Image © Dot to Dot Festival via Facebook

Where to go for: Inner-City Festival Guide

Maisy Farren

Here at Culture Calling festival season is one of our favourite times of year. The emotional/mental/physical onslaught of spending a long weekend in a budget 2-man tent and dancing till dawn every night fills us with joy, and as the major festivals gradually announce their line ups, we are dreaming of those summer days. However, it’s safe to say that festivals aren’t for everyone. For those of you who want to consume all your favourite music in one weekend (and participate in some guilt-free day drinking) then here is your go-to guide for 2019’s inner-city festivals.

Image credit: The Great Escape Festival via Facebook 

Where to go for brand new music: The Great Escape
9 -11 May 
Often considered the UK’s answer to SXSW, The Great Escape is the heart of new music in the UK’s festival scene. For three days in May the seaside town of Brighton is flooded with bands from across the UK and overseas, with a perfectly curated line up of bands that are about to hit it big. Their previous line-ups have featured multitudes of now-famous faces, including The 1975, Slaves, Skepta and Clean Bandit- just to name a few. Organised over 30 venues, purchasing a festival wristband allows you entry to as many shows as you can fit in over the course of the weekend. There is one Spotlight Show each year, in which individual tickets are available and wristband holders can apply for a free ticket in a ballot. Simultaneous to the gigs, the Great Escape runs a music industry conference featuring panels, debates and keynote speeches. This ensures that the top dogs in the music industry are in Brighton for the weekend, and more than likely plays a key part in the success of the bands that are booked to play. For those of you who are strapped for cash head down to Brighton anyway and look into the Alternative Escape, a line-up of free shows in tiny pubs and venues throughout the weekend. Ticket or no ticket – Brighton is the place to be for this May bank holiday weekend. 
We had far too much to say about the bands playing TGE to fit in this short guide, so check out our music recommendations for 2019’s festival here.  

Image credit: Dot To Dot Festival via Facebook 

Where to go for an absolute bargain: Dot to Dot
Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham

24 - 26 May 
Hosted in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham, this festival has no doubt seen a wide range of performers in its 15 years. The festival takes over one city per day in the last weekend of May, filling all of its best venues with a full line up of bands and singers. Each year it announces a blinding line up, and this year is no exception. Alternative dance party band Crystal Fighters will headline the festival, and further down the bill features bad-ass girl group Dream Wife and 2015 throwback band Swim Deep. A small snapshot of its first wave line-up, expect many more acts (last year more than 50 bands played throughout the day). The highlight of this glowing line-up is the ticket price, at a mere £15.40 per person you can see as many of these acts as you can possibly manage in one day. At the ticket-to-wristband exchange point, you will also receive a program featuring food and drinks offers across the city. Making it one of our most accessible festival recommendations, you don’t have to be loaded to enjoy new music this May. 

Image credit: Liverpool Sound City via Facebook 
Where to go for a bit of everything: Sound City

3 - 5 May 
Liverpool boasts a proud history of music, so where better to host a festival which celebrates diversity in its wonderfully varied line-up? Located in the hipster paradise of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, a ticket to this festival will give you access to a wide range of genres, making it the perfect festival for a big group of friends. Topping the bill for Sound City are Mabel, Loyle Carner, Shame, The Magic Gang, The Tea Street Band and Confidence Man, which officially covers hip hop, punk, indie, singer-songwriter and dance. The line-up continues with a variety of genres and features plenty of local to Liverpool talent. In a refreshing change for UK line-ups, this festival has billed a solo female singer as a headliner, proving the point that festivals can do more to make their line ups more gender representative. The Baltic Triangle is a weekend away in itself, a thriving hub of independent business and culture, with food, drinks and art in the previously industrial area around Jamaica Street. Whilst the music is primarily throughout the individual days of the weekend, the party definitely doesn’t stop with the last act. Stick around the Baltic Triangle for garage raves and warehouse dance clubs, or head into central Liverpool for a classic scouse night out. We won’t even judge you if you want to head to Popworld – all music is good music. 

Image credit: Live at Leeds via Facebook 

Where to go for getting everything done in one day: Live at Leeds

4 May 
Where most festivals spread their line-ups over the bank holiday weekend, Live at Leeds does one better and fits the entire festival into just one day. This means you can enjoy music Saturday, recover with a classic hungover Sunday and still have bank holiday Monday to spend with your friends/family/loved ones before the working week begins. Some massive names are heading to Leeds for this one, including Metronomy, Drenge, Black Honey, Goat Girl, Kate Tempest and Tom Grennan. A classically indie line up, the festival has picked a genre and done it well. The extensive amount of venues across the city means that you’re going to want to plan your day meticulously, so as not to miss out. But the electricity of the city on the 4 May is well worth the constant venue relocations, and the pubs and bars between venues will be packed with likeminded music fans. If, like many years before it, the sun shines on the city for LAL day, enjoy a day of venue and beer garden hopping as you experience some of the UK’s best new music. 

Image credit: PARKLIFE FESTIVAL via Facebook 

Where to go for an absolute party: Parklife

8 - 9 June 
If you’ve warmed to the idea of a festival in close proximity to civilisation but you’re not ready to give up wellies and portaloos just yet, then Parklife has got your back. For two days in June, the legendary Heaton Park becomes a colourful party destination and presents some of the music’s most popular acts. Catch Cardi B, Solange, George Ezra, The Streets, Disclosure and Mark Ronson… just to name a very few. Filled with bars, food stalls and music tents, Parklife is the perfect taster of a festival without committing to 4 days in a tent, and it’s close proximity and excellent transport links to central Manchester means that you can arrive each day fresh as a daisy- showered, fed and ready for a good time. And if the line-up isn’t enough to win you over, every Parklife ticket holder is awarded with 3 months free Apple music, 20% off at ASOS and free entry to the Parklife Club afterparties. 

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