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Top 5 UK Independent Festivals 2018

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Although we’re still a long way away from festival season, it’s never too early to start planning ahead (especially when you need something to look forward to in these arctic conditions). Early bird tickets are starting to run low, with some nearing the end of second tier, so it’s time to start planning where you’re going to be heading this year! Here are our top 5 picks for independent UK festivals to look forward to in 2018.

Festival No. 6

Image credit: Festival No. 6

This September, in a Mediterranean-inspired, Grade II-listed village which bears comparison to a Wes Anderson set, is a multi-award winning festival like no other: Festival No.6. The festival, located in the bucolic coastal paradise of Portmeirion, is possibly one of the most beautifully curated independent festivals in the UK at present. In addition to having a fairytale setting, the festival offers a bespoke line up of music and art, as well as incredible food ranging from street food to banquets. For music, the festival hosts legendary bands and artists (Pet Shop Boys said that it was a highlight of their career) as well as plenty of rising new musicians, delivering you an eye-wateringly good line up. Full details for 2018 have not yet been fully confirmed, but last year they had wood fired hot tubs, yoga, meditation and a mermaid spa, which we hope are included this year too - we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Festival No. 6 will take place at Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales, LL48 6ER.

End of the Road

Image credit: Nick Helderman

Created by music obsessed festival lover Simon Taffe, End of the Road is a melomaniac-heaven which, “Comes close to stealing Glastonbury’s crown.” (The Independent). Since it’s conception, the festival has been a creative triumph; each year, Simon fulfils his ambitious quest to present his favourite bands to like-minded individuals at a festival that he would pay to go to himself. He must be a bit of an indie-kid at heart, as the festival nearly exclusively hosts rock music and its subgenres, with past artists including Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, Mac Demarco and Grizzly Bear. Although serious about music, the festival is anything but pretentious - Simon tries to make the festival as affordable as possible, pulling in food operators who produce delicious dishes which don’t break the bank and not distributing artists passes, which means that musicians rub shoulders with the festival-goers (sometimes resulting in spur of the moment performances).

End of the Road will take place at Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, SP5 5PP.

Wilderness Festival

Image credit: Wilderness Festival

Embrace your most creative self; forage in the woods, swim naked, learn how to write poetry, make friends and explore the wilderness. Wilderness festival claims they are a ‘space for you to be truly free’, and encourage festival-goers to fully immerse themselves in their ethos; to step outside their comfort zone and revel in ‘the utter joy of living’. All sounds a bit hippy dippy doesn’t it? But it seems to be working for them, as year after year they attract big, fully-participating crowds. It’s not just the festival’s free-spirited nature that pulls them in, however - they also assure attendees that the art and food is just as important as the music and host impressive feasts, fascinating performance art and incredible headliners. In the past they’ve had performances from Bjork, George Clinton and Rodriguez, and this year they have the ageless Grace Jones, Two Door Cinema Club and Bonobo. (If you’re offended by the naked human form, maybe give this one a pass.)

Wilderness Festival will take place at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, OX7 3DG.


Image credit: Blissfields

17 years ago, in the Blissfields' back yard, Paul and Mel invited just a few of their mates to join them for a couple of drinks around the fire. Then one thing led to another, and they started hosting an annual festival with around 2,500 attendees. However, this year, Blissfield’s will no longer be. Like a phoenix from the ashes, a new festival has been formed in its place - Blisscamp. This has come as little break from Blissfields and is a ‘smaller, more concentrated show’, bringing the festival back to its humble roots and offering a more intimate show. Although this new festival is otherwise shrouded in mystery, we expect it will follow a familiar suit with its forebear - diverse with something for everyone, friendly vibes and an incredible bill of musicians. They have not released their full line up just yet, but their final night will be curated by Dub Pistols’ Barry Ashworth and so far includes Dub Pistols themselves, the legendary Norman Jay, Too Many T’s, Kioko and Skata Tones.

Blisscamp will take place at Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, Winchester, SO21 3BL.

Port Eliot

Image credit: Port Eliot

For a few days in July, the Cornish Grade I-listed Port Eliot opens its doors to free-spirited individuals and luminaries for a weekend of music, art, food, workshops and pure relaxation. With a hint of activism flavouring the festival, expect enlightening talks about the environment and politics, as well as a fantastic selection of locally-sourced and sustainable food. One of the major highlights of Port Eliot is the food and drink - in the past they’ve hosted renowned chefs from River Cottage, Polpo and Fortnum and Mason - with stalls offering local favourites as well as international street food. This totally righteous (yet quaintly middle class) festival welcomes people of all ages, with lots of workshops and fascinating talks to fill the days and cocktails and dancing to finish them off.

Port Eliot will take place at St Germans, Saltash PL12 5ND.