Festivals promote diversity; they bring neighbours into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live. - David Binder
The music or arts festival: a space in which to let go of the shackles of everyday life, flee the dull realities or societal expectations, sway to the beat of the heavy, heavy monster sound, and party, party, party until the wheels fall off.
Whatever age you are or whatever you're into, there's a festival for you out there - hundreds of thousands of them take place every year, after all.
But, if you're tired of the big mainstream festivals and you’re looking for something that isn’t covered in consumer adverts and corporate logos; something a little more off-beat, a little more niche, even more out there than the mighty Green Man Festival or Burning Man, here are four festivals that you probably don’t know but should - enjoy.
"My real fantasy if I was to drop out would be to live in a mobile home and be a hippie and drive around festivals and have millions of children - children with dreadlocks and nose rings - and play the flute." - Rachel Weisz
2000trees Festival, Upcote Farm, 12 - 14 July 2018
If you're into your alternative rock and new age metal, the 2000trees Festival is the summer music festival you need to pencil into your calendar, immediately if not sooner.
An already multi award-winning festival, 2000trees offers three days of amped-up party time nestled among the splendour of the Cotswolds Hills. With a strong emphasis on green activities and recycling, this rock and roll eco-soiree is non-branded and all the food and grog on offer at the fest is supplied by independent local vendors.
With a second campsite opening up this year, 2000trees Festival is set to be the best one yet and while you won’t see the likes of the Foo Fighters treading the boards, the lineup is incredible, hosting acts including Exit Ten, Alkaline Trio, The Wonder Year, Moose Blood and more.
Dimensions, Pula, Croatia, 29th August 29 - 2nd September 2018
Set in the most idyllic surroundings imaginable, Dimensions is the dance music aficionado’s wet dream, boasting a four-day journey that delves deep into the most cutting-edge, experimental and downright danceable areas of the electronic music sphere.
The festival uses sound rigs and technology that is far more powerful and sophisticated than any other dance music gathering of its kind and its opening night will take place in Pula's 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre with an immersive Kraftwerk 3-D experience.
If that wasn't mind-blowing enough, the remainder of this year’s festival will showcase the best in alternative electronic music with an amazing mix of emerging acts and household names including Massive Attack.
Festival No. 6 2018, 6th - 9th September 2018
Arguably one of the world's most unique summer festival experiences, Festival No. 6 is framed by the magical coastal backdrop of Portmeirion in Wales.
With a mesmerizing selection of musical, artistic and cultural events on the menu throughout the weekend, housed within a Mediterranean-inspired, Grade II-listed fantasy village that will blow your mind, you will get lost otherworldly experiences unlike any other.
This year, The The, Franz Ferdinand and Friendly Fires are all headlining, and the likes of Suggs, Will Self and Jeremy Deller will be putting on talks and stage shows throughout the weekend. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, all sorts of activities and experiences are on offer too, from paddleboarding to wood-fired hot tub sessions, and beyond. What more could you want?
High Sierra Festival, Quincy, California, 5th - 8th July 2018
Hidden among dramatic emerald woodland, High Sierra Festival is a clear indication that California indeed still knows how to party - oh yes, it does.
This lesser-known Californian summer shindig benefits from minimal sponsorship and advertising, and if you're looking to discover new and previously unexplored alternative musical gems, this electrifying fest is a must-visit at least once in your life.
The lineup is eclectic and very credible with acts including The String Cheese Incident, Lebo & Friends featuring Gorgy Porter Junior, Grace Potter, The Bar Brothers, Billy Strings and Sister Sparrow all on the menu - plus plenty more. There is a host of not for profit vendors selling all sorts of weird and wonderful things on the site, as well as a battle of the bands final, fire performances, parades and themed dress-ups taking place all weekend, so there is never a dull moment at High Sierra. Don’t miss out.
"Festivals are great because you get to just walk around the corner and see a new band that you've heard but not had the chance to check out." - Johnny Marr