’s before we get to the programme itself. Expect plenty of opportunities to set the world to rights with experts active in environmental, peace and social justice movements; learn skills in foraging, bushcraft, solar panel wiring, etc; how to set up your own co-operative housing; live music; permaculture; healing area; a bespoke tent for teens to hang out; and tons for younger kids, from puppet making to bell tent baby space and messy play.
Aug 1-4, Price: £179.50, www.wildernessfestival.com
Robyn, Bombay Bicycle Club, Groove Armada, and Tom Odel provide appropriately beige headlining for an event inviting you to ‘wind through the nu-jazz haze’, ‘rise early for a wild run’, ‘while away the hours at a long table banquet’, ‘explore the full-colour spectrum of divine’, and any number of other things that you just know are going to leave you, eventually, standing with outstretched hands and helplessly protesting that “Look, honestly, I’m not normally a violent person, but…”
Aug 2-4, Price: various, www.brighton-pride.org, Bristol 24/7 Recommended
How in the name of fabulous do you go about filling the Britney-shaped shoes left behind from 2018’s headline turn? There are really only one or two places to go, but Brighton have managed to do just that: book Kylie Minogue. In a splendidly strong year, Grace Jones is also set to prowl by (as part of the second LoveBN1Fest), as will Jessie J and Clean Bandit.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Aug 2-26, Price: various, edfringe.com, Bristol 24/7 Recommended
Insanely packed programme that means, as Bristol comedian Mark Olver avows, “Edinburgh is probably the most exciting city in the world at Fringe time”.
Edinburgh International Festival
Aug 2-26, Price: various, www.eif.co.uk
The programme for the 72nd anniversary of this grand institution won’t be released until the end of March, but expect plenty of splendid theatre, dance, classical, etc.
Sidmouth Folk Week
Aug 2-9, Price: £92 w/e, £326 week, www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk
If the sight of endless teams of morris dancers parading up and down the seafront is not your bag, then you really should unpack it elsewhere. For those as like that kind of thing, on the other hand, Sidmouth offers some truly sterling folksie entertainment. With bells on. We’re talking everything from ceilidhs in pub gardens to ad hoc musical gatherings on said seafront, social dance bands to a children’s fest. The main arena always provides some adroitly selected ents, with some of this year’s 700+ events including performances by Richard Thompson, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, Steve Knightley, Julie Fowlis, Seth Lakeman, Flook, The Young ‘Uns, Martin Simpson, and Martin Carthy.
Aug 3-9, Price: various, www.southbankcentre.co.uk, Bristol 24/7 Recommended
An increasingly ubiquitous – and never less than welcome – presence on these shores, it was only a matter of time before savvy Chic mainstay, Nile Rodgers, was invited to programme Meltdown. No word on line up as we take this guide to the inkers, but the great man – following in the booker steps of the likes of Robert Smith, M.I.A., Jarvis Cocker, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, Massive Attack, Nick Cave and John Peel – is promising as broad a gathering as you’d expect: “To be able to curate and produce nine days of live music for the city of London, the UK and music enthusiasts visiting from all over the world is truly a dream come true. Anyone who knows my career knows that funk, disco, jazz, soul, classical, pop, new wave, R&B, fusion, punk rock, afrobeat, electronic and dance music all play a role, and you can expect that to be reflected in the performances we are planning.”
Aug 3-10, Price: various, eisteddfod.wales, Bristol 24/7 Recommended
Back in the north after last year’s Cardiff sojourn, 150,000 people are likely to sample the 900+ events comprising this grand old festival. Expect science shows, music, children’s lit fest, lectures, discussions, street theatre, comedy, and all sorts more at this evergreen celebration of Wales’ cultural smorgasbord.
Aug 7-11, Price: £179 for Weds arrival, www.boardmasters.co.uk
Plenty of surf, of course, from beginners’ courses to competitions, alongside skating and BMX, plus regular festival fare like a holistic tent and yoga. You can go in all kinds of directions as far as the music is concerned. You could go Wombats, Razorlight, Florence & the Machine. Or you could go Wu-Tang Clan, Dizzee Rascal, Michael Franti & Spearhead. You pays yer money…
Aug 7-11, Price: £234, www.boomtownfair.co.uk, Bristol 24/7 Recommended
Most festivals claim a degree of uniqueness. On an ever-expanding event circuit, that’s next to impossible. Here, though, the boast is wholly justified. Welcome to the party-peddling community that is BoomTown, a sprawling creative metropolis of 14 distinct districts – Town Centre, Whistlers Green, Copper County, etc – wherein you’ll find a stage to match every mood. This year’s event is subtitled Radical City, with organisers saying they’ll put their ‘environmental mission firmly at the forefront of everything… demonstrating the festival’s commitment to reducing the event’s environmental footprint and raising awareness of what the public and organisers can do together protect the planet’. Besides a fine programme of cabaret, comedy, spoken word, anarchist theatre, you’ll find a strong music line up including Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets, Chronixx, Chase & Status, Gogol Bordello, This is the Kit, Bassekou Kouyate, Kate Tempest, Alice Russell, and – hurray! – Salt-N-Pepa.
Bloodstock Open Air
Aug 8-11, Price: £152, www.bloodstock.uk.com
In which metal gets shaped into all manner of forms, thanks to the time-honed skills of Anthrax, Sabaton, Scorpions, Parkway Drive, Queensryche, Cradle of Filth, Dee Snider, etc.
Aug 8-26, Price: various, www.castellroc.co.uk
The venue is nice. We like the venue. Lovely Chepstow castle. On the other hand, there’s the bill. This year’s series of standalone gigs include Reef, The Shires, Showaddywaddy, and – best of the bunch – Los Pacaminos featuring Paul Young. Then there’s a whole bunch of tribute nights, including Abbamania, an ‘80s v 90s extravaganza’, ‘Legends of Roc’ night comprising Police, Dire Straits and Us2 tribbers.
Aug 8-10, Price: £140 + camping www.fairportconvention.com
Once upon a time, Fairport Convention would sing about plans to meet on the ledge. These days, things are rather comfortable and convivial, as they gather on farmland to the east of an Anglo-Saxon Oxfordshire village, to welcome folk friends old and new. This year, that includes the likes of
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, the Waterboys, old mucker Richard Thompson, Martin Simpson, Gogol Bordello, Seth Lakeman, and Caravan. Plus, the band’s own traditional event bookending shows: acoustic set on Thursday, full-scale set on Saturday.
Aug 8-11, Price: £187 w/e, www.houghtonfestival.co.uk
The bill is under wraps as we write, for this festival that is big on art and sculpture, as well as music.
Aug 8-11, Price: £105, www.lakefest.co.uk
Once the home of the Big Chill, and including a dedicated reggae stage – Gates of Zion – and the Talking Tent, hosting spoken word. This year’s music line up is headed by the Happy Mondays, James, Kaiser Chiefs, supported by various strata of indie landfill: Bluetones, Pigeon Detectives, etc.
Brecon Jazz Festival
Aug 9-11, Price: various, breconjazzfestival.co.uk
No word on the programme yet for Brecon’s 36th jazz gathering – that’s improv for you – but, should it help, last year’s biggest action was South African pianist, Adam Glasser, leading a tribute to his late countryman, Hugh Masekela.
Porthcawl Jazz Festival
Aug 9-11, Price: TBA, www.porthcawl-jazz-festival.com
Eschewing a regular rain-swept April berth in the calendar? Understandable. Opting instead for the same weekend as the region’s sole other jazz fest? Not so much. PJF’s summer debut is short on detail at press time. By way of a marker, last year’s headliners were the Darius Brubeck Quartet and Sicknote Steve.
Aug 9-12,Price: £50, www.solarsphere.events, Bristol 24/7 Recommended
In which the sumptuously dark skies of Powys are not a backdrop but the actual focal point of the whole weekend – welcome to a festival mixing music and astronomy. “We aim to educate the curious, the beginner and the more experienced amateur about various aspects of the cosmos,” say organisers, doing so via talks, workshops, photography and, naturally, loads of looking up.
Aug 15-18, Price: £189 w/e, www.greenman.net, Recommended by Bristol 24/7
“Green Man offers a space for people to stop and think, to experience things away from normal life,” owner and MD, Fiona Stewart, told us. Among the first wave of smaller, not-then-called-’boutique’ festivals, Green Man has long since established one of the most warmly received, loyalty-inducing events on the calendar. Framed by Sugar Loaf Mountain, the River Usk and the Monmouthshire Canal, the 20,000+ rolling acres of Glanusk Park plays home to Celtic standing stones, a family chapel, beautiful bridges, stable courtyard, and trees. Music-wise, this year’s bill includes the likes of Eels, Yo La Tengo, Stereolab, Four Tet, Idles, Richard Thompson, Sharon Van Etten, and Father John Annoyingly Overwrought Concept Misty. Then you’ve got all manner of youngster-centric programme, including – pretty much unique when first introduced – a science area called Einstein’s Garden. “Science has a beautiful truth and elegance which I see in great art,” said Fiona, “so it seemed natural to celebrate science in the same way Green Man celebrates music, performing arts, spoken word or the Welsh Beer Festival.”
Purbeck Valley Folk Fest
Aug 15-18, Price: £115 w/e, www.purbeckvalleyfolkfestival.co.uk, Recommended by Bristol 24/7
Thea Gilmore, Cara Dillon, Afro Celt Sound System, and Chris ‘Squeeze’ Difford are among the 2019 musical highlights, alongside others events including poetry slam, children’s activities, and a beard off (categories including fullest beard, most creative facial hair, etc).
Aug 15-18, Price: £85 w/e, www.tribfest.co.uk
13th outing of a seriously big gathering of tribbers, boasting more than 150 acts, unsigned tent, comedy tent, acoustic stage, silent disco, kids’ area, etc. Musical attendees include Too Rex, Wrong Jovi, and the really-not-trying-very-hard Pearl Jamm.
Aug 16-18, Price: £142.50 w/e, www.beautifuldays.org
Established by the Levellers as a family-centric affair in 2003 – and where they play every year, which is fair enough – this year’s bill finds the likes of Sleaford Mods, Ash, Songhoy Blues, Skunk Anansie, Ziggy Marley, Peter Hook and the Light, Steeleye Span, and This is the Kit. Elsewhere, the dedicated children’s area boasts more than 30 different crafts activities, including bush craft.
Aug 18-19, Price: £65 w/e, www.dragworld.co.uk
Trixie Mattel, Alaska Thunderfuck, and the Globe Girls are the first confirmed names for the third running of this, the largest celebration of drag in Europe. Expect Q&As, lip sync battles, performances, meet and greets, stalls, and workshops.
Aug 22-25, Price: £230 4 days, www.creamfields.com
Heavyweight gathering of vinyl rotators, both established and arriving, including Calvin Harris, Fatboy Slim, the Chemical Brothers, Camelphat, Hannah Wants, Annie Mac, Bicep, the Black Madonna, Jamie Jones, and Carl Cox.
Aug 22-26, Price: various, www.frightfest.co.uk
The horror! The horror! And the sci-fi and the thriller, come to that. The programme of films and guests will be announced in June.
Aug 22-25, Price: £199 w/e, www.shambalafestival.org
Most festivals emblazon their line up on their homepage. Shambala goes with the fact that, for the first time, all hot drinks purchased on site will be free of cows’ milk. All in keeping with this green-centric gathering, of course – it went meat- and fish-free in 2016, is 100% powered by renewables, and a large part of the programme is all about how you and yours might go about improving the planet’s welfare. Besides music, ents include theatre, spectacular cabaret, drag queen bingo, etc.
The Big Feastival
Aug 23-25, Price: £152.50, thebigfeastival.com
Yes, that Alex James’ farm. It’s become B24/7 tradition to run the same listing each year for this one, for reasons that, hopefully, become perfectly obvious. So here, once again, is that extract from the Blur bassist/artisanal cheesemaker’s memoir, talking about his move into the heart of the Chipping Norton set. : “I was surprised how much I liked most of the people who lived nearby. Not just the nobs and the billionaires. We took on two gypsies from the trailer park as cleaners and they fascinated me. The younger one was very pretty …” If any part of you thinks ‘Mmm, he sounds like a lovely host, tell me more’, I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave you to research it for yourself. Chances are you’ve got a woman from the village who comes in to do that kind of thing, anyway.
Aug 23-26 Price: £160, www.greenbelt.org.uk
Notionally a Christian music festival, but in essence, a haven for young, inquisitive minds, looking for intelligent debate and speakers to match. Determinedly green – single-use plastic bottles are banned – it also boasts a children’s festival, literature, classical, and film programmes. The line-up includes Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Lucy Spragan, Fantastic Negrito and Gregory Alan Iskaov.
Aug 23-26, Price: various, www.manchesterpride.com
If Britney playing Brighton was 2018’s biggest Pride headlining story, this year it’s the controversy about Ariana Grande topping the bill here. On the hand, she’s straight; on the other, a strong LGBT+ ally (see, for example, pronouncing from the stage of New York Pride 2015:“Make some noise if you think the Supreme Court justices who voted against gay marriage should get their heads out of their fucking asses and join the goddamn celebration!”), and a rather singular bond with Manchester.
Reading & Leeds Festivals
Aug 23-25, Price: £205 w/e, www.readingfestival.com
Making the 180 mile between south and north this year, we find Foo Fighters, The 1975, Twenty One Pilots, and Post Malone.
Aug 23-26, Price: £165, www.towerseyfestival.com
‘Where people still talk to each other’ runs the banner on the festival website. Yes, we can see that. “Do you think ‘smug’ is the opposite word?” “Well, maybe, but I was thinking something more along the lines of ‘sanctimonious’.” 2019 is the 55th outing for this folk veteran, this year welcoming the likes of the Unthanks, Hothouse Flowers, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, the Selecter, Seth Lakeman, and Steve Knightley.
Aug 23-25, Price: £118, www.victoriousfestival.co.uk
A dedicated kids’ arena – history and science, beach area, circus skills, etc – means this fest has been shortlisted Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards in the three of the last four years. Music-wise, the bill features the likes of the Specials, New Order, Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental, Bloc Party, Doves, James Bay, the Hives, Clean Bandit, and the Vaccines.
End of the Road
Aug 29-Sept 1, Price: £192 w/e, www.endoftheroadfestival.com
Typically well-mannered bill, though a little more rambunctious than the norm in places, including Beirut, Metronomy, Michael Kiwanuka, Spiritualized, Courtney Barnett, Jarvis Cocker, Sleaford Mods, Low, Deerhunter, Cate Le Bon, Baxter Dury, Wire, and Beak>. Plus woodland library, spoken word, workshops, healing garden, etc.
The Big Fake Fest
Aug 30-Sept 1,Price: £75, www.fakefestivals.co.uk
Big bunch of tribbers including Coldplace, the Fillers, Kings of Lyon, etc.
Wacken Open Air
Aug 1-3, Price: 221€ w/e, www.wacken.com
Heavyweight metal fest, where the 100+ bands gracing/flattening eight stages include Anthrax, Slayer, Bullet for My Valentine, Of Mice & Men, Parkway Drive, Opeth, The Sweet, Queensrÿche, and Black Stone Cherry.
Aug 2-4, Price: 330 PLN, www.off-festival.pl
Aldous Harding, Neneh Cherry, Electric Wizard and Loyle Carner are among the musical element of this fully rounded arts fest, also comprising film, art, performance, poetry, etc .
Aug 7-10, Price: 90€, www.brutalassault.cz/en/
Serving all styles of metal, with this year’s stormers of the 18th century fortress include Combichrist, Hexis, Carcass, and Azusa.
Locarno Film Festival
Aug 7-17, Price: various, www.pardolive.ch
Venerable old film fest, established in 1946, and famous for a huge open-air screen at Piazza Grande where almost 8,000 spectators can be seated. No word on what might appear on said screen as we go to press.
Aug 7-13, Price: 319€ 7 days, www.szigetfestival.com
One of the biggest festivals of all: seven days, 60 stages and 1,000+ artists, all gathering on an island in the middle of the Danube. Your fellow visitors this year include Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Florence & the Machine, and Richard Ashcroft.
Way Out West
Aug 8-10, Price: 1995 SEK, www.wayoutwest.se
Fanning out across many of the city’s clubs, churches, theatres, cultural centres, etc, come the likes of Cardi B, James Blake, the Cure, Stormzy, Idles, Christine & the Queens, Stereolab, and Honey Dijon.
Aug 16-18, Price: 165€ w/e, www.lowlands.nl
In which a 60,000-strong assemblage get to choose from 250+ acts, amid an ambience going out of its way to feel self-contained. We’re talking an event with its own radio station, a daily newspaper, barber shop, even its own currency. 12 stages host music, film, stand-up comedy, visual arts, literature, street theatre, including appearances from Tame Impala, A$AP Rocky, the National, New Order, and – ooh! – Giorgio Moroder.
Rock en Seine
Aug 23-25, Price: 159€ 3 days, www.rockenseine.com
This year’s visitors to a park just outside Paris include Aphex Twin, Foals, the Cure, Jorja Smith, Major Lazer, Sharon Van Etten, Johnny Marr, Eels, and Royal Blood.
Aug 25-Sept 2, Price: $425, burningman.org
This year’s theme is metamorphoses, which is apt enough for an event with a stated aim of having ‘participants join in the effort to co-create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to art and community’.
Aug 30-Sept 1, Price: 205€, www.electricpicnic.ie
Headliners to this sold-out festival are The Strokes, Florence + The Machine, Hozier and The 1975. Plus comedy, spoken word, all manner of other arts stuff across loads of stages.