THE GREAT BRITISH FESTIVAL. In my humble opinion, no one does it better than the UK at festivals. Rain or shine (or potential hurricane) we’re always (sometimes inexplicably) up fer it! Though the festival industry has had a shocking year, following the government’s recent announcements there seems to finally be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So, pack up your sequins and your sleeping bags, I’ve rounded up the best festivals across the UK that look like they have the potential to go ahead in summer 2021.
Skip to Festival month:
Shambala | Ania Shrimpton
Showcasing (and adding a bit of sparkle to) some of the most stunning locations in our beautiful countryside, these are a combination of well-known festival staples as well as some of the best-kept secrets of the UK festival scene; hidden gems and intimate summer gatherings you might never even have heard of!
There are lineups to make your body boogie as well as a plethora of other activities from wellness to workshops to ensure a smorgasbord of experiences to tantalise the senses. Whether you’re the type to dance the night away with a cocktail in hand or you’d rather relax and indulge in some yoga then there’s an experience for you within this list of the best UK festivals.
Most of these selections are good old fashioned British camping festival weekenders – but if pitching a tent is not for you, they’ve all got glamping upgrade options to suit every style and you can find heaps of day festivals scattered in this list too!
Festival type key:
❌ Sold out
🎫 Tickets still available (CTRL+F and 🎫 to find these!)
👨👩👧👦 Family Friendly
🎧 Line-up Focussed (eg. not much non-musical entertainment)
🎪 Non-musical entertainment (eg. specifically known for their theatre/workshops/other as well as music!)
💃 Fancy Dress actively Encouraged
🎒 Day Festival
But which UK Festivals can I actually get tickets to!?
Following the release of the roadmap, there has been a flurry of festival sell-outs across the country. I’ve marked which of those on this list are already sold out and which of those have tickets left or haven’t even put their tickets on sale yet! I’ll be updating this as time goes on.
- Please do not feel tempted to purchase tickets from strangers, there are a crazy amount of scammers out in force this year – ensure that you are only purchasing through your chosen festival’s ticket platform.
- Alternatively – why not look for work or volunteer opportunities? Many UK festivals have been basically mothballed until now so many haven’t opened their volunteer programmes yet and there will be lots of volunteer places up for grabs soon, check out my Guide to how to find Festival Work & Volunteering Opportunities for tips on how to get involved.
Here’s my hand-picked list of the best festivals across the UK that you should hit up in the Summer of 2021…
Let me know in the comments which ones you’ll be attending! Did you know we’ve also got a UK Festivals Facebook group? Join the conversation there too!
UK Festivals in July 2021
Valley Fest | Aniya Shrimpton
El Dorado Festival
Herefordshire | 1st – 4th July 2021 ⛺️💃❌
A boutique festival from the creative minds behind immersive club nights Cirque du Soul, El Dorado is going into its 6th year and fuses all the makings of what has become the template for a proper lush boutique UK festival; a gorgeous site, epic decor and stage builds, genre-spanning line-up, fancy dress themes, silly games, fireworks and more.
It’s sold out for 2021 but head to their website to be added to the waiting list for tickets.
Leicestershire | 8th-11th July 2021 ⛺️🎫
A true hidden gem of the UK festivals scene, this creative little festival is adults only and takes places in a beautiful forest valley in Leicestershire. It has really carved out a specialist niche for itself with an eclectic mix of electronic music across its magnificently designed stages as well as an impressive wellness area full of talks, workshops, healing and more. You can read my full Guide to Noisily Festival here to understand a bit more of the vibe!
Somerset | 8th-11th July 2021 ⛺️🎪❌
A four day festival of music, street art, skate and BMX culture – NASS boasts headliners like The Streets but is a real twist on the standard festival where skate culture is at the forefront. Attendees can witness some of the world’s leading skaters and BMX pros as well as immersing themselves in live street art and getting involved and MC workshops and more.
Big Love Festival
Wales | 9th-11th July 2021 ⛺️💃🎫
Set in the 120-acre grounds (and inside!) the legendary Baskerville Hall (that place has seen some parties!), this small independent festival boasts woodland stages, a swimming pool and sauna, swanky indoor party rooms, cosy campfires and a fun line-up filled with all of your festival favourites.
Glasgow | 9th – 11th July 2021 🎧🎒🎫
A music focussed day festival in the heart of Glasgow, TRNSMT 2021 has music across three stages with a focus on an indie/rock vibe.
The Beat-Herder Festival
Lancashire | 15th – 18th July 2021 💃⛺️❌
One of the only festivals in the UK on my bucket list that has thus far evaded me, Beatherder is a festival in Lancashire with an unpretentious dedication to underground music and wonderful attention to detail on its beautiful stage builds and site arts.
East Sussex | 23rd – 27th July 2021 👨👨👧👦⛺️🎫
An award-winning festival for families with children. To keep those little ones entertained over this adventure weekend there is a countryside focussed array of activities that make the most of the festivals’ beautiful rural locations. The activities include art trails, tree climbing, kayaking and axe throwing as well as a variety of wonderful performances too.
Nozstock: The Hidden Valley
Herefordshire | 22rd-25th July 2021 👨👨👧👦 💃⛺️🎫
A family-run festival set on an intimate farm that hosts a melting pot of music as well as some surprisingly epic and fantastical stage designs for such a small festival (around 5,000 capacity!). This year’s line-up is yet to be announced but promises to be varied.
Bluedot Festival Postponed
Cheshire | 22rd-25th July 2021 👨👨👧👦 🎪⛺️🎫
Held at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire the twist to Bluedot as a music festival is that it also focusses on science and cosmic culture! Alongside a huge line-up (Bjork & Groove Armada this year!) you can also expect science experiments, incredible light focussed art installations, mind-bending talks, telescopic displays and more.
Hertfordshire | 23rd-26th July 2021 👨👨👧👦 💃⛺️🎫
An independent festival that grew from just an annual family barbeque, this fun boutique family-friendly festival not only has an annual costume parade but also welcomes DOGS for its yearly dog show! It’s a mid-sized festival so expect plenty of recognisable names on the line-up too.
Cumbria | 29th – 1st August 2021 👨👩👧👦💃⛺️🎫
Set in the incredibly stunning vistas of the Lake District, Kendal Calling is celebrating 15 years this year! Which in UK festival years basically makes it a cool uncle. It’s on the larger side at 25,000 people, it has a varied line-up across many stages and a theme across site every year!
Somerset | 30th-31st July 2021 💃⛺️🎫
Frequented by their prominent neighbour and Glastonbury legend Michael Eavis himself, Farm Fest is evidently a festival for true festival lovers. Boasting seven musical stages over its intimate pastures, Farm Fest is known for its friendly crowd and its long-running and competitive best hat competition.
Y Not Festival
Derbyshire | 29th – 1st August 2021 🎧⛺️🎫
Set in the beautiful peak district this self-proclaimed indie-rock-pop festival has been going since 2005 and showcases acts across 10 different stages.
Dorset | 29th – 1st August 2021 💃👨👩👧👦⛺️🎫
All of the colourful fun energy of the original British boutique festival, Bestival, but distilled into the most exciting family festival in the UK where both the kids and the grown-ups are catered to – camp Bestival is a giant play park with world-class DJ’s alongside the world’s biggest bouncy castle!!
Kent | 29th – 31st July 2021 💃👨👩👧👦⛺️🎫
A fun and fantastical small festival where fancy dress is actively encouraged, you’re invited to escape to the imaginary paradise of Neverworld and join one of three tribes; the mermaids lost boys or pirates! The festival site itself is themed alongside this peter pan-esque vibe and as well as music there are plenty of activities for both young and old to take part in.
Somerset | 30th – 1st August 2021 👨👩👧👦🎪⛺️🎫
Nestled on the edge of the sparkling Chew Valley Lake this pint-sized party has a real focus on not just lovely music but also showcases a variety of glorious local food, with stalls aplenty and sit down feats galore! Yum!
UK Festivals in August 2021
Boomtown Fair | One Eye In
Oxfordshire | 5th – 8th August 2021 🎪👨👩👧👦⛺️🎫
An idyllic boutique festival paradise, Wilderness melds all the finer things in life to create its unique festival experience. Set in the rolling landscape of Cornbury Park, attendees can dance to a deliciously diverse line-up, swim in the lake, catch one of the many talks or workshops or shop in the beautifully curated markets.
51st State Festival
London | 29th August 2021 🎧🎒🎫
This day festival, set in North London’s Trent Park, explores the vibrant, pan-Atlantic heritage of Dance music across seven different arenas; from its roots in US Gospel, Soul and House, through iconic movements of Acid House, UKG and Dancehall, to the next generation of artists pushing Dance music forward to new evolutions.
Hampshire | 11th – 15th August 2021🎪⛺️❌
A festival experience unlike anything else on earth. Boomtown is a fantastical pop-up city with a winding street-like set design and smorgasbord of characters and performers populating the festival site to match. The festival has some of the most epic stage builds in the world and celebrates the width and breadth of underground music culture alongside boundary-pushing art, theatre and more. Find out more about Boomtown in my rundown of the Best Festivals in the World.
Norfolk | 12th – 15th August 2021 🎧⛺️🎫
Produced by the team behind the beautiful Gottwood festival and curated by Craig Richards, Houghton is a headsy celebration of electronic music set in a beautiful tree-lined site with stunning attention to detail and a strong focus on art… it’s also got a 24-hour licence, so you know this is one hell of a party!
Houghton not only had to postpone last year due to the pandemic but also the previous year due to some dangerous weather conditions so I really hope to see them back on the scene this year!
Hampshire | 11th – 15th August 2021 🎪⛺️❌
Another festival that has had two years off due to the bad weather in 2019, Boardmasters is back with a sold out bang! Situated on in the Cornish town of Newquay, the clue is in the name with Boardmasters which has been host to international surf competitions since the 80s. It also plays host to a big musical line-up and plenty of other things to get involved in like wellness, art and more.
Bloodstock Open Air
Derbyshire | 11th – 15th August 2021 🎧⛺️🎫
The UK’s largest independent Metal festival, Bloodstock is the go-to weekender for heavy metal lovers. Across four days and five stages the festival, which has been running for over 15 years, hosts an international line-up of acts that span the genre, from classic headliners to more extreme metal flavours.
Green Man Festival
Wales | 19th – 22nd August 20201🎧🎫
One of the most stunning UK festival locations, Green Man’s main stage is set against a backdrop of the hills of the Brecon Beacons. The four-day event is focussed primarily towards its indie leaning line-up but also has a well-rounded programme of literature, film, comedy, theatre, poetry, arts and more.
We Out Here Festival
Cambridgeshire | 19th – 22nd August 2021 🎧🎫
Residing on the gorgeous ex-Secret Garden Party site in Abbots Ripton and now coming into its second year, We Out Here is curated by BBC 6Music’s Gilles Peterson and features the width and breadth of London’s burgeoning new Jazz scene as well as a diverse range of underground selectors who will be soundtracking the evenings.
The festival, which has its own beautiful lake areas on site, also has a serene Wellness area, family activities and a record shop.
Wales | 20th – 23rd August 2021 ⛺️🎫
Set in the grounds and building of Baskerville hall in South Wales, Truefest is a ‘Mansion Music Fest’ with the added bonus of a swimming pool and hot showers! Throw in free parking, projection mapping and an eclectic line-up, this festival’s a steal at £120 for final release tickets, go go go!
Bristol | 19th – 21st August 2021 ⛺️🎧🎫
“A haven of progressive music across the spectrum of all things heavy”, ArcTanGent is an award-winning small independent festival focussed on the heavier spectrum of music. The four-day festival, which is set on the grounds of Fernhill Farm just outside Bristol boasts music across five stages and prides itself on its friendly crowd!
Devon | 21st – 23rd August 2021👨👩👧👦🎫
Beautiful Days is The Levellers’ own festival, named after their hit song and set in the rolling hills of Escot park in Devon.
The festival has resolutely maintained its old-school, non corporate sensibilities for the past 18 years and you’ll be able to enjoy a broad line-up of live music with strong folk and punk leanings. It boasts excellent family friendly facilities but there’s also plenty to do for the ravers amongst you with the Little Big Top serving you DJ’s until the early hours…
The Great Estate
Cornwall | 27th – 29th August 2021 👨👩👧👦🎪🎫
Self-proclaimed as “the most rambunctious garden fete” you can expect a suitably delectable array of happenings in the grounds of the majestic Scourrier Hall in Cornwall for this festival weekend which has moved from its normal date in May to the more like August date!
Get lost in the secret gin garden, book yourself a hot tub session, dance the night away in the silent disco woodland or take part in the Victorian Sports Day complete with sack races and croquet. The Great Estate also has a musical line-up featuring the likes of Razorlight and The Sugarhill Gang, as well as alternative activities which include; Wine Tasting, Hip Hop Karaoke, a Vintage Fair and Swing Dance workshops!
Northamptonshire | 26th-29th August 👨👨👧👦🎪⛺️💃❌
This very special festival gem is known for its exceptionally friendly and exuberantly dressed crowd, unparalleled dedication to sustainability, quirky programming and more. Read 10 reasons why I think Shambala might be the Best festival ever.
Northamptonshire | 26th-29th August 👨👨👧👦🎪⛺️💃❌
The festival for low impact living – Green Gathering is ‘a festival beyond hedonism’ and is 100% powered by the sun, wind and people. Intimate music stages, talks and skill-building – this relaxing festival taps into the roots of festival culture for a thought-provoking look at a more conscious future.
London | 29th August 2021 🎧🎒🎫
A staple of the London day festival calendar, Field Day has announced that they will be returning to Victoria Park at a later date of August bank holiday. Spanning four arenas of music, the line-up at Field Day is always fresh and diverse, I loved it when I went back in 2018.
Love Saves the Day
UK Festivals in September 2021
Kent | 27th-30th August & 3rd-6th September 2021 ⛺️🎪💃❌
More Adult Adventure Camp than Music Festival, the popularity of Camp Wildfire’s incredibly unique concept has seen it split into two consecutive weekends this year! Campers will spend their days taking part in varied activities like kayaking, headpiece making, knife throwing, life-drawing, choir, shooting, apothecary, foraging… honestly, the list goes on! And they’ll spend their nights dancing and making friends by the fire. The inner girl guide in me is desperate to try this out one day!
Northumberland | 2nd -5th September 2021 ⛺️🎫
Less than an hour away from both Newcastle and Sunderland, Lindisfarne is one of the rare festivals catering to the North East. Now in its 6th year on its Northumberland coast farm site, Lindisfarne promises hundreds of acts including Dizzee Rascal and Groove Armada over eight stages with plenty of non-musical entertainment too!
Festival Of Beer
Buckinghamshire | 3rd -5th September 2021 ⛺️🎫
The Festival of Beer, run by Blackpit Brewery returns to Buckinghamshire this September. The event has grown substantially since it began as a one-day event in 2017, this year will be the first time the festival runs across three days. Returning with their most impressive line-up yet including funk, soul, world and electronic music; Blackpit Brewery have also handpicked the best breweries and the finest street-food from all over the UK.
Love Saves the Day
Bristol | 4th& 5th September 2021 🎒❌
Bristol’s premier day festival is back in Eastville Park, closing up rather than opening festival season this year! The colourful day festival hosts acts across the electronic spectrum as well as live bands on the main stage and plenty of takeovers from Bristol’s premier party starters.
The Mighty Hoopla
London | 4th September 2021 🎒🎫
“With freedom, expressionism and fun at our heart, Mighty Hoopla is the UK’s most-inclusive and fabulous festival!” Doesn’t that sound incredible?! Mighty Hoopla is the pop festival of dreams, with queer culture at its heart a truly bubblegum line-up and an array of other unique performances and activities from London’s finest LGBTQ+ collectives.
Cross the Tracks
London | 5th September 2021 🎧🎒🎫
I believe this one will be on the same site as Mighty Hoopla at Brockwell Park which is something a lot of London Day festivals do! Cross the Tracks has a focus on jazz, soul and funk with a wide array of food traders and its own craft beer fair too.
End of the Road
Dorset | 2nd – 5th September 2021 ⛺️🎧❌
The independent indie festival is catered to music obsessives and had had a dedicated crowd since it began in 2005, its situated in the picturesque Larmer Tree Gardens which are famous for their native roaming peacocks!
Derbyshire | 9th – 12th September 2021 👨👨👧👦⛺️🎫
Moved to September rather than it’s ambitious regular May date, this year Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering has become a late summer gathering instead! Bearded Theory is an award-winning family-friendly festival
Rockin’ the Bowl Festival
Sheffield | 10th – 12th September 2021 🎧🎫
“Forged in Fire Set in Steel”; Rockin’ the Bowl is an independent three day long open-air rock festival set in the Don Valley in Sheffield.
South Wales | 17th – 19th September 2021 ⛺️🎫
Another one that’s switched its dates up for the year, this unpretentious ‘avin it weekender held at Chepstow race track is dedicated to the heavier side of underground dance music with a smattering of hip hop and silliness thrown in there too, with collectives like the 24hr Garage Girls hosting stages you know what to expect!
Festival Girl | George Harrison
How likely is it that UK festivals will be on this summer?
So, the elephant in the room… how likely is it that UK festivals will actually be on in the summer of 2021? The short answer is that no one knows yet. If the last year has taught us anything then it’s to take nothing for granted! We do know that there is a very short timeline for festivals to be able to get things ready, considering potential COVID related planning as well as organising the actual festivals themselves – but we also know that festival organisers are nothing if not resourceful!
The announcement from the Government with the roadmap for ending lockdown restrictions including outdoor events, nightclubs and more has certainly made things seem a lot more achievable, but there are still a number of hurdles in the way before festivals can be certain that they will be able to go ahead!
Currently, the government’s four-stage roadmap says that if the nation passes the tests set out, we could see all limits on social contact lifted by 21st June (wahooo!) which theoretically could allow festivals to take place. BUT and it’s a big but – this is all dependent on their research programme which is made up of a series of pilot events that should help to inform the Government on what additional steps will be required to allow large gatherings to happen safely. These pilots are due to take place in the Spring and we know the results will have an impact on festivals, but the these results are not going to be revealed until June 14th which cuts festivals planning times right down again.
As well as this, one of the largest barriers to festivals going ahead is getting insurance that will cover cancellation due to COVID. In January the events industry came together and requested a Government backed insurance scheme that could provide the security festivals desperately need to continue planning. Unfortunately, though there were many welcome announcements in the budget meeting on the 3rd of March (including an extension on the lower VAT!), the insurance backing for festivals didn’t happen.
However, where there’s a will there’s a way and if ticket sales and line-up announcements over the past couple of weeks have shown anything, its that there is a will!
Bluedot | George Harrison
What can UK festival attendees do to help?
We need to rally behind the industry if we want to see the UK’s festival scene continue to flourish into the future, a few ways that attendees can do this are:
- Buy the tickets! Festivals have an obligation to refund you in the case of a COVID cancellation so you can rest assured that your money is safe – but even better you can choose to roll them over again if we face another summer of cancellations – this customer loyalty really will be a lifeline to the festival industry as it was last year.
- Follow campaign groups and get behind their initiatives, some great ones to start with are We Make Events, We Are Viable and We Need Events. Get following and keep an eye out for actions to get involved in like writing to your local MP, signing petitions, sharing info and more. General Music and Festival organisations like the Association of Independent Festivals, LIVE and UK Music are also useful for industry-related updates!
What’s your 2021 Festival Season Looking Like?!
Let me know in the comments and if there are any I’ve missed in this list!