There’s nothing quite like a great British music festival. Whether you opt for the sophisticated stylings of Glyndebourne or the muddy fields of Glastonbury, there’s a real camaraderie in music lovers coming together to take a chance on the dicey British weather in order to see all their favourite performers in one place.
Glad rags at the ready then, 2023’s lineup of festivals isn’t going to disappoint. Read on for Luxury London’s definitive guide to the best festivals in the UK this year. Just don’t forget your wellies…
First Light Festival, Suffolk
After a triumphant weekend in 2022, with over 35,000 attendees, Lowestoft’s free summer solstice celebration is gearing up to return for 2023. Inspired by Lowestoft’s location as the most easterly point in the UK, and therefore the first to receive sunlight, the festival programme has been curated to celebrate the cycles of the sun with events taking place throughout from sunrise to sundown.
As First Light Festival is the UK’s only free beach festival, you can expect a weekend of yoga, fresh food, spoken word performances and, of course, music. Showcasing local and emerging talent, and a diverse lineup of East Anglia’s foremost DJs, expect performances from folk artist Eliza Carthy and the award-winning DJ Paulette. Over at the comedy and spoken word stages, world-renowned reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and comedian and TV regular Josie Long will take to the stage.
17-18 June 2023, South Beach Lowestoft, Suffolk, visit firstlightlowestoft.com
River Stage by The National Theatre, London
The National Theatre’s free outdoor festival, packed with unforgettable live performances from the UK’s leading arts venues, returns this June. Running from 9 June to 2 July 2023, The Glory will kick off the River Stage with its veritable Grande-Dames of drag. Next up, the internationally acclaimed James Cousins Company will draw on its hit immersive production We Are As Gods to curate a weekend to remember from 16-18 June, before Shubbak showcases ground-breaking Arab arts with a weekend of music, performance and workshops from 23 – 25 June.
Finally, Hackney Empire’s Young Producers return from 30 June to 2 July, with three free days of youth-fuelled talent. Hosted by Scully (from No Signal Radio), expect dance crews, rap battles, big vocals, steel pans, grime, and 90’s bangers alongside some of the latest crazes tearing up TikTok. To sate your appetite, open-air food market Kerb will play host to London’s longest banqueting table so visitors can tuck into seasonal street food specials such as pork belly and chicken thigh Portuguese bifanas, fluffy Korean bao buns and Venezuelan cachapas.
9 June – 2 July 2023, South Bank, London, visit nationaltheatre.org.uk
Highest Point Festival, Lancaster
From chart-topping artists and indie legends to underground house heads, D’n’B superstars and funk groovers, Highest Point — the biggest open-air festival in Lancashire — is not to be missed. Set in the 54-acre grounds of Williamson Park — boasting enchanting woodland and breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay and the Lake District fells — the festival will be headlined by Hacienda Classical, Bastille and Anne Marie. Other acts joining the jam-packed weekend lineup include Lost Without You singer Freya Ridings, Funk and Soul presenter Craig Charles and indie band Friendly Fires, alongside leading drum and bass names such as Sub Focus and BBC Radio 1 DJs Danny Howard, Arielle Free and Charlie Tee.
Elsewhere, you’ll find another 100 artists across six stages, including a festival pub, comedy, poetry slams and acoustic sets, and a Bushrocker Hi-fi roots reggae takeover — best enjoyed after sampling the regional street food stalls and with a craft beer in hand.
11-13 May 2023, Williamson Park, Lancaster, visit highestpoint.co.uk
Urban Village Fete, Greenwich
Greenwich Peninsula's seminal festival, Urban Village Fete, has got a jam-packed schedule to entice Londoners and out-of-towners this year. With themes and content covering everything from arts and culture to diversity and climate change, the festival has been designed to take advantage of Greenwich Peninsula’s unique location and mix of architectural design, as well as its 48 acres of expansive public green space. The programme ranges from DJ sets by headliner Bradley Zero to topical conversations hosted by Robert Elms, alongside pop-up immersive performers, artisan food stalls, interactive workshops and family-focused arts and crafts. There’s a reason this is one of London’s largest and most-loved free festivals…
14 May 2023, Greenwich Peninsula, London, visit greenwichpeninsula.co.uk
Glyndebourne Festival, East Sussex
Grade II-listed Sussex opera house Glyndebourne returns with another summer of world-class performances. In its most ambitious year yet, the festival’s highlights include first-ever productions of Poulenc’s powerful opera Dialogues des Carmélites and Handel’s dramatic oratorio Semele, along with its first new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in over a decade. Three revivals include Peter Hall’s magical staging of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; John Cox’s 1975 production of Stravinksy’s The Rake’s Progress, featuring iconic stage designs by David Hockney, and Annabel Arden’s colourful and sunny 2007 production of Donizetti’s great romantic comedy L’elisir d’amore.
Mid-show refreshments can be found at one of Glyndebourne’s three on-site restaurants, including a Galvin Brothers outpost, or pack your picnic hamper to the brim with treats to be enjoyed on the house’s manicured lawns — as long as you don’t mind the risk of a seasonal shower. FYI: Glyndebourne maintains a formal dress code so dig out your tuxedos and floor-length gowns, there’s no room for wellies and cut-off Levis here.
19 May - 27 August 2023, Glyndebourne, East Sussex, visit glyndebourne.com
Manchester’s premier genre-spanning music festival attracts some of the world’s biggest musical acts to the — usually peaceful — grounds of Heaton Park each June. And this year is no different with its eight stages playing host to massive names including The 1975, Aitch, The Prodigy, Little Sims and Skrillex — to name a few. For those seeking some comfort, Parklife has launched a comprehensive VIP package at its Luxury Lounge, featuring private parties, refuelling and recharging stations, international gourmet cuisine and access to the Secret Club (your guess is as good as ours).
10 - 11 June 2023, Heaton Park, Manchester, visit parklife.uk.com
Isle of Wight Festival, Newport
Having begun as Europe's answer to Woodstock in 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival is one of Britain’s longest-running festivals, attracting 60,000 revellers to the island every summer for a weekend of live music courtesy of some of the world’s biggest acts. The 2023 programme boasts an eclectic lineup of headliners including Pulp, George Ezra, The Chemical Brothers and Robbie Williams alongside an impressive bill of support acts featuring Courteeners, One Republic, Sugababes and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Needless to say, whatever your musical tastes, you’re sure to find something to inspire a sing-along.
15-18 June 2023, Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight, visit isleofwightfestival.com
The biggest name on the British festival circuit, Glastonbury is boasting perhaps its biggest lineup ever, with headliners including the Arctic Monkeys, Elton John and Lizzo. Transforming Worthy Farm into a music fan’s Mecca, Glasto will also see the likes of Lana Del Rey, Guns N Roses and Alt J perform across its 100-plus stages. Though you’ll be hard-pressed to find tickets for this year’s event — they sold out within mere minutes — most of the festival will be broadcast on the BBC, and it’s never too early to register for next year’s lottery.
21-25 June 2023, Worthy Farm, Somerset, visit glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
BST Hyde Park, London
BST Hyde Park returns for its ninth edition this year, with a line-up featuring some of the world’s biggest musical acts including Take That, P!nk and Billy Joel. Taking place over three weekends — the festival’s longest stint yet — with a midweek Open House programme, BST is the perfect opportunity to get your live music fix without having to leave London.
23 June-7 July 2023, Hyde Park, London, visit bst-hydepark.com
The Good Life Society Summer Camp, Hawarden
Based on the fabled summer camps of American coming-of-age movies, The Good Life Society’s Summer Camp presents a series of micro-festivals across four long weekends in July. Rather than the typical bill of indie bands and rising pop stars, Summer Camp attendees can expect a fully packed programme of expeditions, workshops and talks from a line-up of creatives and nature experts. Set within the private Hawarden Estate in North Wales, Summer Camp offers a chance to escape and reconnect with the great outdoors. Expect paddleboarding, wild swimming, wellness and fine dining feasts from some of the UK’s best chefs.
7-31 July 2023, The Walled Garden of Hawarden Castle, Wales, visit goodlifesociety.co.uk
Now in its fifth year, TRNSMT is Scotland’s preeminent rock and pop festival. Held on Glasgow Green, its city setting means there’s no camping, but the three-day event holds up as a classic music festival in every other way. Dedicated entirely to music, there are no comedy, theatre or wellness tents here, and under-12s are strictly prohibited. 2023 will see headliners such as Royal Blood, Pale Waves, Niall Horan and Sam Fender take to TRNSMT’s three stages.
7-9 July 2023, Glasgow Green, Scotland, visit trnsmtfest.com
Latitude Festival, Suffolk
Set in the picturesque grounds of Henham Park in Suffolk, Latitude is one of Britain’s favourite festivals boasting the very best in music, dance, comedy, poetry, theatre, literature, podcasts, family activities and wellness. Now in its 17th year, the packed 2023 line-up features some of British music’s biggest names, including Paolo Nutini, The Kooks and The Proclaimers, with more to be announced. And when you fancy a break from your dancing shoes, partake in a few laps of wild swimming or a paddle boarding session on the beautiful Latitude lake.
21-23 July 2023, Henham Park, Southwold, visit latitudefestival.com
Camp Bestival, Dorset
Set to descend upon Lulworth Castle in July — with an inaugural sister event taking place at Shropshire’s Weston Park in August — Camp Bestival is the ultimate family-friendly jamboree. The star-studded 2023 line-up features names such as Sam Ryder, Ella Henderson and Scouting for Girls, with hundreds of events and activities for the whole family to enjoy together including immersive theatre, family discos, African arts and crafts, and the annual Pimp My Trolley competition. Elsewhere, children can marvel at Mr Tumble and Dick and Dom before enjoying the festival foodie heaven at the Feast Collective, curated by Fred Sirieix. Fancy dress Saturday is optional, but enthusiastically encouraged.
27-30 July 2023, Lulworth Castle, Dorset; 17-20 August 2023, Weston Park, Shropshire, visit campbestival.net
Kendal Calling, Lowther
Each summer, the Lake District’s Lowther Deer Park plays host to some of the biggest names in British music as Kendal Calling descends on its idyllic grounds. While the full line-up for this year’s festival is yet to be announced, headliners will include Kasabian, Blossoms, Kaiser Chiefs and Frank Turner. Elsewhere on the programme you’ll find the best in indie, acoustic, drum and bass, folk, new music and so much more on the festival’s many smaller stages. With immersive light installations, pop-up cinema, performance art, wellness and a dedicated children’s zone – Kids Calling – on offer should you need a break from the music, there’s plenty to keep the whole family happy all weekend. Those looking for a little extra comfort can also check into the Deer Lodge, Kendal Calling’s boutique glamping village.
27-30 July 2023, Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria, visit kendalcalling.co.uk
Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park
A four-day boutique festival in the grounds of Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, Wilderness is a family-friendly celebration of music, the arts, food, and wellbeing. Kids will be kept occupied with horse riding, cosmic crafting, archery, pottery masterclasses and much more, while Woodfired Canteen and Friends is on-hand to keep you well fed all weekend. With musical headliners including The Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim and Arlo Parks as well as performances from The Wilderness Orchestra, and talks with Elizabeth Day and Munroe Bergdorf, you’re sure to find something to satiate all cultural cravings.
3-6 August 2023, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, visit wildernessfestival.com
Big Feastival, Cotswolds
Foodie fest the Big Feastival returns to the Cotswolds farm of founder Alex James – Blur bassist and former Britpop bad boy – for a weekend of live music, fantastic food and entertainment for all the family. Musical headliners include Sigrid, Tom Grennan, Blossoms, The Vaccines, Rick Astley and Melanie C. Double decker disco dairy, the Alex James Cheese Hub, also returns for another year, while cooking demonstrations, tastings and Q&As abound, courtesy of the UK’s most innovative gastronomical minds including Darjeeling Express owner Asma Khan and Michelin-starred Nathan Outlaw. Little ones will be kept well entertained with a line-up including Paw Patrol and YolanDa’s Band Jam, with street food stalls, supper clubs and farm-grown feasts to keep the clan well-fed throughout.
25-27 August 2023, Alex James’ Farm, Oxfordshire, visit thebigfeastival.com