DJ Tat at festival

The best UK Festivals for dance music this year

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

by Tat

The sun is shining and with that we’ve taken ourselves out of the house and into the garden with some happy music and a cool drink. We think you cannot beat the sound of music outside, the way the sound changes with the environment, topped with the smell of nearby barbeques, a cold drink in hand and sun on your face. It left us thinking about the classic summer festival and in particular those with a dance music focus. Festivals have been in the ascendancy for the last decade with more new ones starting every year. Unlike the festivals of the last century, they have diversified hugely and cater for every type of person. In this two-parter we thought we would look at the festivals that cater best for the dance music fanatic, starting first with the UK.

Budget festivals less than £75

The Somerley Tea Party - 3rd-4th June Hampshire

There aren't that many festivals these days that cost less than £100, so The Somerley Tea Party falls well below that bracket. With the early bird tickets starting for less than £50 already gone, you can still party the weekend away for less than £75. At that price you might start to question the line up, but it is by no means shabby. Headliners include Motor City Drum Ensemble, Eats Everything, Joy Orbison and High Contrast to name but a few. Spread over four areas, The Big Top, RFID Dome, Aubsu Stage and The Woods, the weekend has something for most electronic and dance fans. The festival is based north of Southampton and Bournemouth and has a strong local focus making up for about a third of the acts on show. Also, if camping is not your kind of thing, they do offer Saturday tickets for £40 not including booking fee.


Electric Daisy Festival - 9th July - The National Bowl, Milton Keynes

A one day event that might appeal to those not wanting to camp under the stars and in turn that bit more affordable at £60 (the early bird tickets have sold out). Electric Daisy Festival has four areas focusing on different styles with a leaning towards the commercial end of dance music. Headliners include Ferry Corsten, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Prydz and Martin Solveig. There is also a drum and bass area featuring the heavyweight talents of Andy C, Goldie MBE, Roni Size & Krust.


Less than £125

Wildlife - 11th-12th June - Bright City Airport

Before you start thinking the festival is actually in an airport, don't worry, it is set outside away from an actual city. With weekend tickets at £116.75 and day tickets for Saturday and Sunday at £65 there is plenty of acts on show to satisfy your dance appetite. With a more commercial slant than some of the other dance festivals, headliners include Rudimental, Disclosure, Annie Mac, De La Soul and Ice Cube. Whilst is plenty for the house and techno heads as Carl Cox, Jackmaster and Todd Terje are just a few of the names on show. Not to be confused with the festival of the same name put together by DJ History's Bill Brewster and friends that took place in Wiltshire till last year.


Less than £150

Lost Village - 27-29th May - Lincolnshire

One of the best websites, Lost Village is just that, set in secluded woods in the Lincolnshire countryside it brings together a multitude of music styles from funk to soul, from house to hip hop, from disco to electronica. Headline acts really depend on your own tastes, but with big hitters Fatboy Slim, Eats Everything, Norman Jay and Horse Meat Disco, you know it's going to be a good weekend. Live acts include Jack Garratt, Henrik Schwarz, Kink and Ame among many others. Lost Village is also much more than the party vibes with a real focus on quality food with everything from street food to their own Tribal Banquet. There is also plenty of scope to chill as the festival has its own spa area with hot tubs and for those tired out from all the dancing, massage and yoga sessions. What more could you ask for? At the time of writing, the final tier of tickets were available at £149 each.


Less than £175

Jodrell Bank (C) Bryan Ledgard CC BY 2.0 http://bit.ly/23UZaTc

Bluedot Festival - 22-24th July, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire

A new festival on the scene and one that is focusing on the theme of space so much so that it would be hard pushed not to feature electronic and dance artists. The festival is almost prog in it's line up, which has been carefully curated to fit in with the theme. Jodrell Bank is the backdrop for a festival of electronic and associated music alongside workshops and talks. The line up may be small, but it is perfectly curated with headliners Underworld, Jean-Michel Jarre and Caribou. Air, DJ Shadow are also stand outs with DJ Yoda on the decks with his own tribute to sci fi movies. There are also specialist talks, fine food and their own science garden. One of the more family friendly festivals in this list, at the time of writing the latest ticket tier currently stand at £129 for adults.


Beat Herder (C) Marleke Guy CC BY NC ND 2.0 http://bit.ly/23UZktT

The Beat Herder Festival 15-17th July - The Ribble Valley, Lancashire

At the time of writing, as with so many festivals with tier ticket systems, the cheapest tickets were now above £150. The Beat Herder Festival features everyone from Primal Scream to old school folk-popster Donovan. The dance music element is superb with Derrick Carter, Greg Wilson, Mr Scruff and Marshall Jefferson just a few of the superb DJs on the bill. Unlike many new festivals, The Beat Herder is about adults having a good time without the little ones on toe, that's not to say they cannot go, but the entertainment is mostly geared up for just the older party animals out there.


Less than £190

Bestival (C) Mike Mantin CC BY 2.0 http://bit.ly/23UZ2Dk

Bestival 8-11th September - Robin Hill Park, Isle of Wight

Rob da Bank's older and less respectable brother to Camp Bestival is one of the last festivals of the summer and as a result is a fine way to see it out. To some extent Bestival is what the Big Chill was becoming before it finished in 2011. Da Bank and friends bring in many of the big names that transcend pop and dance music with this year's headliners featuring Hot Chip, The Human League, Animal Collective and Ghostpoet. Whilst house and techno fans can feast on Carl Cox's House Classics, James Zabiela, The Black Madonna and Richie Hawtin. There is also plenty of madcap shenanigans with The Chuckle Brothers, Mr Motivator and Cirque Bijou maintaining much of the family-friendly vibe associated with Camp Bestival.


The evolving festival

Festivals are a very different animal from those we saw in the 1980s and 90s, they have become more refined and better run. It is a competitive market, so festivals have to go that extra mile to make sure people come back. If you have never been to a festival and are worried about the loos and the mud, the thing to remember is that it is usually the biggest festivals that get really muddy and there are always baby wet wipes. Festival food is diverse and tasty, if not a little over-priced, but there is no reason why you cannot take your own. Wherever you go for your festival vibes we hope that the sun shines for you and you have fun dancing the night away under the stars.

Find music to play at festivals with Trackhunter on Mac, iOS or Windows

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