The temperature has risen into double figures(ish) and the dubiously dubbed ‘festival season’ is nearly upon us with London's hottest festivals announcing line-ups every day. For many the thought of flower crowns, mud creeping into unimaginable places and scalps inch-thick with dry shampoo is dreamy, but for others, the thought of a festival is hive-inducing. Don’t be shamed, festival-avoiders; come out into the daylight and rejoice, as we’ve found the best alternative festivals in the UK and London.
London Wine Week - 5th - 11th June 2017
A week-long stint at a festival requires serious graft, or so you thought. London Wine Week is seven days of celebrations starting on 5th June organised by DrinkUp, the same folks who brought us Cocktail Week and Beer Week. Get your festival pass here and enjoy £5 flights of three wines at various bars across London, or go full celebratory mode and head to The Wine Edit in Hackney’s Oval Space.
Ales Tales - Belgian Beer Festival - 21st & 22nd July 2017
It’s an unavoidable fact that festivals in the UK are usually crap with beer that tastes more like water than alcohol. Play it safe when entering festival territory with an event that you know is going to deliver the goods. Oval Space is going all Bruges on us, with two days dedicated to Belgian deliciousness on 21st and 22nd July. Grab your tickets and head to Hackney to work your way through proper Belgian beer, along with food that includes meatballs, Belgian fries and cheese croquettes.
Mighty Hoopla - 4th June 2017
Yes, you do have to go to a park in East London but hear me out; Mighty Hoopla is a different kind of London music festival, guys. Combining some of the city’s biggest club nights, our favourite artists from the ‘90s and a truck-load of glitter, Mighty Hoopla is transforming Victoria Park into the sparkliest, shiniest Sunday ever. The line-up includes Years & Years, All Saints and Sophie Ellis Bextor, there’s entertainment from Sink the Pink, Guilty Pleasures and Bongo’s Bingo as well as a giant ball pit AND you can even ride the Spice Bus there. Don’t tell me you don’t love festivals.
Tequila & Mezcal Fest - 7th & 8th October 2017
Tequila may be responsible for earning you the nickname ‘the weeper’ but this festival is out to change its sloppy reputation. Taking place at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, the festival will include food from London big names Barrio Bars, Cafe Pacifico, Mole, Wahaca and TamalUK, as well as heaps of Mexican culture. Along with a Mariachi band, tickets to the festival give you access to an Aztec ceremony performance and an art exhibition. Leave the lime and salt at home because this alternative London festival is putting the culture back into tequila.
London Rooftop Taco Festival - 8th June 2017
While others mud wrestle at Glasto, you can look smugly on from your taco-filled rooftop, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need a tetanus injection later on. Taking place at the ever popular Brixton Beach, London Rooftop Taco Festival is a weekday celebration filled with wares from DEL74 and a range of street food traders, along with frozen margaritas, tequila and a cracking soundtrack.
London Sausage Festival - 19th & 20th August 2017
No, not a Saturday night at The Two Brewers in Clapham but rather an actual sausage festival of meaty wares is coming to London. From spicy Spanish chorizo through to the trusty cumberland, this porky event is taking place in Notting Hill and will create a suitably countryside vibe to proceedings; think bunting, hay bales, craft ale and cider and live music.
London Wing Fest - 5th & 6th August 2017
Doff your caps and show some serious respect to the mighty buffalo wing at this two-day celebration at Printworks in Surrey Quays. Your job is to judge the best chicken wing from the selection provided by the likes of Absurd Bird, Butchies and Mother Flipper to name a few. For the brave, Dr Sweetsmoke’s deadly Lava Wing Challenge returns, and there will also be live music and BBQ cooking demonstrations included in the tickets.
In the Woods - 1st & 2nd September
Dip your toes into the festival ocean with a two-day event that whizzes you into the countryside and into an oasis of chilled music, campfires, short films, theatre, spoken word and performance art. In the Woods takes place in an undisclosed location and past acts include Alt-J, Lianne Le Havas and Young Fathers. Terrified of tents? They have Bell Tent and Campervan tickets too.
MIA’s Meltdown Festival - 9th - 18th June 2017
Get all the hot music of a festival without having to stray from trusty Zone 1 with the Southbank Centre’s annual Meltdown Festival. This year legendary artist MIA is curating and she has picked a long line-up of treats for our ears. From 9th - 18th June, there will be a mix of free and paid performances with names such as Afrikan Boy, Crystal Castles and the main lady herself, while day events include a carnival and refugees’ stories set to music.
Curious Yellow - 30th June - 2nd July 2017
Curious Yellow seems about as an alternative festival as they come. Billing itself as an event for the curious, the two-day shindig takes place in a sculpture garden on the border of Hertfordshire and never announces its line-up. What we can tell you, is that this is one chilled out affair, with two stages, DJs, musicians and art installations all set against a backdrop of leafy plants, a castle and moat.