UK music festivals

Which festival should I choose? A newbie’s guide to music festivals.

UK music festivals

So the summer is nearly here and you’re thinking of attending your first music festival, but which one do to go for?

There are hundreds of festivals and they’re all so different. There are week long pop festivals, crazy heavy metal festivals and smaller folk festivals to name just a few. Before you make your decision, here are a few things worth considering.

What do I want from the festival?

The most obvious way to see which festival to attend is by checking out the headliners. However, most festivals have a general theme to them, not just from the music but from the overall feel of the event.

The larger, main pop and rock festivals such as V-festival, Download, Reading and Glastonbury will have some of the biggest names in the music industry and attract hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life. There are lots of things to do besides listening to the artists you love and a huge variety of different food and drink to try. They usually run for a long weekend and can be an intense few days. Things to watch out for with these bigger festivals are keeping track of your friends in the vast crowds, getting squished by the sheer amount of people, and leaving enough time to walk between stages if you want to get close for your favourite bands.

There are lots of medium sized folk and indie festivals such as Y Not, 2000 Trees and Latitude which have some great headliners that might suit you if you want to avoid the masses but still catch some great artists. There’s an eclectic mix of music, performers, stalls and people, and for a festival first timer they can be a great way to dip a toe and get a feel for the bigger festivals without being overwhelmed.

If you want to avoid the crowds and are less particular about which artists and bands you see, then it might be worth trying some of the smaller boutique or folk festivals. These smaller festivals are still packed full of wonderful things to see and do but have a quieter more relaxed feel to them. The Barefoot and Wilderness festival are specifically geared towards you having a totally chilled and relaxed experience. Some of the performers even give classes or talks which you can partake in while you’re there and they’re often the most family friendly.

Accommodation

There are usually several options for accommodation at music festivals, but most attendees will pitch a tent. If you don’t mind braving the English summer weather and pitching up close to neighbouring campers, this is definitely the cheapest option and is a great way to soak up the festival atmosphere before the music kicks off. Be sure to arrive early to get a good spot and mark your tent with something like a flag so you can find the way back to it. It’s also good to remember that the shows go on until the wee hours of the morning so if you want to actually sleep while you’re there, it’s worth checking out the festival website as there are sometimes quiet family camping areas available. It’s also good to remember that camping at smaller festivals is less of an issue and will be a lot less ‘sardines in a tin’ and a little more ‘neighbourly’.

Most of the larger festivals now offer a range of ‘glamping’ options so you can upgrade to a little more comfort and stay in a yurt or bell tent. The handy thing with this style of camping is that the tents will be already set up so you won’t have to lug a heavy tent across a huge field. Glamping also offers a little more privacy and some of them have electricity. The main downside to this style of camping is of course the price, they are more expensive than a little patch of grass and you can’t choose where the tents will be. At the bigger festivals, they sometimes allow for camper-vans, although you can’t guarantee electric hook-ups and you’ll still need to use the main toilets. A little preparation here goes a long way, so be sure to stock up on pocket packs of tissues and hand sanitizer in advance!

With any type of camping, the toilets are probably going to be the worst bit! There are reviews on some of the toilets now (we kid you not) and there’s even a category for best toilets at the UK festival awards (Kendal Calling won 2015) so make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for.

If you’re thinking ‘just reading about camping makes me want to go and wash my hands’ then fear not. Most festivals will give details of local hotels and B&Bs within walking distance (or a short cab ride) so you can get all those home comforts but still enjoy the fun. It’s always a good idea to organise accommodation well in advance as most places get booked up incredibly quickly.

Cost

The last thing to consider is how much money to spend. Any of the large festivals will set you back several hundred pounds and on top of that, there’s travel, food and drink to think about. It’s a good idea to start saving for these so you don’t get caught short.

The price of medium sized festivals can vary greatly and some of the more popular ones can still be fairly pricey, make sure there’s enough you want to see and do to warrant the cost before you buy.

The smaller festivals can cost under £100 for an entire weekend so they’re a good place to start if you want the festival experience without losing a month’s rent in the process!

Don’t miss our next blog which will give you some great tips on how to save money while you’re at the festival!

Cab Guru

Why not see if we can help you get there. With cabs in over 50 towns and cities, we’re the largest provider of cabs in the UK. We always compare local cab companies giving you the best price and that price is fixed! You can also pre-book your cab making festival planning that little easier.