Five of the Best Rural Summer Festivals in the UK - 2011

Get your festival fix out in the sticks, with our pick of the country's best rural music festivals...


Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 15-17 July

The word boutique could have been invented for Latitude Festival – it boasts the best indie headliners of the season in Suede, The National and Paulo Nutini, hot new acts like The Naked and Famous, Everything Everything, as well band of the moment The Vaccines and the epic Foals. There’s also a Q&A with comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, theatre, poetry, talks, and Sadler’s Wells is returning to the Lake Stage –­ yes, really, a stage in the middle of a lake – to show Swan Lake. Or how about watching a parade of models stomping across a submerged catwalk? If you can take your eyes off the Pandora’s Box of culture, wander round the magical Henham Park to discover records falling from branches, neon signs on trees and pianos in the woods.
Weekend pass including camping £170. Enq.

Harvest Festival, Oxfordshire, 9-12 September

Having tasted the sweet nostalgia of Blur’s reunion gigs in 2009, Alex James has now gone it alone. He's already described his debut festival as ‘Glastonbury with Michelin stars’. Expect posh cheese, fine wines and a diverse line-up with everything from KT Tunstall to Monty Don.

Day tickets: £45; weekend tickets with camping: £105. Enq.

Hop Farm Festival, Kent, 1-2 July

Summer festivals in the UK aren't what they used to be. But what if you want to return to those relaxed days of old? Well, head down to the hay-bale surroundings of Hop Farm to watch cantankerous old-timer Morrissey, The Eagles and Lou Reed, play alongside Brandon Flowers and Death Cab for Cutie. A no-branding festival that’s about as green as they come.


Day tickets: £70; weekend tickets with camping: £160. Enq.

The Magic Loungeabout, North Yorkshire, 29-31 July

Focusing on an electro beat on the Saturday (The Human League, New Young Pony Club) and a more relaxed acoustic vibe for Sunday (former Beta Band legend Steve Mason and Badly Drawn Boy), the Magic Loungeabout’s mantra is ‘refined unwind’. It boasts VIP waiter service, pop-up restaurants, a cinema, a grown-up games area and home-cooked food.

Weekend ticket with camping: from £117. Enq.

Secret Garden Party, Hertfordshire, 21-24 July

Pretty much anything goes at this hedonistic stowaway in the woods. The line-up is the last concern for the liberal clientele, who turn out in spectacular fancy dress to party in the tents and swim in the lake. So far The Bees, Guillemots and Mylo have been announced. Expect nudity and face paint.

Weekend ticket with camping: £160. Enq.

Looking for something a bit further afield than our pick of the best rural summer festivals in the UK? Check out our selection of festivals around the world. Or if it's convenience you're after, see our selection of the best UK city music festivals.

To read the full feature on all the best festivals this summer, buy this month’s ELLE.

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