Get along to one of these brilliant music festivals in London.
Summer is festival season in London, and 2018 already offers a new slate of brilliant lineups. Favourites like Field Day and Lovebox are moving to new sites, while Wireless Festival is already a sell-out. Dance music fans are snapping up tickets to We Are FSTVL, South West Four and Eastern Electrics, and soul fans are set to flock to Southport Weekender. And this year, the London festival calendar begins with two all-new additions in east London: the bass-heavy Arcadia and much-hyped All Points East. It’s gonna be a big one – we’ll see you on the front row!
1) Arcadia Festival (May 5-6)
Party promoters and robot spider owners Arcadia are bringing two days of mechanical, musical mayhem to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in early May. Tunes will come courtesy of Leftfield, Sven Vath, Rudimental, Eats Everything and more, while jets of fire, machines and aerial dancers loom overhead. There’ll certainly be nothing else like this in London in 2018 – find more information or get tickets here for just £39.
2) All Points East (May 24-26, June 1-3)
A brand-new three-day festival in Victoria Park kicks off the summer season, with headline acts from LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The XX, Lorde, Björk, and Beck, among dozens of other acts. The following weekend sees three showcase main-stage concerts from Catfish and the Bottlemen, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and The National, each with impressive supporting guests of their own. It’s going to be BIG. See the full All Points East festival lineup.
3) Gala Festival (May 27)
If three days of pop heaven fails to slake your musical thirst, head south for Gala on the May bank holiday Sunday. This lovely little one-day party in Peckham Rye Park promises a disco and soul-infused lineup curated by Horse Meat Disco and Rhythm Section, and sustenance from Honest Burger, The Cheese Truck, Fundi Pizza and other street food faves. Tickets are currently just £25. Full lineup TBC.
4) Jam on Rye (May 28)
Taking place on Peckham Rye the day after, it’s a one-day celebration of sound system culture, reggae, afrobeat and new wave jazz. David Rodigan, Horace Andy and Mungo’s HiFi will all be performing. Curated, unexpectedly, by street food market outfit KERB, there’ll be exemplary snackage from Breddos Tacos, Only Jerkin’, and White Men Can’t Jerk to name a few. See more details or grab tickets (just £30) from Fever.
5) We Are FSTVL (May 25 – 27)
Taking place in the far reaches of Upminster, this is about as far as you can get from London while still calling yourself a London festival. It’s 2.5 days of electronic dance music mischief, with a lineup featuring Andy C, Carl Cox, DJ EZ, Gorgon City and Eric Prydz, along with fifty other acts. With Big Shaq also putting in an appearance, you can rest assured things will be going SKRR-KKK-AAK-kkk-pop-pop-skrakk. More on their website.
6) Field Day Festival (June 1-2)
Upping sticks to south London’s Brockwell Park in 2018, these experienced festival producers are putting forward a typically forward-thinking programme across two days. Erykah Badu, Four Tet, Fever Ray, Mount Kimbie, Princess Nokia and Earl Sweatshirt are all on the bill this year – see the full Field Day lineup.
7) Mighty Hoopla Festival (June 3)
Taking over Field Day’s Brockwell park site on the Sunday is the poptastic Mighty Hoopla, a razzle-dazzle day celebrating alternative club culture. TLC, Lily Allen, and Belinda Carlisle are all performing, so put on a sequin frock and prepare to have a billboard time. Tickets here.
8) Hampton Court Palace Festival (June 5-23)
Set around a stately home, this is a proper posh series of outdoor gigs – VIP tickets include a three course dinner and champagne reception within the State Apartments, for example, while there’s actually proper seating for the audience. 2018’s edition will feature shows from Lionel Ritchie, Paloma Faith, Joe Bonamassa, Jools Holland, The Beach Boys, Gary Barlow and Tom Jones. Find out more on their website,
9) Southport Weekender (June 9)
Billing itself as ‘the world’s friendliest party’, this Finsbury Park party offers nine stages of house, soul, R&B, garage and disco. Top of the lineup is Sister Sledge, David Morales, The S-Men, Soul II Soul, Leroy Burgess, DJ Jazzy Jeff, with plenty more in support. See more on their website.
10) Meltdown Festival (June 15-24)
Not your typical cider-in-the-park festival, Meltdown is, in fact, a series of gigs at the Southbank Centre, taking place over nine days in June. The Cure’s Robert Smith curates the lineup; so far it’s heavy on guitar bands such as Placebo, Manic Street Preachers, The Libertines, Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine and more. See the full Meltdown lineup.
11) Somerset House Summer Series (July 5 – 15)
A set of 11 outdoor concerts set in a handsome central London courtyard, with one major artist performing each day. De La Soul, The Roots, Metronomy, MGMT and Jorja Smith are just a few of the artists playing – see the full Somerset House Summer Series Lineup.
12) British Summer Time (July 5 – 16)
A series of major open-air concerts in Hyde Park, the curators have basically gone all in on the 50+ demographic this year, hosting such edgy new acts as Michael Buble, Roger Waters, The Cure, Bruno Mars and Paul Simon. I’m sure your mum and dad will have a great night out, though. Find out more on their website.
13) Wireless Festival (July 6-8)
Three days of dance and hip-hop in Finsbury Park, this massive London festival boasts J. Cole, Stormzy and DJ Khaled as headliners in 2018, while French Montana, Giggs, Wiley, J.Hus, and Cardi B are also on the lineup. Impressively, it’s already sold out, so you’ll need to hit up Seatwave (and be prepared to spend a lot of money) if you want to be there.
14) Lovebox Festival (July 13-14)
Formerly taking place in east London’s Victoria Park, Lovebox is relocating to Gunnersbury Park in the ‘burbs of west London in 2018. Brilliant acts inclusing Skepta, Anderson. Paak, Mabel, Childish Gambino, N*E*R*D and The Internet are expected to perform. See all 25 acts confirmed so far on the Lovebox lineup. And it’s followed by…
15) Citadel Festival (July 15)
After two days of hedonistic good times, the Lovebox team takes things in a more relaxed direction on Sunday, even going so far to rebrand themselves as Citadel. Taking place at the same Gunnersbury Park location, you’ll still find plenty of great music – Tame Impala, CHVRCHES, Leon Bridges, Fat White Family, The Horrors and La Femme are all playing in 2018 – plus talks, workshops, and other thoughtful stuff. See more Citadel lineup news.
16) Kaleidoscope Festival (July 24)
A colourful, family friendly one-dayer in the grounds of the iconic Alexandra Palace, you can expect easy-going melodic performances from The Flaming Lips, The Go! Team and the Mystery Jets. There’ll also be comedy, poetry, theatre and other entertainment; with Ghostpoet, Dr John Cooper Clarke, Katherine Ryan, The Science Museum, Hip Hop Karaoke, 2 Bears and many more pitching in on the eclectic lineup. More info here.
17) 51st State (August 4)
Finally, a reason to discover what’s actually at Cockfosters! The answer, it turns out, is a massive country estate, and for one day in August it’ll be home to epic house, disco, garage & soul. Masters at Work, Derrick May, Trevor Nelson, Lee Foss, Mr Vegas and John Morales are among many legends on the six-stage line-up. Grab tickets here.
18) Eastern Electrics Festival (August 4)
A party so intense it could only ever last one day, Eastern Electrics summons London’s dance-heads to the very end of the Northern Line for a bit of a messy one in Morden Park. Full line-up TBC.
19) South West Four (August 25-26)
Two days of danceable electronic euphoria hits Clapham Common at the end of August. Headliners confirmed include Marshmello, Dizzee Rascal, Armin van Buuren, Chase & Status Live, Craig David, Sub Focus and DJ EZ. Check out the full South West Four lineup or grab tickets here.
20) Notting Hill Carnival (August 26-27)
A London institution, and one of the world’s biggest street parties, this free two-day celebration of Caribbean culture in the capital features a brilliant parade, and dozens of sound system stages throughout the Notting Hill neighbourhood. It’s noisy, busy, colourful and a one-of-a-kind experience… and there sure as hell aren’t VIP, queue-jump, use-the-posh-loo wristbands sponsored by a credit card company.