Literary and Music Festivals to Book Now

Step off the well-trodden path this summer and swap Wilderness or Bestival for these altogether more artful festivals. From Gunnersbury to Portmeirion we handpick the best of the circuit this summer:

All Points East

From the organisers of California’s Coachella comes the new All Points East festival, a ten day event in Victoria Park, which includes a weekend long festival from 25th-27th May, with headline acts ranging from LCD Soundsystem and The XX to Beck, Björk and Father John Misty. There are also three separate stand-alone gigs  (Catfish and the Bottlemen on 1st June, The National on 2nd June and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on 3rd June, each of which have fabulous support acts – Patti Smith, Future Islands to name but two). On top of this, there’s a free four-day festival during the week called in In The Neighbourhood (28th-31st May), which will include free film screenings, aerial circus performances and circus workshops, football training, comedy and general fun and japes.

What: All Points East

When: 25 May to 3 June 2018

Where: Victoria Park, E3

Price: One day ticket, £59.95; two day ticket, £114.95; three day ticket,  £169.95


West Londoners aren’t served particularly well by festivals, so will be cheered by the news that Citadel – organised by the brains behind Wilderness – is decamping from Victoria Park and heading to Gunnersbury Park. This chilled, one day festival boasts a line-up that includes Tame Impala, Leon Bridges, The Horrors, Chvrches, Goat, Fat White Family and Goat Girl. If that doesn’t grab you, there’s dance workshops, pub quizzes, yoga, a Sunday sports day and a science camp brought along by The Science Museum.

What: Citadel

When: 15 July 2018

Where: Gunnersbury Park, W3

Price: Adult, teens and tweens, £49.50; Children, 6-11; Children under 6 are free

Red Rooster

Red Rooster, set in the grounds of the staggeringly beautiful Euston Hall in Suffolk, is a small, charming festival dedicated to sourcing the finest R&B, Americana and Country musicians and gathering them together for a weekend-long hoedown. This year, the brilliant Alabama 3 (famous for doing the opening theme of The Sopranos) will be there – in their acoustic incarnation, as will Pokey Lafarge, Eli Paperboy Reed and Ida Mae. The food on site sticks to the theme of the Deep South – there’s fried chicken, burritos and lots of whiskey. It is one of the best value festivals at just £59.50 for the weekend, which includes 3 nights of camping and parking and children under 12 are free.

What: Red Rooster Festival

When: 31 May-2 June 2018

Where: Euston Hall, Euston, Suffolk, IP24 2QW

Price: Adults, £59.50 for weekend ticket; children under 12 are free.

Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas

Slightly further afield, the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas is famous for luring the big guns of the literary word to Co Carlow in Ireland. This year is no exception. Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood, Alan Hollinghurst and Elizabeth Strout are just some those giving talks.They probably can’t resist the lure of Borris House, the beautifully located stately home that sits in the shadow of the Blackstairs Mountains, or maybe its the Irish knack for having a good time.

What: Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas

When: 8-10 June 2018

Where: Borris House and Village, Carlow, Ireland

Price: Friday, €39 Sunday, €57

In early April, they will release limited tickets to individual talks.

Curious Arts Festival

This delightful pocket-sized festival is a perfect mix of books, music, comedy, nature walks, yoga and crazy golf – all set in the idyllic, rambling grounds of Pylewell, a 18th century pile on the edge of the New Forest.  There’s music from John Newman and Gareth Malone and talks by McMafia author Misha Glenny, Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive), journalists Lynn Barber and Dolly Alderton and comedy from Al Murray.

What: Curious Arts Festival

Where: Pylewell Park, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 5SJ

When: 20-22 July 2018

Price: Weekend adult ticket, £128; weekend child ticket, £23; weekend family ticket, £279; day ticket, £55; children under 4 are free.

End of the Road Festival

Nestled in a woodland estate on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, the End of the Road Festival was voted best medium sized festivalat the UK Festival awards 2017 – and not surprisingly, it always rolls out a great selection of contemporary music. This year indie pop band Vampire Weekend will play their first UK show in four years, Canadian songwriter Feist plays her only UK date of 2018 and Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, rising folk star This Is The Kit and Yo La Tengo will all be there.

What: End of the Road Festival

When: 30 Aug-2 Sept 2018

Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, nr Blandford, Dorset

Price: Adult weekend £195, Youth 13-17 £150, Child 6-12 £75, Child 3-5 £45, Infant 0-2 Free

Festival No.6

Described by Beck as the “coolest, funkiest” festival he’d ever been to, Festival No.6, takes place at the surreal faux-Italian village of Portmeirion in Wales (the setting for the cult 60s TV series The Prisoner). Franz Ferdinand, The Horrors, The Charlatans and The The are all playing, and there are talks from – among others – Will Self and Irvine Welsh.

What: Festival No.6

When: 6-9 Sept 2018

Where: Portmeirion, Gwynedd,Wales

Price:  Weekend pass, £180

Literary and Music Festivals to Book Now
Summer 2018



— Charity Crewe
4th April 2018