As we embark upon festival season, it only seems right to delve in to the wonderful world of the great British festival. Every year millions of us elope to the countryside for a week of music, mud and hedonism, but with hundreds of festivals now sprouting up across the country, which ones are the best?
Here we’ve ranked the top 5 UK festivals and why we think they deserve their spot.
5. Reading and Leeds
You might call Reading and Leeds your bread and butter festival. Having been going since 1971 and 1999 respectively, it has become a staple of rock and alternative music in the UK. Whilst it has attracted the worlds biggest bands over the years (Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Oasis, The Rolling Stones to name a few), one of the greatest things about Reading and Leeds is the raw atmosphere of 90,000 rock fans set loose for a weekend. Some might call Reading and Leeds a “gateway festival” as it typically attended by a younger crowd and is somewhat of a rite of passage. Not to be looked down upon though, it’s still one of the greatest UK festivals for music lovers.
4. Isle of Wight festival
Taking over an entire island for a whole weekend, the Isle of Wight festival showcases the best in pop and alternative music. Past performers have included David Bowie, Coldplay, Jay-Z, Elton John and Paul McCartney. The festival was originally intended to be the UK’s version of Woodstock back in 1968 but it only ran until 1970 when it took a 30 year break before being revived in 2002. Their philosophy remains though and what is wonderful about Isle of Wight festival is that it’s all about the music rather than making a profit.
3. T in the park
Raved about by everyone who attends, T in the Park takes place in Scotland (the location has moved about numerous times) and attracts around 85,000 people each day. Originally founded in 1994 by Tennent’s lager, it has it’s roots in alternative music whilst nowdays featuring some of the biggest pop artists around. Past performers have included the likes of The Arctic Monkeys, Blur, Prodigy, Robbie Williams and Radiohead. It has faced some challenges as of late though with the Scottish government forcing numerous site restrictions on them meaning that the event did not happen in 2017 and looks unlikely to happen in 2018. Let’s hope the T in the Park guys are back soon.
2. Secret Garden party
Originally launched as an alternative to mainstream music festivals, Secret Garden Party is small-scale in comparison to other festivals on the list but it contains that most important quality of all – doing it for the love of music. Originally founded in 2004 the lineups are classically a mix of electronic, alternative, dance and ska. Secret Garden Party positions itself as a pure hippie festival that doesn’t give in to sponsorship or advertising and that’s why people love it. And what’s more, Secret Garden Party even has it’s own lake for swimming and cooling down in the summer heat! A must attend for festival lovers.
1. Glastonbury festival
This is a no brainer, right? Not only the best UK festival but quite possibly the world’s best festival. With over 100 stages of genre-spanning music, comedy, poetry, political debate, circus and huge artwork features (such as Block 9 and Shangri-la), it’s not just the music or the variety that makes Glastonbury so great, it’s the ethos and the atmosphere of the festival. All of the profits go to charities such as Oxfam and WaterAid, they don’t wash their audience with corporate advertisements wherever they go and they actively promote peace, love and environmental causes. This is what festivals are meant to be about, and you can’t help the feeling that it exists out of a pure love for music, people and life, and the Glastonbury crowd reflect this. But what might possibly be the kicker with Glastonbury is that there are no barriers between the campsites and the stages meaning that you can take alcohol and food wherever you like with no need to spend ungodly amounts of money at expensive festival bars. Anybody who has been to Glastonbury will know that it is like no other, and very well deserving of the number 1 spot on the top UK festivals list.
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