The festival season is quickly approaching, which means for a few months its acceptable to wear stuff you don’t normally have the balls for, and to trick yourself into thinking you look class. So, embrace the chance to dress ridiculously at five of the best festivals the UK has to offer this summer.

Beat-Herder Festival

18th – 20th July, The Ribble Valley, Lancashire


This charming festival is a little gem with an ever-growing cult of committed Beat-Herders. A lovely little woodland sits at the heart of the festival, and just round the corner you’ll find a Perfumed Garden and the Smoky Tentacles Shisha Lounge. If you want to step it up a notch, head down to the Fortress, where you’ll find a corrugated steel castle full of ravers. Beat-Herder began as the famous Toil Soundsystem Free Parties seven years ago, and it certainly hasn’t lost its independent spirit. Although still small in size, it packs a mighty punch, so head up north for weekend of friendly vibes and top music. The last four years fancy dress theme have been the letters B,E,A and T. This year is ‘H’, so do with it as you will. Happy Mondays, Klangkarussell and The Bloody Beetroots are among the performers.


The Secret Garden Party

24th – 27th July,Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

secret garden party

Ask anyone, and they will only have praise for this festival. A magic-box of merriment, The Secret Garden Party is oozing with colour, and will definitely have you flocking back for more next year. With a story-book setting, the glistening lake and twinkle of the bordering trees gives this place a make-believe feel. The festival has always boasted a brilliant, glitter-fuelled crowd of committed Gardeners, who will be more than ready to get involved in this year’s theme, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, which puts two fingers up to the “commercial gigolos” of society’s empty promises. Their extensive line-up is the cherry on this big fat festival cake. Watch The Correspondents, Public Enemy, Little Dragon and countless more this year across eleven diverse stages.


Standon Calling

1st – 3rd August, Lordship Cottage, Standon

standon calling

If you think you know the festival format pretty well, think again. Standon Calling, located just thirty miles north of London, boasts features you won’t have seen elsewhere on the festival scene – the swimming pool and dog show just to name two. Big on fancy dress, this year’s theme is ‘Lost in Latin America’, culminating in a flamenco fueled Carnival Procession, which will thrust its way through Saturday afternoon, flying on sambuca and salsa. This theme will pervade the entire weekend so if Frank Turner, Maximo Park or Grandmaster Flash don’t swing it for you, the promise of Mexican wrestling and Amazonian boat trips should.


Boomtown Fair

6th – 10th August, Matterley Bowl Estate, Winchester,


Boomtown is high up there for the die-hard revelers, and is rampant with those characters clad in full-on crazy costumes. Attention to detail is key here, and a bizarre back-story of the city’s history continues to grow to magnificent proportions. This year’s Carnival theme will involve a procession for the new mayor, but in true Boom-style, expect scheming and surprises, as this shindig will no doubt have a colourful twist. Arcadia spectacular offers mind-boggling spectacles of fire and dancers on a huge steel spider, amid a playground of nine remarkable regions. Come and dabble in the city of nonsense, and with NOFX, Stanton Warriors and, wait for it… Shaggy, on the menu this year, Boomtown is definitely one to tick off the bucket list.



4th – 7th September, Robin Hill Country Park near Newport


This one has been carving its image as a quality festival for over a decade now, attracting big names such as Fatboy Slim, Adam Ant and Elton John. Last year was ‘HSM Bestival’ which saw 60,000 people flock to Isle of Wight for some serious nautical partying. There’s a chance that this years inspired theme ‘Desert Island Disco’ could even top it, which will probably involve tropical beach parties, feathers and disco balls. Round off summer on a high, which won’t be hard with hip-hop sensation Outkast headlining this year. Other acts include Beck, Busta Rhymes and Diplo. In fact, Bestival covers everything – inflatable churches, Bollywood to Ballroom, boredom is simply out of the question at this pick n mix extravaganza.