UK Music Festivals & Music Events: Hidden Gems You Shouldn’t Miss


Discover the Hidden Gems Among UK Music Festivals & Music Events in 2024

The UK’s vibrant festival scene is renowned for its diversity, offering something for every musical taste. While major events like Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds often steal the spotlight, there are many hidden gems among UK music festivals and music events that deserve your attention. These festivals provide unique experiences, intimate settings, and the opportunity to discover new artists. Here, we uncover the lesser-known but outstanding festivals you shouldn’t miss in 2024.

Why Explore Hidden Gems in UK Music Festivals & Music Events?

Exploring smaller or less mainstream festivals has its perks. These hidden gems often offer:

  • Unique experiences: Smaller crowds mean more intimate performances and a personal connection with the artists.
  • Discovery of new talent: Emerging artists often perform at these festivals, providing a chance to witness future stars.
  • Diverse settings: From picturesque countryside locations to urban hotspots, these festivals take place in varied and interesting venues.

Dance-Heavy Festivals You Can’t Miss

AVA Festival: Electronic Music Paradise

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Notable Artists: Nia Archives, Eliza Rose, Bicep, Helena Hauff
Highlights: Renowned for its cutting-edge electronic music, AVA Festival showcases a mix of established and emerging artists. The festival also features engaging talks and workshops.

AVA Festival, held in the vibrant city of Belfast, is a must-visit for electronic music enthusiasts. This festival is not just about music; it’s a celebration of audiovisual arts, technology, and innovation. With its industrial backdrop, AVA provides a unique atmosphere that perfectly complements the pulsating beats and immersive visual displays. Attendees can enjoy performances from both international stars and local talent, making it a great place to discover new music.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Plan your schedule: With multiple stages and overlapping performances, it’s essential to plan ahead to catch your favorite acts.
  • Explore Belfast: Take some time to explore the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. The Cathedral Quarter is particularly known for its lively atmosphere and street art.
  • Stay hydrated and safe: As with any festival, ensure you stay hydrated and look after your personal belongings.

El Dorado: House Music Extravaganza

Location: Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire
Notable Artists: Boney M, Casisdead, Honey Dijon, Shy FX
Highlights: Set in a stunning castle estate, El Dorado offers an eclectic mix of house music and vibrant performances. Expect elaborate stage designs and immersive experiences.

El Dorado Festival is a hidden gem in the world of house music festivals. Nestled within the picturesque grounds of Eastnor Castle, the festival offers a magical setting for a weekend of music and fun. The festival’s quirky and creative vibe is reflected in its elaborate stage designs, which range from enchanted forests to colorful carnival themes.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Dress the part: Embrace the festival’s whimsical spirit with colorful and creative outfits.
  • Join the workshops: El Dorado offers a variety of workshops and activities, from yoga sessions to crafting classes, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
  • Camp in style: If you’re camping, consider upgrading to one of the festival’s boutique camping options for a more comfortable stay.

Gottwood: A Magical Journey in House Music

Location: Anglesey, Wales
Notable Artists: Willow, Enzo Siragusa, Ploy, Voigtmann
Highlights: Gottwood is known for its enchanting woodland setting and underground house music scene. The festival’s intimate vibe makes it a favorite among house music enthusiasts.

Gottwood Festival is a hidden gem located in the enchanting woodlands of Anglesey. This festival is a haven for lovers of underground house music and is renowned for its intimate and friendly atmosphere. The stunning natural surroundings, combined with the festival’s commitment to showcasing cutting-edge electronic music, make Gottwood a truly unique experience.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Prepare for the weather: The festival takes place in a woodland setting, so be prepared for varying weather conditions. Bring sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing.
  • Explore the site: Take time to explore the beautiful festival grounds, including its hidden art installations and secret stages.
  • Stay connected: Join the festival’s online community to stay updated on lineup announcements and other important information.

Reggae and Afrobeats Extravaganzas

Reggae Festivals: Vibes and Rhythms

Notable Artists: Capleton, Beenie Man, Shenseea, Busy Signal, Queen Omega
Highlights: The UK hosts several reggae festivals that bring the vibrant culture and music of the Caribbean to life. These festivals feature a mix of legendary performers and rising stars in the reggae scene.

The UK’s reggae festival scene is thriving, with events that celebrate the rich cultural heritage and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean. These festivals are characterized by their laid-back atmospheres, vibrant colors, and uplifting music.

Reggae Festival Highlights:

  • One Love Festival: This festival is a true celebration of reggae culture, featuring performances from some of the genre’s biggest names as well as up-and-coming artists. The festival also includes workshops, craft stalls, and delicious Caribbean food.
  • Reggae Land: Held in Milton Keynes, Reggae Land brings together an impressive lineup of reggae, dancehall, and dub artists. The festival’s family-friendly vibe makes it a great choice for festival-goers of all ages.
  • Jamaica House: This festival offers an authentic Jamaican experience, with live music, traditional food, and cultural activities. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Jamaica.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Embrace the culture: Take part in workshops and activities to learn more about reggae culture and history.
  • Try the food: Don’t miss out on the delicious Caribbean cuisine available at the festival food stalls.
  • Dance and enjoy: Reggae festivals are all about good vibes and dancing, so let loose and enjoy the music.

Rock and Alternative Festivities

Download Festival: The Rock Lover’s Dream

Location: Donington Park, Leicestershire
Notable Artists: Queens of the Stone Age, Fall Out Boy, Royal Blood
Highlights: Download Festival is a haven for rock and metal fans. With a lineup that includes some of the biggest names in the genre, it’s a must-attend for rock enthusiasts.

Download Festival is one of the UK’s most iconic rock festivals, drawing fans from all over the world. Known for its high-energy performances and stellar lineups, the festival is a must-visit for any rock music fan.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Arrive early: Download is a large festival, so arriving early will help you secure a good camping spot and get familiar with the site.
  • Wear comfortable clothing: You’ll be on your feet a lot, so wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.
  • Check out the side stages: In addition to the main stage, Download features several smaller stages showcasing up-and-coming bands and niche genres.

Manchester Psych Festival: A Psychedelic Wonderland

Location: Various Venues, Manchester
Notable Artists: Baxter Dury, The Horrors, Temples
Highlights: This festival celebrates the best of psychedelic rock with performances spread across multiple venues in Manchester. Expect mind-bending visuals and experimental sounds.

Manchester Psych Festival is a celebration of psychedelic rock, featuring a diverse lineup of artists who push the boundaries of the genre. The festival takes place across various venues in Manchester, each offering a unique atmosphere and experience.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Plan your route: With performances taking place in different venues, it’s essential to plan your route and schedule to catch all your favorite acts.
  • Embrace the visuals: Psychedelic rock is as much about the visuals as it is about the music, so take in the mind-bending light shows and art installations.
  • Explore Manchester: Take advantage of the festival’s city setting to explore Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene.

Jazz and Americana Highlights

Love Supreme: The Jazz Lover’s Dream

Location: Glynde Place, East Sussex
Notable Artists: Chaka Khan, Kool & The Gang, Mahalia
Highlights: Love Supreme is a premier jazz festival that attracts top talent from around the world. The festival combines music with a beautiful setting and a relaxed atmosphere.

Love Supreme Festival is a must-visit for jazz enthusiasts, offering a perfect blend of world-class performances and a picturesque setting. The festival features a mix of jazz legends, contemporary acts, and exciting newcomers.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Bring a picnic: The festival’s relaxed atmosphere makes it ideal for enjoying a picnic while listening to the music.
  • Explore the grounds: Take a stroll around the beautiful Glynde Place grounds and discover the various stages and attractions.
  • Stay for the weekend: Consider camping or staying in nearby accommodations to fully immerse yourself in the festival experience.

Black Deer: A Celebration of Americana

Location: Eridge Park, Kent
Notable Artists: Joe Bonamassa, Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, Hermanos Gutierrez
Highlights: Black Deer Festival offers a rich mix of Americana, country, and blues music. The festival’s authentic atmosphere and diverse lineup make it a standout event.

Black Deer Festival is a celebration of Americana music and culture, featuring a stellar lineup of artists from the worlds of country, blues, and roots music. The festival’s welcoming atmosphere and beautiful setting make it a favorite among fans of these genres.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Get into the spirit

: Embrace the Americana vibe with cowboy hats, boots, and western wear.

  • Explore the food: The festival features a fantastic selection of American-style food, from BBQ to Southern comfort dishes.
  • Join the activities: In addition to the music, Black Deer offers a range of activities, including workshops, talks, and family-friendly events.

Unique and Boutique Festivals

Wilderness: An All-Encompassing Boutique Festival

Location: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Notable Artists: Michael Kiwanuka, Faithless (live), Jessie Ware, Bill Bailey
Highlights: Wilderness blends music, theatre, food, and wellness into one unforgettable weekend. Its picturesque location and diverse offerings make it a unique festival experience.

Wilderness Festival is a true hidden gem, offering a unique blend of music, arts, and wellness activities. Set in the stunning Cornbury Park, the festival provides a perfect escape into nature while enjoying a diverse lineup of performances and experiences.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Try something new: Wilderness offers a wide range of activities, from yoga sessions and wild swimming to gourmet dining and theatre performances. Take advantage of the variety and try something new.
  • Dress for the occasion: Embrace the festival’s bohemian spirit with stylish and comfortable outfits.
  • Plan your meals: The festival features a selection of top-notch food vendors and dining experiences, so plan your meals to make the most of the culinary offerings.

Shambala: A Free-Thinking Festival

Location: Secret Location in the Midlands
Notable Artists: Leyla McCalla, Sampa The Great, The Congos
Highlights: Shambala is known for its sustainability and creativity. The festival features a mix of music, art installations, and thought-provoking workshops.

Shambala Festival is a celebration of creativity, sustainability, and free-thinking. This intimate festival offers a diverse lineup of music, as well as a range of workshops, talks, and art installations.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Embrace sustainability: Shambala is committed to sustainability, so bring reusable items and be mindful of your environmental impact.
  • Get involved: Participate in workshops, talks, and activities to fully immerse yourself in the festival’s ethos.
  • Explore the art: The festival features a variety of art installations and performances, so take some time to explore and enjoy the creativity on display.

Emerging Artists and Innovative Sounds

ALSO Festival: A Celebration of Innovation

Location: Compton Verney, Warwickshire
Notable Artists: Jessica Winter, The Fontanas, Smokin’ Jo, Oscar Browne
Highlights: ALSO Festival focuses on innovation in music and arts. The festival’s diverse lineup and unique activities make it a haven for creative minds.

ALSO Festival is a unique event that celebrates innovation and creativity in music and the arts. Set in the beautiful grounds of Compton Verney, the festival offers a diverse lineup of performances, talks, and workshops.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Attend the talks: ALSO Festival features a range of thought-provoking talks and discussions, so be sure to attend a few to gain new insights.
  • Explore the grounds: The festival takes place in the stunning Compton Verney estate, so take some time to explore the beautiful surroundings.
  • Try the activities: The festival offers a variety of workshops and activities, from crafting and cooking to wellness sessions.

FORWARDS in Bristol: The Future of Music

Location: Bristol, Various Venues
Notable Artists: Loyle Carner, Four Tet, LCD Soundsystem, Jessie Ware
Highlights: FORWARDS is known for its forward-thinking approach to music. The festival features cutting-edge performances and innovative stage designs.

FORWARDS Festival in Bristol is a celebration of innovative music and forward-thinking artists. The festival takes place across various venues in Bristol, each offering a unique atmosphere and experience.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Plan your schedule: With performances taking place in different venues, it’s essential to plan your schedule to catch all your favorite acts.
  • Explore Bristol: Take advantage of the festival’s city setting to explore Bristol’s vibrant cultural scene.
  • Stay connected: Join the festival’s online community to stay updated on lineup announcements and other important information.

Iconic Festivals with Hidden Gems

Glastonbury: A World-Famous Festival with Surprises

Location: Worthy Farm, Somerset
Notable Artists: SZA, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Shania Twain
Highlights: While Glastonbury is renowned worldwide, it also offers many hidden gems. Explore smaller stages and lesser-known acts for a unique festival experience.

Glastonbury Festival is a world-renowned event, attracting music fans from all over the globe. While the main stages feature some of the biggest names in music, the festival also offers a wealth of hidden gems for those willing to explore.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Venture off the beaten path: Glastonbury features numerous smaller stages and areas, such as the Green Fields and the Unfairground, where you can discover unique performances and experiences.
  • Plan ahead: The festival is massive, so plan your schedule and familiarize yourself with the site map to make the most of your time.
  • Stay hydrated: With long days of music and activities, it’s important to stay hydrated and take care of your health.

Parklife in Manchester: Urban Festival Fun

Location: Heaton Park, Manchester
Notable Artists: Doja Cat, Disclosure, J-Hus, Becky Hill
Highlights: Parklife combines big names with up-and-coming talent. The festival’s urban setting and vibrant atmosphere make it a must-visit.

Parklife Festival, held in Manchester’s Heaton Park, is known for its diverse lineup and vibrant atmosphere. The festival features a mix of mainstream acts and emerging artists, making it a great place to discover new music.

Tips for Attendees:

  • Travel smart: Plan your travel to and from the festival in advance, as public transport can get busy.
  • Explore the stages: Parklife features multiple stages with a variety of genres, so take the time to explore and discover new artists.
  • Enjoy the city: Manchester has a thriving cultural scene, so consider extending your stay to explore the city.


Exploring hidden gems in UK music festivals & music events offers unparalleled experiences and the chance to discover new music in intimate settings. Whether you’re into electronic beats, jazz rhythms, or rock anthems, there’s a hidden gem waiting for you. Share your favorite hidden gems and festival experiences in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe for more updates on the UK’s vibrant music scene.

Additional Resources

  • Top UK Music Festivals to Attend in 2024
  • Tips for First-Time Festival Goers
  • Must-Have Festival Gear
  • AVA Festival Official Website
  • El Dorado Festival Official Website
  • Gottwood Festival Official Website
  • Download Festival Official Website
  • Love Supreme Festival Official Website
  • Black Deer Festival Official Website
  • Wilderness Festival Official Website
  • Shambala Festival Official Website

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