UK summer music festivals 2012


If there is one thing that the UK does well it’s the music festival. From the well known behemoths of Glastonbury and V Festival, to down home community fetes featuring the most local of local artists, the English know how to put on a party.

While tickets for the big boys sold out long ago, there are lots of great UK music festivals happening this summer that you can still get tickets for.

So pack up your tent and sleeping bag and head over to Britain this summer for a festival experience you won’t soon forget – or maybe that you’ll have trouble remembering!

Bestival, Isle of Wight – 6-9 September, 2012

The brainchild of Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank, Bestival is “on a mission to change the face of independent festival culture.” Set in the grounds of Robin Hill, a leafy country park on the Isle of Wight, every effort has been made to make this festival a little bit different. The camping experience is described as ‘boutique’ and fancy dress isn’t just tolerated but actively encouraged.

As for the music, the point of the whole exercise, there really is something for everyone here. From this year’s superstar headliner Stevie Wonder, and the folky strumming of English singer/songwriter Lucy Rose, to some of the top DJs from around the world, there is sure to be someone on one of the four stages that is just your style.

This isn’t a cheap one, a premium adult camping ticket will set you back £299, but you’ll likely get a lot of bang for your buck!

Lime Tree Festival, North Yorkshire – 24-26 August, 20112

If you’re looking for something a little more laid back, then Lime Tree Festival in Masham, North Yorkshire is for you. Billed as “a return to how festivals used to be” (whatever that means), this independent three day music festival strives to be a peaceful celebration of music with a social conscious.

Lime Tree is only in its 5th year, a mere baby when compared to behemoths like Glastonbury which has been rocking for over 40 years, but Lime Tree seems great for those looking to discover some new UK artists. The line-up isn’t exclusively English, but the vast majority is, and the styles range from the folk that one might expect, to dubstep, and retro 20s jazz.

Tickets for the Lime Tree Festival are much more reasonably priced, with a weekend adult ticket only costing £85—mere pennies when compared to the Bestival ticket price! Your ticket also includes camping for the weekend, but at that price you could splurge and stay in comfort in one of the many Yorkshire cottages to rent in the area. Camping is great and all, but having a hot shower at the end of a long day in the sun (or rain as often happens in England) is pretty great too!

Green Man Festival, Wales – 17-19 August, 2012

For a happy medium between Bestival and Lime Tree Festival check out the Green Man Festival in Glanusk Park, Wales, an increasingly popular newbie on the summer circuit. First held in 2003 with an audience of only 300 people, this year’s event will be considerably bigger but still aims to hold on to some of its small festival charm.

This year’s headliner is rock and roll legend Van Morrison, followed closely by Canadian songstress Feist. One of the things that sets Green Man apart are the alternative areas, like the comedy stage and Einstein’s Garden, which aims to “blend science and nature with entertainment, art, craft and design.” Here you can take part in workshops and visit some of the scheduled lectures, like Rosie Wilby’s the Science of Sex—a little something different from the standard festival fare.

An adult ticket which includes all festival events and camping is £145, not too bad for 3 days of fun and holiday accommodation, and if you bring along your own barbeque and food you should be able to avoid being completely bankrupted by the notoriously high festival food prices! If you want to save even more, why not consider being a volunteer at the festival, where a few hours work over the weekend will be repaid to you with entrance. Not a bad deal really!

Everyone should have a musical festival experience at least once in their life, even if by then end you decide that it is really not for you. Make sure that when you’re packing you plan for the typically unpredictable English weather, which can go from summer sunshine to torrential rain in a matter of minutes. Rubber boots and sunscreen are essentials, and a private supply of toilet paper is sure not to go a miss.

If you’re looking for holiday accommodation around any of these festivals then take a look at the cottages offered by, a comfortable and affordable accommodation alternative to festival camping.

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Blogs published by Adam Groffman • Please note some posts do make me some money, but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

10 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. That is very attention-grabbing, You’re a very professional blogger. I have joined your feed and sit up for in the hunt for more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks

  2. Hi Adam!
    A friend and I just started (last week) a blog for a potential hipster festival in Berlin.

    We thought that been such an expert in both subjects (hipsters and festival) we would love to have you as a guest writer! As the blog is VERY young, basically any topic will be perfect for it. So let us know ;)

    • Just saw! I’m out of town now, but let’s definitely meetup when I’m back in Berlin at the end of the month. I’d be interested to hear about your festival!

  3. I’m annoyed at myself for not making it to any of these when I used to live there!

    • ditto…

  4. Great article about the UK summer festival. It may discourage you to go when you see the price but the way you give us some tips to save our money is remarkable. I also go through some other articles and i must say that i love the way you related your feelings about a place is unbelievable.

  5. I thought I was one of the only travelers who write about festivals (most specifically music festivals), and I’m really glad I found your blog! I love music festivals, and I see myself going to them for a couple more years. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Alexis! Yep – I’m a big fan of music festivals. Been addicted ever since I went to Bonnaroo back in the States. And I’m likely hitting up a few more music European festivals this summer, too!

  6. UK seems like a great place to enjoy concerts and festivals. I know they have some huge venues with some of the biggest crowds in the world for some of their stuff. Definitely music for all types of people – just have to find the right festival.

    • It’s always been my dream to get to Glastonbury… Always been a fan of the UK music scene, and put a summer festival on top of that and I’m in heaven!

      I once went to a festival in Sydney, Australia without knowing hardly any of the bands…but we ended up having a lot of fun simply because of the atmosphere there.

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