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(Credit: Aranxa Esteve)

The complete UK festival guide for the 2021 summer season

After festivals such as Kendal Calling and Glastonbury postponed plans to go ahead this year, it looked as though we would miss out on another summer of live music. Fortunately, unlike 2020, there will still be a festival season of sorts in Great Britain, even if it is a depleted one.

After almost two years without being able to step foot in a muddied field and pay the best part of ten pounds on a warm cider, music lovers are desperate for live music to return. There’s an array of events up and down the country featuring some of the best homegrown talents, which look certain to go ahead.

Even with just over a month to go until Reading & Leeds, their line-up could be subject to dramatic change due to travel restrictions. Festival organisers have been forced to look closer to home for artists, and this has awarded worthy acts such as Wolf Alice with a chance to headline major events for the first time.

Festivals look set to make a comeback next weekend following the ending of social distancing restrictions, and the sight of 30,000 people singing along in unison couldn’t be more welcome. If you’re still unsure about what festival tickles your fancy, then this complete guide is your bible.

Complete UK Festival Guide 2021:

All Points East & Field Day

The East London festival usually runs in May, but instead, this year will be taking place at Victoria Park across the August bank holiday weekend from 27th-30th August. Jorja Smith & London Grammar will co-headline the Friday with Jamie XX and Kano heading the bill on Saturday with Foals & Bombay Bicycle Club finishing proceedings on Monday.

Field Day will also come to Victoria Park on August 29th and features a headline performance from Bicep.

“We can’t wait to welcome back live music in the UK and be back dancing with you all later this summer,” organisers of both events said in a recent statement.

Bloodstock

Bloodstock, one of the UK’s biggest metal festivals, will return on August 11th. The four-day event features headline performances from Judas Priest, Kreator, and Devin Townsend. Other acts appearing include While She Sleeps, Cradle Of Filth, and Paradise Lost.

The line-up is more domestic-based than previous years, which organisers said is “due to the ongoing issues and restrictions surrounding Covid-19, several overseas bands are no longer able to be at Catton Park with us this summer”.

Boardmasters

If Cornwall’s party of the summer, Boardmasters, was postponed again this year, then that would make it three cancellations in a row. In 2019 the event was scuppered due to torrential weather, and the pandemic ruined last year’s plans.

The event in the idyllic South West is running from August 11th-15th, and they’ve pulled out all the stops with their line-up. Foals, Gorillaz, and Jorja Smith, will headline the Newquay bash. Meanwhile, Loyle Carner, Jamie XX, Kano, Sam Fender, Blossoms, Easy Life, Lianne La Havas and many more are set to grace the coast.

City Splash

City Splash is bringing a drop of reggae to South London this summer as it comes to Beckenham Place Park near Crystal Palace. A press release notes how the festival aims to celebrate the impact and “importance of reggae music on British culture, everything from Ska, Rocksteady, Dub, Roots, Dancehall, Lovers Rock to its UK ancestors of UK Reggae, Jungle, Hip Hop, Garage, Grime and  Drum and Bass.”

Artists like Barrington Levy and Holy Cook will be performing at the event which takes place on September 12th. Tickets are still on sale here.

Creamfields

The UK’s hottest dance festival have announced that they will be returning in their slot over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Organisers have promised punters for “the party of the summer”.

Electronic royalty like Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Eric Prydz, Tiesto, Bicep, Martin Garrix and Chase & Status will be bringing the beats to Cheshire this August.

End Of The Road

End Of The Road is returning this September from 2nd to 5th, with line-up boasting names including Hot Chip, Little Simz, Sleaford Mods, King Krule, Jonny Greenwood and Arlo Parks. Bright Eyes, Big Thief, Perfume Genius and Pixies were originally intended to play, but travel restrictions permit them from performing in Dorset this summer.

“We were ready for one hell of a party in 2020, so we did our best to keep most of the original line-up,” said organisers. “It has been a strange year, and we’d like to extend the biggest thank-you to everybody who’s bought a ticket and stood with us through these tough times.”

Latitude

Latitude is returning on July 22nd, just days after the lifting of restrictions. Wolf Alice, Bastille, and The Chemical Brothers will headline the festival. Meanwhile, special guests Damon Albarn and Supergrass are also appearing across the weekend.

The Suffolk fest will take place with a full-capacity 40,000 crowd and is part of the government’s Events Research Programme.

“The additional research collected at Latitude will benefit all festivals and live events moving forward,” said organiser Melvin Benn. “Everyone will be welcome to attend as long as they have a negative lateral flow test or proof of two vaccinations.”

Neighbourhood Weekender

Village covidiot Ian Brown pulled out of his headline performance at Neighbourhood Weekender due to organisers insisting on proof of vaccinations, or a negative PCR test, for fans to attend. Still, the Warrington event is set to go ahead without him this September.

Brown has been replaced by James as Saturday night-headliner, with Gerry Cinnamon closing the Friday night and Catfish & The Bottlemen headlining the Sunday. Other acts include Sam Fender, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Pale Waves, Easy Life, The Coral, Miles Kane and Sports Team.

Parklife

Manchester’s Parklife is a stable of the festival calendar in June at Heaton Park but has been pushed back until September. Overseas acts including Megan Thee Stallion, Da Baby, and Burna Boy are currently booked to play, but this could all change with restrictions. Dave, Jamie XX, Disclosure, Skepta and Slowthai are some of the many homegrown names you can rely on to fulfil their booking.

“We’re not considering operating with social distancing – I personally don’t like these socially distanced events,” organiser Sacha Lord told NME earlier in the year. “I think to go to a proper gig or a proper rave; you need to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a hot, sweaty environment. You cannot create that atmosphere at a socially distanced event.”

Reading & Leeds

Stormzy will take to the stage on the Main Stage East on Reading on the Friday and Leeds on the Saturday whilst Catfish and The Bottlemen will headline Main Stage West on the same nights. Post Malone is to top the bill on the Saturday on Main Stage East at Reading and the Sunday evening in Leeds with Disclosure filling the other headline slot.

The final evening at Reading and the Friday at Leeds will welcome Liam Gallagher to take up Main Stage East’s reigns with Queens of The Stone Age return to the festival for a slot on Main Stage West.

Other acts appearing throughout the festival include Wolf Alice, Two Door Cinema Club, AJ Tracey, Machine Gun Kelly, Gerry Cinnamon, Sam Fender and many more. American based artists like Charli XCX, DaBaby and Doja Cat have already pulled out amid fears that more withdrawals could follow.

Standon Calling

Standon Calling is returning to the Hertfordshire hills and will run from July 22nd through till the 25th. Bastille, Primal Scream and Hot Chip will headline the event. There’ll also be performances from Mahalia, Jake Bugg, Arlo Parks, Sister Sledge, Craig David, and many more.

“We remain ready to act flexibly and quickly to any changes to the proposed easing of lockdown over the next few months and to implement any necessary safety measures at the time of the event in July,” said a statement on the festival’s website.

Tramlines

The Streets top the bill on Friday night, with the likes of The Kooks, Circa Waves, Jake Bugg, Alfie Templeman, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Pale Waves all scheduled to perform on that day too. Meanwhile, Royal Blood headlines the Saturday following performances from Blossoms, Mahalia, Little Simz, The Lathums, The Magic Gang and many more.

A set from Supergrass will round off the festival’s final day. Elsewhere on Sunday, Hillsborough Park will stage performances from Dizzee Rascal, Tom Walker, Everything Everything, The Snuts, Holly Humberstone, The Big Moon, among others.

Supergrass are deputising for Richard Ashcroft, who pulled out after discovering the festival is part of the government’s Event Research Programme. He said: “It must be an age thing but the words Government Experiment and Festival.”

TRNSMT

The Scottish festival, which takes place at Glasgow Green, has been rescheduled from July to September and will welcome Liam Gallagher, Primal Scream, Courteeners, Ian Brown, Little Simz and more later in the summer.

“We are delighted to announce our September dates for TRNSMT today,” Geoff Ellis, Festival Director, said. “We had initially hoped for the festival to take place in July as planned, but a combination of the timetable to exit lockdown and the preparation time needed to put on an event of TRNSMT’s scale means this wasn’t possible.

“September gives us the opportunity to put on the best festival we can for our fans after such a long time without any live music, and we will, of course, work with all relevant authorities to ensure we follow any guidelines that may be in place in September.”

Victorious Festival

Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival will be making a comeback over the August Bank Holiday and are hoping to celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2021 in elegant style.

Organisers have managed to keep most of last year’s bill intact. They will be welcoming artists including The Streets, Madness, Royal Blood, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Fontaines D.C., Blossoms, Supergrass, Richard Ashcroft and many more.

Wilderness

If you don’t fancy doing festivals in the old-fashioned rough and tumble way, then Wilderness is for you. Set in the picturesque Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, Wilderness brings together music with talks on wellbeing, showcases from the culinary world, and even hosts political debates. You don’t get that at Reading, do you?

On the music front, Wildnerness is welcoming artists including Jamie XX, Bicep, Rudimental, Loyle Carner, The Blessed Madonna, Mahalia, Georgia and Holly Humberstone. The event runs from August 5th until the 8th.

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