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The Muddy Summer Festival Guide: 2018

After the big chill, let's look forward to 22 of this summer's 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.

Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, London’s South Bank Centre, June 15-24 

If you’re disappointed to have missed out on tickets for The Cure’s 40th anniversary concert in Hyde Park, London, on Sat July 7 you can always catch the next best thing – Robert Smith’s all-time favourite artists of the last 40 years in this 10-night extravaganza. A ‘must see’ event of the summer for fans. The first acts confirmed are Deftones, The Libertines, Manic Street Preachers, Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo, The Psychedelic Furs, The Church, 65daysofstatic, Alcest, The Anchoress, Kristin Hersh, Kathryn Joseph, MONO, and The Notwist. Further info here.


Also Festival 2018, June 29-July 1

This boutique 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


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.



Barn on the Farm, near Gloucester, July 5 – 8

One of the best new small independent festivals to hit the scene. Renowned for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, it’s an intimate gathering, ideal for discovering new and emerging artists. The festival is located on an actual working farm with stages indoors and outdoors. Headliners include Tom Grennan Mystery Jets, rising artist Dermot Kennedy and Pale Waves, who made the top 5 of the BBC’s Sound of 2018.  Also playing Tom Walker, Lewis Capaldi and Jade Bird were all artists nominated in the BBC’s Sound of 2018.



Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Moseley Park, Birmingham, July 6-8

Get Lost in Music at this summer festival with the fabulous Sister Sledge. Other great legendary soul singers on the line-up include Jimmy Cliff, Candi Staton, Roy Ayers and David Rodigan. This festival for jazz aficionados and hip-hop fans alike, continues to attract an increasingly impressive array of funk and soul artists including Chaka Khan, Soul II Sould, 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,


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.


Cornbury Music Festival, Great New Park, Oxon, Fri Aug 13 – Sun Aug 15 

There’s eclectic music across four stages, including Amy MacDonald, Squeeze, UB40, Alanis Morissette , plus top notch comedians like Katy Brand and Phil Wang at this civilised festival that prides itself on being quintessentially English. Think country fair with a rock’n’roll twist. Children’s workshops, a fairground, therapy zone and disco shed are the tip of the iceberg with roaming entertainers and a huge range of great food and drinks, including this year The Hairy Bikers’ Pop Up Wood Fired Restaurant AdventurePricing: from £180 (adults) to £30 (small children). Scenic campsites are dotted among the estate’s rolling hills.


The Big FeastivalAlex James’ Farm near Kingham, Oxon, Fri Aug 24 – Sun 26 Aug

This posh nosh extravaganza from cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James hosts top chefs including Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc, Pierre Koffmann, Ashley Palmer Watts, and music from Professor Green, Clean Bandit, Paloma Faith, Basement Jaxx, James Arthur and Tom Odell. Prices: Day tickets from £69.90 (adult), £45.25 (teens), with under 12s going free. Weekend tickets are from £159.50 for adults. There’s various camping options with glamping bolt-ons and lots of fun for the kiddos too including appearances by Paddington, Peppa Pig & George and Justin Fletcher (of Mr Tumble fame) plus a creche for under 5s provided by Nipperbout.


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

Ex-Libertine Carl Barat, one of the headline acts in 2017. Photo credit: Coventry City Council

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

Pic Credit: The Big Feastival gallery

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,


Moseley Folk Festival, Birmingham, Aug 31-Sept 2

A rare appearance from English singer-songwriter Bridget St John

Headline acts for the 13th festival include The Levellers (celebrating their 30th anniversary), Teenage Fanclub, Nick Mulvey, King Creosote, Steve Harley, This is the Kit and Bridget St John. Alongside incredible folk music, delicious gourmet food and tasty drinks are 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,



Merge, Bankside, London, until July 1

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.

Merge Festival website


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

Kendrick Lamar

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.


B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed May 9 – Sun May 13

Photo credit: Joe Bailey

Birmingham Hippodrome’s third free annual festival celebrating all things Hip-Hop.  Expect exhilarating outdoor performances, pop-up dance events, interactive talks, dance battles and live graffiti art alongside an explosive programme of high-energy workshops.


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.


BBC Radio 6 Music Biggest Weekend: Belfast, May 25-26

Little Dragon Pic credit: BBC Music

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.

Tickets available here.

Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, Glos, Fri June 1 – Sun June 3

The Go! Team

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 as have Baxter Dury, Shed Seven, Feeder, The Real Thing,  The Go! Team, The Beat feat. Ranking Roger, Toyah and Dr & The Medics. So expect quality music and a kid-friendly, chilled-out vibe.

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