Our picks for August and September’s ultimate IRL playlist.
When: 27 August Where: The O2, London Why: 2017 has been a very good year for grime. JME helped inspire an unheard-of youth turnout at the polls, mainstream charts and basement clubs alike were dominated by homegrown artists and a surge of grime-adjacent sub-genres sprang to prominence all over the nation (we see you MIST, Bugzy Malone and Ocean Wisdom). So it’s no coincidence that it’s also the year that this newcomer joins this year’s guide. Grime institution Boy Better Know are taking over the entire London O2 Arena to bring you an all-dayer jammed with UK music legends old and new. The line-up is a mind-bending list of British talent – Wiley, DJ Maximum and Skepta top the bill with rising stars J-Hus, Cosmo Pyke, Kojey Radical and Tiffany Calver also in attendance – with a special exception made for an ASAP Rocky-shaped American guest. The event will also house a BMX and skatepark and more. This one will get lively.
When: 1 – 10 September Where: Lulworth Estate, Dorset Why: Bestival returns to the enchanted (otherwise peaceful) woods of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast for a four day onslaught of musical mayhem. Imagine condensing the whole of planet Earth into a field and you’re halfway there. Where else can you wander through a neon wonderland, visit technicolour Bollywood and get a cuddle of an eight metre love-bot? Lewis Carroll eat your heart out. If the The xx, Dizzee Rascal and Pet Shop Boys aren’t quite enough, you can head over to HMS Bestival (literally a giant ship) for Sink the Pink or even find a vacant hammock for a disco nap. We’re especially excited for Loyle Carner, Stefflon Don and Wonderbabe Ray Blk.
When: 17 – 20 August Where: Brecon Beacons, Wales Why: And now for something completely different. Billed as a ‘shamanic hideaway for the creative and cultured’, the idyllic, pond-lined valley of The Brecon Beacons plays host to a tranquil, alternative festival experience. If there was a bit in Lord of the Rings where everyone stopped battling for a week and took to The Shire for a festival, it would look like this. PJ Harvey, The Shins and British Sea Power share the stage(s) with a host of up-and-coming acts that you haven’t heard of yet but who afterwards you can claim to have liked before they were cool. It’s worth going just to see BadBadNotGood in one of their rare UK live appearances.
When: 24 – 27 August Where: Lincolnshire Why: The Lost Village is the festival-cum-luxury-retreat-cum-cult that offers a four day escape from reality in an abandoned village nestled in the Lincolnshire countryside. An absolute must for foodies, Hawksmoor, Honest Burgers and The Cheese Truck are on the menu with Michelin star chef James Lowe of Lyle’s in Shoreditch will be on hand too. While waking up in a sweaty tent is a festival ritual for some, a world of designer tipis, lodges and suites awaits if you fancy splashing out. De La Soul headline the eclectic line up which shares the village with some of the best in UK comedy including Joe Lycett and Russell Kane. What’s not to love?
When: 27 August – 4 September Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada Why: If you’re not aware by now, Burning Man is pretty much the most insane festival experience money can buy (well, excluding Fyre Festival, but for very different reasons). Every year, Black Rock City rises from the sands (no mud!) deep in the Nevada Desert and an entire population of artists and performers descend and then vanish, leaving nothing but a series of weird and wonderful memories. Expect mind blowing performances, larger than life art pieces and lots of fire. We suggest making your way via convertible Cadillac, in a Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas fashion.
Reading and Leeds
When: 25 – 27 August Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds Why: A teenage rite of passage, the mighty Reading and Leeds festivals return to bring you an exhaustive list of names from across the musical spectrum. Liam Gallagher, Giggs, and Eminem headline both festivals, appearing alongside more or less anyone you’ve hoped to see live from the last 10 years including Mura Masa, Wonderland fave Charlie XCX, Migos and indie darlings Two Door Cinema Club. This will be one to remember – in large part because you’ll probably keep your wristband on for the rest of the summer.
South West 4
When: 26 – 27 August Where: Clapham Common, London Why: SW4 brings some of (most of) the world’s biggest and best in dance and electronic music to, well, SW4. Deadmaus, Pendulum, Knife Party and Dusky head up the list, joined by Martin Solveig, Duke Dumont, Sigma and Redlight. Keep your eyes out for some very special guests and some crazy clashes in the form of Goldie vs My Nu Leng. Prepare for incredible stage production, don your waviest garms and get ready to come some serious shapes.