Best Small Music festivals

July 7, 2024
The best music festivals of

Secret Garden Party: With a dance-off boxing ring, a science laboratory, an annual paint fight and er, badger shamans, Secret Garden Party is not your average festival. Set in beautiful, landscaped grounds in Cambridgeshire, Secret Garden Party is gaining a reputation as one of the wildest and greatest festivals in the UK. They say it's not about the line-up, but it's still looking great for 2014, with appearances from Clean Bandit, Maya Jane Coles, MO, Kwabs, Little Dragon and more. [Photo: Danny North]

End Of the Road: There's a stellar lineup this year from End Of the Road, in Dorset's stunning Victorian Larmer Tree Gardens. John Grant, The Horrors, The Flaming Lips and Wild Beasts will all be performing, amongst others. There's also a cinema, woodland library, and a healing retreat. Lovely stuff.

Latitude: It may be slowly becoming one of the UK's biggest festivals, but Latitude will always be a boutique event at heart. It's certainly been an inspiration for the other festivals on this list. Boasting the best comedy tent in the UK, there's also a fantastic musical lineup, with The Black Keys, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kelis and many more all performing. All this cultural gloriousness is set against the beautiful backdrop of Suffolk. [Photo: Danny North]

Beacons: Probably the coolest thing to ever hit the Yorkshire Dales, Beacons boasts an achingly cool lineup which this year consists of the likes of Daughter, Jackmaster, Jon Hopkins and Darkside. There's also fancy dress, art installations, film showings, comedy and vintage fairs. Phew. There's also some amazing looking food stands [the most important thing, obviously].

BoomTown Fair: If reggae's your bag, the festival for you is BoomTown. Described as a vibrant "mini city", Hampshire's BoomTown is a reggae-lover's heaven. The festival even has its own "districts" (Chinatown, Downtown, Wild West etc) and villages, and even a magic carpet ride! Fun. The lineup is yet to be announced, but with a festival that looks this brilliant and immersive, who needs the music?

Kendal Calling: Set in the beautiful Lake District, Kendal Calling promises and intimate, eclectic and fun experience for attendees. Winner of Best Small Festival in 2010 and 2011, it's now the Best Medium Festival of 2013. With Suede and Frank Turner having been announced as headliners, there's also appearances from De La Soul, Happy Mondays and Tom Odell, as well as oodles of attractions [including a 3 day house party]. [Photo: Ian Taylor]

Wilderness: Set in Oxfordshire's exquisite Cornbury Estate, Wilderness is fast gaining a reputation for being one of the most stunning festivals in the UK. With the likes of London Grammar and Metronomy performing, as well as a vast banquet of cultural attractions and late night adventures, there's something for everyone here.

Somersault Festival - North Devon, England: More Downton Abbey than Donington Park, this 'five day summer camp of music, adventure and outdoor living' offers everything from surfing seaside excursions, a thing called 'Pearl Lowes gypsy tea party and fashion show' and a pretty wonderful bill that includes Ben Howard, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Jack Johnson, Nick Mulvey, Half Moon Run and Amadou & Miriam.

Festival No 6: Why not end festival season with a weekend at a festival "that's like no other"? September's Festival No 6 indeed boasts the most spectacular festival setting we've ever seen - as well as a slew of 5 star reviews from national newspapers. It's based in a Mediterranean-style coastal village, with a background of mountains, forests and sea. Magical. There's also a stellar lineup featuring the likes of Beck, London Grammar, Bonobo and Temples. There's also plenty of cultural events to get your teeth into as well. We're tempted.

FUSION 2013 Best Small Festival - WINNER of European
FUSION 2013 Best Small Festival - WINNER of European ...
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Ten of the best small music festivals in Europe
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