The best small and boutique UK festivals for 2016
secret garden party

Fed up with endless queues for the bar, trekking miles to the campsite and needing binoculars to make out the tiny shapes on stage?

For a more satisfying (and cheaper) experience, then a small or boutique festival may be the answer, and luckily there are more than a few to choose from in the UK.

In the first of our series of UK summer festival guides, we run through some of the best small and boutique options for 2016…

Please note that ticket prices and line-ups are subject to change

Skye Live

Simian Mobile Disco
Simian Mobile Disco

Where: Portree, Isle of Skye
When: 29-30 April
Who’s playing: Simian Mobile Disco, Treacherous Orchestra, Public Service Broadcasting, Bicep, Capercaillie
What’s it like: An intriguing mix of electronica and Celtic sounds, against the stunning backdrop of Skye
How much: £95 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.skyelive.scot

Gottwood

gottwood

Where: Anglesey, Wales
When: 9-12 June, 2016
Who’s playing: Al Zander aka Lodge, John Talabot, Hunee, John Dimas
What’s it like: Quality electronica and techno in a ‘middle of nowhere’ location in Wales
How much: £140 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.gottwood.co.uk

2000trees

2000trees

Where: Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham
When: 7-9 July, 2016
Who’s playing: Twin Atlantic, Refused, While She Sleeps, Moose Blood, Kagoule
What’s it like: Now in its 10th year, 2000trees is one of the UK’s best alt-rock events
How much: £95 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk

Brownstock

brownstock

Where: Morris Farm, Essex
When: 8-10 July, 2016
Who’s playing: TBA
What’s it like: The best chance you’ll ever get to see world-class dance music acts in what is still a really small festival setting
How much: £84 for adult weekend with camping
Website: www.brownstock.co.uk

Truck Festival

xTruck Festival Day 1 (c) Ross Silcocks_21
Ross Silcocks

Where: Hill Farm, Oxfordshire
When: 15-17 July, 2016
Who’s playing: Manic Street Preachers, Catfish & the Bottlemen, Everything Everything, Circa Waves
What’s it like: Since its first outing in 1998 it’s become one of the best smaller music events on the UK calendar, a glorious low key gathering of friendly folk
How much: £86.50  + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.truckfestival.com

Tiree Music Festival

tiree music festival

Where: Tiree, Hebrides
When: 15-17 July, 2016
Who’s playing: TBA
What’s it like: It celebrates folk and Celtic music primarily, and the location threatens to overshadow the entertainment, with its incredible beaches and sparkling sea
How much: £70 for adult weekend
Website: tireemusicfestival.co.uk

Beat-Herder

beat-herder

Where: The Ribble Valley, Lancashire
When: 15-17 July, 2016
Who’s playing: TBA
What’s it like: Much more than beats, it’s crammed with performance, art installations and good vibes
How much: £137.50 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: beatherder.co.uk

Secret Garden Party

secret garden party

Where: Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire
When: 21-24 July, 2016
Who’s playing: Caribou, Primal Scream, Lissie, Maribou State, Rae Morris, Air
What’s it like: It has grown dramatically since its debut in 2004 but still retains an independent feel. Extras include a paint fight, a games arena and a dance-off
How much: £180 for adult weekend
Website: www.secretgardenparty.com

Underneath the Stars

underneath the stars

Where: Cannon Hall Farm, near Barnsley
When: 22-24 July, 2016
Who’s playing: TBA
What’s it like: A chilled out folk music in a field on a working farm that gives back to the local community. What’s not to like?
How much: £135 for an adult weekend with camping
Website: underthestarsfest.co.uk

Kendal Calling

Kendal Calling

Where: Lake District
When: 28-31 July
Who’s playing: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Rudimental, Madness, The Charlatans, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Everything Everything, Blossoms, Craig David
What’s it like: A strongly established festival in a hideaway rural location but capable of attracting some big names
How much: £130 for an adult weekend
Website: www.kendalcalling.co.uk

Y Not Festival

y-not-festival

Where: Pikehall, Derbyshire
When: 29-31 July
Who’s playing: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Madness, The Cribs, The Hives, Catfish and the Bottlemen
What’s it like: Sharing a similar line-up with Kendal Calling that takes place the same weekend, Y Not has grown from an end-of-term party to a large indie capable of attracting names like Snoop Dogg
How much: £94.50 for + booking fee for adult weekend with camping
Website: www.ynotfestivals.co.uk

Farmfestival

farmfestival
Rhys Buchanan / Farmfestival

Where: Gilcombe Farm, Somerset
When: 29-30 July, 2016
Who’s playing: Young Fathers, Gilles Peterson, Gogo Penguin, The Hot 8 Brass Band
What’s it like: Like Glastonbury, on a tiny scale. It’s very collaborative and DIY with a focus on emerging talent
How much: £67 for adult weekend
Website: www.farmfestival.co.uk

Y-Not Festival

y-not-festival

Where: Pikehall, Derbyshire
When: 29-31 July
Who’s playing: TBA
What’s it like: Transforming the beautiful Peak District into a land of music, partying and an unforgettable atmosphere
How much: £89.50 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.ynotfestivals.co.uk

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

belladrum

Where: Beauly, Inverness
When: 4-6 August, 2016
Who’s playing: Madness, Two Door Cinema Club, The Darkness, Circa Waves
What’s it like: Now in its 13th year, Belladrum is a fantastic mid-level event combining established names with up and coming talent
How much: £137 + booking fee for a 3-day adult ticket
Website: www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk

Boomtown Fair

boomtown fair
Benjamin Paul / Boomtown Fair

Where: Hampshire
When: 11-14 August, 2016
Who’s playing: TBA
What’s it like: There are nine districts, each with its own style and flair centred on its music, whether it’s bluegrass in the Wild West, drum & bass in Dstrkt 5 or reggae in Trenchtown
How much: £135 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.boomtownfair.co.uk

Green Man

green man

Where: Brecon Beacons, Wales
When: 18-21 August, 2016
Who’s playing: Belle and Sebastian, James Blake, Wild Beasts, White Denim, Battles, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Julia Holter
What’s it like: Indie with a side-helping of alt-folk has been the main ethos. Extas include ‘Einstein’s Garden’, where scientists and artists mingle, plus spoken word and comedy
How much: £175 + booking fee for adult weekend
Website: www.greenman.net

Electric Fields

electric fields

Where: Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway
When: 26-27 August, 2016
Who’s playing: Primal Scream, Everything Everything, The Twilight Sad, Model Aeroplanes, Public Service Broadcasting, Erol Alkan
What’s it like: This new kid on the block has expanded to a two-day event for the first time, and is showing some real ambition to be a genuine T in the Park alternative
How much: £85 for adult weekend with camping
Website: www.electricfieldsfestival.com

Festival Number 6

festival-number-6

Where: Portmeiron, Wales
When: 1-4 September, 2016
Who’s playing: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Bastille, Hot Chip, Django Django, Roots Manuva, Blossoms, Echo & The Bunnymen
What’s it like: Set in a Welsh coastal village built in Mediterranean style, surrounded by mountains, forests and the sea, the setting is only matched by the boutique atmosphere
How much: £170 + booking fee for adult weekend with camping
Website: festivalnumber6.com

End of the Road

end of the road

Where: Larmer Tree Gardens
When: 2-4 September, 2016
Who’s playing: Joanna Newsom, Animal Collective, Bat For Lashes, Cat Power, Devendra Banhart, Goat
What’s it like: One of the last festivals of the Summer, it’s truly independent in spirit but with an impressive line-up
How much: £195 for an adult weekend
Website: endoftheroadfestival.com

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2016: Festival Guide

Main image via Secret Garden Party