10 of the UK's best music festivals for folk, jazz, blues and world fans

Eclectic global talent take to the festival stages this summer as Nashville’s finest hit Edinburgh and African retro-pop comes to Wiltshire. Here are our picks

Bath festival

Bath international music festival has been superseded by the Bath festival, a multi-arts fest with – so the blurb goes – music and literature at its heart. This year’s programme looks predominantly literary, but among the celebrity chefs and former politicians peddling their wares is a range of acts to please jazz, folk and classical fans. Georgie Fame’s gig with Guy Barker’s Big Band looks set to be a classy affair; Martin Carthy and Sam Sweeney unites two of the UK’s greatest folk musicians.
19-28 May, various venues, Bath, Somerset; tickets from £8. bathfestivals.org.uk

Beverley folk festival

While nearby Hull celebrates its City of Culture status, what better time to visit Beverley and also take in some of the UK’s best folk acts? Eddi Reader – always terrific live – headlines, other nights feature Lau and Jon Boden.
16-18 June, Beverley Racecourse, East Yorkshire; weekend from £120, day from £50. beverleyfestival.com

Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg will play at Cambridge folk festival. Photograph: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images

Africa Oye

Celebrate African music and culture at this family-friendly and free two-dayer. Zimbabwe’s Mokoomba are among the acts old and new making up the festival’s 25th birthday party.
17-18 June, Sefton Park, Liverpool; free. africaoye.com

Love Supreme

Jazz, soul and R&B collide in the South Downs at this vibrant new festival. Nostalgia pop dominates the main stage with the Jacksons and George Benson among the headliners, but don’t miss the brilliant St Paul and the Broken Bones, Laura Mvula or Kendrick Lamar collaborator Kamasi Washington.
30 June-2 July, Glynde, East Sussex; weekend tickets from £150, day tickets from £54. lovesupremefestival.com

Edinburgh jazz & blues fest

Hit the Scottish capital before the crowds descend for the fringe and you can check out some of jazz’s buzziest new talent. Kandace Springs, the 27-year-old Nashville singer who worked with Prince, is a hot ticket, likewise velvet-voiced Sarah McKenzie.
15-23 July, various venues, tickets from 12.50. edinburghjazzfestival.com

Jon Boden
Jon Boden will be performing at Beverley folk festival and FolkEast, Suffolk. Photograph: Ross Gilmore/Redferns via Getty Images

Folk by the Oak

An entry-level festival for the non-campers – some of folk’s finest perform on two stages on this single-day festival in the parkland of Hatfield House, 20 miles north of London. The Levellers headline, but don’t miss classy instrumental trio Leveret or exciting young talent Kitty Macfarlane.
16 July, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire; tickets from £33. folkbytheoak.com

Cambridge folk festival

The UK’s best-known folk festival goes from strength to strength with a lineup that takes in folk’s biggest hitters but has plenty on the fringes to vary the diet across four stages, too. Arrive early for BBC Folk Award’s best group the Furrow Collective on Thursday, stay until Sunday to catch Hayseed Dixie’s high-energy bluegrass, and acoustic headliner Jake Bugg. And, in their only UK festival appearance, Olivia Newton-John collaborates with Amy Sky and Beth Nielsen Chapman for a compelling and personal show, Liv On.
27-30 July, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridgeshire; weekend tickets £167, day tickets from £59.50. cambridgelivetrust.co.uk


This world music institution showcases the best of today’s (and yesterday’s – South Africa veterans Ladysmith Black Mambazo are sure to be a highlight) world music scene, with plenty to excite the more adventurous listener. Try the hotly tipped Estonian fiddler Maarja Nuut, or the hypnotic East African retro-pop of Alsarah & the Nubatones. There’s also a spa if it all gets too much for you, and a vast array of other activities with plenty for the kids, not least the Sunday parade.
27-30 July, Charlton Park, Wiltshire; weekend tickets from £175. womad.co.uk

Olivia Newton-John will perform at Cambridge folk festival.
Olivia Newton-John will perform at Cambridge folk festival. Photograph: Paul Plaza/AFP/Getty Images

Sidmouth folk week

The east Devon coastal town knows how to throw a party – it has hosted a folk festival since 1955 and the week-long event takes over the resort, from grand marquees to tiny pubs to the seafront itself. Its lineup reads like a who’s who of today’s folk scene – it’s impossible to pick highlights. Seek out the fringe events and find yourself dancing a ceilidh, or picking up fiddle tips courtesy of Sam Sweeney, or learning Icelandic harmonies
4-11 August, Sidmouth, Devon; many ticket options, including: season ticket at £314 and weekend ticket at £137. sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk


The village fete vibe makes this weekend, and, if you like your morris dancing with a twist, this is the place to be. Festival patrons the Young’Uns perform, as do Lau, Jon Boden and Fay Hield.
18-20 August, Glemhall Hall, Suffolk; weekend tickets from £115. folkeast.co.uk


Imogen Tilden

The GuardianTramp

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