Posted by Kirstie
With the Leeds and Reading Festival line up announced a few weeks ago it’s safe to say here at Superbreak we’re getting excited for the summer festival season already (in spite of all these April showers!). Whether the mainstream festivals aren’t for you, you’re mourning the lack of Glastonbury this year or you just fancy something a bit different, there are a great range of alternative festivals taking place in the UK right throughout the summer months. From live Jazz to cabaret and comedy, we’ve picked five top UK festivals not to be missed in 2012.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, 2 – 7 May
The annual Cheltenham Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 2 is the perfect way to kick off the summer and an enjoyable way to spend the May Bank Holiday weekend. Taking place in the picturesque Montpellier Gardens and nearby venues, the festival features The Big Top tent and the Jazz Arena as well as a Free Stage where raw talent from local unsigned artists will be playing throughout the weekend. Headline acts on the main stages include the phenomenal Paloma Faith, and Jamie Cullum will also perform alongside soul singer Gregory Porter on Saturday afternoon. For those heading to this vibrant festival we’ve got a great range of hotels in Cheltenham at a range of prices perfect for your Bank Holiday break.
Brighton Fringe Festival, 5 – 27 May
Brighton Fringe Festival is England’s largest annual arts festival and takes place this year between 5 and 27 May. With 675 events taking place at 193 venues throughout Brighton, there is a mind blowing amount of top quality arts entertainment to choose from. A highlight of the festival is Fringe City, the free outdoor showcase of unique fringe performances for everyone to attend. In 2011, over 40,000 people attended Fringe City over three fantastic days of performances, stalls, sideshows, dance-offs, acrobatic balloonists, roaming choirs, mechanical horses and surreal walkabout performers. Brighton Fringe is a great alternative festival for visitors of all ages and is a must see when staying in one of our Brighton hotels this May.
Hay Festival, 31 May – 10 June, Hay-on-Wye (near Brecon Beacons)
The annual Hay Festival celebrates great writing across a myriad of mediums, and in 2012 will be in its 25th year. The festival takes place in the rural village of Hay-on-Wye near the stunning Brecon Beacons. Hay runs for ten days and features a packed programme of debates and conversations with poets and scientists, novelists and historians, artists and gardeners, comedians and musicians, film makers and politicians. Highlight acts of this year include Ian McEwan and Jacqueline Wilson. New for 2012 is The Sound Castle, the festival’s late night music club showcasing some fantastic performers. Hay is also an amazing festival for families, with a dedicated programme of literary events especially arranged for children and teenagers.
Beautiful Days Festival, 17 – 19 August, Devon
Beautiful Days in Devon is the Brighton-based band the Levellers’ annual 15,000 capacity family-friendly weekend camping festival which has been running since 2003 and is a favourite among fans of folk, roots and punk rock music. Taking place from 17 to 19 August at Escot Park, the festival features six stages showcasing a range of musical talents, from Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls to Reel Big Fish. With a dedicated Families Camping field, the festival also has an annual dressing up theme for everyone to get involved in which is yet to be announced. If camping isn’t your thing we’ve also got a good range of hotels in Devon perfect for your festival experience this summer.
Artsfest, 8 – 9 September, Birmingham
ArtsFest is one of the biggest, most popular urban festivals within the UK. Taking place annually it is also the UK’s biggest free arts festival, with no charges at all for the 600 events that make up the festival each year. Visitors to this amazing festival can see ballet to Bhangra and dub poetry to indie rock for free, making this an ideal festival even if you’re on a budget. This year the festival will see a huge range of events take place at venues throughout Birmingham city centre, including Centenary Square and the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral. Check out our range of hotels in Birmingham perfect for your visit to this vibrant urban festival that brings the city to life.
Have you visited any of these great alternative UK festivals? Which are you planning on attending this year?