30 Mar 2017 Best UK City Festivals

As the weather gets warmer, Britain becomes the destination for festivals and events of all sizes and genres. You will have heard of the most famous ones, Glastonbury and the V Festival, but for those not so keen on camping or unable to fork out for expensive tickets, there are a myriad urban festivals taking place all over the UK. From one-day Carnivals to music weekenders, there is something for everyone and some of them are even free! Say hello to the best UK city festivals of 2017.

Art & Literature

Art & Literature City Festivals

Image credit: By The Community – Pop Culture Geek (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

MAY

Chelsea Flower Show
Festival focus: horticulture and garden design
When: 23rd – 27th May (23rd – 24th May for members only)
Expect: one of the world’s most prestigious horticultural shows, attracting all the big names in garden design and horticulture supplies as well as visits from the Royal family.
Price: £32 – £63 depending on how long you will stay and if you are a member of the Royal Horticultural Society or not.
Where: Royal Hospital Chelsea, London
https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show

London Comic Con
Festival focus: modern pop culture literature, film and arts with a sci-fi focus
When: 26th – 28th May
Expect: modern pop culture exhibition and events, covering comic books, anime, video games and sci-fi in general
Price: £17- £65
Where: Excel, London
http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/

JULY

Manchester Comic Con
Festival focus: modern pop culture literature, film and arts with particular interest on sci-fi
When: 29th – 30th July
Expect: modern pop culture exhibition and events, covering comic books, anime, video games and sci-fi in general
Price: £15- £24
Where: Manchester Central (formerly The GMEX), Manchester
http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/manchester/

AUGUST

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Festival focus: thousands of art acts across multiple genres
When: 4th – 28th August
Expect: the biggest art festival in the world, covering multiple genres and disciplines in various locations across the city
Price: there are free events as well as ticketed ones, see festival website for more details
Where: various locations in Edinburgh
https://www.edfringe.com/experience/what-is-the-fringe-festival

CARNIVALS & PARADES

Image Credit: Grant Cherrington (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

JULY

Pride in London
Festival focus: LGBT and music
When: 24th June – 9th July (Parade and main event on 8th July)
Expect: LGBT+ events, performances and parade
Price: the main parade and events are free, but partner events may require tickets
Where: West End and Trafalgar Square, London
http://prideinlondon.org/

Brazilica
Festival focus: Brazilian inspired carnival
When: 14th – 16th July
Expect: a celebration of Brazilian art and culture, including a parade through the centre of Liverpool and the Brazilica Fringe Festival encompassing films, exhibitions, workshops and performances in the run to the main carnival day.
Price: free for the main parade, but Fringe events may require tickets
Where: parade through the city centre, Liverpool (check website for route details)
http://brazilicafestival.co.uk/

Liverpool Pride
Festival focus: LGBT and music
When: 29th – 30th July
Expect: LGBT+ events, performances and parade
Price: the main parade and events are free, but partner events may require tickets
Where: St George’s Quarter, Liverpool
http://liverpoolpride.co.uk/

AUGUST

Brighton Pride
Festival focus: LGBT
When: 4th – 6th August
Expect: LGBT+ events, performances and parade; Brighton Pride is widely recognised as one of the best Pride Festivals in the world.
Price: the main parade and events are free, but partner events may require tickets
Where: Preston Park, Brighton
https://www.brighton-pride.org/

Caribbean Carnival of Manchester
Festival focus: Caribbean inspired carnival
When: 12th – 13th August
Expect: floats, dancers, exuberant costumes and Caribbean music. There are two parades, one from 1pm to 4pm which is more family-friendly and the J’Ouvert parade from 6pm to 10pm – a street party following the Caribbean body painting tradition.
Price: free for the main parades, but partner events may require tickets
Where: Alexandra Park, Manchester
http://themanchestercarnival.com/

Manchester Pride Big Weekend
Festival focus: electronic, house and pop music, part of a larger LGBT event
When: 25th – 28th August
Expect: part of the famous Manchester Pride event, Pride Big Weekend brings electronic, house and pop music to Manchester’s Gay Village during the August bank holiday. Highlights this year include Melanie C, Gok Wan, Louisa Johnson, Shaun J Wright and Saara Aalto.
Price: the parade is free, but the music event requires tickets
Where: Gay Village, Manchester
http://bigweekend.manchesterpride.com/index.html

Notting Hill Carnival
Festival focus: Caribbean inspired carnival
When: 27th – 29th August
Expect: floats, dancers, costumes and drums.
Price: free
Where: Notting Hill, London
http://www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com/

CULTURE & LIFESTYLE

Image credit: Paina Uttar Pradesh (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

APRIL

Laces Out! Trainer Festival
Festival focus: sneaker culture
When: 29th April
Expect: vintage, rare, box fresh and deadstock sneakers for collectors to buy or swap, as well as accompanying entertainment, including DJ sets, talks, demonstrations and live performances.
Price: £8
Where: Camp & Furnace, Liverpool
http://www.lacesout.co.uk/ 

JUNE

Africa Oyé
Festival focus: African culture
When: 17th – 18th June
Expect: African culture, food and art, including live dance, music and theatre performances as well as activities for families.
Price: free
Where: Sefton Park, Liverpool
http://www.africaoye.com/

West End Live
Festival focus: theatre productions
When: 24th – 25th June
Expect: thirty-one top West End theatre shows live on stage for free
Price: free
Where: Trafalgar Square, London
http://www.westendlive.co.uk/

JULY

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
Festival focus: Arab arts and culture
When: 8th – 16th July
Expect: UK’s biggest celebration of Arabic art and culture returns to Liverpool, including music, dance, theatre and markets.
Price: Mostly free, but some events do charge for the tickets. Usually around £12
Where: Various venues in Liverpool
http://www.arabartsfestival.com/

Holi Festival of Colours
Festival focus: EDM, bass and dance music with Holi colourful powders
When: 29th July
Expect: Inspired by the Hindu festival with a European twist, Holi Festival of Colours combines music and coloured powder to create a unique festival atmosphere.
Price: £29.99 – £42.99 depending on what package you choose
Where: Wembley Park, London
http://www.holifestival.com/uk/en/your-city/london

MUSIC

MAY

The Great Escape
Festival focus: rock, alternative rock, indie rock, punk rock, hard rock, dance, techno, electronic, acoustic, hip-hop
When: 18th – 20th May
Expect: British and international artists performing in a variety of genres in venues all over Brighton, all within walking distance of each other. Please check their website for line up and venues.
Price: £29 – £60
Where: various venues in Brighton
http://greatescapefestival.com/line-up/

Sound City
Festival focus: indie, alternative and rock
When: 25th – 28th May
Expect: true to Liverpool history, expect indie, alternative, electronic and rock music to be filling the line-up of this festival. Highlights this year includes The Kooks, The Cribs, The Kills, The Human League and Metronomy.
Price: £38.50 – £71.50
Where: Liverpool Waters, Clarence Dock, Liverpool
https://www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk/

Slam Dunk
Festival focus: rock, metal, punk and emo
When: 27th May and 28th May
Expect: one full day of rock and complementing genres. Highlights include Enter Shikari, Don Broco, Bowling for Soup, Neck Deep and many others. Starts in Birmingham and moves on to Leeds.
Price: £48.40 – £53.90
Where: NEC, Birmingham and City Centre, Leeds
http://slamdunkmusic.com/

BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend
Festival focus: chart music
When: 27th – 28th May
Expect: current big names in music and tickets that go super fast. This year’s line-up includes Katy Perry, Little Mix, Kings of Leon, Stormzy and more.
Price: free, but there is an admin charge of £8.50 for the tickets
Where: it changes every year. This year it’s in Hull, Capital of Culture for 2017
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eppp6q

Love Saves the Day
Festival focus: underground and new music
When: 27th – 28th May
Expect: the best of Bristol’s underground scene as well as pioneering artists from across the globe.
Price: £27.50 – £104.50 depending on what type of ticket you go for.
Where: Eastville Park, Bristol
http://lovesavestheday.org/line-up/

Spring Fest
Festival focus: pop, R&B, rock, indie rock and techno
When: 27th – 28th May
Expect: indoor festival with four stages and ten zones. Highlights include All Saints, sister Sledge, Phil Rudd (AC/DC), Wheatus and DJ Sammy.
Price: £30 – £74
Where: The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh
https://www.skiddle.com/festivals/spring-fest-edinburgh/lineup.html

JUNE

Field Day Festival
Festival focus: alternative
When: 3rd June
Expect: the world’s finest alternative act, from weird pop and indie up-and-comers to underground dance producers and folk musicians
Price: £64.50
Where: Victoria Park, London
http://fielddayfestivals.com/news/

Parklife Manchester
Festival focus: indie, dance, electronic and hip-hop
When: 10th – 11th June
Expect: Manchester’s biggest music festival returns to the city with an extensive line up over several arenas. Highlights include The 1975, Frank Ocean, Jess Glynne, Fatboy Slim and Stormzy.
Price: £65.45 – £137.50
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester
https://parklife.uk.com/

British Summer Time Festival
Festival focus: big names in chart music
When: 30th June – 9th July
Expect: big names in music. Highlights include Phil Collins, Green Day, Justin Bieber, Kings of Leon, The Killers, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Price: £62.50 – £399.50 depending on what tickets you buy and for which event.
Where: Hyde Park, London
http://www.bst-hydepark.com/

JULY

Community Festival
Festival focus: indie rock, alternative rock and punk rock
When: 1st July
Expect: British and Irish indie rock bands. Highlights include Catfish and the Bottlemen, Slaves, The Wombats and Nothing but Thieves.
Price: £35
Where: Finsbury Park, London
http://communityfestival.london/community-festival-2017

Wireless
Festival focus: pop, dance and R&B
When: 7th – 9th July
Expect: highlights include Zara Larsson, Skepta, The Weeknd and Tory Lanez.
Price: £55 – £160
Where: Finsbury Park, London
http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/

Birmingham & Solihull Jazz & Blues Festival
Festival focus: jazz and blues
When: 14th – 23th July
Expect: Dozens of jazz and blues performances and workshops take place across several venues in Birmingham and Solihull.
Price: Free and ticketed events
Where: Several venues, Birmingham area
https://www.facebook.com/Birminghamjazzfestival/

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
Festival focus: jazz and blues
When: 14th – 23th July
Expect: Jazz and blues events all over the city
Price: Free and ticketed events
Where: Several venues, Edinburgh
http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.com/

Lovebox
Festival focus: club music
When: 14th – 15th July
Expect: hottest names from the clubbing scene, including Chase & Status, Frank Ocean, Jess Glynne, Jamie XX, Solange, Annie Mac, Sampha and many more.
Price: £72.25 – £145
Where: Victoria Park, London
http://loveboxfestival.com/#

BBC Proms
Festival focus: classic music infused with other genres
BBC hosts several BBC Proms across the UK from the 15th of July until the 10th of September, but the main events take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
When: 15th July – 10th September
Expect: one of the world’s greatest classical music festivals. Tickets are hotly anticipated so you must keep an eye out for them and book as soon as they come available.
Price: ticket prices vary according to event and seating arrangement please check BBC Proms website for more details.
Where: Royal Albert Hall, London and various other locations
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/r938q9/series?event_details=setlist

Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF)
Festival focus: R&B, pop and rock
When: 14th – 15th July
Expect: household names and up-and-coming acts perform on a number of stages throughout the park. The festival includes a silent disco, DJ sets, live performances and even an orchestra. Highlights include Trevor Nelson, Gordon City, Katy B, Fleur, Kate Nash and many others.
Price: Free
Where: Sefton Park, Liverpool
http://www.limfestival.com/

Tramlines Festival
Festival focus: rock, indie, pop, electronic, dance, hip-hop, folk, experimental, metal, world and reggae
When: 21st – 23rd July
Expect: seventy-three national and local acts on five stages across three parks with other six venues supporting the main performances. Highlights include The Libertines, All Saints, Kano and Metronomy.
Price: from £38
Where: The Ponderosa, Devonshire Green and The Folk Forest in Sheffield
http://tramlines.org.uk/

AUGUST

BBC Proms
Festival focus: classic music at times infused with other genres
BBC hosts several BBC Proms across the UK from the 15th of July until the 10th of September, but the main events take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
When: 15th July – 10th September
Expect: one of the world’s greatest classical music festivals. Tickets are hotly anticipated so you must keep an eye out for them and book as soon as they come available.
Price: ticket prices vary according to event and seating arrangement please check BBC Proms website for more details.
Where: Royal Albert Hall, London and various other locations
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/r938q9/series?event_details=setlist

SW4 Festival (South West Four Festival)
Festival focus: dance and electronic
When: 26th – 27th August
Expect: the best of London’s dance and electronic music.
Price: £52.50 – £125
Where: Clapham Common, London
http://southwestfour.com/

SEPTEMBER

BBC Proms
Festival focus: classic music at times infused with other genres
BBC hosts several BBC Proms across the UK from the 15th of July until the 10th of September, but the main events take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
When: 15th July – 10th September
Expect: one of the world’s greatest classical music festivals. Tickets are hotly anticipated so you must keep an eye out for them and book as soon as they come available.
Price: ticket prices vary according to event and seating arrangement please check BBC Proms website for more details.
Where: Royal Albert Hall, London and various other locations
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/r938q9/series?event_details=setlist

Fusion Festival
Festival focus: pop music
When: 2nd – 3rd September
Expect: British and international big names in pop music.
Price: £53.45 – £95.95 (2016 prices)
Where: Otterspool Promenade, Liverpool
http://thefusionfestival.co.uk/

Moseley Folk Festival
Festival focus: folk
When: 1st – 3rd September
Expect: from unsigned to established international folk artists.
Price: £42 – £199
Where: Moseley Park, Birmingham
http://www.moseleyfolk.co.uk/

 

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