16 Glastonbury Alternatives for 2018
So after five glorious Glastonbury festivals we’ve arrived at another fallow year. It’s been a hell of a run since the last one, with The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Kanye and even Corbyn making appearances on the Pyramid Stage.
But now, as Micheal, Emily and Worthy Farm enjoy a well-earned summer off, it’s time to look elsewhere for our festival fix.
Fortunately for all of us, there are hundreds of other family-friendly, multi-genre spanning festivals taking place across the UK this summer. Here, in no particular order, are sixteen of the best.
ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
21 – 24 June 2018
Newport, Isle Of Wight
In terms of musical heritage, IoW is one of the few festivals in the world that comes close to Glastonbury.
The legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, which attracted more than 600,000 people with a lineup featuring Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Doors, is still regarded as one of music’s most iconic gatherings.
After more than 20 years without an event, IoW returned in 2002 and has since hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Muse, Coldplay, Jay-Z and Queen, to name a few.
Having been held between 8th – 11th June in 2017, the festival has shifted its dates to Glastonbury’s traditional slot on the last weekend of the month, so you can even book the usual week off work!
2018 sees the festival celebrate its 50th Anniversary, so expect them to really push the boat out this summer!
26 – 29 July 2018
Set in the Lake District’s picturesque Lowther Deer Park, Kendal Calling boasts one of the UK’s most beautiful festival settings.
Often described as a ‘mini-Glastonbury’, the 25,000 capacity festival ticks all the boxes when it comes to music, arts, and entertainment.
Performances range from huge headlining shows on the Main Stage through to intimate gigs at the Tim Peaks Diner, which has hosted acoustic sets from the likes of Pete Doherty, Nick Hayward, and Edwin Collins. On top of that, there are multiple late-night arenas to take you right through until the early hours.
There’s plenty to keep the little ones entertained too, with the ‘Kids Calling’ area featuring fun activities for children of all ages.
This year’s festival will feature headlining performances from Catfish And The Bottlemen, Run DMC and The Libertines.
READING & LEEDS
24 – 26 August 2018
This year carries on in the same vein, with Kendrick Lamar and Skepta headlining alongside Fallout Boy, Panic! At The Disco and Kings of Leon.
The revamped, broad-ranging R&L will be a popular Glasto alternative, so it would be wise to get your tickets early.
Line-up: The 2018 line-up is yet to be announced, but to give you an idea of what to expect, here’s what last year’s looked like…
GREEN MAN FESTIVAL
16 – 19 August 2018
Powys, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Set in Wales’ Brecon Beacons, the family-friendly Green Man Festival is a haven amongst the hills for music and art lovers of all ages.
The festival is split over multiple stages, and whilst there’s always a huge variety of music to choose from, Green Man proudly celebrates all major art forms, from literature and poetry through to film and theatre.
When it comes to food and drink, Green Man Festival offers an extensive variety of culinary options, and even has its very own beer festival, last year featuring ninety-nine ales, ciders and perries all sourced from Welsh breweries.
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12 – 15 July 2018
Pink sheep, art installations, poetry, cabaret, comedy, and a music roster spanning every genre you can think of, Latitude has all you could possibly want from a festival, and more…
You’ll experience everything from the spectacular to the surreal at the diverse variety of stages, with the main stage (Obelisk Arena) sitting at the top of the hill looking out across the whole festival.
The festival’s fascinating lineup of theatre, cabaret and comedy compliments an eclectic selection of music acts, while an inspiring variety of spoken word, poetry and film also feature heavily on the programme.
Latutude’s huge family areas ensure that there’s lots to do for the kids as well as the adults. The ‘Kids Area’, ‘Inbetweeners Area’ and ‘Enchanted Garden’ create unforgettable experiences for nippers right through to teens.
23 – 26 August 2018
EDIT: Shambala tickets now sold out
Shambala is one of the UK’s favourite family-friendly festivals, taking place annually in a ‘secret’ Northamptonshire location.
In addition to the 200+ music acts spread across the main stages and dance arenas, there’s a huge kids area, creative workshops, carnivals, fancy dress and huge open spaces to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Like Glasto, the easy-going festival doesn’t separate the music arenas from the campsites – so you’re free to carry your warm cans of cider to and from the main stages as you please!
That being said, Shambala does offer an extensive variety of food & drink outlets, so you’ll want to check those out too!
2 – 5 August 2018
East Lulworth, Dorset
Guaranteeing a truly immersive festival experience, Bestival is one of the most vibrant and surreal events the UK has to offer – and at its new home at the Lulworth Estate, Dorset, it’s now much easier to access, too!
While the festival’s main stages have showcased some of the world’s biggest live acts, the entertainment at Bestival goes way beyond the music. Last year’s activities covered everything from arts & crafts workshops through to Hip-Hop Yoga and Drag Queen Bingo. On top of that there’s giant astronauts, love robots, and all manner of bizarre features around the festival site.
Rob Da Bank and the Bestival team don’t do things by half measures, a characteristic which has seen them build the world’s biggest confetti cannon, the world’s biggest disco ball, and create a record-breaking bouncy castle taller than the Great Wall of China.
9 – 12 August 2018
Ovington Down, Hampshire
Edit: Boomtown tickets now sold out
Visually one of the most inspiring spectacles of the summer, the eye-catching extravaganza that is Boomtown Fair celebrates every musical genre.
From ska, folk, gypsy, reggae, punk and disco to electro-swing, jazz, jungle and techno, all are enjoyed in a spirit of unity and freedom. Expect mind-blowing visual displays, dazzling pyrotechnics and high-octane performances.
In addition to the music, there are also arts and crafts workshops, flash-mobbing actors, spoken-word performances and all kinds of weird and wonderful activities to be found in the pop-up city’s many nooks and crannies.
2 – 5 August 2018
Wilderness Festival takes place across four days at the beginning of August, featuring everything from spectacular main stage performances and dance arenas to cricket matches, creative workshops and family fun.
On top of a huge line-up of music, which last year included Two Door Cinema Club, Grace Jones and Bonobo, there are also talks, panel debates, workshops, a range of outdoor pursuits and an extensive variety of culinary options to enjoy over the weekend.
The 10,000 capacity festival, which was created by the teams behind Lovebox and Secret Garden Party, is set in the stunning surroundings of Cornbury Park, a site big enough for multiple live music stages plus plenty of wide open spaces to relax and unwind.
20 – 22 July 2018
Oxfordshire’s Truck Festival is one of the UK’s longest running and most popular small festivals, and is set to celebrate its 21st anniversary with another weekend of great music this July.
Famous for its authentic atmosphere and broad-ranging variety of entertainment, Truck Festival somehow manages to cram all the elements of a major festival into a much smaller, more intimate setting.
Friendly Fires, George Ezra and Jake Bugg are amongst the artists to perform at this year’s Truck Festival.
26 – 29 July 2018
Love Glasto but wish you could take your dog? Then Standon Calling is for you!
The festival proudly claims to be the most dog-friendly festival in the UK and encourages you to bring your four-legged friends along for a magical weekend away. They’re even invited to take part in the annual dog show, where they can compete for prizes such as ‘Dog with the Waggiest Tail’ and ‘Looks Most Like Owner’.
Mutts aren’t mandatory though, and the festival consistently delivers an eclectic music roster plus all manner of activities for visitors of all ages.
As well as showcasing internationally established artists, the festival is has a reputation for introducing some of the UK’s best up-and-coming talent, with Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons, Bastille, Clean Bandit, Slaves and London Grammar all appearing at Standon in their early years.
8 – 12 August
Set in the spectacular surroundings of Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach, Boardmasters combines live music, surfing, and extreme sports to create an action-packed weekend by the sea.
With stunning views across the bay from multiple live music stages, Boardmasters’ unique cliff-top location is right up there with the best in the UK.
Watergate Bay is where you’ll catch all the main acts, with the Main Stage hosting the headliners and the Unleashed Stage presenting a huge line-up of grime, hip-hop and electronic acts.
The Point is possibly the most iconic of the Boardmasters stages; backdropped by panoramic views across Watergate Bay, this is the ultimate place to watch the sun go down and enjoy some pumping tunes.
8 – 10 June 2018
The UK’s biggest rock and metal festival welcomes more than 100,000 visitors to Derbyshire’s Donington Park every year.
The festival’s 5 main stages feature some of the world’s biggest bands, plus you can catch live WWE at the NXT area, comedy acts at the Side Splitters stage, film screenings at the Village Cinema, and you can even pick up a permanent memento of your Download experience at the Old Sarum Tattoo Parlour.
LEEFEST: THE NEVERWORLD
2-4 August 2018
Since its humble beginnings as a party in Lee Denny’s back garden, the festival has evolved over the past decade into a multi-award winning festival which now attracts around 5,000 visitors.
As well as showcasing an eclectic variety of established acts, LeeFest has also gained a reputation as one of the UK’s best festivals for discovering new artists, regularly showcasing emerging acts before they go on to become international stars.
Acts to have appeared in the past include: London Grammar, Jack Garratt, Years & Years, Bastille, Young Fathers, Lianne La Havas and Circa Waves.
Elsewhere on the site, The Neverland will feature a carefully curated non-music line up. In 2016 Neverlanders enjoyed burlesque, cabaret, dance classes and drag queens, as well as food fights, theatre, comedy, glitter wrestling, craft markets, talk and debates and even a tranquility spa.
24 – 26 August 2018
Victorious is a festival for everyone; a metropolitan festival by the sea with a huge variety of music ranging from rock, indie and alternative to electronic, pop, world, acoustic and folk.
The UK’s biggest metropolitan festival is headlined by The Libertines, Paul Weller and The Prodigy this year, and will also feature sets from Kaiser Chiefs, Paloma Faith, Years & Years and special guests Happy Mondays.
Victorious features a wide variety of kids entertainment too, and is one of the UK’s favourite family festivals.
6 – 8 July 2018
Following on from 2017’s massively successful inaugural event, TRNSMT Festival heads back to Glasgow Green in July 2018.
Organised by the team that brought you T in The Park, TRNSMT launched last summer with an all-star line-up headlined by Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro.
This year is set to be just as big, with Stereophonics, Liam Gallagher and Arctic Monkeys headlining a night each.