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Top 10 Summer Festivals in the United Kingdom

Published by Dwayne Niederberger

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Summertime in the United Kingdom is festival time. There are all manner of cultural festivals taking place across the country, celebrating everything from literature to folk music, theatre to opera, poetry to jazz. Below is a guide to 10 of the most well-known.

WOMAD – World of Music, Arts and Dance

Womad is the world’s top world music festival, with each festival boasting an eclectic line-up. The 2019 line-up includes Gil Scott Heron, Chumbawamba, The Drummers of Burundi and Syriana.

The 2019 Womad takes place on 23-25 July 2019, at Charlton Park in Wiltshire – further information at the Womad website.


From its beginnings in 1970, the Glastonbury Festival has grown into one of the most well-known festival in Britain. It is famed for its ability to attract big stars as well as its occasionally muddy conditions. Who could forget Shirley Bassey’s appearance, in long red dress and diamond studded boots?

U2 were due to headline in 2019 but had to pull out due to Bono’s back injury. Other participants include Stevie Wonder, Scissor Sisters, Shakira and Nora Jones.

Glastonbury 2019 takes place on 23-27 June, at Worthy Farm, Pilton – further information can be found at the Glastonbury Festival website.

Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight Festival began in 1968, when tickets cost the equivalent of the princely sum of £1.25. Billed as Britain’s first pop festival, it has since gone from strength to strength.

The 2019 line-up includes Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, Suzanne Vega and Spandau Ballet.

The Isle of Wight Festival 2019 takes place on 11-13 June, at Seaclose Park, Newport, Isel of Wight – further information can be found at the Isle of Wight Festival website.

Reading Festival

The Reading Festival began as a jazz event in 1961, and has evolved into one of the country’s main rock music festival.

The 2019 line-up includes Guns N’ Roses, Arcade Fire, The Libertines and The Walkmen.

The Reading Festival 2019 takes place on 27-29 August, at Richfield Avenue, Reading – further information can be found at the Reading Festival website.

Edinburgh Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest art festival, celebrating the full range of the arts, with everything from theatre to music, dance to comedy, opera to art exhibitions.

The 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place on 6-30 August, at various venues around Edinburgh. Further information can be found at the Edinburgh Festival website.

London Literature Festival

This year’s guests include Brett Easton Ellis, Barbara Kingsolver, Sylvia Earle and Jeanette Winterson.

The London Literature Festival 2019 takes place on 1-18 July, at the Southbank Centre, London. For further information, see the London Literature Festival website.

Cheltenham Music Festival

The Cheltenham Music Festival is one of four festivals held in Cheltenham – the others being devoted to literature, science and jazz. The 2019 music festival leads the anniversary celebrations for Robert Schumann.

The Cheltenham Music Festival 2019 takes place on 2-17 July, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Further information on the range of Cheltenham festivals can be found on their website.

Bude Jazz Festival

This seaside town hosts one of Britain’s best jazz festivals, with artists from around the world.

The Bude Jazz Festival 2019 takes place on 28 August – 3 September, in Bude, Cornwall. The Bude Jazz Festival website has further information.


The 2019 line-up includes Ellie Goulding, Roxy Music, The Wailers and Echo and the Bunnymen.

The 2019 Bestival takes place on 9-12 September, at Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight. Further information can be found at the Bestival website.

Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival offers three weeks of opera, music, drama and dance.

Offerings in 2019 include performances of Porgy and Bess and The Sun Also Rises.

The 2019 Edinburgh International Festival takes place on 13 August – 5 September, in Edinburgh. Further information can be found on the Edinburgh International Festival website.

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