Three Underrated UK Festivals You Should Consider This Summer
As the light returns to our days in the wake of waning winter, summer puts itself firmly in our minds. With summer in the UK comes festival season, a glorious and carefree time in which torrential rain and lukewarm beverages can do nothing to diminish our high spirits.
The UK’s festival scene is uniquely vibrant, with heavy hitters across the pantheon of genres: pop and guitar music have Glastonbury; rock and metal have Download; dance music has Creamfields. But there are some lesser-sung festivals that offer experiences like no other, and which should certainly be brought into consideration before the summer arrives. Here are but three of them.
Norwich is an unassuming place in which to host a music festival, not being particularly known for its own cultural contributions – and yet, Sundown festival is living proof to the contrary. Sundown is a dance-heavy pop festival, with 2023 boasting the likes of Chase and Status, Raye and Sub Focus amongst a great many others. Sundown is easily accessible, too; rail travel to Norwich is a cinch, and shuttle buses are on hand to run you to the grounds a mere five miles away.
On the more independent side of things Y Not stands proud; it is an underdog festival for all things guitar music, set in the glorious Peak District and a guaranteed bop each year. This year, indie-rock heavyweights Bombay Bicycle Club are poised to headline alongside chart-rockers Royal Blood and indie royalty James.
Y Not happens at the end of July, and, if not accessed by car, can be reached by train to Buxton or Matlock. The festival has also paired with a coach service to get ticket-holders from around the country down to the site and back again after the weekend is through.
Over in South Wales, couched in the mountainous majesty of the Brecon Beacons, lies one of the most criminally underrated music festivals in modern history: Green Man. It has been running for over 20 years, and has fostered a dedicated and niche following in that time – thanks to its undeniable quality and penchant for impeccable line-ups. Left-field and indie acts share the Welsh countryside with oblique electronica and heavy music, from Fleet Foxes and Foxwarren to Black Country, New Road and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs.
It is a relatively small festival, accommodating only around 25,000 tickets each year; it is also surprisingly accessible for families, with learning experiences for children alongside an eclectic roster of artists and events for adults to enjoy well into the early hours. For travellers far and wide, there is a coach service operating from multiple locations, while a train to Aberystwyth puts you in line for a shuttle bus to the festival grounds.