Music festival guide 2019: Bristol favourites

From Chew Valley to Croatia, a guide to Bristol's best festivals

Though Bristol favourites Dot to Dot, Shindig and Love Saves the Day already kicked off the summer’s festival season in a very big way over the bank holiday weekend, there is still plenty to look forward to. We’ve rounded up our favourite festivals yet to come in the South West, as well as a couple of jaunts across the English Channel for some honorary Bristol bashes.

Balter Festival

A rite of passage for any festival goer, Balter Festival attracts a cult following the world over, with a heavy Bristol contingent making up the rollicking crowd. Taking place annually across the bridge at Chepstow Racecourse, Balter is the brainchild of gypsycore producer E-Coli.  

In general, Balter’s lineup isn’t catered for the faint of heart, with heavier sounds taking pride of of place (particularly after the sun sets). However, this year has seen more mellower sounds added to the three-day lineup, with acts such as Los Albertos, The Mouse Outfit and Channel One Soundystem offsetting the likes of Black Sun Empire, Dub Phizix and Vandal b2b Mandidextrous. Expect ska, jungle, bassline, drum and bass, hardtack, techno, disco and everything in between. 31 May-2 June // Chepstow // balterfestival.com

E-COLI’S TOP 10 ACTS AT BALTER FESTIVAL 2019

Inglefest

A grassroots independent festival that focuses on showcasing fresh talent from Bristol and supporting local business. With a new secret location in Gloucestershire for its fourth year, this festival is an exciting, ambitious newcomer that is family friendly and exceptionally good value. With the likes of Antelope, Little Thief and Jake the Jellyfish headlining, expect feel-good, indie rock vibes. 21-22 June // £20-£35// Gloucestershire //inglefest.co.uk

PLAYLIST // A HEALTHY DOSE OF INGLEFEST 2019

Glastonbury

We can’t not mention the encapsulating five-day festival of festivals Glastonbury, which returns after a fallow year with another enormous lineup including The Cure, Stormzy, The Killers and Janet Jackson, plus a wealth of Bristol talent across music and production. If you were quick enough to grab a ticket, you’ll get to experience new speakeasy-style stage The Blind Tiger. Of course, tickets are sold out, but keep your ears to the ground for last-minute volunteering opportunities as the almighty event approaches. 26-30 June // £248 //Glastonbury // glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

Love International

The Team Love-run, Croatia-based electronic music festival boasts another giant lineup for lovers of house and techno, featuring the likes of Peggy Gou, Ben UFO and DJ Harvey. The boat parties are also packed with 4/4 talent, all together providing a euphoric week of sun and dance. 3-10 July // €50-€150 // Tisno, Croatia // loveinternationalfestival.com

2000Trees

Founded by Bristol-based artist management duo and friends James Scarlett and Andy Rea in pursuit of ‘the perfect festival’, 2000Trees was born in 2007. The three-day rock and indie-focussed festival is based in the rolling Cotswold Hills and this year’s lineup includes You Me at Six, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls and Deaf Havana, plus plenty of locally produced ciders, lagers and ales to enjoy. 11-13 July // £60-£130 // Cheltenham // twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk

NASS

Win a DJ set at NASS Festival 2019

A huge four-day mashup of music, street art, skating and BMXing. Based just outside of Bristol, NASS features tonnes of local talent from the city alongside stellar names such as Giggs, Rudimental and Cypress Hill, as well as live performances from some of the world’s best ramp athletes. NASS also features DJ and MC workshops, pop up shops and a hectic fairground. 11-14 July // £27-£135 // Bristol // nassfestival.com

HEAR THE WINNING MIX OF OUR NASS 2019 DJ COMPETITION

Wonder Fields

Though taking place down the road in Exeter, Wonder Fields is the brainchild of Bristol-based production company Wonder Productions – and they’ve got the lineup to prove it. Bringing some of Bristol’s best bands, DJs and collectives with them for a weekend of grooving to a variety of genres from drum and bass to jazz and funk. They also host activities such as yoga and hip hop workouts to keep your temple cleansed. 12-15 July // £45-£120 // Exeter // wonderfields.co.uk

Farmfest

An intimate, small-scale gathering that focuses on a party atmosphere and enjoyable experiences. With a wide variety of genres, it packs an exciting lineup sprinkled with Bristol talent. 25-27 July // £62-92 // Somerset // farmfestival.co.uk

Valley Fest

With a blend of good food and tasty music, plus a beautiful lakeside setting to enjoy, Valley Fest 2019 promises to be a big one, with acts such as Tom Odell and Basement Jaxx on this year’s lineup. Foodies can indulge in a whopping six-course menu, as well as street food and tapas to fuel dancing feet. Running for their fifth year, expect an engaging getaway with plenty to do for all ages. 2-4 August // £43-£135 // Chew Valley Lake // valleyfest.co.uk

Boomtown

The flamboyant melting pot of arts, performance and sound returns with Chapter 11: A Radical City. Look forward to five days of incredible acts from across the sonic spectrum, with a new and improved sound system in operation and a new district to explore: Area 404 – featuring some of the best in house and techno. Truly an event not to be missed. 7-11 August // £244 // Winchester // boomtownfair.co.uk

ArcTanGent

Another project from 2000Trees’ James Scarlett and Andy Rea, Bristol’s heaviest festival ArcTanGent celebrates both the harder and progressive sounds of rock. Headliners for 2019 include Battles and Meshuggah. 15-17 August // £60-£115 // Bristol // arctangent.co.uk

Shambala

Taking place in a secret location in Northamptonshire, the much-loved Shambala mixes 12 stages of artists with circus, theatre and mesmerising production to create a fully immersive festival experience. Tickets are always hard to come by, but again, keep an ear out for volunteering opportunities with the Bristol-run oasis. 22-25 August // £159-£199 // Northamptonshire // shambalafestival.org

The Downs

Win tickets to The Downs Bristol 2018

The ever-growing festival on Clifton Down returns for its fourth year and it’s packed with an huge lineup including hip hop and R&B legend Ms Lauryn Hill, rising South-London hip hop star Loyle Carner, Bristol’s own IDLES and Nightmares on Wax, promising a magical day and night of music. Look out for panel discussions and guest speakers examining current socio-political issues, along with a variety of ethical local traders.  31 August // £55 // Bristol // thedownsbristol.com

Outlook

Despite taking place in Croatia’s Fort Punta Christo, Outlook is a Bristol institution, emptying out Bristol’s underground (along with the best of the UK) each September, in celebration of sound system music. 2019 is Outlook’s final year at the fort and headliners include Chase & Status, Andy C, Goldie, Mala and Holy Goof. Outlook is a dream summer stopover for lovers of bass, beaches, boat parties and the scorching sun, with an incredibly unique setting in the 2000-year-old amphitheatre. 4-8 September // £135 /// Pula, Croatia // outlookfestival.com

Tokyo World

Win tickets to Tokyo World 2018

Packed with uniquely designed stages, wicked sound systems and some of the best acts from around the world, Eastville Park can expect another frenzy of festivity to cap off the summer this September. And with massive after parties hosted across Bristol to keep the vibe alive, it again promises to be one of the best weekends in the city. 21-22 September // £30-£55 // Bristol // tokyoworld.org

Cover image: Outlook Festival by Marc Sethi

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