Recommended Festivals

Budget festivals, Festivals abroad & Bizarre festivals

Budget Festivals

Spent all your student loan celebrating the end of term? Admittedly, a combination of rising ticket costs and over-priced alcohol make festivals an intimidating option for the cash-strapped student. However, the spread of festivals popping up around the country as an alternative to the established big names mean this does not have to be the case.

Field Day, on the 6th August, takes over London’s Victoria Park to provide a showcase of the best in alternative electronic and guitar music over five stages for under £40. With Wild Beasts and The Horrors spearheading the festival’s guitar based offering, whilst James Blake and Mount Kimbie feature in the overwhelming choice for electronic fans, the festival offers a broad selection of music for different tastes.

From the 22nd-24th July, Tramlines festival will take over the busy city of Sheffield. With an estimated 175,000 attendees, with venues all over town supporting the four main stages, and over 200 bands coming to the city, the atmosphere is likely to prove an excellent match for the calibre of the lineup. Alongside local bands the Crookes and Hey Sholay, bigger names such as the Futureheads, Los Campesinos and Guillemots will also be performing. And the best bit of it all – it’s completely free.

On the same weekend, there is also independent Truck festival comes to Oxfordshire, bringing a folky line up featuring Graham Coxon and John Grant. For under £100 for a three day ticket, the warm atmosphere of this festival, and opportunity to buy ice cream from the local vicar, provides a cheap alternative to bigger festivals. SB

Yorkshire has been in need of a definitive smaller festival for some time and Beacons might just be it. Even The Apprentice’s iron lady Margaret Mountford would be trembling at knees with Beacons’ credentials: a dream team of organisers including Nation of Shopkeepers, Brudenell Social Club and the 580 Collective (part of Field Day). Not to mention Stool Pigeon curating the main stage, and a pick of some the best Northen promoters and club night organisers running the other stages. It’s no surprise then that they’ve dragged to the Dales such acts as Girl Unit, Demdike Stare, Islet, Ducktails, Ghostpoet, Mazes, Hudson Mohawke, Jamie XX and Summer Camp.

Festivals Abroad

Sick to death of forecasted downpours and trying to predict whether your tent will survive the weekend? With readily available budget airlines flying to a growing selection of European destinations, why not splash out on the warmer climates and variety of festivals abroad?

Set on an ex-airport in Gdynia, on the north coast of Poland, Open’er festival’s seven stages host four days of international music from the 30th June to the 4th July. Having won the Best Major Festival award the last two years running, Open’er this year boast a diverse selection of the best of global alternative rock music, from headliners the Strokes and the reformed Pulp, to current stalwarts the National. Best of all, however, has to be the opportunity to hear 60,000 Europeans singing along to “Cream” when Prince plays.

For a week of guaranteed sunshine, sangria and English speaking companions, Benicassim festival, on the Spanish coast between Barcelona and Valencia, runs from the 14th-17th July. With the music not starting until the evening, festival goers can spend the day on the local beaches and bar fronts. Alongside the festival’s impressive main line-up, the highlights of which are the sunny Beirut, the grandiose Arcade Fire and Elbow, and the gloomy Portishead, DJs provide the soundtrack until the early hours.

For those preferring a more bass-orientated option, Outlook festival in Croatia features a selection of worldwide dub, hip-hop and drum and bass. Set in an abandoned 19th century fort on a peninsular, the festival combines sun soaked boat parties with a line-up spearheaded by artists like Skream and Jamie xx from the 1st-4th September, ending the summer in style. SB

Bizarre Festivals

It really is outrageous the marginalisation faeries suffer. Thank Mother Nature (and Cornwall) for 3 Wishes Faery Fest, where “humans and faerie folk can walk (or fly!) side-by-side in perfect harmony” just for the weekend. With a line-up including 3 Daft Monkeys, The Dolmen and Aero, the weekend comes to a sparkling climax at the infamous Pirates and Mermaids Ball. Twirl and skip under the solstice stars in a sludge of glitter glue, polyester and eye-jabbing fairy wings to “experience how the ‘little people’ celebrate their love of the sacred land” – just make sure you have £89 for the ticket.

If you’ve regained sight from all that sparkle in Cornwall, then it’s time to slip on your cowboy boots and eat a Wagon Wheel, as it’s the Southern Fried Festival in Perth, Scotland from the 22nd July. At £75 for the weekend, you can have your cornbread in one hand and Mississippi mud pie in the other while you sway with the Gospel Choir. Lyle Lovett, The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Savoy Family Cajun Band are among the vast array of blues, soul, Cajun, swing and country bands that will be filling the Scottish countryside with a scent of oil and the Deep South.

Finally, if a didgeridoo detox is in order, then from the 29th July Northampton will be crammed with them at Singing Sticks Didgeridoo Music Festival. Family friendly and only £40 for the weekend – there really is little excuse to not be basking in the eerie glory of didgeridoo playing and take the chance to hear the didgeridoo in all forms of music, including dance and rap. Also, don’t forget to get a dijazzle for your didgeridoo at one of the many daytime workshops! AS

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