Muddy Summer Festival Guide: 2018
After the big chill, let's look forward to this summer's 20 hottest music festivals in Warwickshire and further afield.
Here’s the Muddy Guide to the best urban and rural summer festivals due to amp-it-up in Warwickshire, West Midlands and beyond over the next few months. Make some noise! Give it up! Well, you know, after you’ve come back from the Prosecco tent.
B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed May 9 – Sun May 13
Birmingham Hippodrome’s third free annual festival celebrating all things Hip-Hop including a range of exhilarating outdoor performances, pop-up dance events, interactive talks, dance battles and live graffiti art alongside an explosive programme of high-energy workshops. A launch event this month will reveal what’s to come. Keen break-dancers can sign up for the competition here: facebook
BBC Radio 2 & Radio 3’s The Biggest Weekend: Coventry, Sun May 27 & Mon May 28
War Memorial Park is the venue for two days of performances by Billy Ocean, Jamie Cullum, Paloma Faith, Snow Patrol, UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey and Tears for Fears on the Sunday. On Monday the BBC Concert Orchestra, Dinosaur, Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band, GoGo Penguin, Milos and Nigel Kennedy will be entertaining the masses.
Lunar, Umberslade Farm Park, Tanworth-in-Arden, Warks, July 27 – 29
After skipping a year last year, the 5th anniversary line-up in 2018 is arguably their biggest line-up of artists yet. Headline acts includes Malian music legends Amadou & Mariam, electronic party pioneers Basement Jaxx, acclaimed cinematic pop duo Goldfrapp and legendary punk band The Stranglers. The jam-packed festival programme includes partnerships with the RSC, the National Space Centre and the Glee Club. Luxury camping includes bell tents, landpods & vintage tents.
Also Festival 2018, June 29-July 1
This Warwickshire-based UK festival of ideas and foodie feasts on a lakeside farm in Compton Verney (near the art gallery) is now in its fifth year. Highlights include a pop-up roller disco – think Studio 54 on wheels – guided nature swims and award-winning comedian Robin Ince’s who will be closing his Pragmatic Insanity tour here. Other big ideas include award-winning business psychologist Margaret Heffernan on how to make the most of one’s time on this planet and be altruistic, Oxford Uni Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt explaining us humans as The Digital Ape and my personal fave, Boiling Water – Tea and Theoretical Physics. Plus, get to grips with the science behind your favourite films with the presenters of Science(ish): Dr Michael Brooks and Rick Edwards.
See who else is on the line-up here: also-festival
Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Moseley Park, Birmingham, July 6-8
Details of performing artists have not been revealed, but last year’s headliners were Chaka Khan, Soul II Soul and Sugarhill Gang featuring Melle Mel. This festival for jazz aficionados and hip-hop fans alike, continues to attract an increasingly impressive array of funk and soul artists including Nile Rodgers, George Clinton and Family Stone. There’s no camping, but a wide range of accommodation in Birmingham city centre from boutique hotels to serviced apartments and affordable B&Bs.
Moseley Park, Birmingham, mostlyjazz.co.uk
39th Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School, July 26-29
A heavyweight line up of folk superstars from around the world including headline acts Show of Hands, Jon Boden & Remnant Kings, Korrontzi, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, Granny’s Attic, Vishten, Megson and Gnoss at one of the UK’s best folk festivals. There’ll be 15 venues on site plus varied stages in Warwick Town, ceilidhs, street food, workshops, a Craft & Music Fair and a Wine and Cocktail Bar. Under 14s go free.
Wilderness, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, Thu Aug 2 to Sun August 5
Bit posh? Then you’ll love Wilderness, which is a lot more genteel than its name suggests. Headliners at this year’s bash at the idyllic 400- acre country estate are Nile Rodgers & Chic. Bastille, Jon Hopkins, alongside Kamasi Washington, Baxter Dury and !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Last year Grace Jones blew everybody’s minds and an Ottolenghi banquet blew their taste buds. Early Bird and Lazy Bird tickets have already sold out, so think about booking soon – if you do it now, you can spread the cost.
V Festival, Weston Park, Staffs, Aug 18-19
One of the UK’s most famous mainstream weekend rock and pop music festivals. Last year’s artists featured Jay-Z, P!nk, Craig David and grime’s hottest star Stormzy in a diverse mix of genres.
Camper Calling, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Aug 24-26
Feeder, former Spice Girl Mel C and The Coral are headlining this small but perfectly-formed family festival in the grounds of a Warwickshire stately home. Ex-Special Neville Staple, Craig Charles, Artful Dodger, an acoustic set by The Futureheads’ Barry Hyde and the hilariously-titled Uncle Funk & the Boogie Wonderland will also be playing.
Godiva Festival, War Memorial Park, Coventry, Aug 31-Sept 2
More than 179,000 attended last year’s festival – one of the biggest free music events in the UK with a huge fun fair. Dates have moved for this year’s 20th anniversary city shindig to late summer. The line-up has yet to be announced.
The Big Feastival, Alex James’ Farm, near Kingham, Oxfordshire, Aug 25-27
Basement Jaxx, Craig David, Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit, Professor Green, The Sugarhill Gang and Melle Mel & Scorpio have been announced at Jamie Oliver and the ex-Blur bassist’s family-friendly feastival. Top chefs include Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc and Mark Hix as well as Alex James Cheese Hub. Justin Fletcher, Andy and the Odd Socks and Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park will be providing some of the family fun.
Alex James’ Farm, Kingham, Cotswolds, thebigfeastival.com
Moseley Folk Festival, Birmingham, Aug 31-Sept 2
Headline acts have yet to be announced for the 13th festival, but incredible folk music, delicious gourmet food, & tasty drinks guaranteed. Moseley Park, an 11-acre woodlands glade in the centre of bohemian Moseley Village, is two miles south of the city centre. Best reached by the No 50 bus it’s unsuitable for camping but Birmingham city centre and the surrounding suburbs has plenty of affordable accommodation.
Moseley Park, Birmingham, moseleyfolk.co.uk
Merge, Bankside, London, May 2018
Bankside’s eighth quirky annual arts, music and performance festival where artists draw on the rich heritage and contemporary culture of the area. Previous highlights included the world’s first artist designed bumper car arena, a classroom of robots, Slapstick Sports Day at Borough Market, Charlie Chaplin triple bill at Tate Modern, artist Alex Chinnick’s melting wax house, caravan shorts and a brilliant live music programme.
Details of this year’s events will be announced on the Merge Festival website
BBC Radio 6 Music Biggest Weekend: Belfast, May 25-26
If you’re heading over to Belfast this spring what a line-up! Beck, Courtney Barnett, the Manics, Orbital, The Breeders, First Aid Kit, Ash, Franz Ferdinand, Goldie, Little Dragon, Young Fathers, Public Service Broadcasting and Underworld are gracing the Titanic Slipways. Not wishing to sound ungrateful, but can we swap for Cov, pleeeeze???
Tickets available here.
Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, Glos, Fri June 1 – Sun June 3
This three-day shindig is on its 14th outing and this year is once again promising a cornucopia of live music alongside comedy, workshops, kids’ fun and real ale. Pitch a tent (or grab yourself a luxury tepee) and stay for the whole weekend or just book in for a day. The Gypsy Kings have been confirmed (whoop whoop!) and previous acts have included the Buzzcocks, Billy Bragg, The Levellers, OMD and The Strypes, so expect quality music and a kid-friendly, chilled-out vibe.
All Points East Festival, London, May 25 – June 3
A brand new 10-day event in East London’s beautiful Victoria Park encompassing a three-day music festival, community focused programme of midweek entertainment and three huge headline shows with artists including Bjork, Beck, LCD Soundsystem, The xx, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Patti Smith and her band, St Vincent, Courtney Barnett, The National and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, July 26-29
Bestival’s less wild little sister, the award-winning Camp Bestival is the Rolls-Royce of family festivals. There’s tonnes for kids to do and the music bookings are always high calibre – this year Simple Minds, Rick Astley and Clean Bandit have already been announced and there’s going to be an inflatable church and the world’s biggest bouncy castle and disco ball!
Reading/Leeds Festival, August Bank Holiday, 24-26
A fab line-up with Kendrick Lamar, Skepta, Kings of Leon, Fall Out Boy, Travis Scott, J Hus, Wolf Alice, Sigrid, Dua Lipa and hot newcomers Riton & Kah-lo (can’t stop singing their hypnotic Fake ID!).
End of the Road, Larmer Tree Gardens, near Blandford, Dorset, Aug 30-Sept 2
This small alternative music festival is perfect for anyone who balks at massive crowds and loves a bit of folk, Americana and alt country. They get some interesting headliners here – Vampire Weekend, St Vincent, Feist, Yo La Tengo, Ezra Furman, Gruff Rhys, Julia Holter, John Cale and Mulatu Astatke. Early birds, Tier 2 & 3 are already sold out, so if you fancy going don’t dawdle!
Festival No 6, Portmeirion, N. Wales, Sept 6 – 9
For their seventh edition and topping the bill alongside the already announced, The The, are indie-pop legends Franz Ferdinand and Friendly Fires, back with new material after a hiatus. Also joining is singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, legendary band The Charlatans, art-rockers Everything Everything, Django Django, Ride, Anna Calvi, The Horrors, Gaz Coombes, a special performance from the UK’s most adventurous orchestra Manchester Camerata, performing Motown and Northern Soul hits and much more.