Written by: Caitlin Madden from New Zealand


The big three

If you are looking for great tunes and atmosphere, look no further than what we are calling the big three, Creamfields, Reading and Leeds Festival. These are three of the most popular and widely attended festivals in the UK, and each worthy of a visit.

Having won the award for best dance event at the UK Festival Awards 2013, this is sure to sell out in 2014 too. A mixture of DJs and live acts, Creamfields UK is held in the picturesque Cheshire countryside, but is also held in countries all over the world. If dancing the night away to some of the biggest techno musicians is your jam- Creamfields is for you!

With more of a rock vibe, theReading and Leeds Festivals share a line-up, with festival goers able to choose a location, but still see their favorite bands play. The bands that open Reading play Leeds the next day, with the bands that opened Leeds playing on the final day of Reading. It sounds bit confusing, but it works every year! So if you are a Blink 182 fan, they are the biggest headline act announced so far for 2014, we suggest getting in quick.

Keeping it Classical

If rock and dance aren’t your thing, then the talented musicians that take part in the GlydebourneFestival might be just what you are looking for. Known as a must-see on the global opera calendar, this elegant and very English affair is held in Sussex each year over the course of three months. Concerts, talks and workshops are just a few of the offerings of this family run and independent festival. 

Or it might be the The Proms that takes your fancy. This series of symphonic and operatic music concerts, held over eight weeks with most in London’s Royal Albert Hall, is over 100 years old. That’s a successful festival!  For those that can’t travel to London, never fear, the performances also are broadcast across the country thanks to the BBC.

Island time

We aren’t talking beaches when we mention island time; instead we mean the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England, a small isle that holds some of the biggest festivals on the UK circuit.  The Isle of Wight Festival is the biggest of the lot, with greats like Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon and Jay-Z having graced the main stage.

Not to be outdone, Bestival is another one for the calendar if heading over to the Isle of Wight on the ferry floats your boat. It has a theme each year (usually for the Saturday), and in 2014 that theme is Desert Island Disco. It is known as the more ‘alternative’ of these two festivals, offering a smaller environment and is marketed as ‘boutique’. A Wishing Tree Stage, Bollywood Cocktail Bar and a Magic Meadow are just a few of the eclectic areas on offer.

Something a bit different

You might not have heard of the Royal Military Tattoo but that definitely doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. In fact this festival has sold out in advance every year for the past decade. Over 200,000 people can’t be wrong!

The Royal Military Tattoo is held in the stunning Edinburgh, with the famous Edinburgh Castle as a backdrop, and involves the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands performing. A highlight for the crowds every year is the poignant playing of the Lone Piper at the castle. Goosebumps all round!

As part of the larger and just as popular Edinburgh Festival held in August each year, this is one you won’t want to miss.

The free festival

The festival season can get pricey, so if money is getting a bit tight, but you’d still like to partake, then the Notting Hill Carnival is the place to be. This free event held in London is Europe’s biggest street festival. Having started as a way for Afro-Caribbean cultures to celebrate their traditions, expect to see plenty of color, vibrancy and amazing costumes and clothing.

With a day for kids and a day for adults, there is something to entertain everyone with music, food, stalls and much more. Don’t forget your headdress!

The premiere

No guide to festivals in the UK is complete without the cream of the crop, the Glastonbury Festival. Held in Somerset in late June, this festival is known for its top music acts, celeb sightings and gumboots! Yes, it might be in summer, but that doesn’t stop the rain in the UK.

It isn’t just music that makes Glastonbury so popular either, there is plenty to keep you busy if you want a break from the tunes, including the Theatre and Circus Field (pretty self-explanatory!) or the PiltonPalais Cinema Tent, where crowds can watch 3D films and people can have their own original shorts or feature films premiered. You might help discover the next Spielberg!

 Having started way back in 1970, they have things running pretty smoothly these days, and the atmosphere is second-to-none. This is definitely one to attend if you get the chance(and have happened upon a hard-to-get ticket!).