The Cultured Vultures UK City Festival 2017 Guide
Want to keep your festival antics within reach of an actual bed this year? We got you.
Who doesn’t love a great music festival? Lots of people. While some of us are perfectly willing to relinquish our beds, dignity, hygiene, privacy and most other day-to-day luxuries in the name of a weekend of partying, it’s certainly not for everyone. For some, the call of a massive lineup simply isn’t worth the horrors of camping in a densely packed field and praying to whatever deity feels most appropriate that it doesn’t rain.
Thankfully, there is a way to get the full festival experience whilst sidestepping all of that. Across the world, there are hundreds of festivals nestled right in the middle of the urban sprawl.
They might take place in a park, across a series of venues or some huge indoor space, but the fact remains that you’re surrounded by civilisation, and you might even be able to go home at the end of the night. The UK is littered with them, so in conjunction with our alternative festival list, we thought it made sense to provide a ‘festival alternative list’, if you will.
MADE Festival – BIRMINGHAM
When? 29th July
Who? Giggs, Sub Focus, Gorgon City, Chase & Status, My Nu Leng, Levelz, High Contrast, Shadow Child
Birmingham isn’t exactly light on city festivals, but MADE remains the largest, and probably the loudest. Set in the repurposed industrial graveyard that is the Digbeth triangle, it’s a day and night of solid, uninterrupted raving. Tickets currently sitting at £45.
Mostly Jazz – Birmingham
When? 8th to 10th July
Who? Chaka Khan, Soul II Soul, Craig Charles, The Pharcyde, Omar, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Sugarhill Gang
Since kicking off as a relatively small jazz and soul event in 2010, Mostly Jazz has grown into something massive, yet miniscule. Massive for the lineup, minuscule for the location, the small, picturesque Moseley Park. Whether you want to lay a picnic blanket down and digest some daytime jazz or dance until the sun vanishes behind the trees, you’re covered. Day tickets $45, weekend tickets £79.
Wild Life – Brighton
When? 9th & 10th June
Who? Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, George Ezra, JME, Andy C, Mura Masa, Rag N’ Bone Man, Dizzee Rascal, Stormzy, Chaka Khan
Probably one of the only festivals ever to be situated in city airport, Wild Life is a huge event, curated by Disclosure and Rudimental. Now in its third year, it features six massive stages, secret sets and an impressive spread of music variety. Day tickets £65, weekend tickets £115.
Love Saves the Day – Bristol
When? 27th & 28th May
Who? Fat Freddy’s Drop, Kate Tempest, Little Dragon, AJ Tracey, Shy FX, Kano, BadBadNotGood, 4Hero, Hype & Hazard, Toddla T, My Nu Leng
Bristol is basically the festival mothership of the UK, so logically any festival which actually takes place within its confines must be something pretty special, right? Indeed so. Love Saves the Day started out in life as a one day event in Castle Park before transitioning to the largest Eastville Park due to increasing demand. Now it’s a two-day event boasting one of the most mind-boggling line-ups of any city festival anywhere in the UK. Day tickets £45/54, weekend tickets £93.50.
Strawberries & Creem – Cambridge
When? 17th June
Who? Shaggy, Wiley, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Mike Skinner, AJ Tracey, Artful Dodger, So Solid Crew, P Money, Benny Page, General Levy
Before Strawberries & Creem came along, Cambridge didn’t really have a decent city festival to boast of. In the short few years since it started, the event has ballooned from 1,000 to 5,000 and the lineups have been consistently improving year to year. Tickets £40.
World Island – Leeds
When? 28th May
Who? Floating Points, BadBadNotGood, Yussef Kamaal, Submotion Orchestra, Jordan Rakei, Nao, Charlotte Day Wilson, Romare
World Island is a brand new festival for 2017. Rather than going the field route, as many city festivals do, World Island is set to take place inside Leeds Town Hall. The lineup is small, but dynamic, celebrating the best in experiment, left of field music making waves today.
Afropunk – London
When? 22nd & 23rd July
Who? Nao, Thundercat, JME, Danny Brown, Little Simz, Willow Smith, Corinne Bailey Rae, Saul Williams, Lianne La Havas
And so we arrive at the London portion of the list. You could populate an entire article with London city festivals, our proud capital is bursting at the seams with them at this point, but we’ve narrowed it down to three highlights. The Afropunk movement has been growing and morphing for almost 20 years, as have their festivals. Although they’ve grown beyond the punk movement which birthed the name, it’s for the better, as the sheer variety of music on offer at this festival (happening at Printworks this year) is staggering. Tickets £50 day/£90 weekend.
South West Four – London
When? 26th & 27th August
Who? Pendulum, Deadmau5, Dusky, Hannah Wants, Mistajam, Maya Jane Coles, Sigma, Duke Dumont, Gareth Emery, Nicky Romero
South West Four (or SW4, if you’re in a hurry) is kind of the OG of Londinian dance music festivals. Now at year 14, it’s garnered a preceeding reputation for gathering together a colossal line-up, featuring names from all across the dance music spectrum, hooking them up to an arsenal of brutal sound systems and then attempting to turn Clapham Common into that stadium scene from The Dark Knight Rises. Day tickets £55/£60, weekend tickets £99.
Field Day – London
When? 3rd June
Who? Flying Lotus, Run the Jewels, Aphex Twin, Death Grips, Moderat, Nina Kraviz, Nicolas Jaar, Aine Cahill, Lady Leshurr, S U R V I VE
Field Day seems to undergo something of a metamorphosis with each consecutive year. One of several festivals in Victoria Park, it’s possibly the most music-focused festival on London’s calendar, in that most of the budget and planning is poured into securing the best lineup and the highest quality sound available. Tickets £64.50.
Baltic Weekender – Liverpool
When? 2nd to 4th June
Who? Goldie, Crazy P, Hunee, Ghetts, Moses Boyd, Moxie, Flava D, Elijah & Skilliam, DVS 1, Rude Kid, Swing Ting
The Baltic Triangle is kind of like Liverpool’s cultural hub, and this brand new festival is designed to celebrate it. Taking place across a range of venues, presenting a myriad of different vibes, as well as bringing in local promoters, vendors and anybody else with anything to offer. Day tickets £15, weekend tickets £30.
LIMF – Liverpool
When? 20th to 23rd July
Who? Corinne Bailey Rae, Norman Jay, Gorgon City, So Solid Crew, DJ Target, MJ Cole, Kate Nash, Etta Bond, Katy B, Trevor Nelson
Liverpool International Music Festival (shortened to LIMF) is an interesting contrast to Baltic. It’s vast, spreading itself across the entirety of Liverpool’s 235, grade 1 crown jewel – Sefton Park. Each year it takes on a new theme, and this year they’re exploring pivotal moments in music history, across various different genres. Day tickets £13.20, weekend £33.
Tramlines – Sheffield
When? 21st to 23rd July
Who? The Libertines, All Saints, Toots & Maytals, Akala, Hot 8 Brass Band, Omar Souleyman, The Pharcyde, We Are Scientists, Twin Atlantic, Primal Scream
Another, more established celebration of a local scene, Tramlines was big even when it started in 2009, with 35,000 people attending that year. Two years later, 175,000 people turned up, so to say Tramlines has earned its place in the city festival calendar would be a bit an understatement.