british glastonbury festival

Six alternatives to Glastonbury in 2018

4 May 2018

2018 is a fallow year (year off) for Britain's - and possibly the world's - greatest festival, Glastonbury. But festival lovers shouldn't worry. There are some wonderfully alternative gatherings across the UK, offering rustic, Glasto-style vibes and world-class performers in beautiful countryside settings. Like Glastonbury, these multi-day events all take place in the British summer, but with the weather notoriously unpredictable, be sure to bring your wellies and waterproofs just in case. 

 

WILDERNESS

This four-day feast of music, theatre and the arts plays out in the 'elysian fields' and woodlands of Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, not far from the Cotswolds, a bucolic region of rolling green hills and honey-stone villages. Wilderness is a contender for Britain's poshest festival, with cleaner-than-average loos, accommodation including four-bedroom tented suites and Airstream caravans, and refreshments that go beyond the standard food trucks (fancy a champagne-fuelled six-course dinner? You can have it at Wilderness). As well as watching live bands - this year's line-up boasts Chic with Nile Rodgers, Bastille and Jon Hopkins - you can enjoy stuff like politics debates, yoga classes and vaudeville acts.

When: August 2 - 5

 

 

LATITUDE

Staged at Henham Park, an idyllic Suffolk country estate owned by Australian Keith Rous, the 6th earl of Stradbroke, Latitude attracts about 40,000 campers, glampers and day-trippers over the long weekend. Its al fresco stages and covered arenas host an array of music, theatre, dance, opera, film and cabaret, with 2018's big names including The Killers and Rag'n'Bone Man. Don't be too shocked if Ed Sheeran turns up. The Suffolk lad-done-good has made a few surprise appearances at Latitude, a family-friendly festival, where you can take selfies with the resident sheep (who were dyed pink last year) and swim in the park's lake. 

When: July 12 - 15

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FESTIVAL NUMBER 6

Hugging the North Wales coast, Portmeirion is one of Britain's most Insta-worthy villages, though it looks as if it belongs in Italy thanks to its brightly-painted Baroque-style buildings. The village, and its surrounding woodland, peaks and estuary, provide an enchanting backdrop for a festival whose name is inspired by The Prisoner, a TV show filmed here in the 1960s (the lead character was known as Number Six). Expect a dazzling range of creative talents here, from bands like Franz Ferdinand and Django Django to writers such as Will Self and Irvine Welsh, who'll be discussing the legacy of his cult novel, Trainspotting, and the tunes synonymous with its movie adaptations. 

When: September 6 - 9

 

 

GREEN MAN FESTIVAL

Down in south Wales, near the border with England, the Brecon Beacons is traditionally a haven of adventure pursuits (think: trekking, potholing and mountain biking). But the Green Man Festival brings a delightfully chilled-out, bohemian vibe to the area. Billing itself as the 'friendliest festival in the universe', it sprawls across a pretty valley, comprising ten themed zones showcasing the likes of music, comedy, cinema, beer and literature. Expect, among other things, readings of the works of revered Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, mindfulness workshops, all-night bonfires and the psychedelic beats of The War On Drugs - one of this year's leading live acts.

When: August 16 - 19

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BESTIVAL

Promoted as 'the most colourful show on earth', Bestival is an eclectic, award-winning extravaganza staged in the leafy grounds of the Lulworth Estate - a historic parkland that fans out from a 17th century mock-castle on Dorset's spellbinding Jurassic Coast. You can expect revellers in fancy dress, boutique camp-sites, quirkily-decorated stages and installations, and a thrillingly diverse line-up. Pet Shop Boys, A Tribe Called Quest and Dizzee Rascal wowed Bestival last year and this summer's potential crowd-pullers include Grace Jones, London Grammar and Faithless, who'll be doing a DJ set.  

When: August 2 - 5

 

 

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ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this legendary festival holds a special place in the heart of old hippies, who still talk fondly of the 1970 bash, when Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell played before a sea of people (the Guinness Book of Records estimated the total attendance at between 600,000 and 700,000). This summer's milestone event - a short ferry ride from England's south coast - probably won't attract the same numbers, but it has all the ingredients to be a memorable occasion, with The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Depeche Mode and Kasabian on the bill.

When: June 21 - 24

 

 

Steve McKenna

A regular contributor to some of Australia's leading newspapers and travel magazines, Steve McKenna has visited, written about and photographed more than 80 countries on six different continents. He fears he has an incurable case of wanderlust and is particularly fond of Europe, Asia and South America.