Temperatures may not have caught up yet but it is UK springtime in a couple of weeks. And that means it’s time to look forward to festival season. But if you’re fed up of huge crowds, garbage beer and a less-than-overwhelming line-up at Glasto and Reading/Leeds, fear not – the UK has some of the best alternative music festivals in Europe. So whether you want to let loose or find somewhere suitable for all the family, here’s our complete guide to the best alternative UK summer festivals in 2019!
Line-Up: Four Tet, Father John Misty, Eels, Stereolab, Idles
Date: 15th – 18th August 2019
Price: £189 Adult Weekend Ticket
For us, Green Man Festival has one of the best settings on the UK festival scene. Set to the stunning backdrop of the Welsh Black Mountains, Green Man is split into ten areas, each with its own vibe and artistic policy such as; ‘Fortune Falls’, ‘a shamanic hideaway for the creative and cultured’; and ‘Einstein’s Garden’, where you can ‘learn and gawp at something strange’. The line-up for 2019 isn’t too shabby either with Four Tet, Father John Misty and Eels headlining, and the likes of Sterolab and the much talked about Idles providing the support.
Line-Up: Kate Tempest, Gomez, Jack Savoretti, The Cat Empire
Date: 18th – 21st July 2019
Price: £180 Adult Weekend Ticket
Now in its 28th year, Larmer Tree Festival has cemented itself as one of the UK’s most loved and long standing festivals thanks to its breath-taking location, outstanding line-ups and breadth of activities on offer. The festival boats some of the coolest boutique camping options in the country too, with everything from traditional gypsy-style bowtops to luxury Airstream caravans available to hire. The music line-up this year sees the likes of Kate Tempest and Gomez playing, while the intimate and eccentric festival offers a unique party experience with plenty of community activities.
Line-Up: Two Door Cinema Club, Courteeners, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Manic Street Preachers, Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Doves, Happy Mondays
Date: 19th – 21st July 2019
Price: £69.50 Adult Weekend Ticket
If it’s value you’re after, look no further than Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival. Now in its 11th year, Tramlines is priced at just £69.50 for access to all three days of the festival. The line-up is seriously strong in 2019 too, with Two Door Cinema Club, Courteeners, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Manic Street Preachers, Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Doves, Happy Mondays, and loads more playing on the festival’s four stages. There’s also a comedy stage and some of the finest street food traders in Yorkshire will be keeping you suitably fed. Tramlines is incredible easy to get to as well – just a 15 minutes tram ride from Sheffield city centre.
Line-Up: Robyn, Bombay Bicycle Club, Groove Armada, Tom Odell
Date: 1st – 4th August 2019
Price: £179.50 Adult Weekend Ticket
Oxfordshire’s Wilderness Festival may be relatively new to the UK festival scene, having only started back in 2014, but it’s already gained quite the reputation. Now on its sixth edition, Wilderness is perfect if you’re after a real old-school hippy love-in. The forest setting is idyllic to say the least and there’s even a chance to go wild swimming. Wilderness is also a foodie haven with a huge array of street food trucks, as well as the option to sign up to one of the festival’s many banquets. This year’s eclectic music offering is the festival’s best yet too, with Robyn, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Groove Armada headlining.
Line-Up: Frank Turner, You Me At Six, Deaf Havana, While She Sleeps
Date: 11th – 13th July 2019
Price: £129.50 Adult Weekend Ticket
Named the Best Medium-Sized Festival at the 2018 UK Festival Awards, the multi award winning 2000trees is one for the alt-rock lovers. A 10,000 capacity festival set in the rolling Cotswold Hills, at 2000tress you’ll find a friendly, intimate and atmospheric festival offering 120 of the best new and underground acts from the worlds of rock and indie, as well as headline acts like Frank Turner, You Me At Six and Deaf Havana to close out the three nights in style.
Line-Up: 2ManyDJs, Erol Alkan, Joey Negro, Marc Rebillet
Date: 23rd – 27th May 2019
Price: £99 Adult Weekend Ticket
If it’s dance you’re after, Alfresco Festival is back this May, only this time it’s relocated to the beautiful woodlands and riverside of Hop Farm in Kent. This boutique festival is about losing yourself in nature to a soundtrack of house, disco, techno and electro, with a mega line-up including 2ManyDJs, Erol Alkan, Joey Negro, Maurice Fulton, and internet cult hero Marc Rebillet across four daytime and three night-time stages. As well as having some of the finest electronic music acts, Alfresco prides itself being family friendly, so you can bring your kids too.
Line-Up: The Streets, Groove Armada, UB40, Four Tet, Chase & Status, Napalm Death
Date: 8th – 11th August 2019
Price: £245 Adult Weekend Ticket
But if you’re looking for something truly ‘alternative’, where the music is almost secondary to the weekend experience, look no further than Boomtown Fair. The UK’s most unusual festival is back for Chapter 11, featuring of music, art, theatre design, and architecture with a vast open air theatrical production on a scale unrivalled anywhere in the country. Boomtown Fair is all about adventure and escapism, with a storyline unfolding in real time throughout the festival weekend. Brought to life by hundreds of actors, the festival features a number of different interactive and immersive venues. The musical line-up isn’t half bad either with a diverse line-up playing ska, folk, gypsy, reggae, world, punk, jazz, blue-grass, drum and bass, garage, funk, soul, dub, and hip-hop. To illustrate the point, acts confirmed so far include The Streets, Groove Armada, UB40, Four Tet, Chase & Status and Napalm Death.
If you fancy heading abroad for a festival, check out our guide to Europe’s Best Music Festivals 2019.