10 brilliant UK festivals to look forward to this summer

Festies are coming back back back (we hope!). Whether you're up for rowdy indie or a rave in a tent – or both! – there'll be something for you

As the days get longer and the weather gets hotter, there’s only one thing on our minds – when can we spend our weekends bouncing around festival fields again? The answer is fairly soon, if coronavirus keeps itself in check. With things starting to look more positive around the return of live music – and, by extension, festivals – there’s no time like the present to start planning for a summer of festy fun.


Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion CREDIT: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Visible

When: September 11-12


Where: Heaton Park, Manchester

Line-up: Dave, Megan Thee Stallion, Disclosure, DaBaby, Skepta, Jamie xx, AJ Tracey, Burna Boy and more.

If you’re looking for a massive party to celebrate being back in a festival field with your mates, they don’t come much bigger than Parklife 2021. Global stars like Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby rub shoulders on the line-up with UK icons like Skepta and Dave, while the slots lower down the bill offer a host of new acts (Ivorian Doll, Pa Salieu, Bad Boy Chiller Crew and more) that will get the energy pumping from the get-go.

Why it’ll rock: If you’re a fan of hip-hop or dance music, you’ll be in your element with this line-up.

Reading & Leeds 

Stormzy. Credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns

When: August 27-29


Where: Little John’s Farm, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds

Line-up: Stormzy, Post Malone, Liam Gallagher, Queens Of The Stone Age, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Disclosure, Doja Cat, Beabadoobee and more.

Reading & Leeds will return this year with not one but two main stages, both offering absolutely colossal headliners. It’s a smart move – we’re all gagging for some festy action after a year off and this way the festival can book a headliner for everyone. Elsewhere, the bill is similarly eclectic with pop (Madison Beer, Sigrid), indie (Beabadoobee, Girl In Red), rock (Neck Deep, Nova Twins) and rap (Jack Harlow, DaBaby) all catered for.

Why it’ll rock: R&L is always a good time and more stages mean more potential for iconic sets to remember for years to come.

Standon Calling

Credit: press

When: July 22-25

Where: Standon, Hertfordshire

Line-up: Bastille, Hot Chip, Primal Scream, Craig David, Holly Humberstone, Squid, Porridge Radio, Biig Piig, Baby Queen, Greentea Peng and more.

This one’s a bit more family-oriented so if you’re looking for something a tiny bit calmer – but still tons of fun – than most festivals, Standon Calling could be the one for you. It’s also got an impressive bill of rising stars, including Porridge Radio, Working Men’s Club, Baby Queen, Greentea Peng and more, so there’s plenty of chance to get your new music fix.

Why it’ll rock: When you’re not watching bands you can do some wholesome activities like taking part in a costume parade or watching a dog show – perfect for recovering after a big one the night before.

All Points East 

Yannis Philippakis of Foals. CREDIT: Marc Grimwade/WireImage

When: August 27-29

Where: Victoria Park, London

Line-up: London Grammar, Jorja Smith, Jamie xx, Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kano, Bicep, Slowthai and more.

All Points East always has killer line-ups and 2021 is no different. On offer here are some of the most interesting acts in the UK, regardless of genre, coming together to give us all a fun reminder of the creativity we’ve been missing since live music’s been on pause. Bonus points to the organisers for a) booking Foals to headline as a bank holiday last hurrah on the final day and b) teaming up with Field Day to bring the club to the park on the Sunday.

Why it’ll rock: Four days of bank holiday weekend festivities with some of the best UK artists? Get us there now.

Wide Awake 

Goat Girl
Goat Girl perform at KOKO in 2018 CREDIT: Gus Stewart/Redferns

When: September 3

Where: Brockwell Park, London

Line-up: IDLES, Black Midi, Crack Cloud, Shame, Goat Girl, Dream Wife, Crows, Erol Alkan, PVA, and more.

From the team behind great London venues like The Shacklewell Arms and MOTH Club comes this brand new festival of new music treats. If you’re going to make a new discovery this summer, it’ll be here – even if you think you know all there is about the underground scene.

Why it’ll rock: It’ll be like a night out at the UK’s best small venues, but in the sun (hopefully).


The Courteeners
Liam Fray of the The Courteeners. CREDIT: Carla Speight/Redferns

When: September 10-12

Where: Glasgow Green, Glasgow

Line-up: Courteeners, Liam Gallagher, Primal Scream, The Chemical Brothers, Snow Patrol, Sam Fender, AJ Tracey, Little Simz and more.

There should be anthems aplenty up on Glasgow this September. TRNSMT’s headliners are experts in the craft, whether that’s Courteeners indie bangers, Liam Gallagher dishing out the Oasis classics or The Chemical Brothers bringing their block-rocking beats.

Why it’ll rock: If you’ve missed revelling in the rowdier side of indie, you’ll find it in absolute bucketloads here.

End Of The Road 

little simz nme cover interview
Credit: Getty

When: September 2-5

Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire

Line-up: Pixies, King Krule, Big Thief, Bright Eyes, Little Simz, Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding, Whitney, Tune-Yards and more.

Indie heads rejoice – End Of The Road is back for 2021 and its line-up is absolutely stacked. Whether you’re looking for big stars, intriguing new acts or something in between, EOTR has it all – the only issue will be navigating the inevitable clashes.

Why it’ll rock: It’s your chance to see some absolute indie legends, from Pixies to the returning Bright Eyes.

Kendal Calling  

the streets
The Streets at Glastonbury 2019. Credit: Jenna Foxton/NME

When: July 29-August 1

Where: Lowther Deer Park, Kendal

Line-up: Stereophonics, The Streets, Supergrass, Dizzee Rascal, Craig David’s TS5, Blossoms, The Kooks, DMA’s and more.

Kendal Calling 2021 looks like a festival of two halves – mostly indie greats in the day, with things getting ravier in the night. Once the dark sets in, guitars will be swapped for turntables, with the likes of Joel Corry, Andy C and Faithless jumping on the decks to keep things going until the early hours.

Why it’ll rock: All the headliners have an arsenal of bangers in their pockets – yes, even Stereophonics – that are guaranteed to get the party started.

Liverpool Sound City 

The Snuts (Picture: Gaz Williamson)

When: October 1-3

Where: Various venues, Liverpool

Line-up: Rejjie Snow, Red Rum Club, The Snuts, The Lathams, The Mysterines, The Murder Capital and more

The pandemic has presented a number of obstacles for festivals this year, including the possibility that non-UK artists might not be able to make it to the country to perform. Liverpool sound City is pre-empting that and turning a problem into a positive, booking only British artists and putting the focus on smaller and newer artists.

Why it’ll rock: You should definitely be able to find your new favourite artist at this new music-focused fest.


Peggy Gou
Peggy Gou CREDIT: David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns

When: August 26-29

Where: Daresbury, Cheshire

Line-up: Peggy Gou, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Camelphat, Nina Kraviz, Pendulum and many more.

There are few greater feelings than the one of a massive drop hitting you right in the chest as it booms out of a festival stage PA. Creamfields will offer tons of those exact moments in August as it brings together the creme de la creme of dance music to celebrate being able to gather together and rave for days once more.

Why it’ll rock: With this many electronic music greats on the line-up, it should be one whole weekend of sweet euphoria.