The best London and UK festivals of 2013

Have you got festival fever? We’ve got the ultimate guide to the UK’s music festival season for 2013

Festival 2FESTIVAL SEASON is upon us!

The days are getting longer, if not warmer, and the cider is flowing. Soon it will be time to dust off that cowboy hat, pull out those wellies and dig out those short denim shorts to let them make their one and only yearly appearance at the festival of your choice.

With so much on around London, the UK and Europe — the only question is, which festival/s are you going to?


LONDON is kicking off the party, with some great staples — Hard Rock Calling and Wireless — moving to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. All the more room to fit in huge international headliners like Justin Timberlake, Jay Z and Bruce Springsteen.


It’s authentic, it’s righteous, it’s just so East London. Expect a heady a mix of hip hop, indie, punk and electro, and a huge dance line up you’re sure to love! Add to that giant art installations and theatrical film-sets sourced from Glastonbury and Burning Man plus random acts of absurdity, general silliness and barely controlled chaos under the trees.

Who: Plan B, Goldfrapp, Azealia Banks, D’Angelo, Flying Lotus, Jurassic 5, Hurts, Rudimental, Paul Kalkbrenner, John Talabot

Where: Victoria Park, London

When: 19—21 June

Hard Rock Calling

No Glasto, no worries! London has the perfect antidote, bringing the biggest bands to your backyard. Plus, at the end of the day you can forget the tent and dodgy toilets, and head back to the comfort of your own home! Rock on London.

Who: Kasabian, Paul Weller, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Black Crows, The Klaxons, Alabama Shakes, Cody Chesnutt

Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

When: 29-30 June


With a MASSIVE lineup in our own backyard, plus carnival rides, music workshops and street theatre performances, this is one London festival not to be missed. This year it moves to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park — all the more room to fit in some huge international headliners.

Who: Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Rita Ora, Emeli Sande, Snoop Dogg, Frank Ocean, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Will.I.Am

Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

When: 12-14 July

South West Four

Probably the closet festival to the front door of most Aussies in London, South West Four is an electronic feast right in the centre of south London — Clapham Common.

Who: Armin Van Buuren, Afrojack, Example,  Eric Prydz, Carl Cox & Loco Dice, Paul Van Dyk

When: 24-25 August

Where: Clapham Common, London


When it comes to a music festival, the rest of the UNITED KINGDOM may not have the weather — but it sure does have the energy, enthusiasm and contacts to put on one hell of a show.


This monster festival on the banks of Loch Ness boasts an electric selection of bands. Plus you can enjoy alongside a pint and some haggis. What more do you want?

Who: The Temper Trap, Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, The Vaccines, Ellie Goulding, The Maccabees, Jessie Ware, Example, Bombay Bicycle Club, Plan B, The Futureheads

When: 7-9 June

Where: Loch Ness, Scotland

Isle of Wight

Who wouldn’t want to party on an island? Especially when you’ll be joined by the likes of The Stone Roses, The Killers and the dulcet tones of Ben Howard, at this laidback family-friendly festival. With quirky offerings such as outdoor hot tubs, a Bohemian Woods and a ‘tea rooms’ serving cocktails in vintage crockery, this weekend is sure to be a unique UK festival experience.

Who: The Stone Roses, The Killers, Bon Jovi, Bloc Party, The Macabees, Paul Weller, Jake Bugg, Everything Everything, Sub Focus, Blondie, I Am Kloot, Ellie Goulding, Alex Metric, Damian Lazarus, Lee Foss, Mt. Wolf, Derrick Carter, The Boomtown Rats.

Where: Newport, Isle of Wight

When: 13-16

Download Festival

 Like your music LOUD, with a side of rock? Download is UK’s hardcore home of metal, with this year’s line-up sure to get you pumped up and headbanging along to all the big hitters, as well as the latest emo and thrash.

Who: Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine, Korn, Down, Papa Roach, Iron Maiden, Queens Of The Stone Age, Limp Bizkit Motorhead, Alice In Chains, Mastodon, Rammstein, Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Gaslight Anthem, Stone Sou

Where: Donington Park, Castle Donington, Derby

When: 14-16 June


Otherwise known (by whom we wonder?) as ‘The Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts’, Glastonbury is the mother of all UK festivals.

Unfortunately this year is all sold out, so this is just to let you know what you’re missing out on if you haven’t got tickets, and to help you get excited if you have!

Who: The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford And Sons, Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, Vampire Weekend, Elvis Costello, Portishead, Chase And Status, The XX, Foals, Example, The Smashing Pumpkins, Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club, Alabama Shakes, Editors, Of Monsters and Men, Ben Howard, Rita Ora, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Where: Worthy Farm Pilton, Shepton Mallett

When: 26 June — 1 July

Missed out on tickets? Here’s how to have your own Glastonbury experience, with the added bonus of clean toilets:

  • Watch Glastonbury: The Movie. A documentary celebrating 25 years of rock ‘n’ roll in the Somerset fields.
  • Fill a paddling pool with mud, put on your costume with wellies and turn up the radio really loud.
  • Invite all your mates around and watch your favourite act from your couch. BBC will be live streaming ALL of the festival’s stages.
  • DO NOT buy resale tickets on Gumtree. ALL tickets have to have your photo on them, and tickets offered online through third parties will likely be a scam.
T in the Park

Known for attracting the liveliest of audiences, this is Scotland’s largest and longest established music festival and one of the best in Britain. This year it celebrates its 20th anniversary by featuring stacks of A-list headliners.

Who: Rihanna, Emeli Sande, Phoenix, Of Monsters and Men, Mumford and Sons, Kraftwerk, Dizzee Rascal, Snoop Dogg, The Lumineers, Alt-J, Paloma Faith, Ke$ha, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Frank Ocean, Foals, The Killers

Where: Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland

When: 12-14 July

Magic Summer Live

With a green, leafy park location, Magic Summer Live is a relaxed and chilled vibe set to a soundtrack of pop and rock. Jamiroquai is putting on his only UK performance, so well worth it for that alone. Plus — with a Surrey Sessions Stage featuring local music, and a busking at the festival bars, you may just witness the next Kings of Leon making their first mark on the festival circuit.

Who: Jamiroquai, Joss Stone, Bryan Adams, James Morrison, Level 42, Squeeze, Ocean Colour Scene, Beverley Knight, The Overtones, Kim Wilde, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Soul II Soul

Where: Stoke Park, Guildford

When: 13-14 July


More than just music, Latitude is a sumptuous cultural festival. Set on the estate of a grand old English manor, it features magnificent forest and lakeside stages, and with a host of incredible activities including contemporary art exhibitions, theatrical installations and a literary arena — you certainly won’t get bored!

Who:  Kraftwerk, Foals, Bloc Party, Maccabees, Hot Chip, Cat Power, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Local Natives, Yo La Tengo, Jessie Ware, James Blake, Grizzly Bear, Rudimental, Stornoway, Modest Mouse, Alt-J, Beach House, Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Tim Burgess, John Grant and many, many more

Where: Henham Park, Suffolk

When: 18-21 July

Secret Garden Party

‘A four-day party like no other’ promises Secret Garden, and year after year this ‘party’ festival attracts the craziest and most flamboyant of followers. With its other-worldly sounds and surroundings, including its own lake, this truly magical festival is an escape from normality. Leave your rational self at home — here silliness is encouraged and madness a prerequisite. This year’s theme — Superstition.

Who: Soulwax, Django Django, David Icke, Bastille, the Strypes, Little Comets, The Staves, Regina Spektor and Big Youth

Where: Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

When: 25-28 July

V Festival

Two venues, two days of chart topping acts, including Miss B herself. We can’t guarantee Dicky Branson will be there in his Virgin pantyhose and lipstick, but the festival will be serving up a decent dose of pop, rock and R&B that will satisfy the tastes of every good little consumer.

Who: Beyoncé, Kings of Leon, Stereophonics, The Script, Emeli Sandé, Calvin Harris, Beady Eye, Jessie J, Two Door Cinema Club, The Vaccines, Basement Jaxx, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith, James, Rita Ora, The Courteeners, Jason Mraz, Fun

Where: Chelmsford and Staffordshire

When: 17-18 August


If they’re on the bill here, you know they love to play cos they tear the roof off in one town, then head to the next and do it all again the very next day. With a diverse line up of acts ranging from indie and alternative rock, to punk, metal and dance, this festival won’t disappoint. And to top it off, it’s over the August Bank Holiday. Winner!

Who else: Green Day, System of a Down, Frank Turner, Eminem, Nine Inch Nails, Fall Out Boy, Major Lazer, Alt-J, Phoenix, Kate Nash, Azealia Banks, Lower than Atlantis, We Are The In Crowd, Skindred, Friction, Clean Bandit, Willy Moon and Flux Pavillion.

Where: Reading (and Leeds)

When: 23-25 August


Sporting fireworks, freak shows and a Bollywood bus bar, the Bestival is the Isle of Wight’s flower power love child. With diverse musical acts and a carnivalesque feel, you can let loose and embrace your inner hippie. Oh and don’t forget your fancy dress! This years theme — HMS Bestival.

Who: Elton John and his band, Snoop Dogg, M.I.A, Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian, Jessie Ware, Chic feat Nile Rodgers, Tom Odell, Johnny Marr, James Blake, Wu-Tang Clan, Sinead O’Connor, The Flaming Lips, Bombay Bicycle Club

When: 5-8 September

Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight