Music festivals in Cambs and beyond – book now!
It's time to get the hunter wellies and cut off shorts out and head to your nearest muddy field to sing-a-long to your favourite music acts. Here’s our pick of the best summer festivals, both local and slightly further afield. Race you to the front!
Strawberries & Creem Festival, Haggis Farm, Cambridge; 15 June
Ok, I’m not cool enough to even think about passing comment on this music festival – but I can tell you that it was set-up by Cambs Uni students in 2014 and since then has become one of the UK’s top music events. The line-up this year includes: Stefflon Don, Ms Dynamite, Sean Kingston, Kevin Little, Flava D and many other household names. Be there or be square (yes, I was cool circa 1999!).
The Cambridge Club Festival, Haggis Farm; 16 June
Got a cool rocker of a dad? Well take him along to this festival on Father’s Day and you’ll get some serious brownie points. This family-friendly one-day festival, that celebrates music and food, comes hot on the heels of Strawberries and Creem by the same team and has doubled in size for this year (10,000 people are set to attend). This year’s acts include Sister Sledge as headliners, Craig Charles’ Funk & Soul Club, Uncle Funk & The Boogie Wonderland and Michelle john from The Voice. Kids will love it here as much as dads – there’s circus crafts to learn as well as arts and crafts and story-telling. Don’t pack a picnic – local drinks and food producers will be there in to keep you fed and watered.
The Wild Wood Disco, Linton; 22nd June
Channel your inner hippy and head down to the woods to dance under the stars at this magical music festival. There are three stages to choose from, featuring bands like Faithless and Horse Meat Disco, as well as the Paradise Lost area, Seb Fontaine’s homage to ‘disco, divas and bad behaviour’. It’s adults-only, so drinking and dancing into the early hours are encouraged. Stumble your way back to your tent Bridget Jones-style in muddy wellies and feeling like you’ve gone back to the hey day of the nineties (that’s my idea of a hey day at any rate!).
Sounds Green, The University Botanical Gardens, Cambridge, 3 – 31 July
Part of the Cambridge Summer Festival, this open-air music event takes place every Wednesday evening in July on the Garden’s main lawn and is the only chance in the year to stay in the gardens post closing time. This year’s line-up includes: AfroTema, Martin Kemp’s Organised Chaos, and Truly Medley Deeply.
Big Weekend, Parker’s Piece, Cambridge; 5 – 7 July
Is it even summer in cambs without the Big Weekend on Parker’s Piece. We think not! This year the whole city will come together on the first weekend of July for a live music extravaganza and fireworks display extraordinaire. The fun starts on Friday night, with a nostalgia-packed eighties party (shell suits and leg warmers encouraged) featuring Doctor and the Medics blasting out Spirit in the Sky, then it’s Craig Charles taking to the decks again (he can’t stay away from Cambs at the moment!), followed by disco favourites Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Saturday and Sunday see French markets, a Sports Zone, The Big Read, an art tent, the Uni’s fun science lab and the Cambridge Mela (a celebration of Asian culture) descend on the park. Plus more awesome music. Check out the line-up here.
Heritage Live, Audley End House, 12 – 14 July
Pack a picnic (and we mean a serious one – seasoned festival goers here bring tables, chairs, candelabra, you name it…) and find your spot on the mount behind Audley End House for a genteel evening of musical fun. This year the line-up is The Human League, plus ABC & Belinda Carlisle on the 12th; The Hives, plus The Fratellis, The Sandinistas & Cassia on the 13th and The Jacksons, plus Kool & the Gang and Boney M. on the 14th.
Ely Folk Festival, Ely, 12 – 14 July
Sneaking into our summer of festival fun before the bigger Cambridge Folk Festival is Ely’s version – a bijou folk and roots festival. You can camp on-site to make the most of the weekend’s act as well as the real ale bar, kids activities, morris dancing ceilidhs and workshops. Folk-loving dogs are even allowed to attend.
Cambridge Summer Music Festival, various venues; 13 – 27 July
Various venues, various dates – there’s something for every classical music lover at this classy summer music festival in the city, that has been running for over 40 years. Themes this years are: music by female composers and music by Johann Sebastian Bach – with the launch event being the St John Passion and a performance of the complete Brandenburg Concertos. Be prepared to be blown away by the musical talent of some of our residents. Time to resurrect that school trumpet talent perhaps?
Latitude, Suffolk; 18 – 21 July
This is the Radio 4 of festivals – refined, civilised and cultured, with its line-up of literary readings, theatre, comedy and Sadlers Wells ballet performances. They don’t skimp on the live music easier – this year Lana Del Rey, Underworld and Primal Scream are on the bill.
Cambridge Rock Festival, Haggis Farm; 25 – 28 July
Are you ready to rock? Because this four-day festival isn’t for the faint-hearted. We’re back at Haggis Farm (fast becoming the new Glastonbury of Cambs) and you can expect an awesome mix of around 70 internationally-renowned rock, blues and prog acts alongside some seriously talented local bands and up-and-comers. There are two main stages – Ruby and Sapphire – where you can see the likes of Don Airey & Friends, Cats in Space, Winter in Eden and Atomic Rooster. Keep your energy up for all that head banging by working your way through over 100 real ales on offer.
Standon Calling, Hertfordshire; 25 – 28 July
Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton, 1 – 4 August
It wouldn’t be summer without Cambs’ annual Folk Festival at Cherry Hinton Hall (seriously it wouldn’t – it’s one of the longest running folk festivals in the world). This year, Cambridge lad Nick Mulvey has taken over the mantle of Guest Curator, so stay tuned for new and exciting additions (and make sure to catch him on the main stage). If you like to be in-the-know about up and coming artists, there’s The Den, a stage for artists under 30, and The Hub, for young musicians to take part in workshops.
Green Meadows Festival, Peterborough, 9-11 August
Green Meadows Festival is a gathering of friends and family in the beautiful countryside at the Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire border. Enjoy a wide variety of performances, live music and DJs over multiple stages and areas, throughout the day and into the night. With a relaxed family friendly atmosphere everyone is welcome and there are plenty of free child focused activities to keep the kids happy – kids play during the day and adults at night!
Shambala, Northants; 22 – 25 Aug
Muddy’s Nancy is a big fan of this lo-fi indie festival on a country estate in Northants. It’s not big on household name music bookings for its 12 (yep, twelve!) stages but there’s more cabaret, inspiring talks, yoga, circus acts and comedy than you can shake a stick at. Plus it’s very family friendly.
Cool Britannia, Knebworth Park, Herts; 30 August – 1 September
Cast your mind back to the time of the clash of Britpop titans (Oasis v Blur, obvs!) and you’re in the right ballpark for this one. On the Main Stage are the likes of James, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Basement Jaxx. Kids are welcome but you might want to go child-free to this one and re-live your youth raving into the small hours at the Ministry of Sound Stage.
Cambridge Night Festival, Cambridge Junction; 5 October
Just when you thought festival season was over for another year, one pops up out of nowhere in early October! This night festival from 9pm until 6am (do people still stay up all night these days?!) at the Junction, has an all star line-up, who don’t want to hang up their festival wellies once the summer hols are over – Seb Fontaine, Norman Jay, Cuban Brothers and Plump DJ’s.