What you can expect from the 2024 festival season


Ruby Thorpe outlines some of the biggest festivals coming to the UK and Ireland this summer

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Image by Rachel D (Flickr)

By Ruby Thorpe

Hot weather is quickly approaching, which means that the UK and Eire enter festival season. With so many big names coming to our stages, it is impossible not to be excited for summer 2024. This article details some of the biggest festivals around the country and what you can expect from them this year. I will also soon be publishing highlights from smaller music festivals that are coming up, hopefully helping you find something to get stuck into.

Parklife: 8-9 June, Heaton Park, Manchester

Day Ticket: £79.50 + BF

Weekend GA: £135 + BF

Headlined by Doja Cat, Disclosure, J Hus, Becky Hill, and Kaytranada; Parklife is one of the UK’s biggest hip-hop and dance music festivals. Previously, this festival has seen massive names like Snoop Dogg, Fred Again…, Frank Ocean, and Tyler, the Creator, making it the biggest non-camping festival with nearly 80,000 attendees a day. There are also many smaller DJs and hip-hop artists performing on the 11 stages throughout the site, meaning Parklife is a brilliant way to kick off the festival season!

Download: 14-16 June, Donington Park, Leicestershire

Day ticket: £124 + BF

Weekend GA: £300 + BF

Starting in 2003, Download is the biggest rock festival you can go to this summer. It offers a stellar set of headliners with Queens of the Stone Age, Fall Out Boy, and Avenged Sevenfold; as well as rock legends like The Offspring, limpbizkit, and Sum-41. Other highlights of the lineup include Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, The Hunna, and NOAHFINNCE, who I have seen put on staggering live performances over the past few years. Surprisingly, this festival has significant family attendance and is perfect for anyone looking to see some rock and metal this year.

Glastonbury: 26-30 June, Worthy Farm, Somerset

Day ticket: N/A

Weekend GA: £355 + BF

As one of the biggest festivals in the world, Glastonbury is famous for its jam-packed lineup of music legends as well as so many smaller artists. If you can get tickets, you can expect a 1000-acre site, over 100 stages, and access to comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and music from around the globe, spanning every genre. This year, I found the lineup slightly disappointing due to a lack of old names and usual exclusive performances. However, I am sure Dua Lipa, Coldplay, SZA, and Shania Twain will put on a show. If you’re not attending but want to watch Glastonbury from home, there are free live streams of several stages on BBC iPlayer or you can listen on BBC Sounds.

Wireless: 12-14 July, Finsbury Park, London

Day ticket: £94 + BF

2 Day GA: £175.50 - £186.50 + BF

Weekend GA: £258.25 + BF

Wireless has an incredible 2024 lineup of Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Doja Cat this year alongside many other big rap names. Originally a rock and pop festival with headliners like New Order, the Strokes, and Depeche Mode; Wireless soon became a hub for rap and hip-hop in the South of England. With previous complaints of long waits between sets and unhygienic conditions for a non-camping event, we hope that Wireless 2024 will exceed expectations. The main question is: will Nicki Minaj be on time for her set?

TRNSMT: 12-14 July, Glasgow Green, Glasgow

Day ticket: £105 - £125+ BF

2 Day GA: £219

Weekend GA: £275 + BF

TRNSMT (pronounced "Transmit") is a new festival that only started in 2017, but that has not stopped it from becoming the biggest music event in Scotland. In the seven years this festival has been on, TRNSMT has already featured incredible artists like Radiohead, Paolo Nutini, and Arctic Monkeys, meaning people from all over the UK have travelled to Glasgow just for this festival. I think the headliners this year (Liam Gallagher, Gerry Cinnamon, and Calvin Harris) do not reach the standards of the 2023 headliners, Pulp, Sam Fender, and The 1975. However, there are many smaller artists to see this year like, Jalen Ngonda, Wunderhorse, Vistas, Wasia Project, and Bilk, who cover the weekend. Wait until next year for this one.

Camp Bestival: 25-28 July, Lulworth Castle, Dorset; 15-18th August, Weston Park, Shropshire

Day ticket: £80 - £91 + BF

Weekend GA: £232 + BF (£210 for Shropshire)

Camp Bestival is a perfect choice for a family weekend away with so many activities outside of music, like arts and crafts, sports, mindfulness classes, comedy and live performances from kids shows like Horrible Histories. Although this festival is possibly not for students, Camp Bestival has a dazzling lineup of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, McFly, Paloma Faith, Rick Astley, and James Arthur. Overall, it's bringing something to the table for parents who want both a safe and enjoyable festival experience for them and their children.

Latitude: 26-28 July, Henham Park, Suffolk

Day ticket: £110 + BF

Weekend GA: £308 + BF

Latitude is another perfect family festival, but unlike Camp Bestival, it usually has larger names and is more like your typical festival. I have attended Latitude for the past two years and have been able to see Phoebe Bridgers, Pulp, Little Simz, Cavetown, and many others. This year’s headliners are not as exciting with Duran Duran, Kasabian, Keane, and London Grammar headlining and also featuring Rick Astley, CMAT, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, and The Vaccines also performing. Latitude is famous for its comedy stage, with this year including Jo Brand, Sara Pascoe, Joanne McNally, Sam Campbell, and Lucy Beaumont (the comedy tent is perfect for viewers of Taskmaster as you can see many familiar faces). I think this is the best festival to attend as a first-time festival goer as it has a smaller arena and is much safer to attend. Like the University of York campus, there is a lake, but this one you can actually swim in, providing relief from the summer weather. Due to the lineup, I think would be wise to save Latitude for another year, but I highly recommend it for a more relaxed festival experience.

Tramlines: 26-28 July, Hillsborough Park, Sheffield

Day ticket: £45 - £65+ BF

Weekend GA: £140 + BF

As Sheffield’s largest music festival, Tramlines is incredibly cheap for the stand-out lineup it brings to this year's festival scene. With the likes of Paolo Nutini, Jamie T, and Snow Patrol, Tramlines features many artists whose only UK appearances are at festivals this year. There is a wide range of genres available with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Human League, Yard Act (one of my favourite bands at the moment), Holly Humberstone, and Tom Grennan all appearing. For a more budget-friendly option that also features big names, Tramlines is the perfect option.

Kendal Calling: 1-4 August, Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

Weekend GA: £199 + BF

Kendal Calling has grown bigger in recent years with massive indie names like Supergrass, Kasabian and Noel Gallagher performing. This year, you can expect even more UK festival icons like The Streets, Paolo Nutini, Declan McKenna, and Keane. Make sure you check out Pale Waves, The Hunna and Sundara Karma as well as so many amazing smaller artists that are appearing this year. As one of the largest music and arts events in the North of England, it sells out every single year with people travelling to the gorgeous Lake District to experience one of the nation’s rapidly growing festivals. Unfortunately, Kendal Calling does not do day tickets, however, for only £200, the weekend would definitely be worth it.

Boardmasters: 7-11 August, Fistral Beach, Newquay

Day ticket: £85 - £109 + BF

Weekend GA: £289 + BF

Different from other UK festivals,with its Cornish beach setting, Boardmasters is one of the biggest events in England, known for its lineup and surfing opportunities. With over seven stages on site, there is a wide range of music available with the distinct headliners of Chase & Status, Sam Fender, and Stormzy. If that was not enough, there are also appearances from Declan McKenna, Nia Archives, Becky Hill, The Streets, Maisie Peters, Kate Nash, and Cat Burns. If you are willing to journey down to Cornwall, Boardmasters provides a unique combination of both British music and British beaches.

Electric Picnic: 16-18 August, Stradbally Hall, Stradbally

Day ticket: N/A + BF

Weekend GA: €290 + BF

As Ireland's biggest music and arts festival, Electric Picnic sells out extremely quickly and has a rare rule of no teenagers allowed, even if accompanied by an adult. This year, there are many exclusive artist performances like Noah Kahan and Kylie Minogue, featuring alongside RAYE, Calvin Harris, and Kodaline as headliners. It is seen as ‘Ireland’s Glastonbury’ with previous performances from Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, and Arctic Monkeys, as well as a plethora of smaller artists. With Electric Picnic being significantly cheaper than Glastonbury, if you can, make your way over to Stradbally for this multi-award-winning festival.

Reading and Leeds: 23-25 August, Little John’s Farm, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds

Day ticket: £115 - £195 + BF

Weekend GA: £325 + BF

Reading and Leeds are two of the longest-running festivals in the UK and have been the heart of some of the most legendary festival performances in UK history. For example, Nirvana played their last UK concert at Reading in 1992, and it was where the Stone Roses played their last gig in 1996 before disbanding. With the expansion of Britpop and indie music, Leeds Festival opened in 1999 and they have been successful as a pair ever since. Today, Reading and Leeds have turned towards mainstream music, moving away from the typical rock and indie artists. This year, many British festival staples are returning to Reading with The Prodigy, Pendulum, Liam Gallagher, Blink-182, and Two Door Cinema Club. RAYE, Lana Del Rey, The Last Dinner Party, Reneé Rapp, Beabadoobee, and the Japanese House, all very new artists, are also featured. With one of the more varied Reading and Leeds lineups, I am very excited to attend Reading this year as a volunteer to see some of my favourites.