As much as we love exploring London’s vibrancy and variety, we know many of you live in it what is unaffectionately known as the ’commuter belt’. The last thing you want is to travel back here on your time off for indie or dance festivals when there are plenty close to home.
Londoners also need reminding there’s more to life than a Zone 2 travel card, and those ‘trains’ we’ve heard so much about actually go to places. So many amazing music festivals happen less than one hour’s travel away — quicker than getting across central London — it’d be churlish to not include them in our series of roundups.
In Brighton, The Great Escape showcases the hottest new acts and Leefest gives us dreamy pop in intimate surroundings. Mega-stars are also in abundance, such as The Cure and Foo Fighters at Reading Festival and Stone Roses at V Festival.
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then why not take a weekend away. London will be all the sweeter when you return.
The Great Escape @ Brighton various venues 10-13 May
We say: Britain’s SXSW showcases the world’s most essential new acts, and there’s sea.
Headliners: Maximo Park, Niki and the Dove, Mystery Jets
Key London Acts: Kwes, Lianne La Havas, I Ching
Hot Tip: Dante, Ren Harvieu, Pins, Chapman Family
Tickets: £49.50 www.escapegreat.com
Leefest @ Warlingham, Surrey 29-30 June
We say: A wonderfully intimate weekend of sublime indiepop.
Headliners: Slow Club, Mystery Jets, Ghostpoet
Key London Acts: Summer Camp, Van Susans, Bastille
Hot Tip: Lets Buy Happiness, Bonfire Nights, Hella Better Dancer
Tickets Day £35, Weekend £57 www.leefest.org.uk
High Definition @ Illford, 30 June
We Say: A day-long rave with house and techno pioneers, on the edge of London.
Headliners: Fredde Le Grand, Pendulum, Mark Knight
Key London Acts: Ms Dynamite, Alexis Raphael, Joe Morley
Hot Tip: Ratpack, Freaky Disco, tiNI
Tickets: £40 www.highdefinitionfestival.co.uk
Hop Farm @ Tonbridge, Kent 29 June-1 July
We Say: A jaw-dropping line-up with the focus squarely on quality music.
Headliners: Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Suede
Key London Acts: Lianne La Havas, Tom Vek, The Psychedelic Furs
Hot Tip: Mary Epworth, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Race Horses
Tickets: Day £65, Weekend £162 www.hopfarmfestival.com
Guilfest @ Guildford, Surrey 13-15 July
We Say: A family friendly weekend of classic artists and jolly good fun.
Headliners: Bryan Ferry, Buzzcocks, Olly Murs,
Key London Acts: Tulisa, Gary Numan, Young Guns
Hot Tip: The Wurzels, Nuvelle Vague, The Undertones
Tickets: Day £45-£50, Weekend £130 www.guilfest.co.uk
Standon Calling @ Standon, Hertfordshire 3-5 August
We Say: Intimate and independent with a wonderfully eclectic line up.
Headliners: Beardyman, Death In Vegas, Fat Freddys drop
Key London Acts: Belakiss, The Skints
Hot Tips: !!! (chk chk chk), Stealing Sheep, Casiokids
Tickets: Day £25-£39, Weekend £99 www.standon-calling.com
V Festival @ Hylands Park, Chelmsford 18-19 August
We Say: It may be mainstream, but these acts are popular for a reason — they’re bloomin’ good.
Headliners: Stone Roses, the Killers
Key London Acts: Madness, Noah and the Whale, Labrinth
Hot Tips: Inspiral Carpets, Frank Ocean, Ben Howard
Tickets: Day £86, Weekend £180 www.vfestival.com
Rewind Festival @ Henley On Thames 18-19 August
We Say: This retro 80’s festival may be a bit of a big hen do, but it’s sure give you a pop-tastic smile.
Headliners: Bangles, OMD, Kool and The Gang
Key London Acts: Adam Ant, Soul II Soul, Doctor and the Medics
Hot Tips: T’Pau, Grandmaster Flash, Starship
Tickets: Day £50, Weekend £110 www.rewindfestival.com
Reading Festival @ Reading 24-26 August
We say: Britain’s best festival gives us a dream line-up of rock legends and sparkling newbies.
Headliners: Cure, Kasabian, Foo Fighters
Key London Acts: Bombay Bicycle Club, Florence and The Machine, The Horrors
Hot Tip: Cancer Bats, Miike Snow, At The Drive In
Tickets: Day £85 ,Weekend £197.50 www.readingfestival.co.uk