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EF’s UK festival guide

Find out what festivals made it into our 2013 guide.


Hello UK festival lovers!! We cannot wait to get stuck into (let’s hope not too much sticky mud!) the festival season here in the UK!! For a relatively small nation, the UK festival season is one that is not to be missed, with an incredible range of festivals happening all over the country, to suit every music lovers taste.

There really is nothing like the feeling of being free for a weekend of fun, music, frolics and general randomness and we love all that the UK festivals have to offer. Above all, incredible musicians and bands from all over the world flock to play here. The Glastonbury festival is without doubt one of, if not THE best festival in the world and this year, it’s back after a year break!

Take a look at our favourite and some of the key festivals that will be happening in the UK over the summer. They are simply not to be missed. Here is our 2013 UK Festival Guide round up for you to enjoy and be inspired by!


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Following a year long break, legendary music festival Glastonbury is back this year. Needless to say the biggest music festival in the world is unlike any other festival and the mother of them all.

For anyone who has ever been to Glastonbury, you know what all the hype is about, because this is truly an astonishing festival, which get better, bigger and bolder each and every year. The festival is about so much more than the incredible line up of music. Poetry, literature, art, crafts, magic, theatre, comedy, cabaret, a circus, a silent disco, a cinema and performing arts all come together to give you an unlimited array of activities to choose from. It is a visual feast, with so many different aspects to explore and be amazed at. Glastonbury is huge, so it is worth planning which bands you really want to see. The festival is so huge, that it can actually take you one hour to get from one side of the festival, to the other (although there would be tons of things to see and stages to check out on the way and everything is sign-posted), but make sure to get a time list of bands before setting out for the day, to avoid disappointment. It is also family friendly, even boasting a kids field – full of slides, bouncy castles and everything that your little monsters might enjoy! You can camp in a tent near an ice cream van, in a Ti-Pi in the Park area, or in a luxury caravan – the choice is yours! You can also stick your tent anywhere you want to, anything goes in Glastonbury and you are free to do as you please!

The line up of bands and artists playing is truly unbelievable. Unlike other festivals, you don’t get just the one token ‘dance tent’, here you will find maybe four or five of them, you don’t just find one token ‘smaller stage, for the smaller bands’, but you will find tons of these types of stages spread across acres and acres of fields for you to stumble across. The unknown artists are as important as the established artists and that’s what makes this festival so special. It is the coming together of all sections, genres and aspects of the performing arts and creative fields to give you a mind boggling five days of unbelievable talent and fun, with memories that will last you a lifetime. If there is one festival that you really MUST go to in your lifetime, it is Glastonbury. The line up this year is amazing and we can hardly believe that Public Enemy and the Rolling Stones are both going to be there! We cannot wait!

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Rolling Stones, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg, Arctic Monkeys, Smashing Pumpkins, Of Monsters and Men, Seasick Steve, Mumford & Sons and many, many more!

When is the fun happening? 26-30th June 2013. Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset.

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Latitude is undoubtedly one of the countries favourite festivals. Not only does this cater for all festival goers, but it is also the winner of the Best Family Festival – meaning that there is something truly for everyone and everyone, no matter what age you are can get involved and join in the fun! Latitude has a wonderful selection of activities going on, including literature and poetry, cabaret, film and live art. Just by looking at the range of people who will be in attendance, is enough to make us want to grab our wellies and head on down! The comedy line up looks incredible and the range of musicians that will be playing is incredibly exciting.

Latitude keeps on growing in stature each year and the comedy line up this year is incredible with Russell Kane and Eddie Izzard amongst the top comedians that you do not want to miss!! They have even bagged Germaine Greer, who has been drafted in to do a talk, get on down and meet this feminist icon!

The amazing Gizzi Erskine Gizzi Erskine is also in attendance, in what promises to be the culinary spectacular of 2013! Chef and food writer Gizzi will be hosting a cookery cabaret stage where there will be demonstrations from some of the most exciting chefs in the business for 2013, along with some of her friends and well-known faces Neil Rankin, Carl Clarke and Jack Stein. There will also be live food-related cabaret acts running in between the chefs’ demonstrations and after hours the stage will turn into a kitchen party, with live bands and DJ sets from the Broken Hearts and Gizzi herself! Latitude festival is not one to be missed!

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Bloc Party, Kraftwerk, Foals, Maccabees and Alt-J.

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When is the fun happening? 18-21st July 2013. Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk.

The Green Man 

The Green Man in an independent music festival which has established itself as one of the most exciting festivals to be held in Wales. Live music from the genres of psych, folk, indie, dance and Americana will be on display with DJs on hand to play you anything from trance to dub-reggae to electro. Green Man also organises an unsigned online band competition to encourage new and emerging artists. It is well respected and has got the support of Moshi Moshi, Domino, Bella Union and Mojo to establish the winner in a live event in London each year. Literature, ceilidhs, all night bonfires and secret gigs are part of the festival’s unique identity. The festival has carved a niche as a non-corporate and ethically-minded festival.

Music is the main content but science themed art, music and a comedy area called Einstein’s Garden, as well as an activity area for young people under the age of 18 called Future Generations. Gourmet food and quality beverages are all part of the Green Man and an area called Nature and Nurture has many holistic therapies and arts installations in a glade within the festival. In 2009 the festival introduced a holiday ticket offer which gave people the option to stay on the festival site during the week and enjoy the local surroundings and tourist attractions. This was done to generate income into the local area.

The theme for this year’s Green Man festival is heroes! So, get your creative hats on and get thinking to come up with something original! Anything from superheroes to cult heroes will be making an appearance. Superb stand-up comedy with a conversational twist as a terrific line-up of top comedians each champion one of Mother Nature’s unsung heroes! What are real mutants like? Could genetics make us superhuman? Biologist and TV presenter Simon Watt investigates the science behind superheroes. Witness the pioneering heroes of space as you’ve never seen them before with an atmospheric re-scoring of dramatic 1960s Apollo moon mission footage. Experience some truly cosmic storytelling from Christine Watkins, the universe-mapping artist Maria Hayes and vocal violinist extraordinaire Sianed Jones. Join Theoretical Zombiologist Doctor Austin for a spoof multimedia tutorial exploring the real science behind a gruesome Zombie epidemic.

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Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Band of Horses, Edwyn Collins, Trwbador, Blaenavon, Man’s An Idiot, Syd Arthur and Zimbaremabwe.

When is the fun happening? 15-18th August 2013, Brecon Beacons, Wales.


To celebrate its tenth year, Bestival is welcoming everyone aboard The Port; a landlocked harbour with HMS Bestival as its centrepiece surrounded by a pier, nautical sideshows and all the action of a bustling port. The Port will make sure everyone on board it will have the time of their life with laser shows, great sound system and most importantly amazing acts: The Port: a brand new mind-blowing arena dedicated to a decade of dancing on The Isle Of Wight! Bestival is organised by DJ and record producer Rob da Bank, along with his wife Josie and is an off-shoot of his Sunday Best record label and club nights. The festival keeps on growing in size each year, and has won several awards, it was voted the best major UK festival in the UK festival awards 2010 and again in 2012, whilst picking up Fans Favourite Festival in 2011.

Besides being generally smaller, there are several qualities that make the Bestival different from the Isle of Wight Festival. It is considered more alternative and diverse, offering a large selection of vegetarian foods; a dressing up tent and a ‘secret stage’. Bestival is well known for its fancy dress themed days (usually the Saturday of the festival). We’ve had several friends take part in this and the photo’s are nothing short of genius! Let’s hope the dressing up boxes of those attending this year is equally as impressive!

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The festival is also heavily involved in supporting social and environmental causes. Bestival actively reduces it’s carbon emissions and impact on the environment; for example schemes such as Bike to Bestival, Swim to Bestival, LiftShare, exchanging recycling at the campsites for cups of tea, recycling and waste management, commissioning Environmental Impact Assessments, monitoring power usage and limiting water usage with push button taps. Impressive!

Bestival is often described as a “boutique festival” due to its non-corporate feel, something which is fantastic, as there is nothing more soul crushing than turning up at a festival, only for it to feel corporate and being taken over with minor celebrities showing up just to be photographed.  All hail Bestival! No wonder it has won so many awards! It is also known for piloting odd and innovative ideas, including an inflatable church where people can get married, more original than jetting off to Vegas to be married by Elvis, perhaps?! We love the creativity that goes into making this festival one of the best that the UK has to offer.

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Elton John, Fatboy Slim, Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, Valerie June, The Polyphonic Spree, Carl Cox, Annie Mac Presents and Dog Is Dead.

When is the fun happening? 5-8th September 2013, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight.

Secret Garden Party

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The enchanting Secret Garden Party is a temporary community that is as free, irreverent, friendly and engaging as it is possible to be. It is a festival like no other. The Secret Garden Party is free from sponsorship and 100% independent. It is conceived as a moment in the year where you can connect to your creative powers, explore your wildest fantasies and meet thousands of people who all want to meet you. It is a festival of the arts, where everyone is the artist. The number one rule is that the party must facilitate your participation. To ensure this principle is upheld, they give half of all ‘programming’ money back to you in the form of arts and expression grants.

The celebrations and spectacles that happen over the festival bond gardeners together, making you feel part of a tribe.  Be it a headline act, a wrestle in the mud pit or cheering as the lake burns and fireworks explode, everyone comes together. Alongside the big events, these are the tiny happenings that only a few people experience. There are so many moments of random brilliance that each gardener goes home with their own exclusive story.  These personal experiences encourage you to get involved in the party – we therefore hold them in high regard.

The theme of the Secret Garden Party this year – is Superstition! Are you afraid of the number 13? Do you avoid walking under ladders? Do these behaviours guide our fates, or are they superstitious nonsense? This year the Secret Garden will be asking all Gardeners to explore their affinity to the supernatural, the inexplicable and the irrational… This year is also The Secret Garden Party’s 10th birthday, so there will be extra reasons to celebrate and go wild!

This year, the Secret Sanctuary will once again spread its calming energy and healing vibrations with the Gardeners. The Sui-shi lounge, apothocary bar, sundown yoga, morning meditation, swimming, acupuncture, Balanise day beds, reflexology, Acro yoga, Bamboo lanterns, lakeside cocktails, reiki, bugbar soundsystem, solar showers, boating, twilight tunes and massage for the ultimate journey of relaxation, with their team of highly qualified therapists, guaranteeing to ease your body, mind and soul! How incredible does this sound?!

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Regina Spektor, 2ManyDJs, Soulwax, Django Django, Bastille, Shout Out Louds, Treetop Flyers, The Ladykillers. Hadouken! (Live) Goldie (Dj Set), Embrace (Dj Set).

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When is the fun happening? 25-28 July 2013, Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon.

In The Woods 

Set in a secret location in some gorgeous, private woodlands, In The Woods is one of the coolest and best kept secret festivals on the scene. In The Woods Festival is an annual independent music festival which focuses on promoting up and coming talent in the music industry and the arts. It is hosted and curated by the band Laurel Collective and organised with friends Tim Adam-Smith and Will Brown. The location of the festival is undisclosed to the public and is only revealed to guests attending shortly before the festival starts. As they like to keep the location of ITW a secret, they don’t give out the address until a few days before the festival starts. Now if that panics any of you don’t worry. We can tell you that it’s in Kent, a 1.5 hour car journey from London. Those of you who want to take public transport can get a train from London Bridge to Staplehurst and there is a shuttle bus available to take you to the festival.

Amidst the carefully selected talent, beautiful lights and captivating art installations are scattered throughout the forest as punters mingle with nature and music over two stages, with local ales and food. A silent disco and gigantic bonfire keep things going til sunrise in a picturesque valley beside the site and with only 900 tickets available the event has become one of the years most unmissable parties.

This year, the first design competition in collaboration with earth positive apparel brand Out the Woods Clothing is being held. In keeping with this year’s art theme of Logic vs. Magic, tribes, teams and silly play, they are looking for four original pieces of artwork designed with ITW in mind to be featured on a limited run of t –shirts and posters produced by OTWC.

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This festival is so unique and small, it feels special to be a part of it. If your past festival experiences involve warm pints of foamy Carling in a corporate mud bath, surrounded by festival luvvies, then this is as far away removed from that world as you can get, which sounds pretty perfect to us!

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? It’s a secret!! But the festival has promised that you will be in safe hands and that the line up will be incredible, interesting and fun!

When is the fun happening? 31st August 2013 – in some beautiful woodlands, in Kent!

V Festival 

V Festival has become a staple of the summertime festival calendar. Although the V festival is quite small in terms of how many tents, stages and stalls are on offer, what makes it so special is that the line up is incredible. Being quite small in scale, compared to the other huge named festivals around, makes getting around the V Festival is very easy. Every year, the V Festival secures some of the most exciting and in-demand bands of the moment. To have just a few of the megastars on offer here at a festival would be amazing, let alone the entire list of people who have been confirmed to play. The dance tent does seen to pack out a bit earlier in the day and entry once it is full, is nigh on impossible. If you want to see a headline act, you’d better get down there very early in the day to ensure your spot.

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The V Festival splits into two seperate sites, taking place at both Weston Park and Hylands Park, which makes if easy for festival goers to go to the one closest to home and it means less travel time is incurred on the journey home on a Sunday night, or the Monday morning! For those you of who are London based, getting to the festival and from the festival could not be an easier, with regular trains running from Liverpool Street and a shuttle bus running from the festival to Chelmsford train station on the return.

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Beyonce, Kings of Leon, Stereophonics, Paloma Faith, Basemenet Jaxx, Calvin Harris, The Script, Emeli Sande, Jessie Ware, Scouting For Girls, Rudimental and FUN.

When is the fun happening? 17 – 18th August at Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire.

Shambala Festival 

You can expect a brilliant and diverse line-up full of the freshest music, thought provoking workshops and good old fashioned interactive fun. Shambala takes place across four days on the August Bank Holiday Weekend at a stunning secret location in the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside. The variety and quality of entertainment on offer is staggering for a festival of its size. With over 200 diverse musical acts across 12 live stages, world-class cabaret, an amazing array of workshops, stand-up comedy, inspirational talks and debates, jaw dropping circus and acrobatics, interactive theatre and nationally acclaimed poetry all housed in beautifully decorated venues.

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Pioneering, intimate and truly innovative, Shambala Festival has perfectly blended creativity and participation for well over a decade. Shambala is a special place where you play, revitalise, make lots of new friends and return to the world fuelled-up on the beauty of being alive. As well as being known as a “legendary party”, it is also a haven for cutting edge theatrics and performance, a think-tank of ideas, and an award winning green event.

Shambala has also got something really special lined up for the Enchanted Woodland this year, a beautiful Tree House constructed by a team of international artists and engineers! This natural art installation will also double up as a stage with chilled out folk music!!

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Groundation, The Skatalites, Far Too Loud, Sam Lee & Friends and Heymoonshaker.

When is the fun happening? 22-25th August 2013, near Market Harborough, Northamptonshire.


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Wireless festival has drawn some huge artists over the last few years, having previously being hosted in London’s Hyde Park. This year, Live Nation has revealed more details about Wireless’ explosive line-up with an additional 31 acts being added across the weekend, which has now moved to its new location of the Olympic Park, in the East-End of London, in Stratford. We attended last year’s festival and it was a bit of a wash out to say the least, as we had a few days of incredible rain, with the entire Hyde Park resulting in resembling one giant mud bath – but that didn’t stop the fun! Each year, Wireless keeps growing in strength and with the likes of superstars such as Justin Timberlake and the incredible Jay Z headlining this year, you really don’t want to miss it! This festival is perfect for those who are not to keen to stay in on a campsite, as the festival can be reached within easy access by train and you can make your way home to your comfy bed, before another day of music awaits you the following day!

Wireless is also a cool festival, as you can grab yourself a day ticket, which is a popular way to explore the festival, rather thank having to commit to the entire weekend. There aren’t that many things going on at the Wireless festival in terms of activities that are separate to the music on offer, there will be various food and drinks stalls, but Wirelss is essentially all about the music and about everyone having a great time! We cannot wait to see Justin Timberlake and Jay Z and think that their Legends of the Summer show is going to be incredible!

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Will.I.AM, Rita Ora, Calvin Harris, John Legend and Snoop Dogg.

When is the fun happening? 14-16th July 2013. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.


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Tickets for this years Blissfields festival sold out of weekend tickets in record time, but you can still grab yourself a slice of the action by getting a Friday day ticket! This year sees Blissfields festival is being held at its new home on Vicarage Farm. The Blissfields family may have grown but it still feels just like that – with the festival family getting back together in a field again. What we love about Blissfields is that it has that family-fun-feelgood-close-knit-vibe about it! At Blissfields, you will discover artists that will not be playing at any other summer festival this summer, which makes for an incredibly unique experience, where you will be able to add some more bands to your favourites list!

For those of you who have got your hands on some tickets for the rest of the weekend, the twist to this year’s festival is that the theme is going to be FILM. Yes, that’s right, so you should dust down your Marilyn Monroe outfit, get suited up as James Bond or put on your fave Avenger outfit! They want to see everyone being as creative as possible, even if that means turning up as a Monster from the Black Lagoon or ET!! Blissfields have plenty of activities and fun elements that have all been plotted around the FILM theme, with exclusive and secret premiere parties at night that you just have to take part in! There will also be a prize for the leading man and leading lady competition. The winners will grace the red carpet at Blissfields 2013 as VIPs with FREE WEEKEND tickets for themselves (and an entourage of course) as well as as upgrades through the weekend and the honour of opening the premiere party.

Key artists to keep your eyes are ears peeled for? The Staves, Dub Pistols, Charlie Fox, Hairy Hands, Mary Miss Fairy and Stone Them Crows.

When is the fun happening? 5-7th July 2013, Vicarage Farm, Winchester.

So what are you waiting for? Get your wellies on and get yourself down to a festival this summer!

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