Long seen as maybe the ultimate urban destination in the world, London remains distinctly urban, but nowadays, come the summer, utterly embraces all that season has to offer, whether you’re talking city-based entertainment or countryside-associated activities. A good example is that the summer festival has taken the UK capital totally by storm – with thousands of revellers flocking to them every year. Want to know what’s going on this summer & this year’s best London festivals? Just read on…
(various venues, Camden NW1/ Saturday June 3rd)
Renowned as one of the capital’s greatest places for live music, Camden then’s a fitting location for this multi-venue fest featuring a plethora of rock bands doing their thing. In fact, if hard rock/ metal’s your thing (fair dos, it’s not everybody’s) this night out will definitely be for you, not least as it sees more than 200 acts – both major names like The Damned, Orange Goblin and Ruts DC, as well as unknowns – spread across 25 venues throughout this unique, eccentric area.
(Victoria Park, Grove Road E3 5TB/ June 3rd)
This may well be the festival to opt for should you be a follower of the alternative music scene. Unusual pop artists, dance names from the underground, folk acts and indie bands new to the circuit are meat and drink for Field Day – and its attendees. This summer’s line up is set to include the likes of Flamingods, Nina Kraviz, Death Grips, Slowdive, Mura Masa and old favourite Aphex Twin.
(Victoria Park, Grove Road E3 5TB/ July 14th-15th)
Having established itself over the years as one of the capital’s finest summer festivals, Lovebox returns this year to deliver yet more eclectic electronica acts and bangin’ live bands, in addition, of course, to a plethora of performance artists and many a surprise on the side. Plus, don’t dismiss those after-parties ensuring all the fun spills over. Expected acts include Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Frank Ocean, Mac Miller, Kaytranada, Jamie xx, Chase & Status, Solange and Sampha. Perfect if you’ve chosen to stay nearby, for sure – at a quality hotel like the Montcalm at Brewery London City.
(Victoria Park, Grove Road E3 5TB/ July 16th)
Yet another Victoria Park-based event, this one distinguishes itself from the rest by taking place on a Sunday only and, perhaps fittingly then, it’s sort of suited to the so-called day of rest. To wit, the rather wonderful thing about that is the music’s truly just one element and arguably not the main attraction; it’s absolutely packed with arts-based side entertainments and events and terrific food and drink pop-up stalls. That said, with a line up fronted by Foals, it hardly scrimps there either.
(Brockwell Park, Norwood Road SE24 9BJ, and various other venues/ August 12th)
Yes, despite the name, don’t worry; this is a day-and-evening-long festival just like all the rest. In fact, Sunfall looks a real winner, coming, as it does, courtesy of the teams behind the capital’s tip-top club nights XOYO, The Nest and Phonox. And it’s also something of a unique offering among London summer festivals – dance music-based, the day’s all about raving in Brockwell; the night eight different after-parties dotted across other London venues, for which you’ll need no further tickets (great then whichever of the luxury hotels London you may have made your base). Acts appearing look likely to inlude Roy Ayers, Jay Electronica, HAAi, Larry Heard, Princess Nokia and The Black Madonna.
South West Four
(Clapham Common, Windmill Drive SW4 9DE/ August 26th-27th)
Many would have you believe that the August Bank Holiday weekend in London’s about just one event, the Notting Hill Carnival, but that’s not so – down south it’s all about South West Four (or SW4); the veritable dance music festival par excellence that’s back for yet another summer. If you’re visiting London and fancy something of that Ibiza buzz, then this is the event for you – huge beats, big drops and, yes, classic club anthems courtesy of acts like Duke Dumont, Hannah Wants, Pendulum and Sigma. Yes, delivering the best of EDM, electro, techno, trance and sensational house is what it’s all about. For that reason, though, tickets for this festival tend to sell out very fast – so be quick on your toes, you don’t want to miss out!