Guide to the region’s best summer music festivals
- Credit: Archant
From corporate pop festivals to home-grown leftfield gatherings and boutique summer parties. Metal to folk, dance to rock, hip hop to world music, the region has a music festival for you. SIMON PARKIN picks 2016's best.
RED ROOSTER FESTIVAL
Euston Hall, Suffolk, June 2-4
Tickets: £50 (weekend), £35 (Sat)
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Line-up: King Khan & The Shrines, Bob Log III, James Leg, Daddy Long Legs, The Hansome Family, James Hunter Six
What to expect: Sounds of the Deep South in the East. This celebration of rhythm and blues, Americana, soul, roots and country music, with artists local, national and international performing over the three-days, is popular and its mix of southern-style good ol' food is bang on trend. Ribs soaked in Bourbon and a gumbo musical mash-up hreaded by King Khan & The Shrines, think Roky Erickson backed by the Sun Ra Arkestra and Wilson Pickett.
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Sennowe Park, Guist, Norfolk, June 9-12
Tickets: £75 (weekend), £60 teens, under-12s free, £55 (Sunday pass)
Line-up: GoldieLookinChain, King Porter Stomp, Freefall Collective, Ed Rush & Optical, LTJ Bukem, Symphonix, General Levy, Dillinja, The Sporadics
What to expect: Heaven for people who like diversity. The fifth Symmetry Festival again hosts a wide range of music by underground talent and headline acts over six themed stages, ranging from hip hop to grime to hardcore dance music to reggae to just about every genre you can think of. There will be alternative mini-venues when all the main stages are asleep. Also expect impromptu pop-up walk about acts, fire performers, circus and cabaret. A fantastic musical adventure of unexpected pleasures.
High Lodge, Thetford Forest, June 30-July 3
Info/booking: 03000 680400, www.forestry.gov.uk/music
Line-up: Rudimental, James Bay, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Simply Red
What to expect: The chance to see big names in front of a smallish crowd in a tree-lined setting. This year the gigs are spread over four consective nights rather than spread throughout the summer. The line-up has obviously proved popular once again as chart-topping Hackney drum 'n' bass crew Rudimental (Jun 30) and Brit award-winner James Bay (Jul 1) have already sold-out. Tickets are still available for Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott (Jul 2), who have rediscovered their Beautiful South mojo on their two recent albums togther, and Mick Hucknall's reformed Simply Red (Jul 3).
Easton Farm, Woodbridge, Suffolk, July 1-3
Tickets: £85 (weekend/camping), £65 (no camping), £39 day ticket (Sat only), £15 (10-15 years, weekend), under-10s free.
Info/booking: 01473 258070, www.maverickfestival.co.uk
Line-up: Britt Gully, Sam Outlaw, Robyn Hitchcock, Ryan Cook, Jon Langford, Amelia White, Barbara Nesbitt, Debbie Bond, Hannah Aldridge, Hymn For Her, Los Pacaminos featuring Paul Young, Luke Winslow King, Roamin' Jasmine, Robert Vincent, The Sultans Of String, The Hackensaw Boys
What to expect: American alt-country hoedown. The Maverick Festival is a celebration of Americana and roots music from both sides of the Atlantic, featuring over 40 artists, across five stages indoors and out, set amongst the picturesque Victorian farm buildings of Easton Farm Park. It has built up a good reputation, even spreading its wings with spin-off nights in Norwich. The line-up won't mean much (apart from Robyn Hitchcock) unless you're into country or roots, but it has won plaudits. As well as music, there is comedy, dance, film and workshops.
Woolsey Bridge Fields, near Diss, July 1-3
Tickets: £200 (family weekend camping), £75 (weekend camping), £50 (Fri/Sat/Sun), £36 advance Sat ticket, £20 Fri night, £40 under-16s (weekend camping), under-5s free
Info/booking: 01379 740181, wow-arts.co.uk
Line-up: The Undertones, Gypsy Hill, CC Smugglers, K.O.G. & The Zongo Brigade, Yaga Sunet, Age of L.U.N.A, Junkshop Poets, Electric Spivs
What to expect: A very family friendly festival with music including acoustic, roots, ska, bluegrass and everything in between, mixed up with a bit of swing. WOW is an affordable, relaxed, intimate, bijou, family-friendly and adamantly sponsor-free. It draws headliners from across the world but otherwise focuses on talent from this region. Feargal Sharkey-less The Undertones still promise lots of euphoric punk nostalgia, especially when the first few bars of Teenage Kicks ring out. Gypsy Hill play an intoxicating mix of Balkan brass, Mediterranean surf rock, ska and swing. CC Smugglers are an up-and-coming skiffle combo (yes, in 2015) with a host of varied trad influences.
FOLK IN A FIELD
West Acre, Narborough, Norfolk, July 1-3
Tickets: £50 (weekend camping), £30 day ticket Sat, £25 day ticket Sunday
Line-up: Ferocious Dog, The Urban Folk Quartet, Dove and Boweevil, Long Shore Drift, Daisy's Cat, Doin Different, Jonas and Jane, Sound Tradition, Willowspin, Morganway, Addison's Uncle
What to expect: Taking place in the heart of Norfolk near to the village of West Acre, this three-day folk gathering brings together a diverse mix of performers from the acoustic, folk and roots music scene. The rural setting of the festival, surrounded by woodland, contributes to a real 'get away from it all' vibe in which to enjoy some great music, take in interesting craft demonstrations or sample local food.
Bungay, Suffolk, July 7-10
Tickets: £190 (full ticket), £150 (weekend only)
Line-up: Binta Suso & Seckou Keita, Colomboloco, Claudio Kron & Omar Puente, Batch Gueye, Mohammed Gueye & Modou Diouf, EBWALA – Edd Bateman's West African Love Affair
What to expect: Drum Camp is truly a unique event, a world music festival that draws talented musicians from across the globe right to out doorstep. The education-based festival quite literally bangs the drum for music from around the world, all on a site located between Bungay and Halesworth. The performances are gathered into the weekend and programmes have become legendary with some of the best world music artists, this year from as far afield as Senegal, Pakistan, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Congo, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Cuba, oh yes, and the UK too. Music continues late into the night on the acoustic stage, plus an eclectic line-up of DJs spinning world grooves and some great camp fire jams.
ELY FOLK FESTIVAL
Outdoor Centre, Ely, July 8-10
Tickets: £91 (weekend/camping), £79-£68 (weekend), £24 (Fri), £39 (Sat), £36 (Sun), £12-£8 young people day tickets, under-10s free
Info/booking: 07500 527334, elyfolk.co.uk
Line-up: Altan, Edward II, Martin Simpson, Heidi Talbot Band, Gigspanner, Dougie MacLean, Steamchicken, Blackbeard's Tea Party, The Young 'uns
What to expect: A weekend of the best in folk music and dance in the shadow of Ely Cathedral. Ely Folk Fest has developed a reputation as a bijou weekend folk and roots event. It remains a small, friendly festival; that means that you can meet the artists 'unplugged', take part in workshops, sessions and you can get really close to the main stages. Musicians appearing reflect the rich diversity of the modern folk and roots music scene, with a mixture of established favourites and newer talent. On-site camping facilities, a real ale bar, lots of kids activities, morris dancing displays and ceilidhs.
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL
Milton Keynes Bowl, Milton Keynes, July 9
Line-up: Avicii, Axwell ? Ingrosso, Martin Garrix, Eric Prydz, Caspa/Rusko, DJ EZ, 99 Souls
What to expect: Boundlessly hi-energy dance. This pumped-¬up, multi-coloured US export festival (hence the use of the pretty awful EDM – electronic dance music – description) books massive line¬-ups bursting at the seams with the biggest DJs in the world, as well as smaller need¬-to-¬know support acts. Expect a big-¬budget neon show for the day-¬glo generation, with aerial displays, dancers, and carnival rides, rather oddly making famously sedate Milton Keynes a temporary home.
Bygrave Woods, Hertfordshire, July 14-16
Tickets: £100 (weekend), £45 (day tickets)
Line-up: John Talabot, Jungle (DJ set), Gilles Peterson, Ben UFO, Joy Orbison, Midland, Move D, Max Cooper, Jeremy Underground
What to expect: A boutique festival held in a deserted woodland. Now in its seventh year, Farr has grown from humble beginnings, as a small gathering of like¬minded friends, into one of UK's leading electronic music festivals. It returns in 2016 brighter and bolder than ever before, boasting new areas, stage hosts and of course an eclectic selection of producers, selectors and performers to warm your ears. Three days and nights of music and dancing with DJs spinning everything from drum and bass to UK bass via deep house, disco and more. Taste-maker Gilles Peterson is a perfect addiction, while Jungle will also be DJ-ing.
Henham Park, Suffolk, July 14-17
Tickets: £197.50 (weekend camping), £77.50 (day tickets)
Info/booking: 0871 2310846, www.latitudefestival.co.uk
Line-up: The Maccabees, The National, New Order, Chvrches, Beirut, John Grant, M83, Grimes, Of Monsters and Men, Father John Misty, Courtney Barnett, British Sea Power, Chet Faker, Soulwax, Slaves, Laura Mvula, Michael Kiwanuka
What to expect: The hugely popular chichi weekender. Now in its second decade, Latitude is now firmly established on the festival calendar, a kind of smaller, less hectic, artsier little sister to Glastonbury. The music line-up is again adventurous with strength in depth down the bill. Headliners — The Maccabees (Fri), The National (Sat) and New Order (Sun) — aren't mega-huge, but even if they don't appeal, there is masses of treats elsewhere on the bill. John Grant should be unmissable, as will electropop singer Grimes and the much lauded singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett. The Sunrise Stage is the place to head to come away raving about stars of the future. But that's only part of the story, of course. There's a huge array of big names from comedy, cabaret, theatre, literary and poetry. Our tip is check out the Film and Music Arena, where treats include the London Contemporary Orchestra playing works by Jonny Greenwood, Mica Levi and Steve Reich, Submotion Orchestra, plus Adam Buxton in conversation with Louis Theroux and doing his David Bowie Bug Special.
SECRET GARDEN PARTY
Mill Hill Field, Cambridgeshire, July 21-24
Tickets: Priced on a tier system but £180 weekend, £135 teen ticket, under-12s free but still need a ticket
Line-up: Caribou, Air, Primal Scream, Milky Chance, Shura, Lissie, Submotion Orchestra, Maribou State, Band Of Skulls, Andreya Triana, Field Music, The Temper Trap, Rae Morris, Izzy Bizu, Rationale, La Femme
What to expect: Hippy hedonism, boutique chic and forest raves in the Cambridgeshire countryside. Set in a 220 acre landscaped garden, bordering a river and lake. The music line-up is huge and geared towards having a good time. Headliners Caribou, Air and Primal Scream are top notch and operfectly selected for this year's theme 'The Gardener's Guide To The Galaxy', which will see the site given a suitably galactic twist. As well as music there are loads of activities for kids and adults alike.
CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL
Cherry Hinton Hall, near Cambridge, July 28-31
Tickets: £26.50 (Thurs), £57.50 (Fri), £67.50 (Sun)
Info/booking: 01223 357851, cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/folk-festival
Line-up: Christy Moore, Gogol Bordello, Imelda May, Glen Hansard, Baaba Maal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, KT Tunstall, Afro Celt Sound System, Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, Jon Boden, Songs of Separation, Chris Wood, Sam Lee & Friends
What to expect: One of Europe's biggest and longest running folk fests. Cambridge Folk Fest's reputation for quality music in intimate surroundings means tickets always sell out very quickly and weekend and Saturday day tickets have already gone. The first festival was in 1964 when a then largely unknown Paul Simon was a late addition to the bill. It has enlarged to include high profile American country artists, gospel, blues and world music, and having become arguably too diverse to its detriment, recently it has refocused on its folk roots. This year's bill mixes traditional musicians nodding to its folky heritage, helped by old favourites like Christy Moore alongside a new generation of folk musicians like Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy and Sam Lee, plus global music sounds from the likes of Gogol Bordello and Baaba Maal. As ever, there are many treasures lower down the bill, plus ceilidhs and children's concerts.
BOOM BAP FESTIVAL
Mildenhall Stadium, July 29-31
Tickets: £90 (weekend)
Line-up: Pharoahe Monch, A-F-R-O, Da$h, Task Force, Blade, Phi Life Cypher, RA the Rugged Man
What to expect: Hip hop heads. The UK's only dedicated hip hop festival returns for its fifth year, back at Mildenhall's speedway stadium and unleashing another international line-up of hip hop and grime heavyweights, including New York former Rawkus records rapper Pharoahe Monch – as well as showcasing live bands, future beats, dance music, soul, funk and reggae. MCing, DJing, breaking and graffiti. Three stages, over a hundred artists, and a limited run of just 2,000 tickets.
Stanton House, Ware, Hertfordshire, July 29-31
Tickets: £147 (weekend/camping), £124.42 youth weekend pass (13-17), £22 child weekend pass (4-12)
Line-up: Suede, Jess Glynne, Kelis, The Hives, Everything Everything, Ghostpoet, Anna Calvi, Blossoms, Thurston Moore Band, Gold Panda, Loyle Carner, Blood Red Shoes, NZCA Lines, The Duke Spirit
What to expect: Essentially a 3,000 capacity garden party, now in its second decade. This boutique family-friendly festival is the chance to see some of the most hotly tipped underground bands and some cracking DJs in an intimate setting, with headliners this year including Suede, Jess Glynne and Kelis. Three days of music, immersive theatre, workshops, talks and, believe it or not, trapeze lessons, all within the stunning bucolic confines of Standon Lordship manor house. The theme this year is Legend of the Lost Seas.
Burton Manor Barns, Cranworth Road, Southburgh, July 29-31
Tickets: £30 (weekend camping), £16 day tickets, £8 children, under-5s free
Line-up: Namvula, The Mudeka Sisters, Klezmerized, Jordan Jackson, Francesca, Takeda, George Cheetham
What to expect: Global grooves in a good cause. The eighth Southburgh Festival of World Music takes place on at Burton Manor Barns and promises another family day with something for everyone. The festival is a day to celebrate music and the arts with outstanding performances from broadly world music artists, though many other genres feature. It has raised an amazing amount of money for the Mudeka Foundation; changing of lives of children in Zimbabwe.
CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL
Haggis Farm Polo Club, Barton, Cambridge, August 4-7
Tickets: £105 for all four days, £25 day tickets, £40 camping
Line-up: Focus, Mostly Autumn, Curved Air, Purson, Cregan & Co, Remus Down Boulevard, Full House, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, Hazel O'Connor, Pink Fairies, HeKz, Walkway, Space Elevator
What to expect: A weekend festival of classic rock. Cambridge Rock Festival holds its 12th event over four days with multiple stages features nationally and internationally known classic and progressive rock bands, blues and folk. The bill includes Cregan and Co, featuring Rod Stewart's guitarist and co-songwriter Jim Cregan and on vocals X-Factor finalist Ben Mills. One of progressive rock's greatest legends, Carl Palmer returns with his ELP Legacy band. He is joined by 80s star Hazel O'Connor, while the Sunday has 1970s prog-rock legends Focus and Curved Air. This year there is an extra special Wednesday charity night (extra ticket) featuring Deep Puple's Don Airey and guests, plus Fresh Cream, a tribute to the late Jack Bruce, featuring Will Johsn, Chris Page and Jack's son Malcolm Bruce. It is raising funds for Addenbrooke's.
Hatfield House, Herfordshire, August 6
Line-up: Groove Armada, Skream, Wave & Odyssey, Seth Troxler, Martinez Brothers, Eats Everything, Boddika, Derek Carter, Hot Since 82,
What to expect: A block rocking, genre defying, electronic dance music festival. Returning once again in the grand surroundings of Hatfield House, having originally started down the road at Knebworth, this dance festival, now in its eighth year, has grown this year into an even bigger affair; with the capacity expanded to 12,000 and a ninth stage and a woodland rave area. It features a vast array of beat-makers, knob-twiddlers, bleep-merchants and electronic artists taking in just about every dance genre. Groove Armada get their own curated stage, for chilled out summer beats.
Rookery Meadow, Reepham, August 13-14
Tickets: £24 (weekend), £43-£21.50 camping
Info/booking: 01603 508050, reephamfestival.co.uk
Line-up: Toploader, Dire Straits, Buster James, Walkway, Chasin Vegas, Jeramiah Ferrari, Morganway, Kingdom Keys
What to expect: An intimate laidback musical experience in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. Now in its seventh year, this community festival has been expanded to two days. It stages a mix of established names, top tribute bands and upcoming young performers. The diverse music programme on two stages ranges wildly and wonderfully from acoustic to alternative, blues, classical, Celtic, folk, jazz, pop and rock. Main headliners are 1990s chartoppers Toploader — from whom there's one track everyone will be waiting for.
Glemham Hall Estate, Suffolk, August 19-21
Tickets: £115 (weekend/camping), £98 cons, £65 (youth weekend), £320 family
Line-up: Chris Wood, Rura, Andy Irvine, Effra, Attila the Stockbroker, Luke Jackson, The Roaring Trowmen, John Dipper & Dave Malkin, Daoirí Farrell, Sam Carter, Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, Martin Newell & The Hosepipe Band, John Spiers
What to expect: Folk, new and old. Voted Best Folk and World Music Festival, this three-day eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional music where instrument, song, dance, poetry returns to the grounds of Glemham Hall with a spring in its step. The line-up will have folk-lovers musical taste-buds salivating, a true mix of traditional, contemporary, world and new folk roots, world and acoustic music encompassing both mainstream and local acts with lots of opportunity for participation.
Hylands Park, Chelmsford, August 20-21
Tickets: £189 (weekend/camping), £165 (weekend), £89 (day tickets)
Line-up: Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Sia, David Guetta, Faithless, Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille, Little Mix, Rita Ora, Years & Years, Jake Bugg, Tinnie Tempah, James Morrison, John Newman
What to expect: Pop¬tastic big names. Mainstream festival featuring a staggering array of chart-bothering household names. The original two-site festival (the other half is in Staffordshire) is the best organised festival — too much so for some, who feel it's a soulless exercise in over commercialisation. However, if you're looking for a relatively stress-free weekend with the minimum of mud, fuss and crusty types, this is for you. There's even a 'luxury camp site'. This year's headliners Justin Bieber (Aug 20) and Rihanna (Aug 21), so pop rules OK?
Norfolk Showground, September 2-4
Tickets: £110 (weekend camping), £75 (weekend), £40 (day tickets)
Info/booking: 0871 2241112, www.sundownfestival.co.uk
Line-up: Chase and Status, Jess Glynne, Jason Derulo, Dizzee Rascal, Years & Years, Kano, Ms Dynamite, Sonny Fodera, Jaguar Skills, David Rodigan
What to expect: Hordes of teenagers (and young at hearts). The sixth Sundown returns again over three days at Norfolk Showground, offering a late summer pop-tastic festival in September. The line-up of chart talent is just as impressive this year, including headline sets from Chase and Status (Sat), who seem to have become a favourite of the event, and Maimi chart-topper Jason Derulo (Sun), who has clocked up over two billion views on YouTube. Dizzee Rascal will also be going Bonkers. The bill boasts mainly UK urban artists with many more to be added as we get closer.