Festival season is officially around the corner and whether you’re
looking for some family-friendly fun in the sun/mud, a place to see
upcoming bands before their stratospheric rise to fame or simply a
weekend getaway, the UK festival-scene has it all.
But with an unprecedented amount of new and boutique festivals
popping up all over the UK, the choices can be overwhelming.
Ever the little helper that he is, Gef has scoured the country for the
best ‘lesser known’ festivals, so you don’t have to. With this in mind,
let Gef take you on a guided tour of some of the must-see festivals
taking place this year.
There’s only one way to travel when setting off on your festival road
trip, and that’s with the Steam Packet. All of these festival
suggestions are within reasonable driving distance once you alight
the ferry, so you can just pack up the car and go and avoid the faff of
taking a five berth tent, wellies and the kids through airport security.
#1 BLUEDOT FESTIVAL, 7th -9th July
JODRELL BANK OBSERVATORY
1 hour 10 minutes’ drive from Liverpool Ferry Terminal.
This is one of my favourite up and coming festivals, having launched
in 2016. Billing itself as an intergalactic festival of music, science,
arts, culture and the exploration of space, Bluedot Festival is set
against the backdrop of Jodrell Bank, the epicentre of deep-space
It’s a family-friendly festival of science superheroes and wonderful
workshops that indulges every child’s fascination with outer space.
Furthermore, there’s also a live reimagining of Blue Planet, the David
Attenborough favourite with music from the Hallé Orchestra, set
against Jodrell Bank’s world-famous Lovell telescope.
Music comes courtesy of big-beat headliners, The Chemical Brothers,
supported by acts such as The Flaming Lips and Booka Shade, who
cater for all your alfresco raving needs in what promises to be the
intergalactic event of the year.
#2 Y NOT FESTIVAL, 26th -29th July
ASTON HILL FARM, PIKEHILL
2 hours 5 minutes’ drive from Liverpool Ferry Terminal.
Boasting an accolade of awards since its inception in 2005, Y Not
Festival has grown year-on-year in its idyllic home in the middle of
the Peak District. Acts gracing the main stage this year include
Jamiroquai, The Libertines and Manic Street Preachers, but the
beauty of Y Not lies in the plethora of unknown bands waiting to be
discovered and the emphasis on music education for children, with
kids under the age of twelve entering for free!
For little ones, there’s the Strawberry Fields in Sergeant Pepper’s
Meadows, which offers everything from music, games and magic
shows. Y Not Festival also prides itself on its food and drink selection,
serving everything from local ales to great food. They even won an
award for Best Festival Toilets, which if that doesn’t inspire you to book
a ticket then I don’t know what will.
#3 LUNAR FESTIVAL, 27th -29th July
UMBERSLADE FARM PARK, TANWORTH-IN-ARDEN
2 hours 45 minutes’ drive from Liverpool Ferry Terminal.
2018 is the premier outing for Lunar Festival, which is committed to
staying small but thinking big. But don’t let their young age make you dismiss
this festival as a write-off; with headline acts including Goldfrapp,
Basement Jaxx and The Stranglers this promises to be a stellar
weekend, and with families and music lovers at the heart of their
ethos, it’s the ideal place to become a part of a what promises to be
a successful festival with longevity.
There are some great camping options available for you to make the
most out of your Lunar Festival experience, with inexpensive
glamping available in Bell Tent and Land Pods.
As this is a new festival, they’re also giving new bands the chance to
play at the festival alongside the big dogs, which promises to be a
treasure chest of unsigned music. There’s also a whole host of family
activities from workshops to sports games, and as the name
suggests, Lunar Festival promises to deliver a truly cosmic
experience. Make hay whilst the moon shines.
#4 FESTIVAL NUMBER 6, 6th -9th September
2 hours 15 minutes’ drive from Liverpool Ferry Terminal.
With Festival No. 6 quickly becoming one of the best not-so-hidden
gems of the UK festival scene, we’re really taking some creative
license by including it in this list. It’s a festival of dreamy proportions,
with probably the most beautiful surroundings of any of the UK
Set against a backdrop of estuaries, mountains and woodland,
Festival No. 6 is situated on the magical coastline of Portmeirion in
Wales, an Italianate village of bizarre piazzas and floating pontoon
stages. Boasting some big-name acts from Friendly Fires to Hot Chip
via Jessie Ware and The The, it’s also a champion of lesser known
bands and has become a platform for these bands to receive
By its own admission, Festival No. 6 is a festival unlike any other, in a
place like no other, and this couldn’t be more true. It’s a
family-friendly festival of the bizarre and wacky and is sure to be the
festival that keeps bringing you back, time and time again.
#5 TRIBFEST, 16th -19th August
DRIFFIELD, EAST YORKSHIRE
2 hours’ 50 minute drive from Liverpool Ferry Terminal.
This is an absolute wildcard and will either be everything you’ve been
looking for in life, or everything that you want to avoid. Tribfest is a
festival dedicated entirely to tribute acts, covering every genre
imaginable, and is a festival entirely about the music rather than the
big names. Held in the beautiful surroundings of Sledmere House in
East Yorkshire, Tribfest has the ultimate fantasy festival line-up and
with a capacity of 5,000, it doesn’t become overcrowded or
This year sees acts such as Meet Loaf, Green Date and Kopycat Killers
take to the stage, as well as Lareena Mitchell as Adele who didn’t get
the memo that her name should be a punny take on the original.
It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it isn’t, which is evident in the
growing popularity of The World’s Biggest Tribute Band Moosic
Festival™ (their words, not Gef’s).
There’s also comedy aplenty to be found in the Laughing Bull
Comedy Marquee as well as entertainment for little ones in the
dedicated Kidzone, which holds its own version of Britain’s Got
Talent called… you guessed it, Tribfest’s Got Talent.
Either way it promises to be a weekend of belly laughs and guilty,
Any of these festivals tickle your fancy? Or do you have another in mind? Let us know!