Every summer, residents of sleepy towns all over the British countryside wake to the rumble of distant footfall. Wiping the sleep from their eyes, they part the curtains only to draw them tight again. There, on the edge of town, thousands of welly-clad festival-goers make their camp, marking the beginning of the festival season.
Saturnalian almost to a fault, this brief chapter in the calendar year is a period when showering is actively discouraged and binge drinking lauded. The knock-on effect, of course, is that your typical UK festival ground isn’t really a place to relax and unwind.
But there are a few festivals where the location is as important as the lineup, where the organisers seem to recognise that the right setting can transform a brilliant live performance into a full-blown religious experience. Here, we’ve selected some of the most jaw-dropping festivals in the UK: festivals where the views are as much a draw as the live acts. From the mountains of South Wales to the ancient woodlands of Oxfordshire, these are the five most scenic festivals of 2022.
When: 8th – 10th July
Where: Park Farm, Compton Verney, Warwick CV35 9HJ
Set around the lake at Park Farm in Warwickshire, Also is the place to be if you’re looking for a bit of recuperative nature therapy. The three-day festival combines music, comedy, and talks with leading figures in the arts and sciences. Oh and there’s a floating stage too, where DJs play well into the early hours.
If you’re not wild swimming, paddling in a canoe, or enjoying a dance on the lakeside, you’ll probably be making the most of the fine food and drinks on offer or else wandering the 50 acres of sculpted parkland designed by British landscape gardener Capability Brown. This year, you can look forward to catching performances by Keg, Perhaps Contraption, Nuha Ruby Ra, Kat Sophia, Oscar Browne and The London Afrobeat Collective.
When: 18th – 24th August
Where: Glanusk Estate, Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons, NP8 1LP
Few Festivals boast the stunning panoramas of Green Man Festival. Nestled in the Brecon Beacons mountain range in South Wales, this annual festival boasts one of the best lineups in the UK and the opportunity to explore miles of mountains, forests, waterfalls and rivers. With a week of music on offer, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know this breathtakingly lush corner of the Welsh countryside.
Green Man features ten different areas, each offering something outlandish and magical. Whether it’s watching your new favourite act in Mountain’s Foot, refreshing your body in Nature Nurture, or catching some comedy in Einstein’s Garden, you’re bound to find something to expand your mind. This year Green Man will be graced with performances by Kraftwerk, Beach House, Ty Segall, Black Country, New Road, Alex G, Low, Bicep and many, many more.
When: 26th – 28th August
Where: Bonnington House, The Steadings, Wilkieston, Edinburgh EH27 8BY
Small and perfectly formed, Jupiter Rising is Scotland’s best small art and music festival. Held in the iconic Jupiter Artland sculpture back outside Edinburgh, this unique festival boasts a programme of live music, film programmes, talks and discussion, artist-led workshops, culinary feasting, and so much more.
Wonderfully experimental and fiercely independent, this artist-driven festival invites audiences to explore and celebrate underground and DIY creative practices while enjoying a lineup of established and new acts. Jupiter Rising is held over two nights in late August (26th -28th) and, this year, will see performances by Tamara Schlesinger, Malka, Jayda, Amunda, Dylema and more.
When: 4th – 7th August
Where: Cornbury Park, The Estate, Charlbury OX7 3HL
It doesn’t get much more scenic than Oxford’s Wilderness Festival. Set within the historic Cornbury Park, the festival ground encompasses the expansive woodlands and parkland surrounding the ornate Cornbury estate, including some fragments of the ancient Wychwood Forest that once covered the whole of West Oxfordshire.
Attendees can look forward to swimming in the lake, dining al fresco, and scaling the undulating hills of The Valley to find the best spot to watch this year’s stunning roster of live acts, including Underworld, Years & Years, Jungle, and Peggy Gou. With views to rival any other UK festival, Wilderness is certainly one party you won’t want to miss.
When 26th – 29th August
Where: Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, LN6 9HN
Once a year, a sprawling woodland in Lincolnshire is transformed into one of the most jaw-dropping immersive festival experiences in the UK. Nestled around the distinctly chic sounding Lake of Tranquility, the Lost Village festival ground is linked by winding pathways that will take you past abandoned houses, overgrown courtyards, dilapidated streets and even an abandoned airport.
The stunning location is one of the main reasons Lost VIllage pulls such huge crowds year on year. Thankfully, it’s got the lineup to match. If you’re into disco, electronica and jazz, you’ll be right at home. This year, the three-day party will welcome Bonobo, Jamie XX, Tom Misch, Ross From Friends, Joy Orbison, Colleen Cosmo Murphy, Antal, Kokoroko, Joe Armon-Jones, Blawan and more. That’s not to mention a roster of comedy acts including Phil Wang, Katherine Ryan, Reginald D Hunter, Milton Jones, and Joe Lycett.