Time to take a look at the best music festivals dished up to us this summer. For the sake of sanity, we will attempt to balance the ones you’re likely to get muddy at with a few warm, dry indoor events. We’ve also left out the big, all-conquering stuff like Wireless and BST Hyde Park as…well…you already know about them. Here’s the best of the bunch.
The Bedford, Balham, 5-8 June
The fourth outing of the small but lovingly curated folk festival, with a line-up the organisers claim is better than ever, in a venue that hosted early performances from folk stars like Ed Sheeran and Paolo Nutini. There’s certainly a fine array of new, established and unsigned artists to sample, from Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo (who were behind the haunting theme to BBC series The Shadow Line, entitled Pause) to the superbly named Galloway, Culbert and Doyle.
Top London Tip: Danny & The Champions of the World
Tickets: £12.50 day
Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, 7-8 June
If you’re keener on the muddy option, it’s Field Day in a couple of weeks. Main acts at east London’s annual celebration of cool this year are Metronomy, Pixies, SBTRKT, Jamie xx and Warpaint, with London interest in the form of Lovepark and Shy Nature, among others.
Top London Tip: The Bohicas
Tickets: £38.50 day / £78 weekend
Various Camden venues, 20-21 June
We’ve mentioned Camden Rocks plenty in the past couple of months, but what of the returning hero of Camden festivals? The Crawl’s reboot aims for the lesser-known and artier end of indie and rock music, casting admiring glances a couple of miles to the east. Top turns include hotly tipped bands The Crookes and Longfellow, exceptional singer/songwriter Violet Skies, and former Londonist tips Desperate Journalist and CuT.
Top London Tip: Whistlejacket
Tickets: £30 day / £50 weekend
Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, 18-19 July
Field Day’s slightly more urban cousin, Lovebox this year has a line-up combining a few token-but-notable indie acts like The Horrors with some of the finest in cutting-edge DJs, producers, singers and rappers in the game today. M.I.A., Nas and A$AP Rocky lead the charge, with Visionquest, Hannah Wants and Mirror Signal representing the cream of emerging talent.
Top London Tip: Nihilismus
Tickets: £61 day / £89 weekend (and both nearly sold out)
Ealing Jazz Festival
Walpole Park, Ealing, 23-27 July
Where would we be without Ealing’s superb array of summer festivals? The pub, that’s where. Saving us from ourselves on this year’s jazz bill are Keith Waithe & The Macusi Players, the Gill Cook Quintet, Jon Mapp and a great many more across the festivals two stages.
Top London Tip: Dick Esmond’s Sound of 17 Big Band
Tickets: From £4 per day
See also: Ealing Blues Festival (19-20 July)
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival
Central Saint Martins, 24 July-3 August / Kings Place, 7-10 August
The eighth annual get-together for opera lovers, this year’s Tête à Tête moves to two King’s Cross venues. From Japanese Noh theatre to ‘Adventures in the Wild West’, Tête à Tête brings together a remarkable number of themes and styles to push the frontiers of opera.
Top London Tip: The Catfish Conundrum
Tickets: From £7.50
Royal Victoria Dock, 15-16 August
A brand new addition to the London festival scene, Jabberwocky is brought to you by the people behind the eclectic All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals that have been dotted around the world over the last decade. Here, they bring us some of the finest underground acts from across the world, from a rare outing for cult American indie band Neutral Milk Hotel to sets by Caribou, Sun Kil Moon and Cloud Nothings.
Top London Tip: Untold
South West Four Weekender
Clapham Common, 23-24 August
There are plenty of festivals that claim to represent dance and electronic music this summer, but few are likely to do so with the passion of South West Four’s 11th outing over the August Bank Holiday. Among the better knowns are the iconic deadmau5, house music legend Fedde Le Grand and, obviously, Pete Tong, though there are remarkable DJs, solo artists and collectives scattered all about the superb line-up.
Top London Tip: Wilkinson
Tickets: £55 day / £105 weekend