Winter is coming and it’s time to pack away the tent and glowsticks for another year: the festival season is over.
It has been a hell of a ride in 2015, though, with some of the best festivals for many years. The established masters gave it their all and there were some relative newcomers that made their mark, too. So what were the best festivals of 2015? Here’s our pick.
When: August 22-23
Where: Weston Park, South Staffs/Hylands Park, Chelmsford
This twin centre festival has arguably stolen Glastonbury’s crown as the biggest celebration of pure music in the land. Headline acts included Calvin Harris, Stereophonics, Kasabian and Sam Smith, with the likes of Tom Jones and Ellie Goulding forming the support acts.
V Festival might be heading the way of Glastonbury, but it still retains that sense of innocence even after 20 years and it just won our vote for festival of the summer.
When: June 24-26
Where: Pilton, Somerset
Kanye West’s involvement at the biggest festival of all, where he murdered Queen classics, conspired to knock it off the top slot in our eyes. It was just a bad booking. That aside, Glastonbury is simply a stunning show that remains one of the biggest events of the musical year. It’s a hedonistic mix of rock, hard dance music, art and free love and you just cannot ignore it.
Florence and the Machine were amazing, The Who kept the old rockers happy and the ravers went through the night. Kanye was, well, Kanye, but block him out and the rest of the show was simply incredible.
When: August 28-30
Where: Daresbury, Cheshire
This pure dance event is much more focused than the all-encompassing V and Glastonbury, but then it’s easier to make a success of a niche event. Avicii, Tiesto and The Chemical Brothers brought their inimitable sound to the unofficial home of Electronic Dance Music in the UK.
Armin van Buuren took the crowd on a journey through trance, Fatboy Slim provided a commercial, crowd-pleasing set and a whole host of other DJs kept the capacity crowd dancing till dawn. It’s a special event, and for dance fans there’s arguably nothing like it.
Festival No 6
When: September 3-6
Where: Portmeirion, Wales
A totally unique vibe and a different world to the normal festivals you’ll encounter throughout England. The tiny port town of Portmeririon could be an isolated beach town in the Mediterranean if the weather is right and it’s an idyllic place for a music festival.
It doesn’t matter that Grace Jones and Belle & Sebastien are the headliners, rather than bigger names. The place, the intimacy and the beachside and forest location make this one of the highlights of the year.
The Isle of White Festival
When: 11-14 June
The Isle of White Festival has as much history as Glastonbury and has been going since 1968, with mainlanders heading over to this beautiful island for a hedonistic weekend.
It’s an eclectic mix of music, from Fleetwood Mac through to Pharell Williams, Billy Idol and The Prodigy. It just shouldn’t work, but it does.
The Isle of White is a highlight of the festival scene, for good reason, and it remains a favourite on the music calendar.