A sold-out opening show at Boomtown 2022 in full swing.

The best festivals to book in 2023

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Festival season is upon us yet again. But with so many out there, which do you book? From family-friendly celebrations to techno parties, Living 360 spotlights this year’s must-attend events

Missed out on Glastonbury tickets this year? Then boy do we have good news for you! The epic Somerset shindig might seem like the summer’s most unmissable gathering, but the UK and Europe is abundant with smaller, lesser-known festivals boasting big musical acts and endless fun. Whether you’re a family, a foodie or a fiend for techno, here are the best festivals to have on your radar in 2023.

Boomtown; 9-13 August

This bonkers jewel of a festival on the Matterley Estate near Winchester is an enigma. On the one hand, it’s an immersive adventure game/escape room type deal, with bespoke sets and rigorously scripted actors in full costume acting out an interactive plot, which you can spend the whole weekend trying to solve. On the other hand, it’s also a colossal mashup rave, with drum and bass, jungle, psytrance and gabba. Must be seen to be believed.

With loud music blaring and bright lights strobing on stage, hundreds of revellers party the night away at the Boomtown Festival 2022, UK.
Boomtown 2022
Kite; 9-11 June

One for the brainiacs, this tidy little festival in an especially verdant corner of Oxfordshire is divided fairly evenly between live podcasts (The Breakup Monologues, My Time Capsule), thought-provoking talks (Marina Hyde, Max Porter) and actually-rather-legit music from the likes of Hot Chip, Suede and Candi Staton. Billed as providing ‘room to dance and space to think’, this second edition should see Kite really take off.

Camp Bestival; 27-30 July & 17-20 August
Dorset and Shropshire

DJ Rob da Bank’s family-friendly fiesta recently split into two, with the original Dorset shindig taking place at Lulworth Castle from 27-30 July, and the Shropshire outpost at Weston Park from 17-20 August. Expect silly games and CBeebies-style high jinks, along with fun ‘proper’ acts like Sam Ryder, The Kooks and Craig David, plus Gok Wan on the decks.

On a sunny day, kids play in the park during the Pub in the Park festival.
Pub in the Park
Pub in the Park; various dates

Chef Tom Kerridge knows a thing or two about posh pub grub. His boozer The Hand & Flowers became the first pub in the UK to gain two Michelin stars back in 2012, and touring festival Pub in the Park is a chance to share his culinary creations with an audience of hungry festival punters each summer. Taking to the likes of Wimbledon, Bath, Brighton and Tunbridge Wells, expect upscale nosh, of course, but also tunes from a retro roster of McFly, Sugababes, Toploader and UB40.

Caprices; 7-9 April & 14-16 April

Talk about a high-end party. The Swiss mountains, including the glorious Matterhorn, provide a backdrop to this chichi dance party, which is splayed across five ultra-futuristic venues with names like the Dome and The Moon. It takes place over two weekends, the first headlined by Jamie xx, plus support from Blond:Ish and Fatboy Slim, with Richie Hawtin further down the line-up. Festival-goers get free gondola access and can hit the slopes in between.

Lowlands; 18-20 August
The Netherlands

This 60,000-punter festival celebrates culture and togetherness. All genres are welcome, from hip-hop to rock to metal to pop and electronic. The line-up this year is ludicrously good — Billie Eilish, Florence + the Machine, Bicep, Yungblud — but a lot of care and effort is taken on the non-music side, too, with more sideshows and nooks and crannies than you could explore in a weekend.

By the bank of a river, music lovers enjoy the Lowlands festival in the Netherlands.
Way Out West; 10-12 August

Way Out West is urban, in that it’s set in downtown Gothenburg, but also rather Edenic, in that the daytime fun takes place in the lush park of Slottsskogen, with lakeside chill-out spots and secret wooded hideouts. Headliners include Blur and local lad Hâkan Hellström, and a bold all-veggie ethos makes it worth the trek. After hours, the fun spills out into the city’s bars and clubs.

Words: Andy Hill

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