Best small festivals in the UK

01 Jul 2016

Forget Glasto. Move over V. This year it’s all about small festivals.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s a special place in our heart for larger music festivals, but with soaring ticket prices, over-crowded fields and a never-ending queue for the toilets, is bigger always better? Here, we take a look at the best small festivals in the UK:

Kendal Calling

kendal calling

Now in its tenth year, Kendal Calling brings some of the biggest names in the music industry to the Lake District. Taking place between the 28th and 31st of July 2016, festival-goers can see everyone from Rudimental to music legends Madness and everyone’s favourite funny man, Jason Manford.

Music isn’t all this 12,000-capacity festival has to offer though. There’s a cinema showing classic films like The Terminator and Scarface, an independent market and even a Garden of Eden, where you can treat yourself to a massage, take part in a yoga class or spruce up your ‘do at the salon.


boardmasters festival
Forget fields; what could be better than a festival on the coast? Boardmasters takes place this year from the 10th to the 14th of August 2016 at Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach, Cornwall.

The festival has attracted some big names since it was first launched in 1981 and this year’s line-up is similarly impressive. James Bay, Deadmau5 and Chase & Status have all been announced as headliners, while Craig David and Kaiser Chiefs will also be performing.

Aside from the world-class performances, the festival is a dream for surfers, skateboarders and BMX riders. There are professional surfing competitions and surf lessons to get you involved in the action, while the best BMX and skate stars will show off their skills on a purpose-built ramp.


farmfestcredit: cracked magazine

For a back to basics, fuss-free yet still epic fcredestival, choose Farmfest. While big-name performers aren’t on the bill, this festival is all about discovering the best new talent. Bands like Friendly Fires have played here in the past, showing the standard of new music that’s on offer.

The festival remains true to its roots, priding itself on its small status. The main stage is a converted lorry trailer, which was bought for just 50p in 2006. It’s a no frills affair, but with a birds of paradise aviary, an annual handmade hat competition and spoken word poetry on offer, you’re sure to have a great time.

Secret Garden Party

secret garden festival

credit: AIF

Taking place in Cambridgeshire, the Secret Garden Party is held annually and offers a great independent experience to festival-goers.

In terms of the line-up, this year you can expect headliners Caribou, Air and Maribou State, as well as performers like Lissie and The Temper Trap all making the bill. Fancy yourself as the best dancer on the field? Head to the Dance Off arena and take part in a battle to secure your name as the best mover ever.

There’s a games area too, although what’s on offer is strictly under wraps. From the images though, it looks to be a lot of fun!

Electric Fields

electric fields festivalcredit: Floris Coetzee

Got any plans for the 26th to 27th of August? Enjoy a final get-together with your friends before you head off to uni and book your tickets for Electric Fields, an emerging Scottish music festival taking place at Drumlanrig Castle.

With a line-up that includes the likes of Primal Scream, The Charlatans and Everything Everything, you’ll get the best of both worlds with big-name acts and new talent. Once you’re done dancing, continue the thrills and spills at the on-site fairground — yes really, a fairground!

Stagecoach offers discounted bus travel for students so you can get to wherever you want to be, for less, this summer. How will you own the place?