Festival season kicks off in a matter of weeks. From May bank holiday through to the end of September fields, parks and stately halls across the UK will be taken over by thousands of fun seekers looking to shut down the typical workday trappings and savour some of the most exciting names in electronic music as the party moves from the club to the countryside.
From intense inner-city one-dayers to all-out weekend bass binges, the UK festival menu has never been as broad or bountiful as it is now. There’s stacks going on almost every single weekend and we’re present and hosting arenas at some of the best of them.
If you haven’t already decided which events you’re heading to this summer then now is the time to firm up your plans, roll out your squad and start airing out that tent. Here are 15 crucial options in order of when they happen. See you there…
(Image: El Dorado Festival)
We Are FSTVL
Where: Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Upminster, Essex
When: May 26 – 28
Officially blowing the starters whistle for UK festival season, We Are FSTVL declares the start of summer in style. Boasting a line-up that’s rich in all the best shades and styles of bass music, house and techno, We Are FSTVL has extended into Friday night for the camping crew with a special session hosted by Manchester’s tech house giants Kabuki. UKF will be representing once again on the Saturday with Wilkinson, Dimension, DJ Zinc, Low Steppa, Preditah, Redlight, My Nu Leng, Section Boyz and TQD. Elsewhere across the weekend you’ll find the likes of Camo & Krooked, Dub Phizix & Strategy, Metrik, Carl Cox, Basement Jaxx, Ricardo Villalobos, Wiley, Jauz, Dizzee Rascal, Sigma, Roger Sanchez and loads more. We Are FSTVL don’t mess around!
Love Saves The Day
Where: Eastville Park, Bristol
When: May 27 – 28
How Much: £49 Per Day
One of Bristol’s brightest weekenders. Showcasing dance music from across the spectrum from techno to jungle and everything in-between. This imprint has cemented itself as one of the highlights of the year for Bristolians. This year DJ Die, Zed Bias, Shy FX, My Nu Leng, DJ Hype b2b Hazard, Friction, Dimension and an incredible Randall b2b with 4Hero is on the cards. Including techno big hitters such as Ricardo Villalobos and Jamie Jones as well, this festival truly caters for every need under the sun.
Where: Gilcombe Farm, Somerset
When: May 26 – 29
How Much: £105
The third on the list to be based in Somerset, the folks in the South West definitely know how to put on a party. Primarily focused on ghetto funk, disco and breaks, this unique boutique festival as it labels itself can boast a vibe quite like no other in the UK. This year Fabio & Grooverider, DJ Marky, LTJ Bukem, Krafty Kuts, Slipmatt, Koan Sound, JFB and the almighty Stanton Warriors are leading the vanguard for all things bass related, oh, and the Sugar Hill Gang are headlining too. How can you resist?
Where: Baskerville Hall, South Wales
When: 2nd-5th June
How Much: £85-£105
Versatility is the name of the game for underground boutique rave Balter. With free party roots (and a long period incubating in Bristol’s diverse scene) Balter celebrates ska, punk, bassline, breaks and more jungle and D&B then you could shake a stick at. For those who like their beats at 170 and above you can expect to see Skeptical, DJ Hybrid, Alix Perez, Break, Sam Binga and an incredible Born On Road vs Rumble In the Jungle Soundclash which will see Aries, Stivs, Kelvin 373, Selecta J-Man and Gardna go head to head against Benny Page, Serum and Kamoh with special guests for both teams. This will be special.
Where: Colwick Country Park, Nottingham
When: June 9-10
How Much: £68.75 (weekend ticket)
Making our way to the midlands for this one, Detonate is one of the UK’s leading bass event brands. Throwing down nights throughout the midlands and the north, they cater to all tastes, providing you like your music heavy enough to rattle your ribcage. This two-day festival boasts a line-up so star-studied you’d have to be a very busy bee to catch all the sonic delights they’ve provided. Leading acts include Chase & Status, Sigma, Wilkinson, Noisia, Shy FX, Camo & Krooked, Friction, DJ Zinc, Digital Mytikz, General Levy, Chris Lorenzo, Alix Perez b2b Skeptical and Sir Spyro b2b Spooky, b2b Chimpo. With everything from UKG, Hip Hop, Jungle and Bass House all thrown into the mix this is one to catch if you can.
Where: Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire
When: June 30 – July 3
How much: £121 (weekend ticket)
A beautiful boutique bash held by the Cirque Du Soul: El Dorado is one of friendliest, chill and progressive events of the summer with just as much focus on art, wellbeing and good food as there is on the music. Groove Armada, Sugarhill Gang, Hot 8 Brass Band, Shy FX, Redlight, My Nu Leng, Artful Dodger, Dusky, Congo Natty, Holy Goof and many more will be playing in the stately lakeside location. There’s also a comedy club, fashion parades and silly sports day and a space hopper circuit. Fun and games for days – this is what festivals are truly about!
Where: Rowden Paddocks, Bromyard
When: July 21-23
How Much: £115-£125
In the far reaches of Herefordshire, this family friendly festival fandango is home to some of the finest in drum & bass and hip-hop the UK has to offer. Sitting in the heart of an emerald countryside, this intimate festival has organised, for your delectation and delights: Krafty Kuts, Delta Heavy, Hazard, Rodney P, Loadstar, Mind Vortex, Frankee and a very special 15 years of Critical Music featuring Break, Ivy Lab, Kasra and Foreign Concept. Up-front music but feel good vibes, what more could you ask for?
Where: Digbeth Triangle, Birmingham
When: July 29
How Much: £44+
These Brummy badmen have got quite the treats planned this year. Bringing the finest in the d&b, grime and house. Chase & Status are amongst the headliners and are joined by Sub Focus, Chris Lorenzo, Mu Nu Leng and Goldie doing an exclusive reggae set. Others leading the musical slaughter are Camo & Krooked, Cause & Affect, Dimension, High Contrast, Danny Byrd, Friction and Hype b2b Hazard. Expect a host more of world leading artists and DJs to join these d&b hitmen, so don’t sleep and get your tickets now.
Where: Matterley Bowl, Winchester
When: August 10 -14
How Much: £155-£195
A festival that has truly skyrocketed beyond the stratosphere of expectation, this whirlwind of artistic vision is rivalled only by the exalted production quality that goes into each and every fine detail, creating one of the most immersive and alluring festival experiences in the UK, if not the world. If you like you’re bass heavy and your beats broken then DSTRKT 5 and Sector 6 will be the place for you. Acts this year include Aphrodite, Billain, Black Sun Empire, DJ DIE, Emperor, Ray Keith, Paradox, S.P.Y, The Prototypes, Mefjus, Forward, Friction, Icicle, Optiv & BTK, Rockwell, Shy FX and Xtrah. You could be forgiven for thinking this was simply a d&b festival with the hordes of talent on the bill, but you can expect everything from bass, hip hop, electro swing, frenchcore, breaks and everything in between. If you’ve never been, what on earth are you waiting for?
South West Four
Where: Clapham Common, London
When: August 26 – 27
How much: From £55 per day (full weekend tickets sold out)
Pendulum live and Playaz first ever festival arena… Do we need to say more? SW4 is the leading electronic music festival in London for a reason. Representing everything that’s great about the whole world of dance music, this year’s line-up across the two days is impeccable: Pendulum live, Camo & Krooked, Knife Party, Deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Netsky, Jauz, Carl Craig and his synthesiser ensemble and LOADS more. Hell, they’ve even got Goldie going b2b with My Nu Leng! How does that even work? We can’t wait to find out…
Where: Powderham Castle, Exeter
When: September 2 – 3
How much: From £42
Lockdown have the south west very much on lock down between September 2-3. So many awesome names across the full bass spectrum will be representing it’s hard to know where to start… Wilkinson, Wiley, Fatboy Slim, Sigma, Gorgon City, Example, Big Narstie, My Nu Leng, Heartless Crew are all signed up. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – we haven’t even announced our own arena’s line-up for Lockdown yet. With some cool luxury camping options on offer and the promise of the classic laidback south west vibe, Lockdown will be legendary.
Where: Norfolk Showground, Norwich
When: September 1 – 3
How much: £110 (weekend camping ticket)
Destination Norwich! We’re back at Sundown and we’re packing a hench line-up: Noisia, TQD, Chris Lorenzo VS DJ Zinc, P Money, Logan Sama, 1991 and Skepsis. Don’t just stop at our arena, though – the whole festival is teaming with exciting names: Pendulum, Rag’n’Bone Man, Wiley, Kurupt FM, Skream, Solardo, Camo & Krooked and many more. And if you’re not happy with those names go and record your own tune… Seriously – Abbey Road Studios are setting up a pop up studio to record your favourite jam throughout the festival. How cool is that?
Illusive Festival of Performing Arts
Where: Deene Park, Corby
When: September 8 – 10
How Much: £78.50-£88.50
One of the smallest festivals on this list, however, don’t let size fool you, the quality of this festival knows no bounds and they always come correct with the bass flavour. Flexing a heavy Jungle influenced line up this year, acts include; Congo Natty, Mampi Swift, Brockie, Ray Keith, Ed Solo & Darrison, JFB, Benny Page, Born on Road, Serial Killaz, Aries and AMC with Cut & Run and Slipmatt donning the breakbeats. On top of this, they will have a number of live bands covering gypsy, swing, reggae, hard trance and dancehall. This authentic slice of underground rave culture is one to add to the festival bucket list it can be certain.
Hospitality In The Park
Where: Finsbury Park, London
When: September 23
How Much: £37-£49
The UK’s biggest D&B festival is set to return to Finsbury Park, London, for round two after the resounding success of HITP 2016. Last year saw acts like High Contrast, Calyx & Teebee, Rockwell b2b Rene LaVice Uncle Dugs, Calibre, The Upbeats and lord knows more. This year the London Elektiricty Big Band, Clipz, King Of The Rollers, Guv, Critical Sound System and all the usual Hospitality offenders will be shelling things down joined by the Let It Roll family who will be hosting a monolith stage bringing the heaviest names in the game. Oh, and they still have the full line ups to release on the Med School stage. Don’t sleep on this one as it sold out very early last year.
Where: Eastville Park, Bristol
When: September 23-24
How Much: £33-£50 per day
The second Bristol based festival on the list, and it’s on the very same site. As one of D&B’s true homelands within the UK, you can expect some serious bass weight at this one. The 2017 line-up is in the process of being finalised but last year DJs included: Breakage, Calyx & Teebee, DJ Hype, Delta Heavy, Ed Rush, Hazard, Icicle, Randall, Skeptical and performances from Mike Skinner, Preditah and the Stanton Warriors. If that doesn’t make your mouth water then may the lord have mercy on your soul as you are a musical heathen. We expect very similar things to occur this year so keep your eyes peeled for the line-up announcement.