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(Credit: TRNSMT Festival)


The 10 best inner-city festivals


With festival season just lurking around the corner, it’s time to make some last-minute plans and decide which events to descend upon this summer. If you’re somebody who detests camping and would prefer to stay in warm, comfortable surroundings, then this list is for you as we explore the best inner-city festivals.

This year will be Britain’s first full festival season in three years, and as a result, the line-ups are stacked with talent. It’s no longer necessary to sleep for days in a wet field to watch your favourite bands, and the growth of the inner-city festival is a saving grace.

Now, if you want to, you can make it home before midnight after a day of drinking beer and seeing artists. These inner-city events come in a variety of shapes, but two are the most common. Usually, they take over an array of venues across any given location or spring up outdoors.

In recent history, this brand of festival has become increasingly popular, and most cities across Europe have their own variation of it. Below is a selection of events Far Out thinks you should be attending this summer.

The best inner-city festivals:

BST Hyde Park

The summer extravaganza at BST Hyde Park is always an unmissable event, and each year, they bring a selection of the most esteemed names in world music to West London’s most famous park. After two barren years, it will be back with a bang, with Elton John starting the party on June 24th.

Before it closes on July 10th, The Rolling Stones will be stopping by for two shows, as will Adele and Pearl Jam. Eagles will also be headlining a date, and Duran Duran will be bringing the stage to a close. While it’s a premium event, there’s no place better to be in the summertime than Hyde Park.

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Sound City

There isn’t a city that punches above its weight more effectively than Liverpool, and this year, the jewel in its festival calendar, Sound City, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary at the end of this month.

Every year, Sound City highlights the best in emerging talent, and if you want to see an act before they explode in the mainstream, then this is the place. The Lathums will headline the Friday night, and Self Esteem is bringing the festival to a close the following day. Other exciting artists scheduled to appear include Yard Act, Crawlers, and Alfie Templeman.

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Bristol is another city that has something special in the air scheduled for the summer, and electronic music specifically is intertwined with the South West metropolis. Forwards is a brand-new festival for 2022, and it will be coming to the Clifton Downs in September.

Organisers have handcrafted in Jamie xx and dance royalty, The Chemical Brothers, as headliners. They’ll be joined on the eclectic line-up by names such as Little Simz, Khruangbin, Roisin Murphy, Sleaford Mods, Floating Points, Caribou, and Spiritualized.

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Super Bock Super Rock

Lisbon is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, and the finest way to navigate you’re way through the city is Super Bock Super Rock in July, which takes place in the heart of the Portuguese capital.

On top of the festival’s heavenly setting, Super Bock Super Rock has a spectacular genre-spanning line-up too. A$AP Rocky, Foals, Flume, Hot Chip, Kevin Morby, Declan McKenna, Leon Bridges and Jamie xx will all be there ⁠— why won’t you?

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Dot To Dot

Similarly to Sound City, Dot To Dot prides itself on new talent, and this year the multi-venue festival will bring a collection of rising stars to both Nottingham and Bristol.

Squid and grime legend Ghetts top the bill, which is quite the coup for Dot To Dot. Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn, Baby Queen, Alfie Templeman and Everyone You Know will also be joining the travelling circus across Britain over the final weekend of May. Additionally, it’s an affordable day out with tickets costing only £27.

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The Glaswegian crowd has a reputation for being the rowdiest in the world, and this summer, you can get a taste of it yourself at TRNSMT. It’s Scotland’s premier musical event which replaced T In The Park and is situated on Glasgow Green.

This year, it’ll be headlined by The Strokes and feature the return of hometown hero Paolo Nutini, who hasn’t played live in almost five years. Sam Fender, Foals, Wolf Alice, Fontaines D.C., The Snuts, and Beabadoobee are just a handful of the other names making their way to the Scottish capital this July.

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Sounds of the City

Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl is the home of the summer Sounds of the City series, and outdoor venues truly don’t get much better. It’s just a short walk from the city centre, and you can also expect trams overhead throughout the concert, which provides the full quintessential Manchester experience.

Last year, Sounds of the City did run, but both Lewis Capaldi and Foals chose to postpone their concerts until 2022 because of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Other artists joining them in Castlefield over the summer months include Sam Fender, Pixies, and Crowded House.

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Wide Awake

Last year was Wide Awake’s debut outing at Brockwell Park in South London, and this year it promises to be even bigger and better than before. Furthermore, tickets start at just £35 for day tickets leaving us to wonder, what’s not to love?

Bicep will be headlining the Friday of the festival on May 27th, following sets from Caribou, Leon Vynehall, and more. On Saturday, attendees will be in for a treat when Primal Scream perform the seminal Screamadelica in full. Yard Act, Fat White Family, Fatoumate Diawara, Alex Cameron, Kevin Morby, and Amyl & The Sniffers will also be joining the Scottish heroes.

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The Great Escape

Brighton’s The Great Escape has become Britain’s equivalent to SXSW, and every year, hundreds of new bands descend upon the seaside to impress industry experts and punters alike. Additionally to the music, there is also a range of fascinating talks on offer.

Artists set to appear include Yard Act, Goat Girl, The Amazons, Billy Nomates, The Goa Express, Baby Queen, and many more. While it doesn’t have headliners who carry the same cache as others on this list, The Great Escape is always the home of the stars of tomorrow.

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London Calling

A weekend in Amsterdam is one of life’s great pleasures, and on May 20-21st, London Calling is bringing over a host of the best names in British music over to the Paradiso for an extravaganza.

It’s only €40 for a weekend ticket, and you’ll get to see NewDad, Talk Show, Coach Party, The Ninth Wave, and a relatively intimate performance from the band of the hour — Wet Leg. Furthermore, you can also take in some European culture while watching electrifying live music.

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