London’s Summer Festivals Guide

As a nation too often plagued with wintry weather and grey skies, when the summer finally does show herself, England, and especially London sure knows how to glorify the sun goddess in style.

The capital plays host to a variety of summer festivals that celebrate a rich music history and the diverse melting pot of cultures that occupy local suburbia. And for those city dwellers like myself that can’t always afford to venture afar for the bigger music festivals, their little summer city sisters are a welcome summer feature.

While by no means a complete summary of all the festivals available, here are my London favourites.

 Lovebox

17 – 18 July, Victoria Park, London

A people pleaser and easy win for groups of friends with diverse music tastes. This festival seems most suited for those who enjoy sitting around in the sun, enjoying the music from affar, rehydrating on Aperol Spritz’ and enjoying the festival vibes from the outskirts. While it does indeed have fabulous music sets, it also has the luxury of space not common with some of the other city offerings. Headliners include Rudimental, Snoop Dog, Bonobo, and Hot Chip.

Getting there: The nearest Tube stations to Victoria Park are Mile End (District and Central lines), Bow Road (District Line), Stratford (Jubilee Line), Bow Church (DLR) and Bethnal Green (Central line).

Lovebox Flower Installation

Lovebox Costume

Love-box

Partying at Lovebox

Brixton Splash

2 August, Brixton.

The main stage in Windrush square blasts bouncing reggae beats and a sea of black braided hair bops in unison. The air is heavy with the smell of reefer and jerk chicken, and there’s not a single frown for miles. Street-food stalls are dotted around the outskirts hosting the absolute best of Brixton flavors and you could almost be mistaken for having stepped into the soul of Jamaica.

Brixton Splash is fun for all the family, although not if you’re claustrophobic. The local streets get seriously jam-packed with people, the speaker stacks are tall and wide and you’ll feel the music deep in your bones, vibrating the very ground you stand on. This is a daytime affair and generally wraps up around 8pm. 2015 is the 10 year anniversary so expect it to be a doozie.

Getting there: The nearest Tube station is Brixton. It is also well connected by bus.

Busy Brixton streets for Brixton Splash
Busy Brixton streets for Brixton Splash

On the roof in Brixton

jerk chicken

South West Four

29 – 30 August, Clapham Common, London.

This festival is best described as intimate, with a twist of earth shattering bassy beats and some of the world’s hottest DJ’s. With a main stage lineup of Skrillex, Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim and Andy C, this the festival for those whoreally like to get down and dirty, dance your tits off under the super-tops, or under the stunning night sky.

While most festivals are notorious for their hideously long bar waits, last year SW4 didn’t suffer this problem and resulted in a scary amount of vodka red-bulls consumed! I may or may not have been having more fun that everybody else, and I’m good with that. It was by far my favourite day out of summer 2014. Although avoid it if you have portaloo-aphobia, or dislike ravers.

Getting there: The nearest Tube stations to Clapham Common are Clapham Common or Clapham South.

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1lKlAGX
Image Source: http://bit.ly/1lKlAGX
Image Source: http://bit.ly/1qAv6Lv
Image Source: http://bit.ly/1qAv6Lv

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The Notting Hill Carnival

30 – 31 August

Held each August Bank Holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe. Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival and it’s notorious for a lot of bump and grind. This celebration originated as a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions in the heart of London and it’s on everyone’s must-do list each summer.

 Time Out’s Notting Hill Carnival Guide

See here for travel information

notting hill carnival
Source: http://assets9.capitalxtra.com/2014/34/notting-hill-carnival-2014-part-3-5-1409041038-view-0.jpg

Lambeth Country Show

18 – 19 July 2015

The Lambeth Country Show embodies the spirit of country bumpkins in the big smoke, filling Brockwell park with a wide variety of music and entertainment, and an even wider variety of farm animals. It’s every little kids dream, and even us big kids can enjoy it too. The little children can be kept busy petting bunnies and lambies; whizzing through the air on fair rides; getting scammed by carnival folk on the ball tosses; and filling their cheeky little faces with fairy floss. Meanwhile the big kids can grab a delicious organic cider (on tap) and dance the afternoon away at the main stage. Music also plays a big part of the country show and this year will be no exception, featuring an eclectic mix of dub, afro-beat, ska and soul.

Getting there: The closest Tube station is Brixton. Brockwell Park is either a 15/20 minute walk, 2 minute train journey to Herne Hill or a 7 minute bus ride away. Alternatively you can get the overground to Herne Hill.

Lambeth Country Fair2

Lambeth Country Fair3

Lambeth Country Fair1

Field Day

6-7 June, Victoria Park, London

A big musical day out with a small country vibe, Field Day features a sack race, tug of war, and an egg and spoon race, soundtracked by some massive headliner. Floor-filling electropop maestro Caribou tops the bill on Saturday, leading a host of envelope-pushing artists including FKA TwigsTodd TerjeKindness, Tune-Yards, Chet Faker and Owen Pallett. What’s more, the festival also prides itself on serving high end food like soft-shell crab burgers and craft beers from the East London Brewing Co.

Getting there: The nearest Tube stations to Victoria Park are Mile End (District and Central lines), Bow Road (District Line), Stratford (Jubilee Line), Bow Church (DLR) and Bethnal Green (Central line).

Source: http://www.dalstondarlings.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Tea-and-cake.jpg
Source: http://www.dalstondarlings.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Tea-and-cake.jpg

 

To those reading this blog, what were your favourites for 2014? What should I be adding to the 2015 list? Would love to hear your feedback!

 For up and coming festivals see the Time Out Guide.

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