From Strawberries & Creem to Standon Calling: 2021's best summer festivals

Glastonbury’s off, but there are a whole host of festivals on the horizon – featuring nu-jazz, the queen of drill, Liam Gallagher and a Cheese Hub

Bigfoot festival

Bigfoot’s USP is IPA. A craft beer paradise, there’ll be just as many kinds of ale as there will be bands, with Primal Scream, Hot Chip, Fat White Family, Baxter Dury, Big Joanie and many more getting all hopped up in the grounds of a lavish stately home.
Go for: The beer tent to end all beer tents, hosted by beloved Hackney boozer The Gun.
Stay for: Club Mexicana’s vegan tacos.
18-20 June, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire

Black Deer

Oddly, Americana’s UK home is just outside Royal Tunbridge Wells. Covering all your blues, folk and country bases, Van Morrison and Robert Plant are heading things up, but there are some new-school gems too, including Bristol’s Lady Nade and Brit-folker Jade Bird.
Go for: The Roadhouse stage, featuring custom motorcycle builds that’ll make an Easy Rider out of an Alan Partridge.
Stay for: An entire arena dedicated to the art of barbecue.
25-27 June, Eridge Park, Kent

I want MOR ... Lewis Capaldi.
I want MOR ... Lewis Capaldi. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images


With Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, Snow Patrol and First Aid Kit in attendance, expect big Radio 2 energy. Mayhem might be in short supply, but if getting a nice coffee and a midnight bedtime (at the latest) is a priority, Latitude’s here for you.
Go for: A terribly pleasant and largely inoffensive time.
Stay for: The comedy bill, which always beats every other fest.
22-25 July, Henham Park, Suffolk

Standon Calling

Standon Calling has all the signs of a major party incident, including costume parades, a time-travelling theme and a Dick & Dom DJ battle. Normally we’d dismiss this as nonsense, but after the year we’ve had, we say bring it on! If you’re feeling dangerous, you can also go for a dip in the hot tubs.
Go for: The sweet sounds of Sister Sledge, Greentea Peng, Poppy Ajudha, Biig Piig and Charlotte Adigery.
Stay for: Drag collective Sink the Pink, who’ll be helping Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s kitchen disco come to fabulous life.
22-25 July, Standon Lordship, Hertfordshire

South Facing festival

Luckily, South Facing isn’t a 24-day endurance festival in which Bear Grylls survives by eating the droppings of tech-bros in glitter hotpants (that’s Burning Man), but rather seven standalone outdoor gigs in August. From Dizzee to the Streets, Supergrass to Max Richter and the English National Opera, the appeal is impressively broad.
Go for: The refreshed and iconic outdoor backdrop, a stage known locally as the rusty laptop.
Stay for: Mike Skinner’s post-lockdown anthem, Who’s Got the Bag (21st June).
5-29 August, Crystal Palace Bowl, SE19

Reading & Leeds

Reading & Leeds has revamped itself for Gen Z, ditching the pee-slinging acts of old and instead staging a live-action role-play of a 17-year-old’s Spotify account, with Charli XCX, KSI, Mabel and AJ Tracey. Liam Gallagher will officially be the oldest person on site.
Go for: Two headliners every night – including Post Malone, Stormzy and Queens of the Stone Age – means you won’t be begging for big names.
Stay for: Queen of drill, the incendiary Ivorian Doll.
27-29 August, Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park

The Chic of it ... Nile Rodgers.
The Chic of it ... Nile Rodgers. Photograph: Richard Young/Rex/Shutterstock

The Big feastival

Memorably branded “Tory Glastonbury” by Vice, Alex James’s 10th annual gathering of foodies, Clarksons and Camerons might have absolved itself by this year booking Nile Rodgers & Chic, All Saints and Zara Larsson. If it hasn’t, consider staging a dairy-based revolution in the Cheese Hub.
Go for: The food, obviously, from celeb chefs such as Nathan Outlaw, Ching He Huang and Tom Brown.
Stay for: Second helpings from Jack – son of Rick – Stein, and 2014 MasterChef winner Ping Coombes.
27-29 August, Kingham, Oxfordshire

All Points East & Field Day

Finally the east London faithful can bin their sourdough starters and get back to doing what they do best: drinking orange wine and telling everyone that they went to school with Burial. The UK’s largest gathering of hipsters, All Points East has Jamie xx, Kano, Slowthai and Little Simz while the rather more ravey Field Day (which takes place on Sunday) sees Bicep and the Blessed Madonna in charge.
Go for: The best of nu-jazz, from Nubya Garcia to Tom Misch.
Stay for: The hangover-soothing soul of Arlo Parks.
27-30 August, Victoria Park, E3


The festival where indie will never die: this summer features guitar heroes Snow Patrol, Courteeners and Blossoms. T in the Park’s successor, it bristles with its forebear’s unhinged spirit and gets absolutely wild.
Go for: Local boy Joesef’s simmering, sensual pop.
Stay for: The Chemical Brothers and their eye-popping light show.
10-12 September, Glasgow Green

Strawberries & Creem

Started by a bunch of uni students, Strawberries & Creem has fast become one of the most vital festivals we have. With a line-up boasting dancehall, hip-hop, R&B and Afrobeat royalty, this year it expands to two days, with Sean Paul, Partynextdoor, Bugzy Malone and Koffee.
Go for: Breakout star of 2021, Pa Salieu.
Stay for: The godly DJ Honey Dijon’s underground anthems.
18-19 September, Childerley Orchard, Cambridge


Leonie Cooper

The GuardianTramp

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