by Matt Ayres
Although gliding down the sun-soaked backroads of some obscure European village on a bicycle is probably our favourite summer activity, music festivals come a close second. There’s something magic and inimitable about the vibe of a summer festival on a scorching hot day, with a cold local cider in one hand and the other poised triumphantly in the air as you tipsily bounce along to a performance by your new favourite band.
While the legendary likes of festivals like Glastonbury and Reading are the most popular among UK festival goers, there are a host of others that also deserve your attention. Take the following three for starters – get on their websites and start planning some unforgettable weekends for when the warmer months finally arrive.
Grillstock BBQ and Music Festival, Bristol, 11-12 July
Incredible things happen when music, food and sunshine come together. Naturally, barbecued food is king when it comes to outdoor eating, so it’s only natural that the organisers of Grillstock chose it as the centrepiece of their annual music and food festival. This year, the ‘King of the Grill’ competition will see 27 teams of passionate barbecue aficionados battle it out in the name of mouthwatering chicken, brisket, ribs and pulled pork, sweetening up your tastebuds while feelgood tunes from the likes of hip-hop icons De La Soul and Welsh comedy rappers Goldie Lookin’ Chain keep the vibe right. Weekend tickets cost £40 – grab ‘em while they’re hot here.
Truck Festival, Oxfordshire, 17-18 July
Truck is what every summer festival should aspire to be: a wonderfully relaxed, family friendly affair set in the rolling countryside of Oxfordshire. A vibrant array of music from multiple stages fills the farmyard arena while a man dressed in drag pours pints and the local rotary club flips burgers. Truck is a local event to its core – having been set up by two brothers from the surrounding village of Steventon, it still embraces the grassroots approach and thrives on its reputation as the ‘village fete’ of British festivals. Headliners this year are Basement Jaxx and The Charlatans, who are joined by an electic mix of touring acts and local bands. Weekend tickets cost a modest £79.50 – buy them here.
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, 20-23 August
Far from the stagnant, well-trodden arenas of better known festivals, a visit to Green Man in the Brecon Beacons is like stepping into a natural wonderland of arts, music and culture. Amid ancient Welsh oak trees, spellbinding musicians bring their talents to festivalgoers, giving the surrounding wilderness an unforgettable soundtrack. It’s a liberating experience, jumping around in a field with other free spirited, inquisitive arty types. This year, the line-up features names such as St Vincent, Hot Chip, Goat, Calexico and Mew – if you haven’t already heard of them, you’ll doubtless be humming their tunes and vowing to download their discographies as you pack up your tent. An adult ticket for the full three day event costs £165 – there are also discount prices for those who want to bring their families along. Pick up yours here.