Top summer festivals for 2014

by Katie Rowe

Category: Culture Vulture
April 29 2014

Didn’t bag tickets to Glastonbury in the resale? Not to worry. There are so many more summer festivals to check out around the country, and no place does them quite like England. Where else can you take a dip in a hot tub after dancing the night away at a masquerade ball, sing along with Paloma Faith while dressed as a tiger or see 1980s icons perform in sub-tropical surroundings? Here’s our round up of some of the best. 

Find more must-see summer festivals.

Kew the Music, London (16th – 20th July)

Head to Kew Gardens in south-west London for a city festival with a botanic backdrop. The star-studded line-up takes place over six days and includes Elvis Costello, Simple Minds, Bill Bailey and Jools Holland. Add a VIP spin to your evening by booking a BBQ feast in the Pavilion Restaurant or really push the boat out with dinner in Marianne North Gallery, a newly refurbished former Victorian treasure house. If you don’t have a rock star’s budget, you can munch on a pre-ordered picnic hamper instead.

Sheep dyed pink and blue at Latitude Festival - one of the best festivals in England

Latitude Festival, Suffolk (17th – 20th July)

Pink sheep, award-winning comedians and big-name bands are all part of the package at this boutique festival in the Suffolk countryside. Sing along with Kelis, Damon Albarn and The Black Keys, roll around laughing as Dara Ó Briain and Simon Amstell take to the comedy stage, and dance the night away in the woods with late-night DJs. For those who’d rather be tucked up in their tipi by midnight, there’s an eclectic arts line up to check out too, held in venues including a theatre arena, a poetry tent and a pop-up cinema.

Tramlines, Sheffield (25th – 27th July)

Catch Katy B, The Cribs, Public Enemy and many more at Tramlines, an inner-city music festival that won’t break the bank. Come summertime, Sheffield is transformed into a bustling festival site as over 80,000 music lovers get up close to famous acts, DJs and some of the finest up-and-coming local talent. Raucous parties pop up everywhere from local pubs and bars to landmark venues like City Hall and Sheffield Cathedral. Oh, and best of all, it costs less than a tenner per day if you grab the advanced weekend ticket.

The Proms, London (July - September)

Admire the glorious sounds of Mozart, Bach and the like at the world’s best classical music festival, as sumptuous notes fill the summer air in London. The bulk of the events take place at the Royal Albert Hall, the beating heart of the Proms, but there many more happening in surrounding London concert halls too. For a cheaper option, fill up your picnic basket and drape yourself in a Union Flag for a good old sing-song in Hyde Park. This patriotic party signals the end of the season, with a live video link-up to the Royal Albert Hall broadcasting a mix of classical and modern music from high-profile orchestras and musicians.

Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire is just one of the cultural summer festivals taking place in England's countryside

Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire (7th – 10th August)

A ticket to Wilderness is like a ticket to a mini-paradise where art and nature collide. The creators of Secret Garden Party bring their utopian vision to the luscious Oxfordshire countryside every August, and it’s a vision alive with swirling trapeze artists, fanciful feasts and live theatre. Unlike other festivals, Wilderness gives as much attention to food, theatre, literature and the great outdoors as it does to live music. So not only can you catch the likes of London Grammar and Burt Bacharach, you can also flutter your fan at a masquerade ball, talk outer space with the Royal Observatory, join Simon Rogan’s banquet and relax in a spa perched beside a lake.

Bestival, Isle of Wight (5-8 September)

Pull on your glad rags, douse yourself in glitter, and dance the weekend away at a three-day-long party. Every September, Rob da Bank’s Bestival sends off summer with an eccentric English bang. Where else can you find pole-dancing robots, a Women’s Institute tea and cake tent, a Bollywood cocktail bus, Reggaerobics, an inflatable church and a cinema hidden in the forest all nestled together side by side on an island? And we haven’t even mentioned the annual fancy dress theme yet, or the big name acts which this year include Beck, Paloma Faith and Disclosure.

Six more festivals to check out:

1. Somersault Festival in Devon

2.  Y Not Festival in Derbyshire 

3.  Lounge on the Farm in Kent

4. Kendal Calling in Cumbria

5. Blissfields in Hampshire

6. Farmfest in Somerset

Katie Rowe

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