With a Glastonbury fallow year and an incredibly underwhelming Reading & Leeds line-up to contend with, on face value 2018 doesn’t show much promise on the festival front. It would be understandable to assume that this is the case, but how wrong you would be.
The rise of the smaller and medium-sized festivals in recent years has given the larger, household names something to think about. This year, with even more new names and fringe festivals continuing to surge in popularity, the UK festival scene is actually looking rather bright.
We’ve picked out the six festivals dates which we deem to be leading the way this year. With tickets still available, could one or more of these be the focal point of your summer?
6th-7th May – Live at Leeds & Liverpool Sound City
This weekend sees two major UK cities hosting inner-city festivals, both with a rich history of producing musical talent. With what’s set to be its biggest and best year to date, Live at Leeds returns on Saturday with a line-up packed with great artists. The Vaccines top the bill, with Circa Waves, Peace, The Magic Gang & The Horrors just scratching the surface of one of 2018’s most promising festivals.
If you’re after a two-day festival experience, then Liverpool Sound City is the one for you this weekend. Peace are one of several bands performing at both festivals, and they will be fresh from their third record release when they top the bill on Sunday at Sound City.
It’s been another great year for DMA’s too, who have broken through even further into the forefront of the indie scene this year. The Australian three-piece will headline on the Saturday at Sound City, with other performances across the weekend coming from The Slow Readers Club, Jaws, IDLES and more.
26th-27th May – Neighbourhood Weekender
The end of the month sees the debut of Neighbourhood Weekender. Almost out of nowhere, the two-day event in Victoria Park, Warrington was announced, with a sensational line-up. Neighbourhood Weekender follows on from Neighbourhood Festival, the one-day, inner-city music event in Manchester – which debuted back in 2016.
Courteeners and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will headline the event. Further performances from the likes of Jake Bugg, Blossoms, Editors, The Coral, Reverend and the Makers & Miles Kane, to name just a few, is what makes this one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures on the music calendar for 2018.
9th-10th June – Parklife
Parklife Festival returns to Heaton Park with one of the more diverse festival line-ups of the summer. Headlined by Manchester’s very own comeback king Liam Gallagher and critically-acclaimed electronic indie band The XX; the festival looks as though it is continuing to go from strength to strength on an annual basis.
Run by Sacha Lord (Warehouse Project), the line-up includes everything from Skepta, Lorde and Everything Everything through to Sampha, Four Tet and Justice. A little bit of something for everyone is the key with the Parklife line-up this year, whilst keeping the core, electronic backbone in place which has helped the festival become what it is today.
29th June – 1st July & 6th-8th July – TRNSMT
When it was announced that T in the Park would be taking a break in 2017, there was a gap in the market for another major Scottish festival to step up to the plate. Up stepped TRNSMT with one of the festivals of the summer, and the Glasgow Green party returns once again this year, bigger and better than ever.
The festival will take place over the course of two weekends in 2018, with headliners including The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, and Queen & Adam Lambert. TRNSMT offers what many consider to be the best UK line-up out there this year, so will you be heading to Glasgow in July?
26th-29th July – Kendal Calling & Y Not Festival
The last weekend in July sees the return of two of the most highly-regarded medium-sized festivals in the UK. Kendal Calling and Y Not Festival are back, at Lowther Deer Park and Pikehall respectively. Kendal Calling sold out in rapid time this year – its fastest sell-out to date – and Y Not made the ultimate recovery after last year’s setback.
When your festival is battered with torrential rainfall and forced into cancellation on the final day of the event in 2017, it’s all about how you respond the following year. In the case of Y Not Festival in Derbyshire, it took months of hard work and preparation to provide the perfect response in 2018.
With their biggest line-up to date, a new location, and plenty of new features on-site, Y Not is well and truly back with a bang. The Libertines, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Jamiroquai headline the event this year, with arena artists such as Kaiser Chiefs and Manic Street Preachers also included on the bill.
The Libertines & Catfish and the Bottlemen will also be headlining Kendal Calling this year, alongside Run DMC and Hacienda Classical. Ocean Colour Scene, James, and Shed Seven also feature on the line-up in 2018.
31st August – 2nd September – Bingley Music Live
And last but not least, it’s Bingley Music Live. This was one of the later announcements of 2018, catching many by surprise. The dust had settled following the frenzy of UK festival reveals, and then up stepped Bingley Music Live with the line-up for the latest addition of the family-friendly three-day event.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Shed Seven, and Jake Bugg will headline the event in West Yorkshire, which is always one of the final dates in the festival calendar. Its unique, friendly atmosphere has made Bingley Music Live an annual staple for many. With artists such as The Cribs, Public Image Ltd, and Spring King also announced and many more to come, 2018 promises to be another step in the right direction for the festival.
Will you be heading to any of the above in 2018? It promises to be a great summer of music!