From London to Edinburgh, Oxfordshire to the Welsh hills, some of the biggest names in music and up-and-coming talents are taking to stages across the UK to deliver exciting performances to more intimate festival crowds. Whether you fancy dressing up in black tie attire at Henley Festival or dancing the night away to DJ sets in Edinburgh’s Jupiter Artland sculpture park, these are this August and September’s best UK boutique festivals to book your tickets for now.
Best UK Boutique Music Festivals
A truly regal location for a music festival, this vibrant event sees an exciting line-up perform in the grounds of the historic Hampton Court Palace over nine days. Nile Rogers & CHIC, Tom Jones, Keane and Van Morrison are just some of the headliners taking to the stage, as well as Bastille ReOrchestrated, the English band’s latest project that sees them transform their pop-rock belters into a powerful and moving symphonic arrangement. Between performances, guests can enjoy luxurious picnics provided by Fortnum and Mason, and can even book a waterside gazebo to enjoy a lazy lunch and drinks with friends against the striking backdrop of the palace’s East Front Gardens.
Famous for being the UK’s only festival with a black tie dress code, Henley Festival returns to the Oxfordshire countryside this month for five days of food, drink, music and art. The music headliners this year include Madness, James Blunt and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, but there’s plenty to enjoy beyond these live sets. Catch comedy performances from the likes of Al Murray and Olga Koch and explore the grounds to uncover the festival’s display of contemporary art, sculpture and installation. Guests certainly won’t go hungry — the festival hosts three restaurants that can be booked in advance, as well as a Moet Champagne Lawn, where attendees can sip a glass of champagne in their black tie attire while taking in the riverside view.
This newcomer to the Scottish music festival scene promises to offer attendees a front row seat to cutting edge music performances. Hosted at Jupiter Artland, the iconic sculpture park just outside Edinburgh, the three day festival features a mix of live music performances from the likes of Lady Neptune and Callum Easter, as well as performance art, film and DJ sets. Attendees can opt to add on a swimming session in the park’s Gateway Swimming Pool or a wild dining experience. Overnight stays can also be arranged if you fancy sleeping under the stars and camping in the surrounding wildflower meadowland, where tents are kitted out with four camp mattresses, a waterproof carpeted floor, and electric lighting.
Set in the idyllic coastal Welsh town, Portmeirion, the multi award-winning music, arts and culture festival returns this September with an eclectic line-up of legendary and up-and-coming musical talent. Friendly Fires, Jessie Ware, Franz Ferdinand and Louis Capaldi are just a few of the names taking to the main stage, a Mediterranean-inspired, Grade II-listed estate. Elsewhere, attendees can wander through the surrounding mystical woodlands and village to discover the full spectrum of events the festival hosts, from yoga classes to intimate live performances, al fresco feasts to late night DJ sets from the likes of Honey Dijon and Hot Chip.
Hosted by the Institute of Art and Ideas at Kenwood House in Hampstead, How The Light Gets In is the world’s largest philosophy and music festival. Driven by free-thinking and a desire to get attendees to explore new ideas, the festival is an exciting mix of debates, live talks, music and dance. Catch live sets by stand-up comedians, move on to a debate about the concept of innocence and guilt, and dance the night away to a DJ set by an up-and-coming talent. For those not yet comfortable attending an event in-person, many of the performances will be available to livestream from the comfort of home.
Brecon Beacons, Wales
This year, Green Man has tempted an impressive lineup of musical talents to their spot in the Brecon Beacons. Caribou, Thundercat and Little Dragon are just a few of the names taking to the main stage. Beyond the music, the festival boasts an array of cultural experiences, from film screenings to literature readings. In traditional festival style, attendees camp in the grounds as part of the experience — pitch your own tent, or book one of the ready-pitched tents that come with the comforts of brand new air beds, gazebos, sleeping bags and pillows. To really make sure your stay is comfortable, you can opt to book the Hotel Bell Tent, the most luxurious tent option available.