FESTIVAL FOCUS 2017: The Best UK Events To Reach This Summer
We at RWD always feel like we get to this time of the year too fast, and seem so close to summer already that we can’t plan it out as properly as we’d like. We still haven’t booked a summer holiday and we still haven’t picked which of the big music festivals we will be going to. Those of you like us will know that by the time you ready yourselves and your friends to pick a festival to reach, most of the tickets are gone. Well, consider this your final warning as we bring you the 2017 Festival Focus in the week that festivals begin for us (Ceremony in East London baby!).
We run through the best of the UK festivals from May to September that you need to get to if you are nearby or willing to travel to see the best music in one place. We’ve discounted Glastonbury, as always, because as incredible as the lineup is it is sold out and those going will already know what’s good, and tired to include every festival we’ve seen with plenty of music that we cover here on the RWD website. There’s a wealth of options over the next few months, so clear your diaries and get browsing on our Festival Focus. We’ll also keep updating so never look away from RWD for too long!
THE GREAT ESCAPE
When: 18-20 May
Where: Various, Brighton
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): 67, Abra Cadabra, Amy Becker, Astroid Boys, Avelino, Baby Queens, Belly Squad, Coco, Dan Caplen, Elijah & Skilliam, Ghetts, Jack Dat, Jevon, Jossy Mitsu, Kano, Knucks, Kojey Radical, Kojo Funds, Little Simz, Miles From Kinshasa, Mullally, Not3s, Paigey Cakey, Poté, Raheem Bakaré, Raye, Ray BLK, Renz, Ryan De La Cruz, Shogun, Stefflon Don, The Age of L.U.N.A., The Fedz, Tizzy & Brandz, Young T & Bugsey, Yxng Bane, Zak Abel
Tickets & More Info: http://greatescapefestival.com
We’re always impressed by Brighton’s new music festival The Great Escape and they do not disappoint with their lineup this year. The 2017 Spotlight shows, for which separate tickets are available, are headlined by punk duo Slaves, the unstoppable Rag’N’Bone Man and perhaps most significantly Kano, whose event features support from Little Simz, Ghetts, Kojo Funds, Elijah & Skilliam and DJ Maximum. In addition to a New Gen club night we’re most intrigued by what’s going on in venues such as Shooshh, Patterns, Queens Hotel and Wagner Hall, where there is an array of emerging UK rap acts. Day tickets for Thursday and Friday have sold out, with £42 for Saturday. A Fri-Sat combo is a big saving at £54, as is £65 for the three-day ticket. Discounts are available for 16-17 year olds.
WE ARE FSTVL
When: 26-28 May
Where: Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Upminster
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Bugzy Malone, DJ Charlesy, Craig David presents TS5, Dizzee Rascal, Giggs, Katy B, Kurupt FM, Mist, Mistajam, Preditah, Shift K3y, Section Boyz, Target, TQD, Wiley
Tickets & More Info: www.wearefstvl.com
There are 20 bespoke stages at We Are FSTVL, some exclusively available to those that are camping, and while they cover a range of dance music we have to admit it’s mostly the UKF stage on Saturday interesting us as well as the main stage acts on Sunday. Wiley is booked for the Hospitality stage on Sunday, and we’re 1% sure Dizzee will be watching on ahead of his main stage set later that evening. Day tickets begin at £69.75 for Saturday and £67.50 for Sunday, with a ticket for both days setting you back around £139.50. Camping tickets start from £169.50.
LOVE SAVES THE DAY
When: 27-28 May
Where: Eastville Park, Bristol
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): 67, AJ Tracey, BADBADNOTGOOD, Conducta, D Double E, Hannah Faith, Heartless Crew, Jamz Supernova, Kano, Kojey Radical, LEVELZ & Trigga, Marcus Nasty, Nadia Rose, Novelist, OH91 & YGG, P Money, Raye, Shakka, Shy FX, Stefflon Don, TQD, Toddla T & Coco
Tickets & More Info: lovesavestheday.org
Bristol’s annual spectacular always plays it nice for us, putting almost all of the acts we’re into on their lineup onto one day. In this instance, the various grime, rap and bass acts are confirmed for the Sunday festivities, a day ticket for which comes at a not unreasonable £49.50 + booking fee. A number of the acts will also be in the city later that night for the festival’s after party at Motion, with tickets for that sold separately.
When: 2-4 June
Where: Various, Liverpool
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Aystar, Elijah & Skilliam, Flava D, Ghetts, Macca, Mele, P Money, Rude Kid, Stefflon Don, Swing Ting
Tickets & More Info: residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?949819
Not to be be confused with the Weekend Baltic Festival in Estonia (we know you were), this is a brand new festival taking place in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle development promising ‘a diverse range of venues and with one of the most forward-thinking lineups curated over the last few years in the city’. That includes local hero Aystar as well as a strong grime presence. We believe the Macca booked is the Midlands MC of StayFresh fame, but with this being in Liverpool there could be a whole clan of namesakes. Day tickets costs £15 while a weekend ticket is £25.
When: 10-11 June
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak, AJ Tracey, Boy Better Know, Conducta, Damian Marley, Danny Brown, David Rodigan, DJ EZ, Frank Ocean, Flying Lotus, Ghetts, Giggs, J Hus, Jamz Supernova, Joey Purp, LEVELZ, Loyle Carner, Mick Jenkins, Mura Masa, Nadia Rose, Nao, P Money, Preditah, President T, Rejjie Snow, Sampha, Star.One, Stefflon Don, Stormzy, The Heatwave, Toddla T & Coco, Tom Misch, Wiley
Tickets & More Info: parklife.uk.com
Manchester’s premier event of the summer, brought to us by The Warehouse Project, will once again be a sensational exhibition of live music that we so love. The Temple stage appears to be hosting the very best of UK rap and grime over the two days, with Saturday’s lineup especially mouth-watering. It’s not a lineup you’ll be able to see in London this summer – not until Form 696 backs away from J Hus, anyway – so definitely worth making the trip if you’re from the capital. Day tickets for Saturday have sold out, with only £85 VIP tickets still available, but Sunday tickets remain and there are weekend tickets from £130.
When: 9-10 June
Where: Brighton City Airport, Shoreham
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): AJ Tracey, Bassboy, Crazy Cousinz, Damian Marley, David Rodigan, Dizzee Rascal, DJ Target, J Hus, JME, Giggs, Logan Sama, Preditah & C4, President T, Raye, Scrufizzer & Stimpy, Stefflon Don, Stormzy, Wiley
Tickets & More Info: www.wildlifefestival.com
Parklife’s sister event Wild Life, brought to us by Disclosure & Rudimental, is back for its third edition, taking place on the same weekend as the Manchester festival but on the Friday & Saturday. Many of the Parklife acts are booked here for this smaller festival on the South Coast, while some are only booked for this. RWD lovers should be especially interested in the Tropical stage on Friday, while Dizzee and Stormzy headline the main stage on the Saturday. Day tickets are around £65 while weekend tickets are just under £120.
STRAWBERRIES & CREEM
When: 17 June
Where: Haggis Farm, Cambridge
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): AJ Tracey, Coco, Donae’O, J Hus, Jus Now b2b Jamz Supernova, Logan Sama b2b Sir Spyro, Madam X, Mike Skinner, P Money, So Solid Crew, Star.One, Wiley, YGG
Tickets & More Info: strawberriesandcreem.com
Following a successful expansion last year, Strawberries & Creem returns for its third event. Nelly and Kano headlined the 2016 festival, and they appear to have replicated the formula of ‘transatlantic legend + grime legend’ by announcing Shaggy and Wiley for this summer. The Logan & Spryo back-to-back is a festival exclusive, with special guests MCs expected, so definitely worth the trip. The lineup was supposed to be announced via a special reveal in space, but amusingly (sorry) the device supposed to draw the mini curtains and show the flyer failed. Tickets start from £40, with a five-ticket bundle working out at £32 + booking fee each.
When: 6-9 July
Where: Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Big Narstie, Cadenza, Charlie Sloth, Coco, Giggs, Kano, Krept & Konan, Loyle Carner, Method Man & Redman, Ms Banks, Nadia Rose, Preditah, TQD, Toddla T, Sir Spyro, Stefflon Don, Wiley
Tickets & More Info: www.nassfestival.com
There aren’t many festivals like NASS in the UK, with top class skateboarding and BMX pro competitions taking place as well as the host of music. Drum & Bass reigns king here but there is plenty of other soundsystem-inspired music to enjoy. Day tickets start from £44 (Saturday is a tenner more), with the Thursday-Monday camping ticket currently offered at £129.
When: 7-9 July
Where: Finsbury Park, London
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Abra Cadabra, Big Narstie, Big Tobz, Bugzy Malone, Bryson Tiller, Cadet, Chance The Rapper, Dave, Desiigner, Fetty Wap, Flatbush Zombies, Geko, Kojo Funds, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Mike Skinner & Murkage present TONGA, MoStack, Nas, Noname, Post Malone, Rae Sremmurd, Sean Paul, Section Boyz, Skepta, Stefflon Don, The Age of L.U.N.A., The Weeknd, Tory Lanez, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, Wiley, Wizkid, Young T & Bugsey, Young Thug, Yungen
Tickets & More Info: www.wirelessfestival.co.uk
Undoubtedly the daddy when it comes to specialist urban music festivals in the UK, Wireless brings us what might be its most healthiest mix of UK & transatlantic artists yet. The Big Top stage at Wireless has been a coming of age moment for a number of UK artists in the last couple of years, and while the schedule hasn’t confirmed their place on it yet we can expect the likes of MoStack, Kojo Funds and Cadet to make their mark in that arena. Having caused a madness in there last year, with arguably the highlight of the festival, Young Thug returns for what we imagine will be a main stage performance. Having appeared as Drake’s guest two years ago, and closed the weekend with BBK last year, Skepta is back in his home area of North London to headline Saturday’s event. Day tickets for Saturday and Sunday have sold out, with Friday costing from £55. The only multi-day ticket (exclusing VIP) available now is for the full three days, at £110 + booking fee. Get moving.
When: 14-15 July
Where: Victoria Park, London
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): AJ Tracey, Chase & Status, DJ EZ, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Frank Ocean, Hannah Faith, Jamie xx, Joe Kay, Kano, Kaytranada, Kurupt FM, Mac Miller, Mick Jenkins, Mist, New Gen, Raheem Bakaré, Ray BLK, Sampha, Siobhan Bell, Solange, The Fedz
Tickets & More Info: loveboxfestival.com
What with there being no Born & Bred this summer, it looks as if Lovebox will take the crown once again when it comes to East London festivals. The prospect of Solange and Frank Ocean on the Friday has many people (including us) gassed, while Saturday’s Noisey stage looks a bit special. The New Gen show – 67, Bonkaz, Belly Squad, Afro B, Lotto Boyz, Renz, Tion Wayne, Jevon, Yung Fume, Yxng Bane, Lancey Foux, Fee Gonzales, Brandz & Tizzy, Kenny Allstar – looks to be a good one so make sure not to miss that either. Day tickets for Friday are sold out, but Saturday is still available for £72.25. VIP tickets are available for Friday at £115, with a two-day general ticket the same price plus a booking fee.
When: 21-23 July
Where: Various, Sheffield
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Akala, Champion, Kano, Lady Leshurr, Loyle Carner, Mista Silva, Ms Banks, Nadia Rose, The Age of L.U.N.A.
Tickets & More Info: tramlines.org.uk
Of the genres of music covered at multi-venue festival Tramlines, rap is not necessarily top of the list but with weekend tickets at £46.20 it’s certainly one worth reaching if you’re based in Yorkshire or surrounding areas. The always excellent after-parties include sets from TQD, Mike Skinner, Bugzy Malone, Coco, Donae’O and Fuse ODG.
When: 22-23 July
Where: Printworks, London
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Clara Amfo, Danny Brown, Hannah Faith, Jamz Supernova, Jazzie B, JME, Little Simz, Kojey Radical, Nadia Rose, Nao, Thundercat, Saul Williams, Willow Smith
Tickets & More Info: afropunkfest.com/london
Following a successful UK launch last year, Afropunk is back in Britain this summer but this time at a new location in Printworks, a recently repurposed superclub in Surrey Quays. There’s an impressive mix of legends and emerging talent for this one, with more acts including the after party information still to come. Day tickets start at £45 while advance weekend tickets are from £75, but these prices will probably go soon.
When: 29 July
Where: Motion, Bristol
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Amy Becker, Belly Squad, Chase & Status, Darkzy, Elijah & Skilliam, Flava D, Flowdan, Hi5Ghost & Boofy, Irah, Kahn & Neek, Killa P, Kojo Funds, Lemzly Dale, Madam X, OH91, Sir Spyro
Tickets & More Info: sequencesfestival.eventgenius.co.uk
This all-day event in the West Country has three stages, with two of those – The Blast, Bandulu – piquing our interest. Bandulu club nights are some of the best around when it comes to grime and dubstep so their stage will be a winner, and that’s before we’ve even considered some of the Butterz family at The Blast. Tickets start from £27.50.
When: 29 July
Where: The Digbeth Triangle, Birmingham
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Charlie Sloth, Chase & Status, Dapz On The Map, DJ Target, Giggs, Jaykae, Joker, Levelz, Stefflon Don
Tickets & More Info: www.made-festival.co.uk
Two thirds of tickets for this annual event, which runs from midday to midnight, have gone already so if you’re looking for a big night in the West Midlands make sure to sort that out urgently. The ticket costs £44, but if you buy four it removes the booking fee so works out at £40 each. The afterparty Made..My Night is from 11pm-6am and features Kurupt FM, Rude Kid, a reggae set from Goldie and more, for a separate £22 ticket.
When: 10-13 August
Where: Matterley Estate, Winchester
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): AJ Tracey, Amy Becker, Baby Queens, Champion, Channel One, Cypress Hill, DeeKline, DJ Luck & MC Neat, Donae’O, Elijah & Skilliam, Flava D, Gilles Peterson, Heartless Crew, Loyle Carner, Matt Jam Lamont, M.I.A., Monki, Mr Vegas, Protoje, Ras Kwame, Shy FX, Star.One, Swindle, Swing Ting, The Heatwave, Toddla T, TQD
Tickets & More Info: www.boomtownfair.co.uk
The ninth year of this Hampshire extravaganza has a ‘Behind The Mask’ theme, with eleven ‘districts’ and all manner of things going on in this pop-up city. It’s an excellent musical lineup too, with bass supergroup TQD back again after shelling on the main stage last year, and this time there’s the whole Butterz family in town to perform too. Remaining tickets for the weekend are from around £200.
When: 19-20 August
Where: Hylands Park, Chelmsford; Weston Park, Shropshire
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Annie Mac, Craig David, Dizzee Rascal, Izzie Gibbs, Jamz Supernova, Jay Z, Krept & Konan, Mabel, Nadia Rose, Raye, Rudimental, Sean Paul, Stormzy, Toddla T, Yung Fume, Yungen
Tickets & More Info: www.vfestival.com
Now we admit we’ve been quick to dismiss this festival in the past, with its tanning booths and whatnot. For many years it’s been the festival choice for those that like the festival experience without a specialist taste in music. However, if your partner is interested in this one then there is still ample entertainment for you to enjoy the day, with the obvious highlights being a Jay Z headline set (a UK exclusive as far as we can see), and a new V Street stage with Nadia Rose, AJ & Deno, Yung Fume & more. Day tickets start from £89, with weekend camping from £189.
READING & LEEDS
When: 25-27 August
Where: Reading…and….wait for it…Leeds
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): 67, A2, Abra Cadabra, AJ Tracey, Akala, Angel, Astroid Boys, Avelino, Big Tobz, Bossman Birdie, Bugzy Malone, Cadet, Danny Brown, Dave, DJ Semtex, Eminem, Father, Fekky, Flatbush Zombies, Heartless Crew, Geovarn, Giggs, J Hus, Jaykae, Kurupt FM, Lethal Bizzle, Loyle Carner, Majestic, Major Lazer, Mic Righteous, Migos, Mist, Mistajam, MoStack, Not3s, P Money, Ray BLK, Rejjie Snow, Stefflon Don, The Heatwave, The Manor, Vince Staples, Wiley, Young T & Bugsey
Tickets & More Info: www.readingfestival.com | www.leedsfestival.com
August Bank Holiday weekend is R&L weekend and there’s plenty of great music on offer in both cities. The BBC 1Xtra stage has most of the rap and grime madness for obvious reasons, although recent NME Award winner Wiley is on their stage with the likes of Lethal Bizzle, while Eminem, Migos and Giggs are among those on the main stage. Day tickets for Saturday at Reading have sold out, but those still available for other dates are £72. Weekend camping will cost around £213.
When: 24-27 August
Where: Daresbury, Cheshire
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): Annie Mac, Avelino, Barely Legal, Charlie Sloth, Chase & Status, DJ EZ, J Hus, Logan Sama, Mistajam, P Money, Stormzy, TQD
Tickets & More Info: www.creamfields.com
This dance music festival is often a messy one, and we’re not just talking about the mud! This one is for the clubbers but plenty of you will be keen to check out the Jampacked stage on the Saturday, as Mistajam curates an excellent blend of grime, bass and UK rap. Day tickets are around £90, with camping from £200 or so but also available to pay in instalments.
When: 1-3 September
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): AJ Tracey, Artful Dodger, Craig David, Giggs, Kurupt FM, Mistajam, P Money, Raye, Skream, Stefflon Don, TQD, Wiley, Zak Abel
Tickets & More Info: www.sundownfestival.co.uk
East Anglia’s three-stage festival has an exclusive Friday show for campers that features Giggs, Jaguar Skills, Artful Dodger and Shapes. AJ Tracey, Wiley and Kurupt FM are on Saturday’s main stage, with TQD and P Money on the UKF stage. Sunday includes a Rinse stage and also a Hospitality-hosted stage for dnb heads. Day tickets are £41.50, with weekend tickets £78. If you fancy camping it for the Giggs show, the ticket costs £110.
When: 7-10 September
Where: Lulworth Estate, Dorset
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): 67, A Tribe Called Quest, Annie Mac, Barely Legal, Coco, Conducta, Danny Brown, Dizzee Rascal, DJ Luck & MC Neat, DJ Maximum, DJ Shadow, Heartless Crew, Jamz Supernova, Kurupt FM, MNEK, Nadia Rose, Oxide & Neutrino, Preditah, Ray BLK, Sir Spyro, Star.One, Stefflon Don, The Heatwave, The xx, Toddla T
Tickets & More Info: www.bestival.net
One of the UK’s best festivals has moved from its usual Isle Of Wight base for 2017, instead taking place at the lovely Dorset location of their sister event Camp Bestival so there’ll be no need for that torturous queueing and gut-ache on the ferry. Remaining adult weekend tickets are from £181, but it’s more than worth it for an enjoyable festival experience.
When: 23-24 September
Where: Eastville Park, Bristol
Notable Live Acts (A-Z): 67, Abra Cadabra, Big Narstie, Belly Squad, CASisDEAD, Donae’O, Elf Kid, Ghetts, Ghostface Killah & Killah Priest, Hardy Caprio, Krept & Konan, Lady Leshurr, LEVELZ, Lil Silva, Madam X, Novelist, P Money, Royal-T, Rude Kid, So Solid Crew, Stefflon Don, Wiley vs Durrty Goodz, Wretch 32
Tickets & More Info: tokyoworld.org
One of the later festival announcements made is inevitably one of the last of the year. A few months after Eastville Park hosts Loves Saves The Day, another festival in Tokyo World takes over for a late September weekend. It’s a very enticing list of musical performers, from the insane and seemingly one-off Wiley vs Durrty Goodz show to a debut festival set from Hardy Caprio. There is also, of course, a Stefflon Don set. Shout out her agent.
Fancy something further afield? Check out our European Festival Focus