Looking forward to a year full of outdoor events, Getintothis’ Steven Doherty gets us prepared for time spent out in the fields.
So here we are again, it’s festival guide time for the coming year.
There seems to be a definite sea change in what a festival constitutes these days.
It used to be a whole weekend spent in a massive outdoor space off the beaten track, awkward to get to, especially with all that camping equipment on your back.
But now, there is an abundance of metropolitan festivals.
Some are one day only, some still take up a whole weekend, but they allow you to venture around town centre venues, within spitting distance of each other, and give you the luxury of sleeping in your own bed.
Whichever is your chosen path, our guide will give you the best choices as to what your options are.
Undertaking such a mammoth task is not an easy venture, so if we have somehow missed your favourite, then do let us know.
Festivals are a glorious, moveable feast, so the guide will be updated as things are added or changed.
But you haven’t come here for a waffley intro, you’ve come to see where and when you will be spending your favourite weekends of the year and who you will be watching there.
Liverpool International Jazz Festival: The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool, February 27-March 1
The eighth edition of this festival, which will feature some of the leading lights of the scene from both the UK and Europe, taking place over 4 nights.
It will include headline performances from the likes of London’s Cykada, Dutch innovators Tin Men and the Telephone, Belgian iconoclasts Blow 3.0 and a festival closing show from renowned saxophonist Tony Kofi.
There’s supports from up and comers such as Yaatri, Moonmot, Hippo and Liverpool’s own Blind Monk Theory.
Read the full preview here.
Melon Yellow: Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, March 14
Ride are the leading attraction for this brand new all-dayer from the ever-growing-in-stature I Love Live Events promotion team.
The returning shoegazers are joined by the likes of Turnover, The Regrettes, Lauren Howard and Gaffa Tape Sandy with more names to be announced very shortly.
The surroundings of the plenty big Invisible Wind Factory are the ideal setting for this.
Read the full preview here.
Aerial Festival: Parish Church, Ambleside, March 26-29
This is a brand new festival of music and literature, set in the glorious surroundings of Ambleside in the Lake District.
It promises unique settings for the performances, using churches, country houses, a cave and even a steamboat.
Ritual Union: Bristol, March 28
Becoming quite the event in the world of one dayers, Ritual Union keep up their fine record of glorious bills this year.
And as well as their regular festival held in Oxford, they have now launched this sister event in Bristol.
Fair Play Festival: St.Philip’s Church, Manchester, March 28
Another brand new addition for 2020, it’s an eclectic old mix that takes over the church.
LA Priest, the nom de plume of former Late On The Pier frontman Sam Dust, return from a hiatus to play an exclusive Northern show.
Threshold Festival Of Music & Arts: Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, April 3-4
Threshold sails into the sunset after 10 glorious years, announcing recently that this year is to be their last, after a decade showcasing the best that Liverpool, and beyond, has to offer.
Big names just announced include Nick Ellis, Chinchilla, TEE, Barberos and The Lutras.
More details here.
Stockton Calling: Stockton-On-Tees, Durham, April 11
Boasting over 80 bands over 9 stages in just one day, Stockton Calling takes place across an array of venues in Stockton Town Centre.
It’s been a sell-out for the last eight years in a row, with last year’s event boasting record numbers.
Liverpool Sound City: Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, May 1-3
It’s a weekend of real discovery, with so very many different venues, all within walking distance of each other and so many choices.
Read the full preview here.
Live At Leeds: Leeds, May 2
Beginning in 2007 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the city, as it’s the same weekend as Sound City, you get a fair few bands doing both.
It begins with a launch party on the Friday before, headlined by the returning maestros Everything Everything.
Sounds from the Other City: Chapel Street, Salford, May 2
A firm favourite in the North West calendar, which with its expertly curated line-up, made up with the help of various local promoters, never seems to suffer from a busy weekend elsewhere in the region.
Read our preview here.
Stag And Dagger: Various Venues, Glasgow, May 3
Another inner-city event that was planned for the Bank Holiday weekend that now isn’t (there will be some people in work around the UK struggling on that following Monday).
Stag and Dagger is set in the centre of Glasgow, and promises the best up and comers as well as the more established names out there.
Hit The North: Various Venues, Newcastle, May 3
Newish event around Newcastle, it’s another opportunity for bands to get some stage time in before the summer season kicks in.
Newcastle is becoming quite the home for the emerging festivals, let’s hope there are enough keen gig-goers up there to sustain this.
Focus Wales: Various Venues, Wrexham, May 7-9
Another festival celebrating a decade in business, this is Wales’ annual new music event for the Welsh Music Industry.
Wrexham may not strike as the most obvious place to host, but they do a sterling job of welcoming anything up to 15,000 people per year.
Read our full preview here.
The Great Escape: Various Venues, Brighton, May 13-16
Seen more for the very much up and coming from all around the world, rather than the big established names, The Great Escape showcases those bands that will go on to grace the bigger stages at festivals in the future.
In total there will be over 500 artists and 60 venues in play over the weekend, in the nearest thing that this country has to SXSW.
Our full preview is here.
Highest Point: Williamson Park, Lancaster, May 15-17
The gorgeous surroundings of the spectacular Williamson Park will once again host Lancaster’s very own weekender.
Only two acts so far named, in the shape of Rudimental and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man with hundreds more yet to come.
PZYK 2020: Invisible Wind Factory area, Liverpool, May 16
After much anticipation, the line up for the long awaited festival formerly known as Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia has been announced, and it doesn’t disappoint.
A cast of hundreds also appear for those who like their tunes a little bit heavier; the 16 hours will be take some staying.
Read our preview here.
Bearded Theory: Catton Hall, Derbyshire, May 21-24
A festival staple which began as a birthday party in a back garden, and every year tries to break the world record for most people with a beard, and boasts a bigger line-up year upon year.
This year is no exception with Flaming Lips, featuring Wayne Coyne still using that hamster ball thingy, as well as a splendid undercard.
Dot To Dot: Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, May 22-24
One travelling line-up taking in three different cities over three different nights, all in one weekend.
This year, it’s all headlined by the Marmite-esque (as in you’ll either love them or hate them) Easy Life.
As Dot To Dot is celebrating their 15th birthday, expect some surprises when the full line-up is revealed shortly.
All Points East: Victoria Park, London, May 22-31
Slightly different from the usual festival set up, as it’s a series of one-off gigs spread over two weekends, each featuring a major headliner with a full supporting cast.
If the first three names are anything to go by, it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for when the future announcements come shortly.
This Is Tomorrow: Exhibition Park, Newcastle, May 22-24
Now, this is a line-up that has come in for a fair bit of criticism due to its overriding male bias and seeming lack of diversity. Local hero Sam Fender headlines with Gerry Cinnamon and Royal Blood and sees last year’s heroes Fontaines D.C get their first mention of the year.
Neighbourhood Weekender: Victoria Park, Warrington, May 23-24
Warrington once again holds a bank holiday weekend extravaganza, which sees the fitting return of a North West musical legend.
Ian Brown is back and headlining alongside Catfish and the Bottlemen at one of the region’s fastest growing events. The Murder Capital, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Miles Kane, Shed 7 also have the privilege.
Wide Awake: Brockwell Park Gardens, London, June 5
Now, this one jumps off the page as a high-quality all-dayer for anyone fancying a summer day and night spent in the capital. A brand new event, it brings together a list of the who’s-going-to-be-who over the coming 12 months or so, all in one place.
The clashes are going to be heart-breaking.
Long Division: Various Venues, Wakefield, June 4-7
What was it about 2010 that everyone seemingly decided to start their own festivals?
Yep, it’s another city centre fest celebrating a decade of greatness and the Yorkshire legends have just announced their first 33 artists for this year’s event.
Isle of Wight: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, June 11-14
The first time we saw the line-up for this year’s IOW festival, we genuinely thought that it surely must be some sort of wind-up.
Lionel Richie. Duran Duran. Snow Patrol. Dido. Lewis Capaldi. The list goes on.
Here’s hoping for a miraculous second announcement.
Positive Vibration: Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, June 12-13
After a year-long hiatus, Positive Vibration, the family-friendly festival of reggae is back with some legendary names. Hollie Cook, General Levy, Don Letts and Neville Staples are all included in the first bunch of announced acts.
Exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions and a food and drink market will all run alongside.
Download: Donington Park, Derbyshire, June 12-14
One for the metallers amongst you, this is one of the absolute heavyweights of the festival landscape.
The bookers have gone back to basics as far as the main acts are concerned with some stone-cold classic headliners in the form of Kiss, Iron Maiden and System Of A Down.
There’s also the returning Deftones and Funeral For A Friend, and The Darkness, The Offspring and Bowling For Soup in case the proper metal gets too much.
Parklife Weekender: Heaton Park, Manchester, June 13-14
As far away from Download as you can get, many people’s highlight of the season comes over at the legendary Heaton Park, in the shape of Parklife.
This year, they have managed to attract a star-laden sign up featuring a roll-call of the established and new voices.
Africa Oye: Sefton Park, Liverpool, June 20-21
The musical highlight in the city for some returns, after some doubt that it would make it back in 2020 maintaining its free festival status.
Last year saw the busiest event yet, and this trend is set to grow. Hopefully the weather will be glorious, and the bill is announced later this month.
More details here.
Glastonbury: Worthy Farm, Somerset, June 25-28
What can you say that hasn’t already been said about Glastonbury?
It may well be too big and trendy these days, according to some curmudgeons, but there really is something for everyone.
If McCartney’s not your thing, there’s always Taylor Swift or Kendrick Lamar.
If these massive headliners are not for you, there’s stage upon stage of smaller bands, comedy, art, pretty much everything you could hope for at a festival, including Diana Ross and Pet Shop Boys.
Sounds Of The City: Castlefield Bowl, Manchester, July 1-11
A series of events in the heart of Manchester, each night sees a different headliner with a couple of supports, and the line-ups seem to be going more for the older pop dollar this year.
But the real headline news is the return of the under-rated genius of Crowded House.
British Summer Time: Hyde Park, London, July 3-12
Not a standard festival, but another series of one-off gigs, with some exclusive names not playing anywhere else this summer season.
2000 Trees: Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, July 9-11
Another one of this year’s events that is set in the midst of some stunning scenery, this time in Cotswolds country.
More anti-mainstream than some of its seemingly more illustrious counterparts, this one has very much stood the test of time and fashions.
Jimmy Eat World, The Amazons, Creeper and The St Pierre Snake Invasion are amongst this year’s choice cuts.
TRNSMT: Glasgow Green, Glasgow, July 10-12
The old T In The Park has come into some criticisms since its inception for a number of reasons; but, it seems to have now hit its stride.
Latitude: Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, July 16-19
Unfairly touted as a festival that is more renowned for comedy and literature with the music side of it somewhat regarded as a bit bland.
Saying that, there is still Keane and The Lumineers.
Doune The Rabbit Hole: Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire, July 17-19
A new name in the guide for this year but celebrating its tenth year, the already announced line-up is a proper way of getting yourself noticed.
Belle and Sebastian headline, with a stellar, well-thought out line-up throughout, including a rare Pussy Riot festival appearance.
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Mclusky and Girl Ray show the undoubted quality beneath the top line.
Splendour: Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, July 18
Supergrass, James and Belinda Carlisle are the first three names on this under the radar all-dayer that has now consistently had a high quality bill for years.
Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Wollaton Hall, more names are to be added.
LIMF: Sefton Park, Liverpool, July 19
Conservative arts cuts are in full swing and here’s the first major victim of them, but one day is certainly better than nothing.
The organisers will be keen to make the most of the day, so expect a biggie when the announcement drops.
Bluedot: Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, July 23-26
The festival of choice for the intellectuals. Not just because of its incredible setting, it’s more the breadth of choice of events, both musical and otherwise, sees it as a favourite to many.
The music takes equal billing here alongside the art dimension, and both sides of the Bluedot coin are prevalent on the newly announced corker of a line-up.
Bjork, Metronomy, Spiritualized star musically with cultural highlights including Tim Peake and Adam Buxton.
Full details here.
Deer Shed: Topcliffe, Yorkshire, July 24-26
Deer Shed 11 (they must have been on the bandwagon some 12 months earlier) sees a thankfully diverse group of names headed up by Stereolab and Baxter Dury.
There’s also a theme to it, Incognito!, more about that as details become available.
Y Not: Pikehall, Derbyshire, July 24-26
At least you get to look at the scenery whilst he plays one of the non-Verve ones.
Let’s Rock Liverpool: Wavertree Playground, Liverpool, July 25
For those of us of a certain vintage, this is a dream line-up for the second Let’s Rock Liverpool.
Following the torrential monsoon scenes of last year’s Croxteth Country Park event, this year’s has a new home, at Wavertree Playground.
Adam Ant is the eye-catching headliner, backed up admirably by (ironically) Wet Wet Wet, ABC, Kim Wilde, Heaven 17, Sister Sledge and Toyah, who will on the day surely change the name of her biggest hit to “It’s The Mystery” (extremely niche Liverpool joke, congrats to anyone who gets it).
Camp Bestival: Lulworth Castle, Dorset, July 30-August 2
Announcing their usual “how are they on the same line up as them” line up recently, Camp Bestival always looks like the most fun of weekends due to the sheer variety of things you could do.
Kendal Calling: Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria, July 30-August 2
Becoming one of the go-to mainstays of the season, Kendal Calling displays all its beauty with an incredible setting as well as always having an on point line-up.
And this year’s has got many excited.
Read the full preview here.
Truck: Hill Farm, Steventon, Oxfordshire, July 31-August 2
Arguably hosting the best summer festival bill of 2019, Truck is back for 2020.
The Hives make a welcome return to the higher echelons of a festival bill as does La Roux.
Tramlines, Hillsborough Park, Sheffield, July 31-August 2
Taking the old Sound City route, Tramlines started out as an city centre multi venue fest, but has now set up in a permanent outdoor park.
Unusual Sunday headliners come in the welcome form of one of the greatest singles band this country has ever produced, Madness.
Promising five stages featuring art, music and comedy, they were winners of last year’s Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival awards.
Boardmasters: Watergate Bay, Newquay, August 5-9
Appealing to festival goers and surfers alike, Boardmasters has long since catered to both parties.
Last year’s event was sadly cancelled due to the inclement weather, so let’s hope for an August heatwave this time round.
Rebellion: Winter Gardens, Blackpool, August 6-9
The mecca for punks from around the globe, what better place than Blackpool for a good old knees up?
This is the festival for them, bringing together the best blend of the bands from the original punk era, as well as the cream of new breed.
Over the four days you’ll be pogoing to the likes of Stiff Little Fingers, Sham 69, Bad Religion, Anti-Flag, Tom Robinson Band and The Adicts.
Our full preview is here.
Boomtown Fair: Matterley Estate, Hampshire, August 12-16
Chapter 12, that’s what this year’s event is being called, and it’s being described as the “most theatrically immersive festival experience on earth“, which is quite the claim.
Well, it looks like the artists they’ve got in to make this happen could actually succeed in this.
Green Man: Usk Valley, Powys, Wales, August 20-23
Celebrating its 18th birthday and cementing itself as the major outdoor music festival in Wales, Green Man once again enhances its family friendly vibe.
It sells out quicker each year, and who wouldn’t want to spend the weekend ogling the surrounding Brecon Beacons.
Beautiful Days: Escot Park, Devon, August 21-23
This is the Levellers‘ own festival, which has now been in force for 17 years, and seems to still be growing year upon year, despite using no corporate branding, sponsorship or advertising.
The band and hosts are to close the Saturday night themselves, plus a few of their old friends from that era and scene, the crusty early 90s.
Creamfields: Daresbury Estate, Cheshire, August 27-30
For those of a more dance-orientated persuasion, this North West extravaganza is still the pinnacle of the genre live.
Since the festival moved a few years back, it seems to have still got bigger, crowds and quality.
This year sees megastars such as Calvin Harris and Example amongst a raft of live acts and DJs taking you long into the night.
Leeds/Reading: Leeds and Reading, August 28-30
Not quite the all-encompassing rite of passage weekend that it once was, due to its seemingly annual lessening of bill quality, it’s still the yearly highlight for many youngsters
Liam Gallagher stole a march on the rest of the bill by self-announcing himself as one of the headliners late last year, and you’d have then got long odds that he would be the least interesting.
However, they’ve pulled it out the bag this year with Rage Against The Machine and Stormzy as the other two, with high-profile bookings such as IDLES, Run The Jewels, Slowthai and Fontaines DC.
Victorious: Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth, August 28-30
Another festival by the seaside, this time on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Ian Brown, Royal Blood, and The Streets perform their final headliner duties of the season, in a busy year on the comeback trail for all three.
End Of The Road: Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, September 3-6
The traditional season closer has announced a chunk of their hefty bill, and rarely for a festival of this size, the reaction has been almost universally positive.
What a way to close proceedings. As well as all that, there are also quite a few returning festivals that have yet to announce details of this year’s events. Of course, as soon as they do release their line-ups, we’ll let you know.
The outstanding festivals include Deeper Cuts, Smithdown Road Festival, Future Yard, Wilderness, Fusion Festival, Skeleton Coast and the Bingley Weekender.