12 Glastonbury Alternatives That Might Save Your Summer

Missed out on on tickets yet again? Here's where else you can go

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Every summer, man faces an important question: which field am I going to pay £200+ to get drunk, dance badly and forget I'm a responsible adult with problems in?

The obvious choice is Glastonbury, but with tickets for Britain's biggest and best festival generally harder to obtain than a spot on the Mars One project, it pays to have some alternatives in mind.

From booming pop parties in the capital to off-the-grid ceilidh dancing North of the border, Esquire's guide to the UK best festivals of 2015 has something for everybody.

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Best for: A little culture
One of the few major UK festivals to put as much emphasis on comedy, theatre and performance as it does music – not that, with a line up including Alt-J, James Blake and Seasick Steve it is too shabby on that front – Latitude remains the ticket of choice for people who enjoy indulging their love of other areas of the arts but still want that big, main stage experience.
Suffolk, 16 – 19 July, latitudefestival.com

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Best for: Taking your Mum
John Lewis sponsors it, there’s an entire ‘food village’ and yes – it’s in Blackheath, so this isn’t going to be the festival to bomb a gram of Meow Meow and lose half your clothing. But with Elbow, Madness and the Manics on the bill we’re going on a limb and saying this could be one of the quietly blissful highlights of the whole summer – not to mention a festival you actually remember.
Blackheath, 12 – 13 September, onblackheath.com

Festival No. 6
Best for: a 'great little festival' that’s actually great, and little
Held in the genuinely beautiful and unusual village of Portmerion, No 6 is our pick of the no-one-has-quite-heard-of-it yet festivals. Music from Belle & Sebastian, Grace Jones and Badly Drawn Boy will please music fans or a certain vintage, while talks from author Irvine Welsh and poet Kate Tempest are always welcome.
Port Merion, 3 – 6 September, festivalnumber6.com

SW4 Weekender
Best for: Non-ironic glow stick waving
If it doesn’t offend your hipster sensibilities too much to venture south to Clapham, SW4 is the perfect opportunity to get your fix of beats over what – finger’s crossed – should be a sunny bank holiday weekend. French ‘gangsta house’ duo Amine Edge & House and Berlin house legend Dixon are the headliners.
Clapham Common, 29 – 30 August, southwestfour.com

Best for: Recognising every song from Radio 1
One of the big boys of the London weekend festival circuit, Lovebox 2015 has added a welcome slither of novelty hip-hop to its usual roster of mainstream chart-botherers: Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg join Rudimental, Hot Chip and Jessie Ware as the main draws. 
Victoria Park, 17 – 18 July, loveboxfestival.com

Field Day
Best for: Fully justified chin-stroking
Headlined by thinking EDM fans’ favourite Caribou and with punk poet priestess Patti Smith representing quite the coup for Sunday, Field Day will – unlike most of London’s weekenders – appeal to the slightly more discerning music lover who wants to actually stand and listen rather than just dance around with their tops off. Which is no bad thing.
Victoria Park, 6 – 7 June, fielddayfestivals.com

The Great Escape
Best for: stumbling over something new (then bragging about it)
With bars aplenty and the ocean ever present on the horizon, Brighton is the perfect playground to wander from venue to venue discovering new bands at The Great Escape, where 150 different artists are scheduled to vie for your attention. There’s a decent poetry line up too, if you like that sort of thing.
Brighton, 14 – 16 May, greatescapefestival.com

Calling Festival
Best for: Misty-eyed drunken sing-alongs
Calling bills itself as ‘the UK’s classic rock festival’ but for 2015 the line up is surprisingly contemporary, with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds topping a bill that also includes Ryan Adams, Modest Mouse and The Hives. So, less rock dinosaurs and more mildly nostalgic acts from the past decade or so – and all the better for it.
Clapham Common, 4 July, callingfestival.co.uk

Best for: an all-round belter
Perennial Esquire favourite Bestival has been delivering great line ups and a joyous, just-the-right-size atmosphere for over ten years now. The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and Duran Duran means this year will be no different. Beautiful setting, too: you even get to ride a ferry.
Isle of Wight, 10 – 13 September, 2015.bestival.net

Best for: Tutting at teenagers
‘The big one’ in terms of London festivals – it spans full three days, for a start – this year’s Wireless line up includes David Guetta, Drake, Nicki Minaj and everyone else you see on music television 20+ time a day. In all honesty, you’re probably a bit old for this one now but support acts including George The Poet and Grandmaster Flash means there is just about enough quality / heritage on show to justify you being there.
Finsbury Park, 3 – 5 July, wirelessfestival.co.uk

Best for: expanding your brain (the legal way)
Philosophy and music are usually best kept separate – as countless off-their-nut lyricists have proven throughout history – but this delightful counterpart to Hay Literature Festival is an exception. Lectures from Terry Eagleton on the Death of God sit alongside performances from the likes of Patrick Wolf at an event that will nourish – rather than deplete – your brain cells.
Hay, 21 – 31 May, howthelightgetsin.iai.tv

Best for: never hearing anyone moan about ‘commercialisation’
If you really want to cast aside the trappings (and luxuries) of modern life for a weekend, head to Scotland for this small and authentic (you know, like Glastonbury used to be) world ceilidh festival. Expect loads of great music, more than the odd passion conversation about the enviroment and – let’s be honest – absolutely zero copies of Esquire.
South West Scotland, 21 – 24 May, knockengorroch.org.uk

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