Summer Music Festivals 2015: The early bird

Polly Checkland Harding
Festival No. 6 Portmeirion village

Yes, we’re only in March – but this year’s summer music festivals are already selling out. Here’s what not to miss.

With Kendal Calling already sold out we thought it was time to round up our favourite summer music festivals – so that you lovely people don’t miss out. Just around the corner (both time-wise, and literally for us) is Salford’s Sounds From the Other City (3 May, various venues, tickets £20 adv.). Both sets of early bird tickets have already sold out for this Bank Holiday bobby-dazzler – and no wonder when Jane Weaver, Last Harbour, the BBC Philharmonic ensemble and more are set to come to some beautifully unusual venues, helmed by the likes of Red Deer Club, Now Wave and Hey! Manchester. This is Salford at its best.

Next up, and over in Liverpool, is Sound City (22-24 May, Liverpool Docklands, tickets from £35). For this, the festival’s eighth iteration, Sound City has upped sticks and moved to a specially developed location at Bramley Moore Dock – lining up the Vaccines, Flaming Lips, Stealing Sheep and Dutch Uncles to pull in the punters. Sound City clashes dates with Dot to Dot Festival, which brings its fairly niche programming to city venues Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham (22-24 May, three cities, tickets £25 for each). We’ve got a soft spot for Rae Morris and the bonkers Honeyblood – but the best thing about Dot to Dot is really the chance to unearth your Next Favourite Band. They’ve had Ellie Goulding, The xx and Foals on in the past.

Acts like Grace Jones, FKA Twigs & Jungle are best enjoyed when not in the midst of a zombie apocalypse

Our big hope for this year’s Parklife (6-7 June, Heaton Park, tickets from £54.50) is that its audience won’t be quite so cheek-chewing as it has been in the past. Call us fusty, but acts like Grace Jones, FKA Twigs, James Blake and Jungle are much easier to enjoy when not in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Meanwhile, Martha Reeves, Kate Tempest, Wu-Tang Clang, Ghostpoet and Basement Jaxx all take to Tramlines’ city-based stages for a Sheffield festival with no tent necessary (24-26 July, Sheffield, weekend ticket £30).

Another date decision to be made here – because Tramlines coincides with the family-friendly Cloudspotting festival (24-26 July, Forest of Bowland, weekend ticket £99). In its fifth year, Cloudspotting defines itself as a ‘relaxed retreat for a few hundred people’; a leafy, secluded setting, then, for Jane Weaver, Ezra Furman, The Wave Pictures and The Travelling Band (fabulous live). Just So festival (21-23 August, Cheshire, tickets from £50) rides out the warmer months, and though it’s not strictly a music festival, we really had to include it. Why? Because a Fabularium, midnight feasts, a museum of curiosities, circus and parcour performances, cinema and dancing are all on the cards.

OK, so our final pick isn’t really in the summer, either. We think you’ll forgive us though, because Festival No.6 (3-6 September, Portmeirion, tickets from £170) is pretty extraordinary. It takes over the entirety of the Portmeirion village, with its sub-tropical greenery, Italian aesthetic and dog cemetery, bringing Belle & Sebastian, Young Fathers, King Creosote and Stornoway to this incredible coastal setting. The other activities lined-up are always pretty splendid, and you can even get a reduced train fare. Win-win, no? So folks, that’s your lot. Now, get booking!

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