10 of the UK’s best boutique festivals
- Louise Stoddart
- 21 July 2016
After something a bit more low key? Here’s our list of quirky music festivals that might even save you a penny or two
There’s nothing quite like watching one of your favourite acts performing at the likes of Glastonbury, Coachella, Bestival or another of the world’s largest festivals. But, getting up at the crack of dawn to bag yourself a ticket and emptying your bank account whilst you’re at it isn’t always part of the fun. Maybe you fancy a year off or you’re sick of battling through crowds to get a decent view of the band you paid so much to see, and you’re quite right.
Luckily the UK has a host of smaller, more intimate festivals with some pretty impressive lineups, minus the ruckus and riot involved at some of the largest. Typically set in remote and picturesque surroundings, these boutique festivals are becoming increasingly popular as a cheaper alternative.
We’ve picked out some of the top boutique festivals happening across the country to take you away from the mainstream madness.
Doune the Rabbit Hole
Taking place on the wee estate of Cardross, Doune the Rabbit Hole attracts like minded people of all ages – from toddlers to pensioner hippies – all there to appreciate good music from the likes of C Duncan, Emma Pollock and Bossy Love.
Cardross Estate, Stirling, Fri 19–Sun 21 Aug.
For a festival that’s only been going for three years, Electric Fields attracts some big acts. Primal Scream and Everything Everything head 2016’s line-up that will take to the stage amongst the forests of Dumfries and Galloway. Campers can also opt for boutique accommodation in yurts that are kitted out with double beds, sheepskins and mirrors. Fancy.
Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Galloway, Fri 26–Sat 27 Aug.
Run by a team of volunteers, Mugstock is an intimate festival in stunning natural surroundings just outside Glasgow. Jazz, rock, folk, classical and electronica acts are all included in this year’s line-up and guests can also enjoy good food, drink, theatre and cabaret shows. This year’s programme includes performances from Emma Pollock and Stanley Odd.
Mugdock Country Park, East Dunbartonshire, Fri 29–Sun 31 Jul.
Brew at the Bog
Held in association with Scottish craft beer brewers, BrewDog, this year’s festival celebrated Scottish music from Idlewild, C Duncan and White. Brew at the Bog has also been known to put up several art installations and an outdoor cinema for festival goers to kick back and relax.
Bogbain Farm, Inverness, 2017 dates to be announced.
Down in t’lakes, Kendal Calling is equipped with a Deer Lodge (accommodation), a Jägerhaus and the Garden of Eden – offering massages, hair treatments and yoga classes. Music wise, this year’s line-up features Rudimental, Madness and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Lowther Deer Park, Lake District, Thu 28–Sun 31 Jul.
Wilderness is a four day extravaganza in a nature reserve that’s all about celebrating the arts and outdoors. Focussing on bringing the community together, the festival includes dinner banquets around long communal tables, interactive workshops, engaging talks, sporting events and a line-up that appeals to all.
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, Thu 4–Sun 7 Aug.
The Somerley Tea Party
Just a short distance from Bournemouth and Southampton in the grounds of a posh 18th century estate is where the dance festival, Somerley Tea Party takes place. The line-up is led by key performers of the house, techno and drum & base scene including Annie Mac and High Contrast. Weekend tickets are a steal at around £65.
Somerley, Hampshire, 2017 dates to be announced.
Due to increased interest this year, Belsonic introduced a new timeslot which took place in June, in addition to the upcoming August events. The festival is also being held at a new venue with new organisers and the most ambitious line-up to date. The variety of acts attracts a wide audience and its central location means visitors can pop down to watch the shows they want, without committing to the entire festival.
Titanic Belfast, Belfast, Thu 18–Sat 27 Aug.
With a full lineup of electronic music, Celtronic invited DJs and musicians from around the world to perform at the five day techno rave. Described as ‘Ireland’s answer to Sonar’, the festival draws in thousands every year with acts such as Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Ryan Vail and Rødhåd.
Various locations, Derry, Northern Ireland, 2017 dates to be announced.
Festival No. 6
Far more than just a music festival, No. 6 gives ticket holders the chance to take part in a human chess game, dance 1920’s style, go paddle boarding, watch an illuminated parade and catch some Z’s in anything from a castle to a tent. Music is just an extra, but a really, really impressive extra with performances from Noel Gallagher, Hot Chip and Bastille.
Various locations, Portmeirion, Wales, Thu 1–Sat 3 Sep.