London’s seemingly endless calendar of cultural event means there’s a festival to suit every sensibility this summer. We’ve lined up some of the best and identified their unique selling points to help you choose.

Intelligent movement: Hip hop festival at southbank

What: A dynamic programme of concerts, debates, workshops and parties spanning the four pillars of hip-hop – b-boying, MCing, DJing and graffiti.

USP: Where else can you sign up for  a popping masterclass with Popin’ Pete, of the Electric Boogaloos?

Hip hop festival at southbank: Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX. Jul 14-17. Prices vary – some events free. Tube: Waterloo


SW4 weekender

What: An eclectic two-day electro-dance festival featuring such luminaries as Underworld, John Digweed, Magnetic Man and Annie Mac.

USP: Drum’n’bass exponents Pendulum will make their only London live appearance for 2011 on the Sunday.

SW4 Weekender: Clapham Common, SW4Common. Aug 27-28. Day tickets £45, w/e £90. Tube: Clapham

Notting Hill carnival

What: It began as a local festival set up by the West Indian community in the 60s but has since ballooned into Europe’s biggest street festival, attracting one million revellers.USP: Eye-popping floats, the sounds of  traditional steel drum bands, massive sound systems and tasty Carribbean food.

Notting Hill carnival: Aug 28-29. Free. Tube: Notting Hill

The Notting Hill carnival

Camden fringe festival

What: From it’s humble one-venue beginnings five years ago the Camden Fringe Festival now encompasses the whole borough – from Highgate to Bloomsbury – offering a heady mix
of cutting edge theatre, opera, dance and stand-up comedy.

USP: With 200 shows across eight venues over four weeks, it’s a credible alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Camden fringe festival:
Aug 1-28. From £5. Tube: Chalk Farm

Anthropomorphic summer festival

What: Wilton Hall, one of the world’s oldest surviving grand music halls, hosts events ranging from ping-pong championships to classical concerts and films, comedy nights, magic shows and dance puppet theatre.

USP: Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy provides a live musical score for a one-man puppet show of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. That’s not something you’ll see every day.

Anthropomorphic summer festival:
Wilton’s Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley, E1 8JB. Jul 5-Sep 9. Prices vary. Tube: Algate East

Live Fest

What: London’s largest indoor festival is spread over numerous venues in the O2.

USP: See some of some of the UKs finest urban acts including N-DUBZ, Tinchy Stryder, Roll Deep and Tempa T. Middle-of-the-road popsters The Hoosiers are also on the bill and post-hardcore rockers Funeral For a Friend will provide a DJ set.

Live Fest: The O2, Peninsular Sq, SE10 0DX. Sat Jul 23. From £40. Tube: North Greenwich.

Shoreditch festival

What: Traversing 3km of Regent’s Canal, Shoreditch Festival will showcase  live music, film screenings, boat trips, theatre, a floating forest, food markets, health hubs and much more.USP: It’s a partially set on water and features floating attractions such as The Floating Cinema at Shoreditch Trust’s Waterhouse Restaurant (N1 5QJ).

Shoreditch Festival: Regents Canal. Jul 16-24. Free. Tube: Shoreditch High Street.

Shoreditch festival


What: Lovebox has blossomed into one of London’s biggest clubbing events of the summer. Headliners this year include Scissor Sisters, The Wombats, Example, Beardyman, Ed Banger.

USP:  Snoop Dogg will perform his classic Doggystyle album in full, with help from Warren G. Expect to hear Gin and Juice, What’s My Name and the
x-rated Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).

Lovebox: Victoria Park. Jul 16-18. From £28.50. Tube: Bethnal Green.

Ealing blues and comedy festival

What: Back-to-back festivals in Ealing’s vast Walpole park. Ealing’s Comedy Festival features 25 acts (including Omid Djalili, and Stephen K Amos) over five days, followed by Ealing’s legendary Blues Festival celebrating its 25th year with roots singer Sandi Thom topping the bill.

USP: Two very good excuses to get out into the leafy suburbs.

Ealing blues and comedy festival: Walpole Park, W5. Comedy: Jul 15-22. £17.50. Blues: Sat, Jul 23. £4. Tube:Ealing Broadway

Mayor’s thames festival

What: A mixture of music, street arts, river races, art installations culminating in the magical, illuminated Night Carnival.

USP: It’s the perfect way to have one final big weekend before summer ends. And it won’t cost a bean.

Mayor's thames festival: Various venues. Sep 10-11. Free.