Five of the Best London Festivals

Want in on the festival action this summer but fancy swapping muddy fields for more urban surroundings? From the crowd-pullers to the quirky we’ve picked out a few of the best London festivals...

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Field Day

Dates: 2nd June 2012

What and where: East London favourite Field Day is back for its sixth year, brought to you by the club promoters of Eat Your Own Ears, Bugged Out, Bleed and Lanzarote. And it’s fair to say these guys know a thing or two about music, as they've put together arguably their best line-up yet. Taking place in Victoria Park, Field Day is set to draw a crowd of over 20,000 to its six stages and as always, it’ll set up its village fete-style entertainment - think coconut shies, tug of war and an egg and spoon race, plus some more weird and wonderful country pastimes such as scone-throwing and vegetable discus. There’ll be vintage stalls on hand, a hog roast, plenty of British ales to wash it down and games such as 'get a lead on the corgi'. All of which seems particularly fitting as it’s going to be held on the Diamond Jubilee weekend - meaning, of course, that you’ve got a whole three days to recover...

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Line-up: Franz Ferdinand, The Vaccines, Beirut, Sleigh Bells and Django Django

How to get there: The closest tube to Victoria Park is Mile End on the central line. The nearest overground lines are Victoria Park, Hackney Wick and Cambridge Heath. Bus routes 8, 309, 339, 388, D3, D6, and S2 will all take you close to the park. Alternatively, to avoid traffic you could always take your bike.

Don’t miss: Field Day festival is all about the after parties. You can dance till the small hours of Sunday at XOYO with Benedict Bull and the Dollop DJs or follow the Four Tet DJ set with James Holden, Casper C and Pearson sound to their secret Shoreditch location. Us? We’ll probably be heading to the Shacklewell Arms (71 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB) to dance to Ariel Pink and listen to Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio on the decks.

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While you’re busy partying the organisers will be setting up Victoria Park for festival round two, with Apple Cart starting on Sunday 3rd. Only in its second year, it’s set to be a cracker with a more laid-back festival vibe. Music comes in the form of Noah and the Whale, Stornoway, Beth Jeans Houghton, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, Gilles Peterson, Shaun Keaveny and Penguin Cafe. There’ll be cabaret, comedy, poetry, jazz and vintage stalls - making it the ultimate way to recover from Field Day and the perfect way to spend your Jubilee Sunday.

Ticket price: £45

Where to book: You can book tickets online through Ticketweb (Ticketweb.co.uk) or in person, at a selection of pubs: Keston Lodge, 131 Upper Street Islington, N1 1QP; Mouse & De Lotz, 103 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2E; Shacklewell Arms, 71 Shacklwell Lane, London, Greater London E8 2EB; The Lock Tavern, 35 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AJ; The Owl and the Pussy Cat, 34 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP.

Not sure what to wear? Check out last year’s Field Day street style gallery for style inspiration.

Lovebox

Dates: Friday 15th – 17th June

What and where: Seeing as it’s Lovebox’s 10th birthday this year, they’ve upped their game in terms of talent and have put together a pretty stellar line-up ranging from Groove Armada to Rita Ora. There’ll be rappers, hip hop, electronic acts, the dulcet tones of Lana Del Rey and, of course, plenty of the iconic dance tunes and floor-fillers for which Lovebox is known and loved. Forget the need for other entertainment, this festival is all about the music: Friday will see music from producers Digital Soundboy and Hessle Audio, while on Saturday the Crosstown Rebels will take to the stage, followed by Kelis. Finally, Sunday will see the act everyone’s been waiting for - the legendary Grace Jones. Partying till dawn will continue over at Dalston Superstore (117 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB) for a one-off night with London’s most famous club night, Horse Meat Disco.

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Line-up: Groove Armada, Grace Jones, Friendly Fires, Hot Chip, Lana Del Rey, Emeli Sande and Rita Ora and Azealia Banks

How to get there: It’s held at the same place as Field Day and Apple Cart - so see above.

Don’t miss: Ministry of Sound are hosting the official after party for Lovebox this year on Saturday 16th June, and doors will open from 11pm-7am. Although, if Elephant and Castle seems like a bit of a slog, then it's worth checking out some of the parties that are happening closer to the action. Unofficial after parties include Electric Minds over at Stoke Newington’s Waiting Room, formerly known as The Drop, (175 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0LH). It’s on Saturday 16th from 10pm and will feature special guests Joy Orbison, Dixon and Gerd Janson.

Ticket price: From £29

Where to book: You can buy tickets from any HMV, Rough Trade East, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane; Stargreen Box Office, 20/21a Argyll Street, W1F 7TT; Phonica Records, 51 Poland Street, W1F 7LZ.

Check out last year’s Lovebox street style gallery for style inspiration

Eastern Electrics

Dates: 4th August 2012

What and where: We love a new festival here at ELLEuk and this one is no exception. Eastern Electrics have been putting together some of the finest underground warehouse parties in London over the years and this year for the first time they’ll be teaming up with some of London’s cutting-edge promoters, Krankbrother, Black Atlantic and 2020 to put on the ultimate dance festival. The venue (Area 12) will be down in the docklands, built around a huge man-made structure of shipping containers, with four huge tents and crystal-clear sound.

Line-up: Jamie Jones, Pan-Pot, Joy Orbison, Waifs and Strays and Krankbrothers

How to get there: Area 12 is a five-minute walk from North Greenwich tube station and the 02.

Don’t miss: Russian beauty Nina Kraviz Djing

Ticket price: £35

Where to book: Book tickets online here: Seetickets.com.

Notting Hill Carnival

Dates: Sunday 26th and Bank Holiday Monday 27th August

What and where: Notting Hill Carnival has been drawing the crowds in since 1964. Expect a sea of colour and some incredible costumes, plenty of floats and lively carnival bands playing throughout the day. While historically it was all about the steel drums, new musical influences have crept in over the years resulting in an eclectic mix of Reggae, Funk, Soul, House, Ska and Dub. There’ll also be over 40 static sound systems set up so you can get down to some serious alfresco dancing. Top tip? Don’t leave without trying the Jerk chicken, curried goat and plantains.

Line-up: There’s no real line-up, just a stream of floats and all-day music

How to get there: Seeing as the closest station to the carnival, Ladbroke Grove, is closed over both days, you’d probably be best to get the bus 7, 18, 28, 31 and 52 there or take your bike.

Don’t miss: There’s no way you’ll be ready to stop partying, so head over to the Loft Studios (77-81 Scrubs Lane, NW10 6QW) with Krankbrother for one of their infamous 12-hour parties. Anja Schneider will headline the party, with Get Physical's Audiofly and the Krankbrothers themselves getting things started. There’ll be an organic barbecue and plenty of Pimms on offer. We know where we’ll be heading after hours on Carnival Day.

Ticket price: Notting Hill Carnival is free

Check out last year’s Notting Hill Carnival street style gallery for style inspiration.

Wireless

Dates: 6th – 8th July 2012

What and where: Hyde Park will once again be the home for a three-day pop extravaganza, headlined by none other than Rihanna (whose ex-boyfriend Drake will also be performing). In addition to a top-notch line-up, there’ll be chill-out areas, street theatre, performance art, plenty of vintage market stalls and deckchairs in beer gardens (where sunbathing to the sounds of Philadelphian soul band The Roots is a must-do).

Line-up: Deadmau5, Drake, Rihanna, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, The Roots, Calvin Harris, Santigold, Rita Ora and Tulisa

How to get there: Hyde Park Corner tube on the Piccadilly Line and Marble Arch on the Central Line are the closest.

Don’t miss: We’re hanging on to find out where Rihanna will be partying...

Ticket price: From £55

Where to book: Tickets can be bought online here: Ticketmaster.co.uk.

Like our pick of the best London festivals? Check out all our favourite summer festivals around the world. Or see our pick of festival beauty buys.

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