UK Festival Guide 2024 | Songlines
Friday, May 10, 2024

UK Festival Guide 2024

By Justin Turford

Another year, another full season of festivals to revive the soul and please the senses! Where better to plan your summer of culture than with our annual guide to the best festivals in the UK?

Uk Festival Guide 2024

May 4-26

Brighton Festival

Brighton, East Sussex

Guest-directed this year by screenwriter and children’s author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Brighton’s splendid multi-disciplinary arts festival continues to deliver a unique vision. Aside from the cutting-edge theatre and visual arts events, and inclusive family and literary experiences, there are plenty of excellent musical diversions. Orchestra Baobab and the great Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca lead the global music selections and the folk attractions include The Young’Uns and Johnny Flynn’s enjoyable collaboration with nature writer Robert Macfarlane.

May 15-18

The Great Escape

Brighton, East Sussex

May 10-26

Norfolk & Norwich Festival

Various locations, Norfolk

The broad arts brush of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival consistently offers a wonderful blend of literature, music, theatre and visual delights, and this year it continues to be inspired. The Queen of Kuduro, Pongo, brings her energetic club sound to the Spiegeltent, which also hosts Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, Stick in the Wheel, Nubiyan Twist and the exuberant Afro-Brazilian collective Baque Luar. Elsewhere, there will be an extraordinary eight-hour organ world premiere of Jonny Greenwood’s 268 Years of Reverb performed by James McVinnie & Eliza McCarthy and three performances featuring artist-in-residence Laura Cannell.

May 16-19

Songlines Encounters Festival

Kings Place, London

May 23-26

Knockengorroch Festival

Knockengorroch, Dumfries and Galloway

The much-loved festival situated against the beautiful backdrop of the Carsphairn Hills of Kirkcudbrightshire returns with another strikingly progressive line-up of Celtic diaspora, roots, global and electronic artists. Music includes Sámi singer Kajsa Balto, the energetic Roma band Zor, alt-folk duo The Breath, Northumbrian pipes fusioneers Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, and Scottish folk legend Mairi Campbell. Among the many acclaimed electronic and reggae acts attending, Trinidad’s Queen Omega & The Royal Souls is a must-see. Sunday’s infamous ceilidh session will be propelled by the Scottish Borders’ Jiginaboot Ceilidh Band and others.

May 23-26

Orkney Folk Festival

Various locations, Orkney

Designed to offer something for everyone, 52 events are planned for this year’s festival with superb international artists joining the home-grown acts. Award-winning Canadian outfit The East Pointers return to the UK after a long hiatus, Ireland is represented by the legendary musicians Máirtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden and Seamie O’Dowd, as well as the rarely seen live Dòchas. Michael McGoldrick & John McCusker will be joined by Orcadian Kris Drever, combining the talents of three heavyweights in the UK folk scene, and the popular Gathering concert returns, with a tribute to Orcadian musician Billy Jolly.

May 24-27

Chippenham Folk Festival

Chippenham, Wiltshire

The 51st edition of Chippenham Folk Festival sees a huge line-up of talent this year with award-laden legends rubbing shoulders with local acts across this lovely market town nestled on the banks of the River Avon. Included are seven-times BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards-winner John Tams, the imaginative contemporary folk of Scotland’s Breabach, Sheffield’s a cappella virtuosos Melrose Quartet, the great solo artist Tim Edey and festival patron, John Kirkpatrick MBE.

May 24 – June 9

Bath Fringe

Bath, Somerset

May 26

Cross the Tracks

Brockwell Park, London

May 30 – June 3

Fire in the Mountain Festival

Near Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Rooted on an ancient farm that nestles between the Cambrian mountains and beautiful Cardigan Bay resides a small and beloved music festival, with community, family and a love of folk music at its core. Among the traditional players will be experimental Celtic music purveyor and BBC Young Folk Award-winner Brìghde Chaimbeul, cosmic rockers Henge and Martin Carthy. There are activities for all the family including traditional crafts, dance and singing, and a benevolent ticket pricing structure so all can attend.

May 31 – June 2

Wychwood Festival

Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire

June 4-15

Flamenco Festival London

Saddler’s Wells, London

June 7-9


Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire

June 14-16

Black Deer Festival

Eridge Park, Kent

June 14-16

Solas Festival

Errol Park, Errol, Perthshire

June 15, July 27, September 7

Green Island Festival

Hulme Community Garden Centre & Niamos, Manchester

Spread across three dates in the summer, this Manchester festival in the urban oasis of Hulme Community Garden Centre has swiftly transformed into a must-visit. Youthful, forward-looking and with a nice blend of local and emerging international acts. This year’s line-up includes Afro-electronic fusionists Afriquoi, the strong feminine energy of Dakar’s Def Mama Def, Plantfood’s explosive spirituality and Sheffield’s positivity-fuelled Life Aquatic Band all promising a good time. Manchester’s best street food vendors will keep your bellies full, too.

June 21-23

Góbé Fest

Cathedral Gardens, Manchester

June 22-23

Africa Oyé

Sefton Park, Liverpool, Merseyside

Every year, they manage to keep this fantastic festival free despite the calibre of their guests. Headliners include reggae royalty Julian Marley, inter-African female supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique, Senegal’s urban queens Def Mama Def and the traditional polyphonic wonder of Tanzania’s The Zawose Queens.

June 26-30


Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset

As befits the times, there are more pop-friendly acts this year at Worthy Farm but there will always be room for global and roots artists, too. Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Burna Boy hits the Pyramid Stage; multiple award-winner Nitin Sawhney joins UK reggae legends Steel Pulse and cosmic Indian singer Asha Puthli at the West Holts stage; and Pakistani polyglot Arooj Aftab shares The Park Stage with This Is The Kit, Lankum, The Mary Wallopers and the guitar pyrotechnics of Niger’s Mdou Moctar.

July 4-7

The Gate to Southwell

Kirklington Parkland, Nottinghamshire

This festival continues to bring the best in roots and acoustic music to Southwell. US Grammy & Pulitzer award-winner Rhiannon Giddens is quite a coup. Canada is also well represented with Tara MacLean and The Fugitives. Scottish supergroup Mànran, the brilliant Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening and Caledonian soul band Blue Rose Code are also among the headliners. For acoustic lovers, Ireland’s The Haar, Melrose Quartet and the Australian sister duo Charm of Finches will delight, with English troubadour Reg Meuross also in attendance.

July 4-14

Lichfield Festival

Lichfield, Staffs

July 4-8

Kelburn Garden Party

Kelburn Country Centre, Largs

July 5-7

Love Supreme Festival

Glynde Place, East Sussex

July 5-13

Llangollen Fringe

Llangollen, North Wales

July 5-7

Tonnau Tropical Garden Party

Carreglwyd Estate, Anglesey

July 11-14

Stonehaven Folk Festival

Stonehaven, Scotland

July 12-14

Priddy Folk Festival

Priddy, Somerset

July 12-14

Ely Folk Festival

Ely, Cambridgeshire

July 12-14

ALSO Festival

Park Farm, Compton Verney, Warwickshire

July 12-14

Tropical Pressure

Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Porthtowan, Cornwall

In a stunning location overlooking Porthtowan Beach, Tropical Pressure never fails to put a smile on your face. Its music focuses on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and there are some great names already lined up: An Dannsa Dub, Kumbia Boruka, Ines Loubet, The Busy Twist, The Zawose Queens, Aluminé Guerrero.

July 12-21

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival


July 17-20


Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

July 19-21


Isle of Purbeck, Corfe Castle, Dorset

July 19-21


Fochabers, Parish of Bellie, Moray

Celtic rock outfit Skerryvore return to this excellent festival after last year’s success and they are joined by a diverse selection of locals and further-ranging artists. On Friday, the iconic Irish musician Sharon Shannon appears with her trio alongside the exhilarating Scottish folk’s Breabach. Saturday sees the anthemic indie-folk of Tide Lines and Sunday’s ceilidh energy has Trail West leading the charge. There are music workshops, a craft fair and fine local food and beverages.

July 21

Folk by the Oak

Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Situated in the spectacular countryside setting of Hatfield Park, Hertforshire, Folk by the Oak once again deliver a cracking one-day line-up with veteran rabble-rousers The Levellers returning for the first time since 2017 to blow the roof off! Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita appears with his superb world-class band as do the close-harmonising Bostonians Darlingside, BBC Folk Award-winners The Young’Uns, rising folk stars The Furrow Collective and The Staves. You must check out charismatic singer-poet Cahalan Morrison on the Acorn Stage too!

July 22-28

Yn Chruinnaght

Peel, Isle of Man

July 25-28

Warwick Folk Festival

Castle Park, Warwick, Warwickshire

Against the backdrop of Warwick Castle’s mediaeval grandeur, this year’s festival promises a musical experience of substance. The Unthanks take centre stage as do the legendary Oysterband. The assembled voices of Australia’s The Spooky Men’s Chorale will be a treat and Scottish folkies Breabach continue to perform everywhere! John Tams, harmonica magician Will Pound and the vocal trio Lady Maisery are a few of the many brilliant others.

July 25-28


Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Still the greatest assembling of global musicians in the UK, this year’s WOMAD sees the visionary Baaba Maal return to Charlton Park alongside Amadou & Mariam and NOLA’s glorious 79rs Gang. The qawwali magic of Faiz Ali Faiz will be a life-affirming moment; newcomers Bala Desejo from Rio, and Tanzanian great Hukwe Zawose’s daughter and granddaughter, The Zawose Queens, are sure to thrill. The Gnawa fusion of Justin Adams & Moroccan master musician Mohamed Errebbaa will surely be a highlight in a mouth-watering selection of grand artistry.

July 25-28

Cambridge Folk Festival

Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge

An annual highlight of the season, Cambridge Folk has bonafide legend Robert Plant presenting his Saving Grace band with Suzi Dian on vocal duties. Grammy-winning bluesman Fantastic Negrito, Nitin Sawhney, Ralph McTell and US folk royalty Peggy Seeger & Family will all also grace the festival. Nora Brown & Stephanie Coleman, Oysterband, Katherine Priddy and reggae revivalist Hollie Cook are also in the line-up.

August 1-4

Wickham Festival

Wickham, Hampshire

August 1-4

Valley Fest

Chew Valley Lake, Somerset

August 2-4

Underneath the Stars

Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne, South Yorkshire

August 2-9

Sidmouth Folk Week

Sidmouth, Devon

Sidmouth hits 70 and is still offering a feast of traditional music, song and dance. The harp/violin duo of Catrin Finch & Aoife Ní Bhriain promises to be spellbinding, as will Angeline Morrison, Peggy Seeger, Ralph McTell and the supergroup that includes Jon Boden and Seth Lakeman. A who’s who of UK folk will attend, from Stick in the Wheel and The Breath to the joys of Chris Wood & Andy Cutting.

August 2-25

Edinburgh International Festival


With the theme of Rituals That Unite Us guiding this year’s event, there are some exceptional musical treats. Youssou N’Dour will perform as will the thunderous Balimaya Project. In the festival’s ‘green room’, The Hub, a line-up of global virtuosos will be playing including sarod player Soumik Datta, Brazilian bandolinist Hamilton de Holanda, Indonesia’s Peni Candra Rini and Kyrgyzstan’s Ustatshakirt Ensemble.

August 7-11

Boomtown Fair

Matterley Estate near Winchester, Hampshire

August 8-10

Fairport Cropredy Convention

Cropredy, Oxfordshire

August 9-16

Broadstairs Folk Week

Broadstairs, Kent

August 15-18

Green Man

Crickhowell, Powys

Tinariwen, Omar Souleyman, Ibibio Sound Machine, Muireann Bradley and Fulu Miziki are some of the global names in a typically packed line-up in the Brecon Beacons.

August 15-18

Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

Purbeck Valley Farm, Dorset

August 15-18

We Out Here

Wimborne St Giles, Dorset

August 16-18


Glemham Hall, Suffolk

In its 12th year, this most easterly of festivals has itself a fantastic line-up to celebrate its growing reputation as an indisputable folk attraction. Across five stages, artists of the calibre of Martin Carthy (with Jon Wilks), the Angeline Morrison Band, Jim Moray and Bellowhead’s Sam Sweeney will be performing to a passionate crowd. Festival patron and The Young’Uns’ Sean Cooney will join Sam Carter to premiere a new suite of songs about Peterloo, and Orcadian Kris Drever will attend with his exquisite band.

August 16-18

Beautiful Days

Escot Park, Ottery St Mary, Devon

August 17-23

Whitby Folk Week

Whitby, North Yorkshire

August 21-25

Mull of Kintyre Music Festival

Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute

August 22-26

Cornwall Folk Festival

Wadebridge, Cornwall

August 22-25


Secret location, Northamptonshire

This vibrant inclusive festival is one of the best of the summer, with a line-up that always shines. With family vibes during the day and multicoloured parties at night, global artists abound. Frafra gospel star Florence Adooni, reggae legends The Congos, Palestinian violinist Akram Abdulfattah, Leyla McCalla, Franco-Colombian party starter Ëda Diaz, Zimbabwe’s hottest group Mokoomba and the intense Iranian percussionist Mohammad Reza Mortazavi are just some of the incredible artists performing.

August 23-26

Towersey Festival

Claydon Estate, Buckinghamshire

Towersey are celebrating 60 years of existence. Remarkably, the festival is still being run by the same family, the grandchildren of its founder now in charge. And though they’ve relocated from Towersey in Oxfordshire to Claydon Estate in Bucks, the spirit remains. Billy Bragg, The Staves and Seth Lakeman are the big draws, along with Oysterband, Pokey LaFarge, Katherine Priddy and the London African Gospel Choir offering up their take on Paul Simon’s Graceland.

August 23-26

Shrewsbury Folk Festival

West Midlands Showground, Shropshire

There is plenty of ‘Wow!’ factor this year with South African legends Ladysmith Black Mambazo joining Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle and US singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman among the headliners. This riverside festival also hosts Grammy-nominated Mary Gauthier, the Peatbog Faeries, Catalonian folk group El Pony Pisador, Sidiki Jobarteh Trio and Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening. The social dance line-up is led by a rare ceilidh performance from folk duo Spiers & Boden and plenty of food, beers and craft stalls.

August 30 – September 1

The British Country Music Festival

Winter Gardens, Blackpool

August 30 – September 1

Moseley Folk & Arts Festival

Moseley Park, Birmingham

August 30 – September 1

Supersonic Festival


Brìghde Chaimbeul, ØXN, MC Yallah & Debmaster, John Francis Flynn, Mohammad Syfkhan, Senyawa and One Leg One Eye are just some of the visionary names on offer.

September 5-8

Bromyard Folk Festival

Bromyard, Herefordshire

September 13-15

Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival

Penhallow, Cornwall

September 14-28

St Ives September Festival

St Ives, Cornwall

September 15

Jazz Cafe Festival

Burgess Park, London

Nils Frahm is the big headline act but there are some interesting names here – Buena Vista All Stars, Habibi Funk, Omar Souleyman, Gilles Peterson, to mention but a few – just as you’d expect from the Jazz Cafe’s penchant for global artists. With four stages across one day it’s going to be a busy one.

September 21

Malmesbury Folk & Roots

Malmesbury, Wiltshire

September 20-22

Southdowns Folk Festival

Bognor Regis, West Sussex

October 11-13

Derby Folk Festival

Cathedral Quarter, Derby, Derbyshire

October 11-13

Harwich International Shanty Festival

Harwich, Essex

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