The best small festivals in the UK this summer | Features | MN2S

With Glastonbury over for another year, we take a look at some of the smaller summer festivals this country has to offer.

Over 150,000 people attend Glastonbury every year, making it the size of a small city. For those of us who like their festivals a little more intimate, there are plenty of smaller alternatives. Here are six of the best.

1 – Houghton Festival

When: 10th-13th August

Where: Houghton, Norfolk

Lineup includes: Floating Points, Nicolas Jaar, Hercules and Love Affair, Yussef Kamaal, Seth Troxler.

Though the lineup is not short of big names from the world of electronic music, the festival itself will take place in a small area of the Norfolk woodlands, near a picturesque lake. Set up by Craig Richards and Ricardo Villalobos, 2017 will be Houghton Festival’s inaugural year. The site will have several unique venues, such as an abandoned warehouse and a sculpture park.

2 – Festival No. 6

When: 7th-10th September

Where: Portmeirion, Wales

Lineup includes: Laura Mvula, Kate Tempest, Goldie, Hercules and Love Affair, Benji B, Charlotte Church.

Styling itself as “the UK’s most unique experience,” Festival No. 6 takes place in a “Mediterranean-inspired, Grade II-listed fantasy village,” on the coast of Wales. The lineup includes chart-toppers like Rag N’ Bone Man, alongside electronic legends like Goldie and Hercules and Love Affair. Appropriately enough, Festival No. 6 is in its sixth year. It really has to be seen to be believed.

3 – End of the Road

Where: Wiltshire

When: 31st August-3rd September

Lineup includes: Father John Misty, Mac Demarco, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Japandroids, Lucinda Williams, Nick Hakim.

End of the Road is an a small festival specialising in Indie/Americana, with some big names and up-and-comers from these genres represented in the lineup. It’s said to have just 11,000 capacity — a marked contrast to some of the UK’s more crowded festivals. With a bill that also includes comedy and literature, there is plenty for the exclusive clientele to enjoy. Venues include a piano stage and a “disco ship”.

4 – Standon Calling

Where: Standon, Hertfordshire

When: 27th-30th July

Lineup includes: Orbital, Clean Bandit, Grace Jones, Gary Numan, Akala, DJ Yoda, Idris Elba.

Just 45 minutes from London — the home of such large park-based festivals as BST Summertime and Lovebox — is Standon Lordship, the site of Standon Calling. The lineup is stellar, with plenty of artists for the electronic music enthusiast to enjoy. But the festival’s real selling point is its emphasis on wellness. Standon Calling has a heated swimming pool and multiple hot tubs on site, guaranteeing a relaxing experience for all who attend, away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby capital.

5 – Aespia Festival

Where: A “secret woodland location” one coach-ride away from London

When: 19th-20th August

Lineup includes: No one knows

Described as a “24 hour celebration of art and escapism”, Aespia begins with a journey on a blacked-out coach, on which festival-goers are whisked away to a secret woodland location. Once there, attendees will surrender their phones in order to engage in “meaningful connection” with each other and the art around them. The festival site is split into several themed areas, each one encouraging attendees to get involved in artistic activities.

6 – The Big Festival

Where: Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds

When: 25th-27th August

Lineup includes: Hacienda Classical, Madness, De La Soul, Faithless, Toploader, Louisa Johnson.

Based on Blur bassist Alex James’ Cotswolds farm, the Big Festival is actually on the smaller side, all things considered, with an estimated capacity of 20,000, but it includes a big lineup nonetheless. The bill features everyone from X Factor finalists to Hip-Hop and House legends. Aside from music, atmosphere and food, the festival prides itself on its “When Nature Calls” toilet facilities, which are cleaned every use by members of staff, in uniform, no less. It’s an improvement on the stereotypical festival toilet fare for sure, but it does cost £30 more for a weekend pass.

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