Now that Summer, or at least sunshine, seems to have arrived, we’re all getting a little misty eyed for that most seasonal of occurrings, the UK festival season. Put aside the clichés of mud, warm cans of Carling and semi-naked hippies, because Glastonbury isn’t happening this year, so who is stepping up to the plate to fill the void, and who has decided they don’t really need to try as hard as usual with the reduced competition. Find out in our annual tradition, the 2018 Festival Line Up Review.
Green Man (16th-18th August, Brecon Beacons)
Consistently the most exciting thing that happens in Wales all-year, Green Man festival has built a reputation on both the quality and the depth of their line-up, and this year’s is no different. The headliners are a little predictable and very male, with Fleet Foxes and War On Drugs seemingly headlining some sort of UK festival almost every summer. Much more exciting are some of the names further down the bill with the much hyped Haley Heynderickx joining established names like Cate Le Bon, Kevin Morby and Pictish Trail as well as break-out songwriters, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, and some of our personal favourites like Adwaith and Ed Dowie. It might not be their best line up ever, 2014 in particular would take some beating, but Green Man has once again delivered plenty worth getting excited about.
Tickets for Green Man are available now for £180 + booking fee – click HERE for more information.
Bestival (2nd – 5th August, Lulworth Estate, Dorset)
With each passing year, it seems that Bestival gets less and less our sort of thing. It looks fun, it looks like the sort of place where people are having a really good time, they’re just not having the sort of really good time we like. There’s some huge names in the dancing around genres, with the likes of Thundercats, MIA and Grace Jones – undeniably impressive, yet scanning around, we’re struggling to find anything we particularly like, we’ll give This Is The Kit a listen, a sunny afternoon with Songhoy Blues sound pleasant, and who doesn’t want to see Vic Reeves doing a reggae set? Yet basically we can imagine wandering around not quite knowing what to do with ourselves and feeling self-conscious about not getting into the joyous spirit, or the circus theme, sorry Bestival it’s not you, it’s us.
Tickets for Bestival are available now for £182 inc booking fee – click HERE for more information.
Wilderness (2nd – 5th August, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire)
Ah hello there Wilderness, looking all shiny and pleased with yourself once again, with all that delicious sounding food from Yotam Ottolenghi and Angela Hartnett, and your 112 different types of Yoga. You are arguably the ethos of the modern music festival, in that you do all of the things that now go along with a music festival incredibly well: you just forgot one thing…the music. It’s not even that the bands booked are bad, Kamasi Washington is a huge coup, !!! are always enjoyable, and everyone seems to love Chic these days, you just don’t seem to have put much thought into it. Admittedly you never claimed to be a music festival, so perhaps we shouldn’t judge you as one; as the physical embodiment of a Sunday Supplement, you’re probably very enjoyable.
Tickets for Wilderness are available now for £179.50 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
Field Day (June 1st and 2nd, Brockwell Park)
It’s a very big year for London institution Field Day; relocated to Brockwell Park and its place as London’s biggest alternative event under serious threat from its slick new competitor All Points East (more on that later), you sort of feel like it could be make or break for the festival. The result in terms of the line-up is something a bit more coherent and focused than the sometimes sprawling eclecticism on offer; they’ve for the most part gone for an experimental and electronic affair, probably more akin to the festival’s roots. Unquestionably though, they’ve done it rather well; there’s a UK exclusive from Fever Ray, sets from the very interesting, very hip ilk of Floating Points, The Comet Is Coming and Thundercats, while Mount Kimbie, Nils Frahm and Panda Bear are all interesting, and all make a lot of sense together. It’s not necessarily our exact cup of tea, but in terms of putting together a cohesive and challenging line-up, all credit to Field Day, there’s life in this festival yet.
Tickets for Field Day are available now for £89 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
Latitude (12th – 15th July, Henham Park, Suffolk)
Latitude is a festival that has spiralled a long way from it’s fairly humble beginnings. With the fact that it’s now a huge player on the festival scene, also comes the need to appeal to a younger, more pop-oriented crowd. The resultant line-up isn’t by any means bad, but it is hard to see exactly who they’re trying to appeal to. On the one hand there’s some solid, slightly dated fair aimed squarely at your classic music fan, with sets from The Charlatans, James and Sleeper, on the other there’s plenty for the, “youth of today”, with Solange, Wolf Alice and Jessie Ware. What we’re not really seeing is how those two groups go together on the same bill, and where exactly Mogwai or …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead come into the equation. One thing’s for certain, you certainly can’t criticise the eclecticism.
Tickets for Latitude are available now for £197.50 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
Festival No.6 (6th – 9th September, Port Meirion)
After the disastrous floods of 2016, and a solid but slightly uninspiring 2017 line up, we were hoping Festival No.6 might wow us this time around. Set in the intriguing location of Port Meirion, it’s a festival that we’re constantly hoping is going to hook us in, sadly 2018 doesn’t seem to have done that. With a line up that, even by UK festival standards, is very heavy on all-male guitar bands, it’s not a disastrous collection, it just doesn’t inspire. The omnipresent Charlatans, Django Django and Baxter Dury are of course involved, and while The The are an intriguing headliner, it’s hard not to feel you could see most of these bands somewhere else and get a bit more to go with them. It all just feels a little flat.
Tickets for Festival No.6 are available now for £180 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
All Points East (25th-27th May, Victoria Park, London)
The biggest newcomer on the festival scene this year is London three-dayer, All Points East. Sort of running like a series of three individual all-dayers, the organisers have certainly made an impact by splashing an awful lot of cash on some seriously big names, even before you consider the same organisers are also putting on all-dayers headlined by Nick Cave, The National and Catfish & The Battlement the weekend after. For the official festival bit, there’s three days than run loosely like this. Day one is a sort of retro indie-disco in New York-circa 2005 affair, with LCS Soundsystem and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the eye-catching names, and support from relative newcomers including Hookworms and Young Fathers. Day two is all about the minimal electronic stuff, with almost inevitable headliners The XX, alongside the probably should be the headliner, Lorde and a pleasantly danceable undercard. While the final day is basically three headliners for the price of one with Bjork joined by Beck and the ever intriguing Father John Misty. Glossy, expensive and genuinely rather impressive, this strutting peacock of a festival might just make a big impact.
Tickets for All Points East are available now for £169.95 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
Truck Festival (20th-22nd July, Oxfordshire)
Truck Festival was one of the first festivals we ever went to, and as such has a certain place in our hearts. Nonetheless, this year’s main stage line-up is pretty much the musical equivalent of shouting lads, lads, lads and pouring a pint of warm Carling over someone’s head: stay on the main stage and you’ll struggle to even see a single female musician. The festival’s redeeming feature is that there are some actually decent bands lower down, with the presence of the Alcopop label who provide The Spook School, itoldyouiwouldeatyou and Happy Accidents, nicely complimented by the likes of The Orielles, Orchards and Doe. Keep yourself tucked up in front of The Nest stage and you’ll have a really good time.
Tickets for Truck Festival are available now for £110 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
Indietracks (27th – 29th July, Midland Railway, Derbyshire)
We’ll be totally honest, we’re very biased towards Indietracks. It’s the festival more than any other than nurtures the UK DIY-scene we hold so closely to our heart. This year though, probably more than ever, it really wouldn’t matter, because this is quite possibly the finest Indietracks line up there has ever been. The headliners are all perfectly judged, nature enthusiasts British Sea Power the most eye-catching, and Honeyblood and The Lovely Eggs equally intriguing. Elsewhere there’s a winning mix of acclaimed big hitters, Gwenno, Amber Arcades, Girl Ray, and exciting, barely known newcomers like Panic Pocket, Tugboat Captain and Eureka California. All that plus some classically Indietracks names like Darren Hayman, Night Flowers and Onsind. We genuinely can’t sing this festival, or this line up’s praises heavily enough – the best line up of the entire summer and all for under £100.
Tickets for Indietracks are on sale now for £72 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.
End Of The Road (30th August – 2nd September, Larmer Tree Gardens)
On a purely musical level, End Of The Road has for a number of years now been the UK’s most interesting festival, and 2018 doesn’t look any different. The headliners aren’t the festival’s most eye-catching trio, however as always it’s a bill that delivers a stunning depth of talent. There’s plenty of regulars with Ezra Furman, Gruff Rhys and Josh T Pearson all present and correct, and they’re joined by some fascinating and eclectic company, with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Big Thief and Destroyer all debuting. Plus they’ve only gone and booked the holy trinity of Worms bands, messrs Flat, Hook and Cut. As usual it’s the perfect send off to any summer of music.
Tickets for End Of The Road are available now for £195 + booking fee. Click HERE for more information.