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Best Music Festivals Of 2023: 10 Unmissable Events To Get Excited About
Roger Garfield / Alamy Stock Photo
List & Guides

Best Music Festivals Of 2023: 10 Unmissable Events To Get Excited About

From Glastonbury to Download, weekender marathons to one-day extravaganzas, the best music festivals of 2023 cater to everyone’s needs.

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Whether you’re desperate to get ankle-deep in mud while belting out rock anthems at the top your voice in the middle of a field, or fancy chasing up-and-coming artists around smaller gig venues in city pubs, the best music festivals of 2023 have everything you could wish for. Glastonbury Festival remains the headliner, but favourites such as Boardmasters, Truck and The Great Escape all deserve notice. Find out why – and who’s playing – below…

Listen to our ‘Summer’ playlist here, and check out our best music festivals of 2023, below.

Glastonbury Festival

When: 21-25 June

Where: Worthy Farm, Somerset

There’s no argument that Glastonbury Festival is the UK’s flagship music festival. Spread over 900 acres of land and boasting more than 70 performance spaces, it’s definitely going to be one of the best music festivals of 2023, and its increasing popularity shows no sign of slowing down – tickets for this year’s Glastonbury went on sale on 6 November 2022 and, as usual, were snapped up at lightning speed. Those who emerged from the booking war zone clutching precious tickets to their chest will be lucky enough to see Elton John perform the final UK show of his Farwell Yellow Brick Road Tour, while the likes of Blur, Harry Styles, Kraftwerk, Elton John and Taylor Swift have all been rumoured to fill 2023’s remaining headline slots. 

Boardmasters Festival

When: 9-13 August

Where: Fistral Beach, Newquay

Not your average festival, Boardmasters ties together everything you’d want in one of the best music festivals of 2023, with the added extra of surfing and skateboarding competitions set right next to the site, on Fistral Beach. Situated deep into the West Country, it’s perhaps not the most accessible festival to get to, but Boardmasters always manages to create a line-up so attractive that even citizens of John O’Groats would be tempted to make the journey. The stellar first wave of artists set to play at the three-day event includes former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, art-rock queen Florence + The Machine and multi-award-winning rapper Little Simz.

The Great Escape Festival

When: 10-13 May

Where: Brighton, East Sussex

If tents, Portaloos and spending the entire weekend walking around a field isn’t your thing, then The Great Escape Festival is for you. Set in what is arguably the coolest city in the UK, TGE takes place in the heart of Brighton and showcases over 500 up-and-coming artists from all over the world, in 35 venues, all within easy walking distance of each other. Past line-ups have featured future hitmakers such as Sigrid, Michael Kiwanuka and Stormzy, making it the perfect opportunity to update your Spotify playlist and brag to your mates about how the next BRITs Rising Star was that act you once caught a glimpse of in the back of a seaside pub.

Parklife

When: 10-11 June

Where: Heaton Park, Manchester

Isn’t it ironic that a music festival in Manchester is named Parklife? We think it’d be more apt if they’d named it Supersonic… Geared towards rap music, with infusions of pop, the festival vibrates with a youthful energy that attracts thousands of punters each year, with 2023’s allocated pre-sale tickets selling out before the line-up was even announced. Stepping just to the side of typical stage design and other creative elements, Parklife unveils a ludicrous new aesthetic each year, with past favourites ranging from industrial set-ups to tangled jungle-themed vibes.

Isle Of Wight Festival

When: 15-18 June

Where: Newport, Isle Of Wight

The one that’s like the UK’s version of the original Woodstock? Yep, that’s Isle Of Wight Festival. The family-friendly weekender that caters for all music preferences has been a firm favourite since its revival in 2002, and if you can’t make an overseas jaunt, IOW is definitely a fine alternative among the best music festivals of 2023 – complete with a short ferry ride, you can almost treat it like the UK’s version of Primavera. This year’s line-up boasts an eclectic mix, including headliners George Ezra, Pulp and Robbie Williams, and supporting slots from Echo And The Bunnymen and Sam Ryder.

Download Festival

When: 8-11 June

Where: Donington Park, Derby

One of the only UK festivals where you’re guaranteed to get what you’ve paid for, Download Festival is laden with headbanging crowds letting loose to heavy metal and emo bands. This year Download also celebrates its 20th anniversary, and its line-up features over 60 acts, including star-studded headliners Bring Me The Horizon, Slipknot and Metallica. One perfect for not only the metal-heads, but for those who want to avoid what some may call the more “precious” tastes that festivals aim to cater for these days, Download is a no-frills experience where gourmet food options are nowhere to be seen. Still, its inclusion among the best music festivals of 2023 is mandatory, thanks to its sole purpose: to provide the best environment for the most intense mosh pits of all time.

Truck Festival

When: 21-23 July

Where: Steventon, Oxfordshire

For those who miss the days when Reading and Leeds Festivals appeased the indie-rock kids, Truck is the little festival where everything is scaled down to evoke nostalgia for that bygone era. Line-ups over the past few years have included some of the biggest names in British indie-rock, from Sam Fender to Wolf Alice and Catfish And The Bottlemen. With the top-tier camping package coming in at £225 (plus booking fee), it’s a fun and affordable favourite among the best music festivals of 2023.

Reading and Leeds Festivals

When: 25-27 August

Where: Reading, Berkshire | Leeds, West Yorkshire

Recent line-up experiments may have raised eyebrows in some quarters, but Reading and Leeds Festivals continue to tease audiences new and old with the impressive acts they manage to snag each year. Last year, Reading and Leeds attracted a shed-load of Arctic Monkeys devotees after securing the Sheffield icons for a UK festival exclusive, and yet they still brought grime fans to the party on the strength of highly anticipated slots from Dave and Megan Thee Stallion – how often do you see a mix like that? This year, feather boas may well be up against sad girlies, with headliner rumours circling around Harry Styles and Billie Eilish.

All Points East

When: Various August dates

Where: Victoria Park, London

Sometimes a day festival is as far as you can go – and that’s OK, All Points East is here for you. Set in Victoria Park, this London-based festival takes places on various dates across the summer, in order to cater to specific music tastes. Last year, All Points East delivered headline performances from Tame Impala, The National, The Chemical Brothers, Charli XCX and Gorillaz, all on separate days across two weeks in August. Always an ideal way to round off summer, its highly anticipated line-up will doubtless make it one of best music festivals of 2023.

Latitude Festival

When: 20-23 July

Where: Henham Park, Suffolk

An all-encompassing experience of music, arts and comedy, Latitude Festival is the perfect event for those who aren’t quite ready to tackle the trials and tribulations of Glastonbury. 2023’s line-up sees Pulp, Paolo Nutini and George Ezra on the main stage, as well as a bunch of other fantastic musicians who will take up position across the site. And Latitude isn’t just for adults, either – it’s kid-friendly, providing plenty of fun and immersive activities for the little ones to occupy themselves with while you have a craft beer or two as you relive Britpop’s heyday.

Check out the new albums to look out for in 2023, and prime yourself for the festival bangers that will rule this year’s stages.

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