ELLE's Summer 2012 Festival Guide

Wellies at the ready. It’s that time again—time to plait feathers into your hair, don novelty sunnies and sing at the top of your lungs in a crowd of strangers.


Let the festival season begin.

With Glastonbury off the menu, 2012 is the ideal summer to try something a little different. Whether you’re longing for a boutique festival on a Cotswolds farm or dance anthems on a European beach, a broad range of events exist to suit any and all festival needs.

Starting this weekend with Coachella and wrapping up at Bestival in five months, we’ll be bringing you fashion and news from all the biggest events.


Still can’t decide which way to go? Consider your options with our guide to the summer’s best festivals, below... and don’t forget your dry shampoo.

See what the ELLE team wears to festivals

Coachella, 13-15 and 20-22 April, California

All roads lead to Indio, California for the start of the festival season. This spring, the tunes spill over into two riotous weekends. Radiohead, Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, Florence + the Machine, Arctic Monkeys and Azealia Banks are among the acts sure to keep audiences dancing in the desert. Count on Mulberry to cool things down at a series of poolside parties. See the best style snaps from Coachella 2011


Primavera Sound, 30 May-3 June (Barcelona), 7-10 June (Porto)

Escape to the beach to take in performances by Bjork, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie and more of indie and rock’s best acts. Choose between Barcelona and, for the first time in 2012, Porto, Portugal—or buy tickets to both for a summer of tuneful beach trips. Click through street style looks from Primavera 2011

Glastonbudget, 1-3 June, Leicestershire

Console yourself in Glasto’s fallow summer by rocking up at this wallet-friendly gathering in Leicestershire, where tribute acts like Oasish, The Police Academy and Pearl Jammer are sure to make you smile.

Field Day, 2 June, London

Consider Field Day a one-day primer in bands that matter now, all in the convenience of East London’s Victoria Park. This year it’s all happening over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, so expect Beirut, Metronomy and Sleigh Bells to treat crowds to their best renditions of God Save the Queen. See East London's finest at Field Day 2011

The Apple Cart, 3 June, London

Ride along to Apple Cart’s second year for a dolly mix of music, comedy and art. Acts more than worth the ticket price (Noah and the Whale, hotly tipped newcomer Lianne La Havas), an Art Car Boot Fair staffed by Turner Prize winners and a comedy stage make this a delightful, mellower option for the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

Evolution, 3-4 June, Newcastle

Dizzee Rascal and Rizzle Kicks bring the sounds to Newcastle for this riverside event over Jubilee weekend.

Sonar Barcelona, 14-16 June, Barcelona

Trek to Barcelona with Lana Del Rey, Die Antwoord, and New Order to take in this dance- and electronica-heavy music and multimedia arts festival. See the best looks from Sonar 2011

Lovebox, 15-17 June, London

All hail the magnificent Grace Jones. The dynamo performs after Mika, Azari & III and Lana Del Rey on the third day of this genre-busting London festival. Click through the looks we loved


Isle of Wight Festival, 21-24 June, Isle of Wight

It’s the friendly faces as much as the ferry ride across the Solent that tell you this is a different sort of festival. Expect Bruce Springsteen—making a rare festival appearance alongside fellow headliners Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker and Pearl Jam—to teach hot young things Tinie Tempah, Jessie J and Example a lesson or two... one we’re sure you won’t want to miss. See top street style looks from IoWF 2011

Radio 1 Hackney Weekend, 23-24 June, London

Jay-Z, Rihanna and Florence. In London. For free. What’s the catch? Aspiring attendees had to register by mid-March, but anyone fitting into that forward-planning category is in luck and can expect to enjoy a gratis day of the biggest acts around in London’s Olympic year... Everyone else: you have a radio, right?

Hop Farm, 28 June-1 July, Kent

This winsome little festival on a Kentish farm comes without the branding, sponsorship or VIP corrals that can sour bigger events. What it does have is Bob Dylan—plus Patti Smith, Ben Kweller and others drawn to its low-key atmosphere. See the looks we loved

Hideout Festival, 29 June-1 July, Croatia

Leave the marquees and muddy fields behind—Hideout is all about beach parties, boat parties and sun-soaked days soundtracked by some of dance music’s biggest acts. The fact that all of the above takes place on Croatia’s picturesque Isle of Pag means this festival doubles as a holiday too.

Wireless, 6-8 July, London

A full-scale festival boasting marquee acts like Drake, Deadmau5 and Rihanna, in a central London location that means we can collapse into our own beds at the end of the night? Sign us up... Street style from Wireless 2011

Latitude, 12-15 July, Southwold

Sure, performances from the likes of Bon Iver, Elbow and Alabama Shakes earn this Suffolk festival serious points. But the factors that keep loyal attendees coming back summer after summer are the bits that happen beyond the main stage, from the literary arena to the highlighter-bright flock of sheep.


Benicassim, 12-15 July, Spain

Dance to The Stone Roses, the Vaccines and Florence + the Machine all night, then spend the next day recovering on the beach at this Spanish seaside festival. Street style from Benicassim 2011

Optimus Alive, 13-15 July, Lisbon, Portugal

Six years old and steadily attracting buzz, this Portuguese festival has Radiohead, The Cure and The Stone Roses topping one of Europe’s hottest festival line-ups. With Lisbon playing host, it’s a hop and a skip to the recovery beach of your dreams.

Secret Garden Party, 19-22 July, Oxfordshire

Gardeners, take note: this summer, the hedonistic festival turns ten. Expect even more grandiose performances, spectacles and ceremonies... and more pyrotechnics too, we hear. Secret Garden Party 2011 style pics


Port Eliot, 19-22 July, Cornwall

One of Britain’s most idyllic festivals, Port Eliot feels like a madcap garden party unfurling across the grounds of an ancient stately home. The line-up stars literary prize-winners, top chefs and more than a few fashion names. Last year, Mary Katrantzou designed dresses to match the rooms, Louise Gray pulled facepainting duty and Meadham Kirchhoff outfitted packs of children in floral headdresses. It’s fantastical, fashionable, and more than a little special. See the looks we loved

Truck, 20-21 July, Oxfordshire

The main stage is made of truck beds and the head of the local Rotary Club runs the food stall. Along with the down-home atmosphere come plenty of acts with real pulling power, like The Temper Trap, British Sea Power and singing comedian Tim Minchin. See you in the cow shed...

Eastern Electrics, 4 August, London

The team behind some of London’s most riotous warehouse parties has gone big for a day-long festival featuring huge dance music names. Catch Jamie Jones, Krankbrother and Black Atlantic, all playing on Clapham Common.

Oya, 7-11 Aug, Norway

Swim between the stages at this boutique festival outside of Oslo. Expect four days of top international and Scandinavian acts (Bjork, Bon Iver, Azealia Banks), punctuated with trips to the city centre and organic food from some of Oslo’s best young chefs. Plus, fjords!

Wilderness, 10-12 August, Oxfordshire

The best new festival of 2011 returns with a feast of delights for 2012, starting with tunes from Wilco, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Lianne La Havas. Go wild-swimming and hot-tubbing at the Lakeside Spa, sample delicacies at Yotam Ottolenghi’s banquets and revel under the stars at the Midnight Masked Ball before slipping back into your yurt. Discover the best street style pics from Wilderness 2011

V Festival, 18-19 August, England

So big a single park can’t contain it, V is back with The Killers, The Stone Roses, Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. V Festival 2011 street style

Electric Picnic, 31 August-2 September, Ireland

Travel across the water for Ireland’s take on Glastonbury. The Cure, Alabama Shakes, Elbow, Grizzly Bear and The XX will make your trip worthwhile.

End of the Road, 31 Aug-2 Sept, Dorset, England

Follow the peacocks between the stages at this small-scale festival, featuring a newly re-formed Granddaddy, Grizzly Bear and Willis Earl Beal. See the best looks from End of the Road 2011

1234 Shoreditch, 1 Sept, London

Head to Shoreditch for a one-day primer in the bands everyone will be talking about this fall. Organisers have yet to release a line-up, but expect to be dazzled by breakout acts and some serious street style stars. Check out the best street style

Bestival, 6-9 September, the Isle of Wight

The festival of choice for fancy dress fans, this year Bestival’s theme is ‘wildlife’. Interpret away, perhaps with inspiration from headliners Stevie Wonder, Friendly Fires and Two Door Cinema Club. Comedy, roller derby and the Bollywood Field complete the delightfully kooky mix. Bestival 2011 street style

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