Unmissable Festivals 2019 Guide
We read a lot of emails and scoured the internet for the underdogs, the independent free ones and big festivals with DIY spirit.
We categorised our recommendations into four categories:
FREE FESTIVALS | CHEAP AND CHIC | BIGGER FESTIVALS WORTH PAYING FOR | WORTH TRAVELLING FOR
Free (Is The Magic Number)
All Points East: In the Neighbourhood
27-30 May 2019 | Victoria Park, Mile End
Four days of free events including an outdoor cinema, live music, creative workshops, street food, pop up craft beer bars and panels & talks.
Highlights: Our very own editor’s TED-talk style Show and Tell and Back to the Future and Black Panther at the outdoor cinema all on Tuesday 28 May 2019.
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
21 June – 6 July 2019 | Multiple Venues
Our ultimate favourite free festival gives you thrills and spills all over south east London.
Highlights include: Passenger an interactive bus journey around the Royal Docks, an outdoor version of Moby Dick and Greenwich Fair a bonkers outdoor extravaganza in gorgeous Greenwich.
Greenwich Peninsula: Urban Village Fete and Turning Tides
19 May | Urban Village Fete
5 – 7, 12 – 14 July 2019 | The Tide
A nice chance to explore the newly opened up riverside at North Greenwich. Take your pick from Turning Tides on the new riverside path or Wayne Hemingway Design curated Urban Village Fete in May.
15 June 2019 | Wandle Park
Croydon comes to life with this free live music festival with tasty tipples from Hoodoo’s bar.
Lambeth Country Show
20-21 July 2019 | Brockwell Park
Do the Lambeth walk to this rather amazing slice of country life in the city.
Highlights: Full programme still to be announced but expect everything from Samba brass bands to horticultural shows, sheep and owl displays, home grown vegetable and flower competitions.
18-19 August 2019 | Southall Park
Southall the home of Bhangra is to be the setting for London’s
epic celebration of Asian culture and creativity with live music and delicious food.
Highlights: Kasiika & Jay Sean on Sunday.
27 May 2019 | Bruton, Somerset
Missing Glastonbury? Who cares! Head to the delightfully quaint and free Packhorse Fair for the village vibe for music lovers.
Weekends 5 July – 4 August 2019 | National Theatre
Every weekend the South Bank side of the National Theatre is a takeover by some top culture brands including the hilarious drag antics of The Glory (5-7 July), Shubbak Festival (12-14 July), greenery from National Park City Festival (19-21 July) and theatrical experiments from Frantic Assembly (26-28 July).
Thamesmead Festival 2019 #TMFest
14 June – 3 August 2019 | Various Venues
The concrete lakeside dream of Thamesmead we love is changing fast. Take this opportunity to celebrate the utopian social housing project with this free festival.
Highlights: Compagnie XY will present a pop up circus show on 30 June and on 6 July there will be the Lakeside Festival to celebrate the reopening of the community centre by the lake made TV famous in Channel 4’s Misfits.
Cheap & Chic
31 May – 2 June 2019 | Lloyd Park, Croydon | From £50
Croydon is home to this feast of sounds from the world’s finest alongside up and coming local south London acts..
Highlights: De La Soul, Damian Marley, Nas, Wizkid and Nao.
8 June 2019 | Brockwell Park | From £50
Abandon any pretence and let go as this carnival of camp comes to town with an insanely good pop line up.
Highlights: Chaka Khan, The Cocoa Butter Club, Jamelia, Samantha Mumba, Kate Nash, All Saints and newcomer Damélola.
3 August 2019 | London Fields | £33
Visions rules the roost in tastemaker central aka London Fields with an offbeat line up and even a dog show.
Highlights: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, White Denim and Anna Meredith.
Bigger Festivals Worth the Ticket Price
End of the Road
29 August – 1 September 2019 | Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire | £192
A smallish capacity combined with a beautifully curated indie line up and peacocks roaming around the site makes for a great weekend in the middle of nowhere. Definitely one for BBC 6Music fans.
Highlights: Kero Kero Bonito, Viagra Boys, Metronomy, Jarvis Cocker and Georgia.
18-21 July 2019 | Henham Park, Suffolk | £202.50
Latitude is the perfect mix of arts, culture and music in the idyllic setting of Henham Park. It may be a bit more refined but the mix of events and activities is unbeatable
Highlights: Music from Lana Del Rey, Sigrid, Ray Blk, Squid and Penguin Cafe. Arts standouts include Frank Skinner, Lolly Adefope, Duckie, Anna Mann’s Late Night Cheese and Sex Party, Sh!t Theatre and Reni Eddo-Lodge.
12-13 July 2019 | Gunnersbury Park | From £62.50
London’s über cool festival is the only place to catch the incredible Lizzo in London this summer as her O2 Forum gig is sold out.
Highlights: Lizzo, Giggs, Four Tet and Slowthai.
Worth Travelling For
Best Kept Secret
31 May – 2 June 2019 | Beekse Bergen, Netherlands | From €80
An incredible line up in the Netherlands, Best Kept Secret won’t be secret for long.
Highlights: Carly Rae Jepsen, Interpol, Lizzo, Princess Nokia and Kraftwerk.
Black Deer Festival
21-23 June 2019 | Eridge Park, Kent | From £45
A relative newcomer Black Deer Festival is the best place to enjoy Americana and country music this side of the pond.
Highlights: The Mavericks, Billy Bragg, Band of Horses and Alabama 3.
12-14 July | Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, East Sussex | £90
A fiesta of new ideas and a place to relish enjoying the moment from discovering new acts to debating the path to a better future.
Highlights: Travis Alabanza, New Economic Foundation, biig piig, Bridget Minamore, gal-dem, Voguing with Jay Jay Revlon.
26-28 July 2019 | Midland Railway Centre, Derbyshire | From £41
50 DIY / indie pop artists perform in this delightfully offbeat festival with free steam train rides
Highlights: Big Joanie, Bis, Stealing Sheep and Kero Kero Bonito.
Milhões de Festa
6-9 September 2019 | Barcelos, Portugal | From €20
A curious alternative festival with an unusual boundary pushing lineup.
Highlights: Gazelle Twin, Squarepusher, Grabba Grabba Tape, WWWater and Marilyn Misandry.
23-28 July 2019 | Ventnor, Isle of Wight
Get thee to the Isle of Wight for a grassroots fringe festival of music, theatre cinema and pop up events.
Highlights: Bilal Zafar, Puppet Pub Quiz, Ahir Shah and Impromptu Shakepeare.
Did we miss an unmissable festival? Leave a comment with your thoughts…
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.