About Time: You Discovered the Best Alternative UK Festivals Summer 2019By Francesca Brooking
If you’re looking to brighten up your summer diaries with a festival or two, then you’ve come to the right place. Over recent years, the UK has seen a huge growth in festival-goers seeking out new alternative festivals that offer something different. Where the likes of Glastonbury and Bestival dominate the mainstream festival scene, alternative festivals have started to come into their own. So, from pool parties in London to an international balloon fiesta, it’s about time you discovered the best alternative UK festivals this summer:
What: This brand new festival is coming to Yorkshire’s Food Capital of Malton this summer. Taking place on Saturday, July 20th, this boutique summer festival is headlined by Levi Roots and his Reggae Band. Visitors can also expect mouth-watering food and some of Yorkshire’s finest musicians to keep them dancing till close.
Why: Meadowfest is a family-friendly event set in the beautiful meadows and garden of the Talbot Inn by the River Derwent. Running from 10am till 10pm, the festival will offer laid-back entertainment for the whole family and will feature some of the best street food in the region, including veggie and vegan options. The festival’s main stage is set in a natural amphitheatre and visitors can party up front or relax on the lawn as they enjoy an eclectic mix of ska, reggae, funk, blues and much more.
Price: £20 Adult (early bird ticket offer runs until June 30th), £25 adult (standard online price), under 16s go free but must be accompanied by an adult. Buy here.
Where: Postcode Y017 7AJ
What: If you’ve missed out on festival tickets or can’t make it out of the city this summer then soft drinks maker Belvoir Fruit Farms have got you covered. Two pool parties set in two different locations across London promise a day of family fun followed by a packed evening of cocktails and DJs to transport you to your own Ibiza experience in London.
Why: Laying on the holiday vibe will be top DJs including Lauren Laverne and Melanie Blatt on July 6th with a second chance to see Melanie alongside Alice Levine and Kate Nash on July 13th. During the day between 10am and 5pm, Sip + Dip will be hosting children’s entertainers and activities, funky pool inflatables, food, mocktails and a selection of Belvoir drinks and ice lollies to get stuck into. If it’s a party you’re after then you’ve come to the right place because from 6pm till 10pm there will be cocktails and live DJs to give you an unforgettable poolside party experience this summer.
Price: £4.10 – £10.50 per person. Buy here.
Where: Saturday 6th July – Park Road Pool and Fitness, Park Road, London N8 8JN, Saturday 13th July – Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PA
What: On Saturday 31st August, Bristol is hosting their largest one-day festival with its most diverse lineup to date. Headliners include Hip Hop legend Ms Lauryn Hill as well as Grace Jones and Bristol’s own homegrown band IDLES. High Contrast and Crazy P will also feature with many more names to be announced.
Why: The Downs Bristol is a family-friendly festival that promises to make sure everyone has a good time from stellar music acts to a Children’s Area filled with activities and workshops. In keeping with its inception in 2016, the festival’s Information Stage will be returning again this year. By day, The Information Stage will be a space where key speakers address the issues affecting UK society. After the success of last year’s line-up, it will transform into a music stage featuring new musical talent in the evening.
Price: £55 (Adult), £15 (Child), £29.50 (Income Support). Buy here.
Where: The festival takes place on the Clifton Downs to the Northwest of the city of Bristol – it’s a large area of grassland between Clifton and Sneyd Park.
What: Although Jersey may be small it has a mighty musical lineup thanks to the return of The Weekender festival from August 31st till September 1st. This two-day party has a whole host of chart-topping musicians performing from Grammy Award-winning Clean Bandit to up and coming artist Lewis Capaldi among many others.
Why: Take yourself on an island getaway to Jersey for a magical weekend of big-name bands, silent discos and a selection of delicious street food featuring fresh produce to spoil yourself rotten on. This unique festival experience is set to blow you away with dizzying funfair rides, a vintage fair as well as Jersey’s tranquil island beauty to immerse yourself in before you head back home to reality.
Price: Adult weekend ticket £99, child weekend £15. Buy here.
Where: Royal Jersey Showground, A8, JE3 Trinity, Jersey
What: On Thursday 4th July between 6:30pm and 10:30pm, Into The Woods festival will be taking over Goodluck Hope, Ballymore’s newest development on Leamouth Peninsula for one night only. Headliners include the likes of Vanessa White, Michael Rice, Flawless and Donel who will be performing in an intimate outdoor setting with a stunning view of the River Thames.
Why: Into The Woods, hosted in partnership with Three Bears Entertainment, a music production company adjacent to the London City Island development, is a festival that reflects the neighbourhood’s vibrant culture and diversity. In true July 4th style, there will be an American BBQ, with sliders in brioche buns, chicken and veg skewers, falafel and beetroot salad served alongside cocktails and craft beers to enjoy as a perfect accompaniment to this summer evening party.
Price: £15 per person (over 18s only). Buy tickets here.
Where: Goodluck Hope, Orchard Place, Poplar, London, E14 0JU
What: Get yourself down to Bristol from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th August to witness a truly iconic spectacle. This 41st annual event is a colourful celebration of hot air balloons and will feature over 100 of them as they take to the skies in an unmissable show for the whole family.
Why: Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting more than 130 from across the globe. Held over four days in Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free of charge. As well as the spectacular sight of hot air balloons adorning the skies from dawn till dusk, there will be a whole host of traders, fairground rides and entertainment to enjoy.
Price: FREE entry
Where: Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN
What: If you love the sea then mark July 12th -14th in your calendars because Jersey’s Surf Film Festival is returning for its third year. Celebrating the sea, community and environment, this festival is a welcome retreat for those wanting to engage with their inner wilderness.
Why: The festival has a packed schedule of hidden cinema screenings under the stars, art workshops, music from local indie band The Mozaics, fireside storytelling, stargazing yoga, surf lessons and foraging walks. Created by Art Director Natasha Dettman, this festival sheds light on the accumulation of plastic waste at festivals and helps visitors rekindle their love and respect for the sea.
Price: Camping £60 per adult, Far Flung Motel £80 per adult, Friday evening ticket £12 per adult, Saturday £20 per adult. Buy here.
Where: St Ouen’s Bay, Jersey
What: Affectionately known as ‘Heaven in Devon’, Wonderfields is a magical mix of fat party vibes and family fun with a chance to try your hand at yoga, paddleboarding among a whole host of hilarious escapades. From Friday 12th till Monday 15th July Wonderfields promises an eclectic selection of music deep in the woods and surrounding fields of the Fulford Estate for a wild weekend of rural raving.
Why: Grab your most creative fancy dress and join the Wonderfields crew for a whimsical weekend down in rural Devon. By day, head to the lake for a SUP yoga lesson or take home the gold medal in the scone and spoon race before dusting yourself with glitter and raving till the early hours at the biggest party this side of Exeter. Wonderfields is not just your typical muddy fiesta in a field but a chance to relax, unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of reality. During your stay, why not indulge in the Kernow Springs Wild Spa, complete with wood-fired hot tubs and wood-fired sauna yurt? Bliss.
Price: Adult weekend entry – £108.90 (3rd tier). Buy here.
Where: Great Fulford Estate, Dunsford, Exeter, EX6 7AJ
What: Big Screen is returning for a hotly anticipated weekend of live music, films and sporting finals including Wimbledon tennis, the Cricket World Cup and F1 British Grand Prix. Taking over not one but two gorgeous locations during the weekend of Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July, this festival will bring you a Champagne lounge, experiential entertainment and real strawberries and cream to celebrate British summer sport in style.
Why: Hosted in Fulham Palace Private Gardens, a charming National Heritage site in South-West London and stunning Morden Hall Park, Big Screen on the Green is the epitome of quintessential summer sport in action. Put on your summer outfits and spend the day sipping champagne and cocktails while tucking into strawberries and cream in the elegant picnic area. Tickets are also available for the VIP marquee, offering the chance to mingle with celebrities and influencers. If that still hasn’t tempted you, this year Big Screen on the Green is raising funds for several notable charities including Mind, Parkinson’s UK in addition to supporting the National Trust so you know it’s all for a good cause.
Price: £12.50 -£30 per person. Buy here.
Where: Fulham Palace Private Gardens, Bishop’s Avenue, Fulham, London, SW6 6EA and Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, London SM4 5JD
What: On Saturday 27th July, Veelyfe is putting eco-friendly fun back into festivals. Playing host to a mix of RnB, Hip Hop, Afro Beats and House at London’s only beach location, Veelyfe will be proving that sustainable practices can be done while celebrating live talent.
Why: This festival will be led by Radio 4’s Claire Hermet alongside acts including UK grime sensation Stormzy’s sister Rachel Anson, Gorgon City lead vocalist Josh Barry, House of Grae and DJ Melody Kane. In order to promote Veelyfe’s sustainable initiative, festival-goers can expect to see the UK’s largest solar panel staging, eco-toilets, biodegradable cups and food trays. Even the food will be 100% free from animal products, focusing solely on plant-based dishes from around the world instead.
Price: Tickets from £21.91 – £32.57 per person. Buy here.
Where: Lee Valley White Water Centre, Lee Valley Beach, Station Road, Waltham Cross, EN9 1AB