I am very, very cautiously (and excitedly!) sharing this year’s festival calendar with you! It feels like such an awfully long time since I’ve written one of these pre-season roundups!! What a weird old couple of year’s it’s been eh?! The round-ups from 2017, 2018 and 2019 feel like another world. Since then I’ve had to cancel three festivals in my day job at Boomtown, moved home to Devon from Bristol, bought a van and had it converted, broken my ankle in 3 places and had 3 months unable to walk, caught Covid and grown a much bigger online festival community through this blog, my Instagram and our UK Festivals Facebook group; what a rollercoaster!
It definitely feels very strange to be stood on the precipice of the start of festival season all the way in the middle of July. I’m feeling no small amount of trepidation as we step into ‘freedom’ for so, so many different reasons but I’m also feeling very curious about what one of the most unusual festival seasons we’ll ever see holds for us and for the future of the industry! I’ve been booking things since about February with varying levels of confidence (I was supposed to be at Love International in Croatia this week which was ambitious!) and all my work and volunteer stuff has only just been confirmed… I’m really pleased to have several new festivals on here that have been on my hit list for a long time as well as some old favourites.
Check out my guide to the best UK festivals still happening in 2021.
My Festival Season 2021
Kicking off this weekend with a new one I’ve been wanting to check out for a long time. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Standon Calling, the line-up is mega and as a small independent I really, really admire their Covid Certification Process and what an incredible show it looks like they’ve pulled together in such a challenging year. I’ll be working with my photographer pals at Here & Now helping out with some socials and I can’t bloody wait!
I’m definitely feeling the call towards some Bestival vibes this summer! I’ve never been to Camp Bestival, but I did go to Bestival once when it was on the Lulworth site so I’m pretty sure I know what to expect… but this time with a lot of added children’s entertainment! If you’re there you will be able to catch me in the inflatable church where I’ll be working as a bridesmaid, which if you’re a regular here you might remember me doing back in 2019 at a festival in Ireland. Come and get married and have a boogie baby!
Check out Vibes Life Us’ guest post about the Best Family-Friendly Festivals which features Camp Bestival – can’t wait to catch up with them there!
Wilderness And yet another one that I’ve wanted to do for years! As Wilderness falls the weekend before Boomtown it’s not been very achievable before as I’m usually already on site down in Winchester and working. I can’t wait to immerse myself in some cultured vibes, nice talks, swimming and of course, I’m verrrry excited to see my pals the Provibers hosting ‘Alternative Miss Wilderness’ on the Sunday.
No Wilderness for me this weekend! 🙁 After I came back from Camp Bestival weekend and I had been in contact with someone who had the ‘rona and I had a little cough (I knew it deffo festival-related though)… I took a PCR test to make everyone I was going to Wildnerness with (and myself!) feel more comfortable about the weekend ahead (even though I was testing negative on lateral flows)!
Then I tested positive on the PCR. BUT since then I’ve found out that you shouldn’t take PCR tests within 3 months of having Covid as a) you’re still immune and b) they’re so sensitive they pick up on the previous Covid you had?! (I had it at the start of July.) I phoned the NHS Covid helpline on 119 and they confirmed all of this and said that it was ridiculous because the guidance on this is really hidden on the website and it doesn’t even come up when you book the PCR… they said I could dispute my isolation but that it would probably take until beyond this weekend to come through! So now I’m on the isolation list! A real bummer. So learn from my mistake and get an immunity passport through the NHS app – DO NOT take another PCR if you already had it!
A new addition to this little calendar! I thought since there’s no Boomtown this year and I’m living down in Devon, this should finally be the year I check out Boardmasters! I’m well excited for a little holiday down to Newquay but still unsure where I’m going to stay or how to get a van pass at this late stage… it will be an adventure for sure! Let me know if you’re going.
I am sooooo looking forward to being back at Beautiful Days!! It’s in Devon so it’s local to where I spent my teens and where I live now. I think I went about 6 times in a row from the ages of 15-21? I’ll definitely be bringing my new van to this one, my parents will be there and all my pals from home, it’s gonna be a wonderful throwback with a lot of cider drunk and a lot of dancing to folk music.
All the magic of the wonderful Shambala distilled into a dinky version, all the same vibes, all the same people and the same beautiful Kelmarsh Hall site, what’s not to love eh? How I ever thought that I wasn’t actually gonna to to Shambino I don’t know!!
Field Maneuvers Cancelled! ALL of my friends in Bristol go to this tiny little underground festival every year and rave about it. It’s only 500 people and describes itself as a ‘No Frills Rave’ which definitely marries up with what I’ve heard about it. I’ll be volunteering here for my pal who is the volunteer manager! How lovely.
Love Saves the Day
A nice way to round off a season, back in Bristol with all my pals working at Love Saves the Day which has moved to September and up to the downs for 2021 (the location and timing of what The Downs Festival usually is). I’ve been to Love Saves like seven times, which is most years since I moved to Bristol as a student but I haven’t been since 2018. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with the new site and working with the Team Love gang.
Produced by the wonderfully talented Team Love crew and promoted by Percolate – Waterworks is a brand new London city day fest, celebrating underground electronic music in a fuss-free way. With a beautiful site in Gunnersbury Park and a huge line-up but with a focus on heavyweight sound systems and decentralising the idea of headliner slots, I’ll be doing the content at this little close to summer and I’m really looking forward to it.
Since we cancelled Boom Village I have a couple of weekends free so I’ll see what else pops up this season and there might be some day festivals on the cards for September but I’m definitely not in a rush to fill up my summer with too many more; I’m not sure if I have the stamina!! On the weekends I have free I’ve got my eye on Boardmasters, Shambino, Lost Village, Camp Wildfire and End of the Road… so let’s see!
Will I be seeing any of you at any of these? What have you got booked? How are you feeling about festival season generally? Let me know in the comments!