The UK is well known for its massively popular festivals. Millions of fans flock to the UK annually to attend these mega events. Many of these festivals have been around for decades, and are exceptional platforms for talent to get recognition. There is no experience quite like being among a hundred thousand people coming together for a celebration with a unifying theme. In addition to music the UK hosts festivals which are about motor sports, religion, arts, comedy, poetry, architecture, gardens, food and countless other interests. Here is a short list of the biggest events to watch for this year.
The largest festival of contemporary performing arts in the UK has roots dating back to 1914. It receives the best known names in the music industry and is attended by more than 120,000 people. The festival gets eager attention and wide coverage from the television and print media. In the 1970s the festival used to be nearly free to attend by today’s standards. In 2019 the festival has already been sold out at a ticket price of £248 (US$ 324). Watch for a resale in April. Most attendees live in tents, in well-organized designated camping areas. Some other accommodation choices are also available, although limited. There is much to see and do at Glastonbury, and it is best to do it at a relaxed pace. This year the festival is expected to be extra special on account of a hiatus in 2018.
Isle of Wight Festival
This mega music festival began in the late 60’s and quickly became so popular that the county had to change its laws to accommodate so many visitors. Attended in 2018 by 72,000 people, Isle of Wight has won more than one award for being a family-friendly event. Attendees live in basic tents, luxury tents or offsite resort-like accommodation. This year the festival will take place from 13 to 16 June. Tickets are on sale.
Reading and Leeds Festivals
These two festivals named after their respective locations are organized simultaneously at two different camp sites. The Reading Festival is considered the world’s oldest music festival. An endless list of the UK’s greatest and most popular bands have made an appearance here at some point. Attendance has been known to cross 90,000. The 2019 festival will be held from 23 to 25 August. Tickets are available.
This is the most popular event of the year for rock and heavy metal fans everywhere. Held annually in Leicestershire, UK since 2003, the festival has now also spread to France and Australia owing to its wild popularity. The name “Download” was meant as encouragement for the online music sharing community and is a nod to the rebellious days of music piracy when file sharing was considered wrong. The official mascot of the festival is the menacing looking Download Dog. The biggest names in rock and heavy metal have graced the Download Festival with memorable performances. The event will be held this year from 14 to 16 June, and tickets are up for grabs starting at £220 (US$ 288) depending on package.
This major dance music festival organized every year in Daresbury, Cheshire, England is named after its founders and organizers Cream, who are renowned for running one of the best-known night clubs in the world. Held over the August Bank Holiday weekend each year since 1998, Creamfields is a three-day event which now attracts 70,000 visitors each day. In terms of number of stages, variety of performances and range of artists showcased Creamfields compares with the most prominent electronic music festivals in the world. 2019 Creamfields dates are 22 to 25 August. Tickets are available.
UK’s most visual festival since 2009 is organized by a London-based creative charitable trust called Artichoke. The event is free to attend, and attracted 240,000 visitors in 2017. The festival features some of the most innovative lighting and presentations including family-friendly interactive installations, kinetic fire, 3-d video mapping and flash mobs. Visitors are encouraged to get involved by participating in a competition for light works ideas, being parts of some of the installations, or as volunteers. Lumiere travels to various cities around the UK. In 2019 Lumiere will be held in Durham, its place of origin. Dates: 14-17 November.
Sheffield International Documentary Festival (SIDF) is the world’s third largest of its kind and has been held annually since 1994. Attendees exceed 70,000 in number and include industry specialists from more than 50 nations. The festival has everything that documentary enthusiasts and filmmakers may desire, including international premieres, hundreds of screenings, VR exhibitions, funding platforms, live events, competitions, branding, marketing and networking. The next event is scheduled for 6 to 11 June 2019.