One of the hottest music festivals in the country returns with a knock-out lineup that features some of the most popular acts in the world alongside the best critically-received bands and we’re sponsoring it too!
The Libertines, Mumford and Sons and Metallica are the three headliners, while Leeds’ reputation as the best festival for alternative and rock music is secured with five stages of loud guitar music. There’s a dance stage, plus music from the likes of Azealia Banks, Lethal Bizzle and Ms Dynamite on the Radio 1 Xtra stage. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a whole weekend of alternative comedy from Russell Kane, Milton Jones and Adam Buxton.
There’s plenty for the more mature festival-goer amid the music and comedy - a huge variety of food, posh toilets and even quieter camping if you’d prefer to actually get some sleep and indulge in some creature comforts while dancing the weekend away.
Chester-le-Street Fake Festival
It may be called the Fake Festival, but there’s nothing artificial about the buzz around this event in Chester-Le-Street following a riotous launch in 2014. Featuring three of the UK’s best tribute bands - the cunningly-named Four Fighters, Really Hot Chili Peppers and Blondied - and a raft of the region’s best musical talent, this day-long festival in Riverside Park will get feet tapping and the occasional head banging.
When it’s time to fuel up there are food traders on site, plus a licensed bar if all the dancing gives you a thirst. The festival is easy to reach and just minutes from Chester-le-Street station in picturesque Riverside Park. All the action takes place in a giant marquee - so this is one festival than can’t be ruined by the great British weather, fake or not.
Manchester’s expression of diversity, tolerance and good old-fashioned fun is centred around the Gay Village, famously seen on television in Russell T Davies’ Queer As Folk and Cucumber. Pride celebrates its 25th anniversary in style this year with four full days of events, not to mention market stalls, street food and even an exhibition space for businesses and community groups. It all adds up to one of the largest celebrations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life in Europe.
While the event is centred around LGBT communities and culture, it’s also famously inclusive. This year there’s live music from Texas, Union J and Little Boots; the famous carnival-style parade and the emotional candlelit vigil, the spiritual heart of Manchester Pride. There’s something for everyone at Pride - it’s simultaneously a very urban, very English and very Mancunian event.
Yes, we know. It’s not October - but who wants to wait around for two months when there’s great beer, Germanic food and oompah bands to be enjoyed? If you can’t make the real thing in Munich, Sheffield’s Oktoberfest promises the next best thing, with the added advantage of taking place in the glorious summer. Sample the schnitzel, wurst and pretzels, enjoy beers and sing along to songs you don’t understand - all on Devonshire Green, 1,000 miles from Bavaria but only a ten-minute walk from Sheffield railway station.
With beer and bands flown in from Germany - and ladies and gents wearing the traditional dirndl and lederhosen respectively - it’s very much the real deal. There are five days of festivities, most of which are free to enter, but various packages offer combinations of beer, food and seat reservations - especially important if you plan on standing on benches together by the end of the night, as is traditional.
Liverpool International Music Festival
Live music and Liverpool work well together at the best of times, but during the city’s International Music Festival - the biggest free music event in Europe - the Mersey beat dial is cranked up to 11. The Summer Jam programme of free live music takes over leafy Sefton Park, with a huge roster of acts from home and away. So not only do you get international acts including Basement Jaxx, Katy B and Laura Mvula; there’s local lads made good Echo and The Bunnymen, Space and The Real Thing too.
Despite its cosmopolitan make-up, LIMF is also a celebration of Liverpool and its cultural place within the world. Fringe events at Liverpool’s theatres and music venues include a tribute to Gil Scott Heron, gigs on activism within music and a roster of performances as diverse as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to long-standing club night Circus. Who needs Glasto?