10 British Summer Music Festivals You Need to Know About Now
Amid Britain's castles, parks and farms, British fans revel in an endless summer of music.
Decades before American music fans flocked to Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, the United Kingdom already boasted a thriving and diverse festival scene, one that has only increased in size, scope and ambition in recent years.
This summer there are more than 500 different music festivals scheduled across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ranging from family-run events to the granddaddy of them all -- Glastonbury, now in its 33rd edition.
"We've been doing festivals here longer than a lot of other countries," says Alt-J vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton, whose band will headline the Latitude Festival on July 17. "People in the U.K. really get what they are about. We have an instinctive feeling for them -- relaxing, getting drunk, having fun and seeing bands." Beginning with Glastonbury, 10 of the best -- amid castles, parks and farms -- to consider hitting:
June 24-28; Pilton, Somerset
What is it? Europe's largest music and arts festival (135,000 attendance) is held in the rolling fields of the Eavis family's Worthy Farm, 130 miles west of London -- and often beset by torrential rain. Historic gigs include Orbital in 1994, Radiohead in 1997, David Bowie in 2000, Jay Z in 2008 and The Rolling Stones in 2013.
How much? £225 ($340) for general admission tickets
The crowd? Ranges from wide-eyed EDM freaks to 70-year-old hippies
Where should I stay? Tipi Village offers luxury camping at a premium, £950 ($1,400). Off-site "glamping" options include The Pop-Up Hotel (up to $10,000 for a "Tenthouse Suite").
Where can I eat one good meal? With more than 500 food vendors on site, take your pick.
Isle Of Wight Festival
June 11-14; Seaclose Park, Isle Of Wight
How much? £208 ($312) for weekend camping; VIP package £558 ($840)
The crowd? Fresh-faced teens, 20-somethings and day-tripping parents
Where should I stay? If standard camping isn't your style, splurge on a luxury glamping package, including Winnebago, cabin or yurt options and backstage access. Packages start at $2,000.
Where can I eat one good meal? A good range of locally sourced food and produce is available on-site, including the near-legendary Festival Fish Finger Sandwich, complete with homemade tartar sauce.
Best all-time moment? Dylan's 1969 comeback show -- his first since his 1966 motorcycle accident -- backed by The Band.
June 12-14, Donington Park, Leicestershire
What is it? The United Kingdom's biggest rock and metal festival, 150 miles north of London, where its forerunner Monsters of Rock was staged, from 1980 to 1996
How much? £82.50 ($124) for a one-day ticket; RIP (Rest in Peace) packages start at £445 ($670)
The crowd? Moshers, cyber-punks, head-bangers and emo kids
Where should I stay? Metal Meadow, an exclusive campsite boasting its own convenience shop (Little Shop of Horrors) and refreshments area (Hell's Kitchen)
Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time
June 18-28; London
What is it? A series of outdoor music and comedy gigs held in central London's iconic Hyde Park.
How much? Day tickets start at £53 ($80); VIP Terrace access up to £250 ($375)
The crowd? Depending on who's on stage, expect either grizzled rock fans, hipster indie kids or hyper-excited pop tweens.
Where should I stay? The Dorchester overlooks Hyde Park and exudes luxury with rooms starting at £655 ($980).
Where can I eat one good meal? Head to Burger & Lobster in nearby Mayfair, where -- like the New York branch -- you can dine on a burger or lobster, both served with a substantial salad and fries, for £20 ($30).
Best all-time moment? The Stones' spell-binding 2013 show took place almost 44 years to the day since the band's legendary 1969 free concert at the same venue.
New Look Wireless
July 3-5, London
What is it? An increasingly urban and EDM-themed three-day event, which moved in 2014 to Finsbury Park, North London, after previous residencies at Hyde Park and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
How much? Three-day general admission £210 ($315); VIP options start at £130 ($195) per day
The crowd? Cool hip-hop kids and glow stick-waving EDM fans
Where should I stay? The Rose & Crown in Stoke Newington, a stylish boutique guest house above a charming wood-paneled pub, is just a short cab ride from Finsbury Park. £110 ($167) per night.
Best all-time moment? Kanye West's 15-minute mid-set rant in 2014, which drew loud boos from the crowd
In The Park
July 10-12, Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, Scotland
What is it? Scotland's biggest music festival moves this year to the 1,000-acre grounds of the grand 19th-century Strathallan Castle, a seven-plus-hour drive from London.
How much? £204 ($308) for general admission tickets and camping
The crowd? The loudest and most lively audiences in Europe. (It is Scotland after all.)
Where should I stay? Inside a Cloud House. It's basically a semi-furnished, slightly larger tent supposedly based on an ancient Persian design. Regardless, "I'm staying in a Cloud House" sounds far better than "Come back to my tent." Prices start at £1,200 ($1,800).
Where can I eat one good meal? Strathallan Castle is around 30 minutes from Perth and Stirling, where you can find a good supply of traditional Scottish grub (haggis with neeps and tatties is a local favorite). Otherwise, it's regular festival vendor food.
Celebrity sightings? In 2014 Susan Boyle watched Pharrell Williams from the side of the stage.
July 16-19; Southwold, Suffolk
What is it? An eclectic, multi-arts program of music, comedy, film, theater and more set in the idyllic Henham Park, two-plus hours northeast of London
How much? £85 ($128) for a day pass; £200 ($300) for weekend camping
Who else should I see? SBTRKT, Laura Marling, National Theatre Live, George the Poet, Sadler's Wells dance company, John Cooper Clarke and the numerous sheep -- dyed multiple colors by locals -- that dot the landscape
The crowd? Sartre-quoting, 30-something culture vultures interspersed with poshly accented college kids
Where should I stay? Forgo sweating inside an under-sized nylon tent for the comfort of a pre-pitched 'podpad' or 'luxpad,' complete with decent toilets, proper showers and 24-hour security. From £495 ($750).
Where can I eat one good meal? Everything from ostrich burgers to Loch Fyne oysters are available on the grounds.
Celebrity sightings? Steve Coogan, Eddie Izzard, Vivienne Westwood and models Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe have all been spotted in previous years.
Best all-time moment? Arcade Fire's triumphant, firework-accompanied closing set of 2007's second edition of the festival.
Aug. 22-23, Hylands Park, Chelmsford & Weston Park, Staffordshire
What is it? Like Reading/Leeds, V Festival takes place on the same weekend on two separate sites in Chelmsford (40 miles from London) and Staffordshire (150 miles).
How much? General admission £200 ($300); VIP camping £304 ($460)
The crowd? Festival first-timers, nitrous oxide-inhaling day trippers and glamorous faux hippies wearing flower crowns
Where should I stay? Embrace the posh boho vibe by hiring a two-person Gypsy Caravan or the Arabian tent motif of the Exotic Bedouin rooms that sleep four. Prices start at £2,000 ($3,000).
Celebrity sightings? Chloe Moretz, Rupert Grint, one-time Dr. Who actor Matt Smith and One Direction's Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Harry Styles have all previously attended.
Best all-time moment? Fresh from topping the charts with The Fat of the Land, The Prodigy delivered a barnstorming 1997 headline set, which Liam Howlett later called one of the band's best-ever gigs.
Aug. 28-30, Reading & Bremham Park, Near Leeds
What is it? A dual-site, three-day festival with a traditionally rock- and indie-leaning bill, staged in Reading, an hour west of London, and Leeds, three-plus hours north.
How much? £67 ($101) for a day pass; £213 ($320) weekend camping
The crowd? Long-haired teens wearing Metallica T-shirts bought from Urban Outfitters
Where should I stay? Camp -- unless you want a peaceful night's sleep. Then, find a hotel off-site. Travelodge, Holiday Inn and Ibis offer cheap rooms in both Reading and Leeds starting at £29 ($45) per night.
Celebrity sightings? If Carey Mulligan doesn't accompany Marcus Mumford, there's generally a handful of British TV Z-listers milling about backstage.
Best all-time moment? Kurt Cobain, as a prank, onstage in a wheelchair at Reading in 1992 for Nirvana's final U.K. appearance.
Sept. 10-13, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight
What is it? An award-winning four-day boutique festival curated by DJ and former Radio 1 host Rob Da Bank and wife Rosie, staged in a leafy country park in the heart of the Isle of Wight
How much? £195 ($295) general admission; Lucky Cat Hospitality package £450 ($680)
The crowd? Saturday night at Bestival is a gigantic costume party. The theme for this year is "Summer of Love," so expect to see plenty of flared trousers, caftans, long-haired wigs and nudity.
Where should I stay? If you don't fancy camping, check in to the four-star Royal Hotel in Ventnor, a short drive from the festival site. Weekend packages start at £672 ($1,000) per person.
Where can I eat one good meal? The Feast Collective, situated in the festival's Grassy Hill zone, brings together a mouth-watering array of exotic street food and other culinary delights.
Best all-time moment? Elton John in 2013, for his first U.K. festival appearance in more than 30 years.
This story originally appeared in the May 23 issue of Billboard.