ROCK & POP
Isle of Wight Festival
Kasabian kick off the 50th edition of this summer festival stalwart. Depeche Mode and Liam Gallagher top the bill on Saturday with The Killers, Manic Street Preachers and Van Morrison bringing the show to a close on Sunday. Children can join the party at spacehopper discos, circus skills training sessions and art workshops.
Weekend tickets from £209. Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, Jun 21-24, isleofwightfestival.com
Henley Festival’s trademark floating stage will also be graced by Rita Ora and Grace Jones
Greenwich Music Time
A purpose-built outdoor arena in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College hosts music from acts including Emeli Sandé (Jul 3), Tom Jones (Jul 4), Nile Rodgers (Jul 6) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (July 7) and classical four-piece Il Divo (Jul 8).
Tickets from £32.50. Old Royal Naval College, London, Jul 3-8, greenwichmusictime.co.uk
Somerset House Summer Series
The 11-night series set in the grand neoclassical courtyard features a balance of established artists and rising stars. Suave electronic pop act Metronomy open the programme on July 5, 21-year-old Norwegian singing sensation Sigrid is on July 11 and hip-hop grand masters De La Soul play on July 14.
Day tickets from £31.25. Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2, Jul 5-15, somersethouse.org.uk
British Summer Time Hyde Park
London’s al fresco megagig series has a string of big names for 2018, including Eric Clapton, The Cure, Michael Bublé, Bruno Mars and this week’s Event cover star, Paul Simon. Not forgetting the first headliner: Roger Waters.
Day tickets from £75. Hyde Park, London, Jul 6-15, bst-hydepark.com
Even with edgy headliners like Solange and Alt-J, the Suffolk fixture won’t be shaking off its reputation as the most bucolic of summer festivals. Wholesome treats include Alan Davies and Sandi Toksvig presenting a unique edition of QI, Jessie Ware recording a live version of her Table Manners podcast and dance performances from Sadler’s Wells artists.
Weekend tickets from £197.50. Henham Park, Suffolk, Jul 12-15, latitudefestival.com
Audley End House and Gardens
The Heritage Live series at the Jacobean mansion in Essex hosts Jess Glynne, Toyah Willcox, 2Cellos, Ella Eyre, X Factor winner Louisa and more over three days. Let the music wash over you as you take in the house’s handsome Capability Brown-designed gardens.
Day tickets from £39. Saffron Walden, Essex, Jul 13-15, ticketline.co.uk/heritage-live-concerts
Audley End House and Gardens hosts Jess Glynne, Toyah Willcox, 2Cellos, Ella Eyre, X Factor winner Louisa (pictured)
Green Man Festival
Seattle quintet Fleet Foxes, widescreen rockers The War On Drugs and guitar virtuoso Anna Calvi are among the headliners at this celebration of music and the arts in the Brecon Beacons. The festival’s customary chilled-out vibes are on full display in the peaceful Nature Nurture corner, which boasts mindfulness sessions, a ‘yoga brunch’ and hot tubs, while you can suss out the stars of the future on the Green Man Rising stage.
Weekend tickets from £180. Aug 16-19, Brecon Beacons, greenman.net
Leeds and Reading Festival
The dual-site event might have a reputation for post-GCSE partying, but this year’s line-up is a treat even for those for whom revision timetables are now a far-distant memory. Hotshot US rapper Kendrick Lamar, Fall Out Boy and Kings of Leon headline, while Dua Lipa, Wolf Alice and The Vaccines also appear. Weekend tickets, £205.
Richfield Avenue, Reading, Aug 24-26, readingfestival.com; Bramham Park, Leeds, Aug 24-26, leedsfestival.com
Bruno Mars (left); Tom Jones (right)
Paloma Faith (left); Toya Wilcox (right)
Festival No 6
The intimate North Wales gem offers an array of outlandish acts that live up to its enjoyably eccentric reputation. Madness frontman Suggs is performing his anecdote-packed one-man show about his time in the band, and there are talks from authors including Will Self and Eimear McBride, music from Friendly Fires and Franz Ferdinand and – for those feeling energetic – woodland runs.
Weekend tickets from £190. Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales, Sept 6-9, festivalnumber6.com
The picnic-blanket-strewn Oxfordshire fixture would be virtually indistinguishable from a village fete were it not for the top-notch guests it secures. This year The Hairy Bikers will be hosting a pop-up restaurant and there’s music from Alanis Morissette and Pixie Lott.
Adult weekend tickets from £180. The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, Jul 13-15, cornburyfestival.com
Musical highlights of the northern leg of the Children In Need family festival founded by Chris Evans include Jools Holland, Texas and Status Quo. The south version adds Michael Ball and Alfie Boe to the mix. Petrolheads shouldn’t miss the opportunity to test-drive cars and families can get stuck into watching show-jumping, kids theatre and the vintage village.
Weekend tickets from £173. CarFest North: Jul 27-29, Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire. CarFest South: Aug 24-26, Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire, carfest.org
Patricia Kopatchinskaja (left); Lionel Richie (right)
Nile Rodgers plays at Greenwhich Music Time on July 6. A purpose-built outdoor arena in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College hosts the event
Hampton Court Palace hosts 13 days of modern revelry with the likes of Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Joe Bonamassa, The Beach Boys and Gary Barlow
Just So Festival
Enter a whimsical wonderland at this imaginative outdoor extravaganza. The Forgotten Courtyard hosts talks by children’s authors, in the Spellbound Forest there’s storytelling and tree- climbing, while Playground of Illusions features trickery from the Travelling Light Circus.
And don’t miss the Eighties anthems yoga. Weekend tickets from £140. Rode Hall, Cheshire, Aug 17-19, justsofestival.org.uk
Ella Eyre (left); Grace Jones (right)
The annual musical gathering enters its 53rd year, with entertainment from soulful Scandinavian sisters First Aid Kit, New York punk poetess Patti Smith and pure folk singer Kate Rusby. For junior folk fans, there’s a music and dance workshop, a playground and paddling pool.
Day tickets from £72.50. Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, Aug 2-5, Cambridge livetrust.co.uk
JAZZ & WORLD
Hampton Court Palace
Henry VIII’s former stomping ground hosts 13 days of modern revelry as the likes of Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Joe Bonamassa, The Beach Boys and Gary Barlow serenade crowds in the imposing Tudor courtyard. Stick around for the explosive finale: a selection of classical music favourites performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra capped off with a firework display.
Day tickets from £49. Hampton Court, Molesey, Jun 9-Jul 23, hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com
The Americana festival enters its second decade, with country tunes from husband-and-wife Nashville band The Danberrys and neo-traditionalist three-piece Hillfolk Noir.
Day tickets from £25. Eastern Farm Park, Suffolk, Jul 6-8, maverickfestival.co.uk
Elvis Costello will play at the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
Kew The Music
Returning pop sensation Steps open the summer concerts at London’s horticultural haven. There’s another nod to the Nineties as Boyzone blast through their hits, while Croatian string double act 2CELLOS, The Gipsy Kings and Jools Holland also appear.
Day tickets from £49. Kew Gardens, London, Jul 10-15, kew.org
From Nile Rodgers to the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, the line-up at this riverside black-tie bash is certainly eclectic. The trademark floating stage will also be graced by Rita Ora and Grace Jones.
Day tickets from £35. Henley Bridge, Henley-on-Thames, Jul 11-15, henley-festival.co.uk
Love Supreme Jazz Festival
The trailblazing outdoor jazz festival returns to the picturesque grounds of Glynde Place near Brighton, with over 50 acts across four stages, from Earth, Wind & Fire and Elvis Costello to Mavis Staples and Mr Jukes.
Tickets from £54. Glynde Place, East Sussex, Jun 29-Jul 1, lovesupremefestival.com
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier kick off the latest instalment of the opera extravaganza, before June brings Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Debussy’s Pélleas Et Mélisande. Another Handel offering, Saul, begins in July, while the final production is Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Vanessa.
Tickets from £10 (standing). Glyndebourne, East Sussex, May 19-Aug 26, glyndebourne.com
Cheltenham Music Festival
A capella sextet The King’s Singers are performing a diverse repertoire ranging from Palestrina to Paul Simon. Meanwhile, cello god Steven Isserlis runs through a programme exploring celebrated male composers and the overlooked female musicians who inspired them.
Tickets from £5. Cheltenham, Jun 30-Jul 15, cheltenhamfestivals.com
Saul, begins in July at Glyndebourne. Tickets from £10 (standing). Glyndebourne, East Sussex, May 19-Aug 26
The Suffolk festival celebrates Britten and America, with two concerts drawing a comparison between festival founder Benjamin Britten and West Side Story creator Leonard Bernstein, whose centenary falls this year. Other highlights include the John Wilson Orchestra and eight choirs giving a baroque concert in Ely Cathedral.
Tickets from £10. Snape Maltings, Suffolk, Jun 8-24, snapemaltings.co.uk
Budding bookworms shouldn’t miss His Dark Materials creator Philip Pullman and Gangsta Granny scribe David Walliams talking about the inspiration behind their work at this year’s literary shindig, while more mature readers can catch writers like Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Jojo Moyes.
Tickets from free. Hay-on-Wye, Powys, May 24-Jun 3, hayfestival.com
Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival
Agatha Christie’s former haunt, Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel, plays host to a megawatt line-up including Lee Child, John Grisham, Sophie Hannah and Val McDermid, who hosts her annual debut fiction showcase (see panel below for a preview of her picks).
Tickets on sale Monday. Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, Jul 19-22, harrogateinternationalfestivals.com
Dua Lipa will be performing at the Leeds and Reading Festival
Curious Arts Festival
The glorious environs of Hampshire’s Pylewell Park are crammed with a stellar literary line-up this July, including dating memoirist Dolly Alderton, How To Stop Time writer Matt Haig and The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock author Imogen Hermes Gowar.
Weekend tickets from £128. Pylewell Park, New Forest, Jul 20-23, curiousartsfestival.com
Port Eliot Festival
Peep Show’s Robert Webb will be talking about his memoir How Not To Be A Boy, while journalist Lucy Mangan celebrates the transformative power of childhood reading. Music-wise, singer songwriter Gwenno dips into her Cornish language album Le Kov, and Gaz Coombes from Supergrass performs songs from his latest solo record.
Weekend tickets from £170. St Germans, Cornwall, Jul 26-29, porteliotfestival.com
Sizzling gigs best for you can’t miss
Paul Simon is playing a ‘Farewell Performance’ at British Summertime Hyde Park on July 15, with support from You’ve Got A Friend singer James Taylor and country star Bonnie Raitt. Here are three of this year’s best other mega gigs.
1. Rolling Stones
The veteran rockers perform their first UK concerts in five years this spring, kicking off on May 22 in Stratford. They’re in the capital again on May 25, then Southampton (May 29), Coventry (Jun 2), Manchester (Jun 5), Edinburgh (Jun 9) and Cardiff (Jun 15) before returning to London on Jun 19.
The veteran rockers the Rolling Stones perform their first UK concerts in five years this spring, kicking off on May 22 in Stratford
Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The power couple’s On The Run II tour starts in Cardiff (Jun 6), before departing for Glasgow (Jun 9), Manchester (Jun 13) and London (Jun 15-16)
Ed Sheeran. The flame-haired troubadour’s concert dates this year include four nights at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester
2. Jay-Z and Beyoncé
The power couple’s On The Run II tour starts in Cardiff (Jun 6), before departing for Glasgow (Jun 9), Manchester (Jun 13) and London (Jun 15-16).
3. Ed Sheeran
The flame-haired troubadour’s concert dates this year include four nights at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester (May 24-27), a stint at Wembley Stadium (Jun 14-17) and another in Cardiff (June 21-24).
Most major music festivals now run a comedy tent or stage where you can escape the onslaught of competing sound systems and catch top stand-ups. Here’s our pick of the best ones to see.
The literary knees-up dispenses comic relief in the form of Dara O Briain, Bridget Christie, David Baddiel, Russell Kane and the Scummy Mummies.
Tickets from £7. Hay-on- Wye, Powys, May 24-Jun 3, hayfestival.com
Pub Landlord Al Murray (left); Katherine Ryan (right)
Wells Comedy Festival
A great line-up features Rhod Gilbert feeling his way back after more than six years off the circuit, as well as Sara Pascoe and two veteran provocateurs in Alexei Sayle and Rob Newman.
Tickets from £6. Wells, Somerset, May 25-27, wellscomfest.com
Bristol Comedy Garden
The Last Leg’s Josh Widdicombe works up some new material, along with QI’s Alan Davies and colourful king of the one-liners, Milton Jones.
Tickets £20-25. Queen Square, Bristol, Jun 6-10, bristolcomedygarden.co.uk
A comic riot on the Thames with Paul Merton’s Impro Chums (who include Whose Line… stalwarts Mike McShane and Richard Vranch), as well as Dead Ringers’ premier impressionist Jon Culshaw.
Tickets from £50. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, Jul 11-15, henley-festival.co.uk
Highlights include Harry Hill, getting his comedy mojo back after several years off, and QI Live, a special edition of the superior panel show with Sandi Toksvig, Alan Davies and a celebrity line-up. Plus Bridget Christie, Dylan Moran, Mo Gilligan, Mark Thomas and Marcus Brigstocke.
Adults from £77. Henham Park, Suffolk, Jul 12-15, latitudefestival.com
Curious Arts Festival
The tranquility at the New Forest boutique fest is shattered by Pub Landlord Al Murray, along with doctor-turned-comic Adam Kay.
Weekend tickets £128. Pylewell Park, Lymington, Jul 20-22, curiousartsfestival.com
The music and arts festival includes punk-poet Dr John Cooper Clarke, plus Canada’s killer queen Katherine Ryan (right).
Adults from £50.75. Alexandra Palace, London, Jul 21, kaleidoscope-festival.com
These festival thrillers had me gripped!
Val McDermid co-founded the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in 2003
Val McDermid co-founded the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in 2003. Every year the ‘Queen of Crime’ hosts her ‘New Blood’ panel – picking four new brilliant books from more than 50 crime debuts. Here she shares her picks for 2018…
‘I say this every year, but choosing the four debut novels for the New Blood panel is the best job in crime fiction. My quartet this year have each produced a provocative and entertaining excursion into their very distinctive worlds. I guarantee each one is a riveting read.’
‘Dark Pines by Will Dean (Point Blank, £12.99) is set in a small Swedish town on the edge of a forest. Deaf journalist Tuva Moodyson has moved there in the hope of building a portfolio, but the discovery of a corpse sets her on a collision course with the locals. The novel is atmospheric and unnerving: I can’t wait for Tuva’s next outing.
‘In The Ruin (Penguin, £11.50 out July 3), Dervla McTiernan gives us a gripping mystery that spans 20 years. It’s a complicated page-turning story that touches on corruption, clandestine cover-ups and criminal conspiracy. But McTiernan never lets us forget how grief and loss eat their way into people’s lives.
‘In The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor (Michael Joseph, £12.99), Eddie Adams is a 42-year-old teacher with a drink problem. His childhood friends’ secret code of chalk drawings returns to haunt him when Eddie is tormented by the arrival of anonymous stick figure drawings. A labyrinthine tale that kept me guessing right to the end.
‘The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Raven Books, £14.99) is impossible to categorise. It’s like an endless series of Chinese boxes where none contains what we expect it to. It’s completely absorbing and flummoxing and in the end you just have to surrender to its dazzling pyrotechnics. It’s worth it for the sheer brio of the story-telling.’
Val McDermid’s latest novel, Insidious Intent, is published by Sphere, out now. harrogateinternationalfestivals.com