Our favourite time of year is back, with Brighton Pride sashaying onto our streets for the biggest party weekend of 2016. Preston Park hosts the largest UK Pride festival stage of the year, featuring the legendary Sister Sledge, Carly Rae Jepsen, DJ Fresh, Alesha Dixon and many more, as parties spread city-wide in the hours surrounding the spellbinding Carnival of Diversity. There’s a whole raft of citywide shenanigans. With the Pride Pleasure Gardens, Street Diner food village, and some of the biggest Pride parties to grace the city, it promises to be a glorious, life-affirming weekend spectacular of flamboyance and ostentatiousness. Fuelled by pride, love and campaigning for LGBT+ (and others’) rights – it’s no wonder this Pride event is the UK’s most loved.
SOLARSPHERE FRI 12 – MON 15 AUG PENMAENAU FARM, POWYS
If smaller, relaxed music festivals with a twist are more your bag, we may have just found the thing. It’s a festival which mixes alternative music with astronomy talks, workshops and activities for a weekend of interstellar fun. Melodic metallers Hawklords (ft. ex-Hawkwind members) lead the lineup, followed with psychedelic indie-punk from Poisoned Electrick Head, speed-metal from Anubis, gypsy cabaret from Bell Hagg Orkestar, plus science comedian and singer Helen Arney. Learn about the universe we live in – whether it be looking through telescopes at solar flares and the night sky with experts, or at the onsite planetarium – all the while chilling out and enjoying the entertainment. Expand children’s knowledge of the solar system with bracelet making and astronaut food tasting, and don’t forget to dress up as your favourite sci-fi character on the Friday!
FIRLE VINTAGE FAIR SAT 13 – SUN 14 AUG FIRLE PLACE, EAST SUSSEX
A beautiful brocante fair located in the quintessentially English South Downs, Firle Vintage Fair is a celebration of the beauty and antiquities of the past. Featuring a host of cherry-picked vintage and antique stalls, including; French brocante, haberdashery and fashion, country interiors and gardenalia. The weekend’s live entertainment includes a Lost Bohemia fashion catwalk, swing jazz bands, solo artists Noelle and the Spitfire Sisters, plus Charleston and Lindy Hop troupes and the Vintastic DJ. There’ll also be workshops, artisan food and beverages with iced sloe gins from Gin & Bear It and a Champagne bar on the lawns, plus original 1880 Victoriana fair-rides and croquet games to have a whirl on. It’s a trip to yesteryear in the most beautiful of settings.
Set in the heart of the breath-taking Brecon Beacons, the multi award-winning Green Man festival is back for its 14th year. It has now evolved to a gigantic 20,000 capacity, four-day extravaganza comprising a fantastic array of alternative, indie and folk live music alongside literature, poetry, film, theatre and comedy. Last year, Green Man featured 1,500 multi-arts acts and won Best Festival at the Live Music Business Awards – but this year is set to be better than ever. Music from the brilliant Belle & Sebastian sets the scene, joined by James Blake, Wild Beasts, Warpaint and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. There’s no end to what you could get up to at Green Man; ceilidhs, all-night bonfires and secret gigs all adding to the festival’s unique identity.
V FESTIVAL SAT 20 – SUN 21 AUG HYLANDS PARK, CHELMSFORD
In the twenty years since it started, V has become a massive hit in the festival calendar, known for presenting the year’s biggest world-class acts across two beautiful stately parks on opposite sides of the country – and this year is no different. This year, the festival celebrates its 21st birthday, and the brains behind the festival are pulling out all the stops to make sure everyone has an unforgettable time. Some of the best acts to decorate the charts with hits this year appear on the lineup, including Rihanna, Sia, Rick Astley, Little Mix and Craig David. Plus, with its Glee Club comedy tent and MTV and Radio 1 as partners, there’s going to be so much to do you won’t know quite what to do with yourself.
READING FESTIVAL FRI 26 – SUN 28 AUG RICHFIELD AVENUE, READING
“The British ones are best. Reading’s amazing.” – Jack White, The White Stripes/The Raconteurs. Loved by musicians and fans alike, Reading Festival is back with a bang this summer to showcase rock music through the ages. From Red Hot Chili Peppers to newcomers (and BN1 cover stars) Blossoms, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a hardened fan or looking for new discoveries. Festival goers of the latter rejoice – some of the best new bands of the year hit the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, including Hælos, Mura Masa and Spring King – while those looking for a throwback to 90s/00s nostalgia will be thrilled with the appearance of Third Eye Blind, Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy. Dust off your DMs, line your eyes in black and prepare to party – this one’s going to be a doozy.
SOUTH WEST FOUR SAT 27 – SUN 28 AUG CLAPHAM COMMON, LONDON
Originally conceived as a cheeky one off bash for local party-heads, this dance event has grown into two days of world-class entertainment. It covers the full gamut of modern electronic culture, bringing together some of the scene’s biggest names. Reflecting London’s place as an incubator for music styles, it offers everything from bass and breaks to house and Balearic. The line-up includes Rudimental, Dizzee Rascal, Andy C, Blonde, A-Trak, Knife Party, Flux Pavilion, Gorgon City, MK, Netsky, The Chemical Brothers (pictured), Above & Beyond, Four Tet, Danny Howard, Nero, Maya Jane Coles, Will Saul, Sasha and Sven Vath. Plus it’s all in the centre of London, so there’s no need to lose your mates in the mud.
TOGETHER THE PEOPLE SAT 3 – SUN 4 SEPT PRESTON PARK, BRIGHTON
Following the success of last year’s brilliant weekend bonanza, the festival with a heart, Together The People, is back to celebrate the best in music, food, film, arts and community spirit that Brighton has to offer. If the legendary Brian Wilson performing The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds on its 50th anniversary isn’t enough to get you down to Preston Park, the lineup is adorned with great acts, from the hugely underrated 90s Britpop legends Suede to folk-rock heroes Turin Brakes. Brighton’s own – Fickle Friends also make an appearance, along with lit/rap battles by Poets vs MCs. In its inaugural year, the festival was powered by renewable technology and generated over £2,000 for Housing Trust. In a world striving for a bit more social awareness, there’s really no better way to do it this September weekend.