Festival Guide 2017 – the UK and North West’s best music festivals and major events

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Festival Season

With the festival season on the horizon, Getintothis’ Craig MacDonald and Amaan Khan take a look at what’s in store for 2017’s major events. 

With the faint hope of some sun and warmth on the horizon, the time has come to pick out your shades, get the welly boots out and consume an absurd amount of cider. Yes, you guessed it folks, its Festival time!

Plenty of the Northwest’s festivals have featured in this years festival award nominations, proving just how fortunate we are to have such an expansive variety of festivals right on our doorstep.

The below brings a guide to all the events that will be going on throughout the year, that we know about so far. So get them dates boxed off and start sorting out those all important clashes to make sure you see, who you want to see.

In the meantime, get a helping hand with what to expect with our handy playlist below and feel free to send your tips of any we may have missed out.

Mammal Hands

Mammal Hands

Liverpool International Jazz Festival: February 23 – February 26 2017, Capstone Theatre, Liverpool

Liverpool International Jazz Festival returns to Liverpool Hope University‘s Capstone Theatre for its fifth year. The festival aims to celebrate the century old genre and the latest innovations in the same field. Previous editions of the festival have seen the likes of Courtney Pine and Mercury award nominated GoGo Penguin.

This year will see performances from MOBO award winners Sons of Kemet, along with other jazz luminaries in like Mammal HandsThe David Helbock Trio and Victor Nordberg. To make the festival more dynamic, Milapfest contributes with a concert of Jyotsna Srikanth‘s Maya Jazz transversing Indian classical music and jazz, alongside D’addario Woodwinds providing a saxophone workshop led by Iain Ballamy of Loose Tubes fame.

RongoRongo

RongoRongo

Threshold Festival: March 31 – April 2 2017, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool

Threshold Festival is clearly becoming one of Liverpool’s favourite annual events with the variety and quality of acts it brings during it’s three day run. The festival takes place around The Baltic Triangle and will be the first event to take place at the Cain’s Brewery, also making use of newer venues like Northern Lights.

The festival, now in its seventh year, has already announced the likes of Hannah Peel, XamVoloRongorongo,  False AdvertisingLiliumLoka for this year’s bill. Other art-forms also find a platform via Threshold with the festival putting up various exhibits, dance performances and even plays along with selling it’s own ale and merch.

Read our full preview here.

Hieroglyphic Being (image from artist Facebook)

Hieroglyphic Being (image from artist Facebook)

Safe as Milk Festival (launch):  April 21 – April 23, Pontins Prestatins, Wales

Avante-garde lovers among you might have already noticed that this festival shares its name with the debut album of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. Dedicated to the more left-field music and artworks that most festivals don’t dare put up, Safe As Milk will take place over three days at Prostin’s Prestatyn Holiday park in the Welsh town of Prestatyn.

It will see performances from the likes of folk-legend Shirley Collins, American west coast act The ResidentsMichael Rother, Princess Nokia and many more. Along with the musical acts, the festival will feature site-attractions, exhibits, record sellers, film screenings and marketplaces selling original ales, food, posters and what not.

Read our full preview here.

The Wytches

The Wytches

Wrong Festival: April 22 2017, Northern Docklands, Liverpool

Liverpool’s northern docklands will see it’s own share of wackiness in an all-dayer in the form of Wrong Festival. Taking place at The Invisible Wind FactoryNorth Shore Troubadour and the lesser known nearby DROP the Dumbulls, the festival will see acts like Bo NingenThe WytchesHECK and Evil Blizzard.

If costlier tickets and three or more days of attendance is too big a commitment for you but you still have an appetite for the freakier scene, WRONG festival is the right event to attend.

Read our full preview here.

Katie Mac

Katie Mac

Smithdown Road Festival: April 29 –  May 1 2017, Smithdown Road, Liverpool

Smithdown Road Festival is lesser known and is much younger compared to most major festivals, but for a free festival, it does offer a healthy lineup of grass root level acts. Taking place around various venues on or near Smithdown Road, it will see acts like Dave McCabeKatie MacHaarmTramp Attack alongside food markets and art exhibitions.

Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts

Live at Leeds: April 30  2017, Various Venues, Leeds

Live at Leeds is a festival that has been previously recognised as the Best Metropolitan Festival by the UK Festival Awards. Spread over various venues across the city, the festival first runs as Live at Leeds Digital Festival from April 26 to April 29 before culminating with Live at Leeds Music Festival on Sunday 30 April.

Though aiming to unearth emerging talents, the festival can boast of having given stage to Ed SheeranThe 1975 and Bastille among others. Ten years after it’s inception, the festival will host Slaves, Wild Beasts, White Lies, Jaws and Let’s Eat Grandma plus many more acts yet to be announced.

Read our full preview here.

The Big Moon

The Big Moon

FestEVOL: April 30 2017, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool

Closer to home is the all day event that the city has come to cherish over the years, that is, FestEVOL.

Returning to it’s newly found home Invisible Wind Factory, the festival will follow last year’s success of Blossoms and Hooton Tennis Club  with Wild Beasts alongside The ParrotsCabbageSundownersInheavenOriellesPink KinkLying Bastards and many more.

Read our full preview here.

Heavenly Recordings' Jeff Barrett DJ-ing

Heavenly Recordings’ Jeff Barrett DJ-ing

Sounds From The Other City: April 30 2017, Chapel St, Salford

If the previous two festivals weren’t enough to make the bank holiday Sunday special, there is a third one happening at Salford.

Championing new music, the festival is set around Chapel Street in Salford with the Islington Mill expected to be the central hub of the activities. Though the lineup is yet to be announced, the festival claims to culminate all that’s gone before in the previous 12 years with the help of promoters and labels like SFTOCAficionado and Heavenly Recordings.

LightNight 2016

LightNight 2016

LightNight: May 19 2017, Various venues, Liverpool

Adding variety to the year’s happenings and doing so with class is LightNight 2017. The one night event creatively illuminates various nooks, corners and landmarks of Liverpool and brings forth the beauty found around town that people quite often pass by without noticing.

All the illuminations are supported by offerings like theatrical performances at Liver Building, DJ sets at art galleries, orchestral performances at Anglican Cathedral and tours through lesser known streets of the city. This year’s theme is ‘Time’ and we can’t wait to hear about the full details of this year’s events.

John Cale

John Cale

Liverpool Sound City: May 25 – May 28 2017, Clarence Dock, Liverpool

Sound City has turned into a juggernaut of event in the north west and has been regularly recognised as Best Festival for Emerging Talents by UK music festival awards. Moving to Clarence Docks this year, the festival celebrates its 10th birthday with an already seriously solid looking lineup.

The festival will see performances from The Human League with support from the likes of Art of Noise while will see legendary John Cale bring his only European performance of The Velvet Underground and Nico to celebrate the record’s 50th anniversary with help from special guests. With Metronomy and The Kooks joining them on headline duties, plus a whole host of immense names already announced, this is one party set go off with a huge bang.

Read our full preview here.

Spring King

Spring King

Dot to Dot Festival: May 26 – May 28 2017, Various venues, Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham

Another past winner of the Best Metropolitan Festival award, Dot to Dot festival started in Nottingham back in 2005 and can also boast featuring artists like Mumford and SonsFlorence and the MachineEd Sheeran and the xx in the past.

On 26 May, the festival brings talents like Spring KingDelamerePale Waves and more than 130 others to various venues across Manchester. The following day, venues across Bristol will see similar happenings in the likes of MeadowlarkFenne Lily and Rozelle. Similarly, Nottingham will have it’s share on the last day with Crosa RosaEyre Llew, Georgie and many more.

Baltic Triangle

Baltic Triangle

Baltic Weekender : June 2 – June 4 2017, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool

Launching itself this year is the brand new endeavour titled Baltic Weekender which has Abandon Silence and 24 Kitchen Street in the centre of its organisation. Enough details about the festival have not yet been released. All that is known is that it will feature some of Liverpool’s trusted club scene promoters putting up stages around Baltic Triangle and Abandoned Silence will celebrate it’s 7th birthday as a part of the festival. With the pre-lineup tickets going at £10, this could be your chance of checking something that could be something big in the future.

The Selecter

The Selecter

Positive Vibration – Festival of Reggae: June 9 – June 10 2017, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool

Positive Vibration won the Best New Festival at UK Music awards 2016 and hence, carries a lots of promises for its 2017 edition.

Spread around Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, the festival will see two tone icons The Selecter headline at Constellations alongside other artists like Scientist, Earl Gateshead, MC Brother Culture and Vibronics. The festival will also feature a Q&A Panel and the last year’s popular exhibition The Art of Reggae among other things.

Photo credit Download Festival 2016 and Jen O'Neill

Photo credit Download Festival 2016 and Jen O’Neill

Download: June 9 – June 11 2017, Donington Park, Leicestershire

Arguably the biggest festival in rock, Download returns to its spiritual home in Donington armed with one of its strongest lineups to date. Headlined by System Of A Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith, the bill can also boast AnathemaProphets of Rage, AFI and Clutch. With more to be announced, this is headbanging at its best.

The 1975 at Liverpool University

The 1975 at Liverpool University

Parklife: June 10 – June 11, Heaton Park, Manchester

Manchester really knows how to throw a proper party, if Parklife is anything to go by. This year will see Frank Ocean, The 1975, A Tribe Called Quest and loads more make the way up North to play the ever expanding bash.

Africa Oye 2015

Africa Oye

Africa Oyé – 25th Anniversary Festival: June 17 – June 18 2017, Sefton Park, Liverpool

When the UK’s biggest celebration of African and world music is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary, you know its going to be special. The festival that started out as handful of gigs all around the city, has a become a massive two day carnival largely centered around Liverpool’s Sefton Park.

Africa Oyé has promised to celebrate this year with a lineup of handpicked artists that have performed in its previous editions alongside carrying the tradition of bringing to light some up and coming artists.

Though the lineup hasn’t been announced yet, the fact that names like Sona JobartehMbongwana StarBalojiGordon MasialaTamikrest have performed for it before and that the festival partnered up to get Tinariwen to perform in the city, it won’t be wrong to pin hopes for a killer lineup this year.

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool International Soul Festival: June 16 – June 18 2017, Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Blackpool International Soul Festival soothes the hope of someone dying to experience some soul music in the north-west even before, closer to home, Liverpool Soul Festival announces its dates for the 2017 edition.

Blackpool Soul Festival has already confirmed legendary international acts like Little Anthony and the The Impressions, who will be making this their farewell gig in the UK. Alongside, Leroy Hutson, various other DJs and many more yet to be announced act that will take care of your soul thirst at various venues around Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

Glastonbury 2015 (Photo credit: Jessie Colman)

Glastonbury 2015 (Photo credit: Jessie Colman)

Glastonbury: June 21 – June 25 2017, Worthy Farm

With news that the future of Glastonbury may well be up in the air, what better excuse do you need to head down to Worthy Farm to arguably the mecca of all festival goers. This year revelers will be hoping that the return of Radiohead is just the beginning of what looks set to be a huge lineup. Lets just hope it stays dry!

Louis Berry at Liverpool River Festival

Louis Berry at International Mersey River Festival

International Mersey River Festival: June 23 – June 25 2017, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool

Liverpool’s rich history of music and the docks comes together to celebrate the city’s heritage in International Mersey River Festival this summer. The free family festival based mainly around Albert Dock in Liverpool, offers everything from aerial performances, raft racing, tall ships, street performances, rides for children to the best excuses to plan a family visit to various important buildings, museums and galleries on the docks.

Last year, beautiful river-kissed summer breezes blew over stages that hosted acts like Soul II Soul, Shola AmaClean Cut CutLisa Hannigan and Louis Berry. Naturally, we look forward to those chilled family-friendly summer vibes and the announcements of the acts that will help us experience them.

Brazilian dancers

Brazilian dancers

Brazilica 2017: Liverpool City Centre, Liverpool

Another festival that celebrates the variety of culture around Liverpool, Brazilica is the annual celebration of Brazilian culture in our hometown. The centre of attraction is the carnival parade that sees hundreds of performers in glittery dresses samba across the streets of the city. While various other venues treat you to Brazilian food, live music and exhibitions regarding the same.

Bluedot Festival

Bluedot Festival

Bluedot Festival: July 7 – July 9 2017, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire

Following a well-received inauguration last year, Bluedot is back this year with another promising lineup. The festival, which interestingly uses world’s biggest steerable telescope as the backdrop, will see acts like Alt-JPixiesShuraWarpaintOrbital etc. grace its stage. From its unique location to its unique lineup, Bluedot presents a good case for being the new must-check for the festival-goers.

The Weeknd (credit: artist’s Facebook)

Wireless: July 7 – July 9 2017, Finsbury Park, London

Twelve years after its inception, Wireless Festival has become one the hottest summer festivals for Urban music. Living up to the reputation, the festival has announced a solid lineup that is headed by three of the biggest names in the recent times: grammy grabbing Chance The Rapper, chart dominating The Weeknd and Mercury winner Skepta. Accompanying them are names likes G-EazyTygaSean PaulBryson TillerWiley etc.

Radiohead

Radiohead

TRNSMT: July 9 – July 11 2017, Glasgow Green, Glasgow

Following the inevitable demise of T in the Park, Scotland was in need of a new huge festival and with TRNSMT they have certainly found just that. Set in the city centre, this year will see Radiohead, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro all headline while the likes of Blossoms, The 1975 and The Kooks can all be found waiting for revellers.

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne

Lovebox: July 14 – July 15 2017, Victoria Park, London

Lovebox started out as a dance festival that has expanded into a multi-dimensional mammoth with its many stages at a country-style setting near central London.

In its 16th edition, the festival sees Frank Ocean headline the main stage on Friday with support from Jamie XX. The other stages will also see big names like Mac MillerSolangeRag n’ Bone ManKaytranadaSeth Troxler, KiNK etc.

The next day will be headlined by Chase & Status, who headlined the festival’s 2015 edition previously. Elsewhere, acts like Jess GlynneAnnie MacAndy CRicardo VillalobosHorse Meat Disco etc. will do their part to make the festival truly varied.

The Fortress at Beat-Herder

The Fortress at Beat-Herder

Beat-Herder: July 14 – July 16 2017, Ribble Valley, Lovely Lanchashire

Beat-Herder is the perfect festival if you like your musical celebrations to happen in the great outdoors. Taking place around Ribble Valley in Lanchashire, the scenery provides the perfect backdrop to usually a well-rounded lineup with it’s fair chunk of electronic music offering.

Like most of summer and beyond festivals, the lineup for Beat-Herder has not yet been announced. However, previous editions have included Basement Jaxx, Donovan, Nightmares on Wax, Beans on Toast, Greg Wilson, 808 state, Bondax and other non-musical activities like stand-up shows and interactive exhibits.

LIMF

LIMF

          Liverpool International Music Festival: July 20 – July 23 2017, Various venues, Liverpool

Arguably, the centrepiece of Liverpool based festivals, Liverpool International Music Festival or LIMF comes around every year at a summer bathed Sefton Park and some other venues around town to offer an abundance of talent for families, music heads and friends alike.

Last year we had Lightning SeedsSugarmenFrancesThe WombatsMichael Head and The Red Elastic Band and Johnny Echols of Love among many others, delivering some memorable sets. As one of the most well organised festival around, LIMF qualifies as unmissable for many.

Honeyblood

Honeyblood

Deer Shed Festival: July 21 – July 23 2017, Baldersby Park, Thirsk

Another family festival on the list, Deer Shed does not just use natural scenery as its backdrop, but also keeps it at the heart of it. The festival encourages you to explore the wilderness of Baldersby Park through various activities like workshops (they hosted more than 80 of those in last year alone), sports and science experiments.

Music wise, it will present acts like Teenage FanclubHoneybloodKate TempestThe Divine ComedyTeleman and you might even run into acts from way back home like Hooton Tennis Club and Jalen N’Gonda.

Manic Street Preachers (Photo by John Johnson)

Manic Street Preachers (Photo by John Johnson)

Kendal Calling: July 27 – July 30 2017, Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

When we are talking about natural beauty, how can we forget about Lake District. Taking place at the Lowther Deer Park, is the major festival Kendall Calling which attracts some of the biggest names around plus any many up and coming acts looking on the rise.

The big names this year are Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds, StereophonicsManic Street PreachersFrank TurnerEditorsSeasick SteveCirca WavesThe Coral among several others. With three waves of ticket sales having already generated sold out results and the various payment schemes available, it seems like one of the most lucrative events around.

Rocks Off - Stones tribute

Rocks Off – Stones tribute

Festwich: July 29 – July 30 2017, St. Mary’s Park, Prestwich

If tribute bands are your thing, Festwich is UK’s biggest free festival for tribute bands. In its sixth year, the festival host tribute acts like The CureheadsDaft Punkx, MentallicaThe Rawmones, Tommy Holland as Elvis and Antarctic Monkeys at Prestwich’s St. Mary’s Park for over two days.

Dufus

Dufus

Lytham Festival: August 2 – August 6 2017, Lytham Green, Lancashire

With its reputation continuing to thrive,  Lytham Festival returns to Lytham Green, this festival is now in it’s eighth year. Spread over five days, various stages will see headliners Olly MursHaçienda Classical80s vs 90sMadness and something called West End Proms which sees west end stars like Ramin Karimloo and Lea Salonga bring their majestic glory to a music festival.

The Selecter

The Selecter

The Great Northern Ska Festival: August 19 2017, Bowler’s Exhibition Centre, Manchester

Some people know exactly what they want and a well-rounded lineup doesn’t excite them, they just want a heavy dose of a single genre. If the genre happens to be Ska or two tone, you will love The Great Northern Ska Festival.

As the name suggests, the annual gathering is one of the biggest celebrations of Ska in the north. Happening at the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester, the festival will see performances from Neville StapleThe Selecter and The Dualers.

Future Islands

Future Islands

Green Man Festival: August 17 – August 20 2017, Breacon Beacons, Wales

Set in the lush surroundings of the Breacon Beacons, Green Man Festival boasts a contemporary music lovers wet dream, with a host of left field acts to revel in. This year’s line up will see Ryan Adams, PJ Harvey and Future Islands take to headline duties while further afield, Angel Olsen, Badbadnotgood and Lamb Chop can all be found around the various stages on offer.

Creamfields Steel Yard

Creamfields Steel Yard

Creamfields: August 24 – August 27 2017, Daresbury, Cheshire

If the UK Awards are anything to go by, this is the biggest one around. Having won the the Best Major Festival award at the 2016 awards, Creamfields won in a competition against world renowned festivals like Glastonbury and Isle of Wight.

To add a cherry to the hype, this year the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary. It began as an offshoot of the Cream club nights of Liverpool, and grew into the recognised brand of festivals we know it to be today. The main festival takes place over bank holiday weekend in August at Daresbury. The lineup for this year is yet to be announced but you get an idea of what to expect when you see that last year’s performers included Calvin HarrisAviciiAnnie MacFatboy SlimSteve Aoki and Tiestö. Without a doubt, Creamfields 2017 is the most important dance festival around.

Korn at The Echo Arena

Korn at The Echo Arena

Leeds and Reading Festival: August 25 – August 27 2017, Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds

Leeds and Reading Festival is another big name in the festival circuit. If somehow you didn’t already know, these are two different festivals that are coupled together and have found legendary acts grace them and make them a world-known event. This year will see acts like KornMuseJimmy Eat WorldKasabianTwo Door Cinema ClubBastilleMajor Lazer and Glass Animals among others.

Festival Number 6 - the very muddy Central Piazza

Festival Number 6 – the very muddy Central Piazza

Festival No.6: September 7 – September 10 2017, Portmeirion, Wales

Festival No.6 generated quite a bit of fuss last year but mostly for the wrong reasons. The otherwise lovely area of Portmeirion, Wales turned into a bog with some parts getting flooded due to heavy downpour. However, many people still felt that there was a lot of positive things to be enjoyed at the festival too.

Last year’s edition provided a taste of the legendary with Echo and The BunnymenNoel Gallgagher‘s High Flying BirdsPaul Weller and a Bowie tribute. Knowing that, it is safe to expect a good lineup this year too. With good quality of theatre to offer on the side, Festival No.6 is still worth anticipating regardless of any shortcomings last year.

Liverpool Irish Festival (photo credit: Pete Carr)

Liverpool Irish Festival (photo credit: Pete Carr)

Liverpool Irish Festival – October 19 –  October 29, Various venues, Liverpool

Liverpool Irish Festival is one of the most relaxed festivals on the list, with the ten day event commemorating the exchange of culture between Ireland and Liverpool.

Returning to the city in its fifteenth year, the festival is spread across the whole city for ten days in October during which it is known to feature exhibits at museums, plays around town, jam sessions at pubs and bars, informative talks and various gigs with acts from Ireland.

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