That the best things come in small packages might be a cliché, but in the case of festivals, the more intimate, low-key gatherings often provide the most memorable experiences.
Britain’s boutique festivals – often with stunning natural surroundings from lakesides and beaches to forests and rural fields – are becoming increasingly desirable as a more unique and often cheaper alternative to major players such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Reading and Leeds.
Here are some of the most tempting events happening up and down the UK this summer:
This is the trinket box of festivals: small but packed full of treasures. This year, Welsh village Portmeirion hosts a diverse bill topped by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Hot Chip and Bastille, while guests can also expect poetry readings, exclusive film screenings, stand-up comedy, woodland storytelling and pop-up theatre. There’s culture at every corner.
1-4 September, tickets £180 (about R3 700)
Barn on the Farm
Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Bastille and Hozier have all graced the stage at this cosy independent Gloucestershire festival, in the middle of a working farm. Headliners this year are Jack Garratt and Oh Wonder, while Honne, Frances and Gavin James are also on the bill. If you want to catch upand-coming artists before they hit the big time, come and join the 1,500 people on the farm.
1-3 July, tickets £105
Head to Oxfordshire for a taste of rural paradise at Wilderness, which this August features exclusive UK sets from Robert Plant and The Flaming Lips. Music aside, mouthwatering food is served at famous long table banquets that are great for meeting like-minded people. Wellbeing workshops and boutique camping strike the perfect balance between relaxation and revelry.
4-7 August, tickets £164
Caught by the River Thames
Londoners need not travel far to find a beautiful festival to chill out at. Caught by the River takes place on the banks of the Thames at Fulham Palace and is a glorious mash-up of a gig, literature festival, nature symposium, national beer festival and global food market. Kate Tempest, Super Furry Animals, Beth Orton and Low are among the acts confirmed to play for 5 000 people.
6-7 August, tickets £99
In The Woods
Not many gigs take place under an ethereally lit forest canopy. Art installations line the paths here, while a giant midnight bonfire keeps music fans toasty warm until sunrise. Back for its 10th year, In The Woods promises relaxation to the max, and a refreshing community feel. To keep it extra-special tickets are limited to just over 1 000, while the line-up and exact Kent woodland location are kept secret until the last moment.