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The Olympics are just around the corner, it’s the Queen’s Jubilee, and with a rammed-to-bursting summer calendar, 2012 is one of the best years to enjoy a slice of the traditional British festival experience.

There are events of all shapes and sizes: intimate one-day gigs in remote locations; three-day, inner-city pop-drenched spectacles; and festivals that feature the biggest names on the planet. With hundreds of events across London and up and down the country to choose from, we’ve put together your essential festival guide with the lowdown on the what, where and when you can’t afford to miss. So pack the sunblock, dig out the tent, it’s festival time!

Field Day

WHEN 2 May
WHERE Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets
THE VIBE Celebrating its fifth year, Field Day unleashes a kaleidoscope of genres, from pop to punk and dance to dubstep.
LINE-UP Franz Ferdinand, Modeselektor, Rustie, Gold Panda, Afrocubism.
TICKETS £45+

» fielddayfestivals.com

 

International Ska Fest

WHEN 3–6 May
WHERE Islington Metal Works
THE VIBE Showcasing ska stalwarts such as Jerry Dammers (The Specials) and Dreadzone Soundsystem, this event is the perfect place to get your funk on.
LINE-UP Dawn Penn, Hotknives, The Pioneers, The Skints. DJs Mark Barrett, Andy Smith, Andy Attic.
TICKETS £122

» londoninternational skafestival.co.uk

 

Camden Crawl

WHEN 4–6 May
WHERE Camden
THE VIBE A dazzling array of events across this north-London indie-haven, with comedy, spoken word and more than 300 top bands.
LINE-UP Death in Vegas, Alabama 3, Sway, The Futureheads.
TICKETS £39+

» thecamdencrawl.com 

 

I’ll Be Your Mirror

WHEN 25-27 May 
WHERE Alexandra Palace
THE VIBE Curated by electronic avant garde musicians Mogwai, this alternative festival hosts a mountain of alternative genres, including grunge and thrash. 
LINE-UP Mogwai, Slayer, Mudhoney, Afghan Whigs.
TICKETS £39+

» atpfestival.com 

 

Applecart

WHEN 3 June
WHERE Victoria Park
THE VIBE Folk, comedy, art cinema and magic combine to satisfy even the snobbiest festival-goer. This is a lively, fun, colourful day event, which boasts a must-see line-up of music, as well as comedy performances from the likes of Phill Jupitus.
LINE-UP Adam Ant, Noah And The Whale, Billy Bragg, Beth Jeans Houghton, Gaz Coombes.
TICKETS £35

» theapplecartfestival.com

 

Lovebox

WHEN 15-17 June 
WHERE Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets
THE VIBE This has grown year-on-year to become one of London’s most popular events. 2012 marks the three-day festival’s 10th birthday, so it’s set to impress with some of the biggest electronic music acts. 
LINE-UP Lana Del Ray, Friendly Fires, Hot Chip, Azealia Banks, Mike, Emeli Sande, Grace Jones.
TICKETS £29.50+

» lovebox.net

 

Homelanz

WHEN 16 June
WHERE Boston Manor Park
THE VIBE Missing Australia or New Zealand? Check out all the best bits from home, with top tucker and the great sounds from bands from the southern hemisphere. 
LINE-UP Prime Circle, Jayson Norris, Kora, Alex Lloyd, JT Mills Experence, Dave Gander, Anna Coddington.
TICKET £35+

» homelanz.co.uk

 

Hackney Weekender

WHEN 23-24 June 
WHERE Hackney Marshes
THE VIBE The UK’s biggest free-ticketed music event hosts worldwide acts and expects 100,000 punters.
LINE-UP Jay-Z, Florence + The Machine, Calvin Harris, Rihanna, Plan B, Bombay Bicycle Club.
TICKETS Free, to the lucky chosen ones.

» bbc.co.uk/radio1/hackneyweekend/2012

 

Bluesfest

WHEN June 26–July 6
WHERE London + Manchester
THE VIBE Taking place in various venues across two cities, this top-class blues festival packs some heavyweight punches with world-class names fronting the bill. Be prepared to be more than impressed.
LINE-UP Sir Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Robert Cray, George Benson, Charles Bradley, Brand New Heavies, Ronnie Wood.
TICKETS £25+

» bluesfest.co.uk

 

Wireless

WHEN 6-8 July
WHERE Hyde Park
THE VIBE A pop fest in the centre of the city with an all-star A-list line up. It’s time to get your groove on.
LINE-UP Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, Labyrinth.
TICKETS £55+ 

» wirelessfestival.co.uk

 

Olympics closing ceremony

WHEN 12 August
WHERE Hyde Park
THE VIBE Whether you’re celebrating gold medals or drowning your sorrows, this will ensure the greatest show on earth goes out with a bang. 
LINE-UP Blur, New Order, The Specials.
TICKETS TBC

» london2012.com/games/ceremonies

 

South West Four

WHEN 25–26 August
WHERE Clapham Common, Clapham
THE VIBE With a top line-up, it’s easy to see why this non-stop, up-for-it event is deemed London’s premiere electronic music festival. 
LINE-UP Skrillex, 2manydjs, Chase And Status.
TICKETS £45+

» southwestfour.com


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London's best music festivals - from Field Day and Lovebox to Applecart and Homelanz
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