festivals 2019

Unmissable Festivals 2019 Guide

We read a lot of emails and scoured the internet for the underdogs, the independent free ones and big festivals with DIY spirit.

We categorised our recommendations into four categories:

FREE FESTIVALS | CHEAP AND CHIC | BIGGER FESTIVALS WORTH PAYING FOR | WORTH TRAVELLING FOR

Free (Is The Magic Number)

All Points East: In the Neighbourhood

27-30 May 2019 | Victoria Park, Mile End

Four days of free events including an outdoor cinema, live music, creative workshops, street food, pop up craft beer bars and panels & talks.

Highlights: Our very own editor’s TED-talk style Show and Tell and Back to the Future and Black Panther at the outdoor cinema all on Tuesday 28 May 2019.

Greenwich + Docklands International Festival

21 June – 6 July 2019 | Multiple Venues

Our ultimate favourite free festival gives you thrills and spills all over south east London.

Highlights include: Passenger an interactive bus journey around the Royal Docks, an outdoor version of Moby Dick and Greenwich Fair a bonkers outdoor extravaganza in gorgeous Greenwich.

Greenwich Peninsula: Urban Village Fete and Turning Tides

19 May | Urban Village Fete

5 – 7, 12 – 14 July 2019 | The Tide

A nice chance to explore the newly opened up riverside at North Greenwich. Take your pick from Turning Tides on the new riverside path or Wayne Hemingway Design curated Urban Village Fete in May.

Bamstock

15 June 2019 | Wandle Park

Croydon comes to life with this free live music festival with tasty tipples from Hoodoo’s bar.

Lambeth Country Show

20-21 July 2019 | Brockwell Park

Do the Lambeth walk to this rather amazing slice of country life in the city.

Highlights: Full programme still to be announced but expect everything from Samba brass bands to horticultural shows, sheep and owl displays, home grown vegetable and flower competitions.

London Mela

18-19 August 2019 | Southall Park

Southall the home of Bhangra is to be the setting for London’s
epic celebration of Asian culture and creativity with live music and delicious food.

Highlights: Kasiika & Jay Sean on Sunday.

Packhorse Fair

27 May 2019 | Bruton, Somerset

Missing Glastonbury? Who cares! Head to the delightfully quaint and free Packhorse Fair for the village vibe for music lovers.

River Stage

Weekends 5 July – 4 August 2019 | National Theatre

Every weekend the South Bank side of the National Theatre is a takeover by some top culture brands including the hilarious drag antics of The Glory (5-7 July), Shubbak Festival (12-14 July), greenery from National Park City Festival (19-21 July) and theatrical experiments from Frantic Assembly (26-28 July).

Thamesmead Festival 2019 #TMFest

14 June – 3 August 2019 | Various Venues

The concrete lakeside dream of Thamesmead we love is changing fast. Take this opportunity to celebrate the utopian social housing project with this free festival.

Highlights: Compagnie XY will present a pop up circus show on 30 June and on 6 July there will be the Lakeside Festival to celebrate the reopening of the community centre by the lake made TV famous in Channel 4’s Misfits.

Cheap & Chic

The Ends

31 May – 2 June 2019 | Lloyd Park, Croydon | From £50

Croydon is home to this feast of sounds from the world’s finest alongside up and coming local south London acts..

Highlights: De La Soul, Damian Marley, Nas, Wizkid and Nao.

Mighty Hoopla

8 June 2019 | Brockwell Park | From £50

Abandon any pretence and let go as this carnival of camp comes to town with an insanely good pop line up.

Highlights: Chaka Khan, The Cocoa Butter Club, Jamelia, Samantha Mumba, Kate Nash, All Saints and newcomer Damélola.

Visions

3 August 2019 | London Fields | £33

Visions rules the roost in tastemaker central aka London Fields with an offbeat line up and even a dog show.

Highlights: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, White Denim and Anna Meredith.

Bigger Festivals Worth the Ticket Price

End of the Road

29 August – 1 September 2019 | Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire | £192

A smallish capacity combined with a beautifully curated indie line up and peacocks roaming around the site makes for a great weekend in the middle of nowhere. Definitely one for BBC 6Music fans.

Highlights: Kero Kero Bonito, Viagra Boys, Metronomy, Jarvis Cocker and Georgia.

Latitude

18-21 July 2019 | Henham Park, Suffolk | £202.50

Latitude is the perfect mix of arts, culture and music in the idyllic setting of Henham Park. It may be a bit more refined but the mix of events and activities is unbeatable

Highlights: Music from Lana Del Rey, Sigrid, Ray Blk, Squid and Penguin Cafe. Arts standouts include Frank Skinner, Lolly Adefope, Duckie, Anna Mann’s Late Night Cheese and Sex Party, Sh!t Theatre and Reni Eddo-Lodge.

Lovebox

12-13 July 2019 | Gunnersbury Park | From £62.50

London’s über cool festival is the only place to catch the incredible Lizzo in London this summer as her O2 Forum gig is sold out.

Highlights: Lizzo, Giggs, Four Tet and Slowthai.

Worth Travelling For

Best Kept Secret

31 May – 2 June 2019 | Beekse Bergen, Netherlands | From €80

An incredible line up in the Netherlands, Best Kept Secret won’t be secret for long.

Highlights: Carly Rae Jepsen, Interpol, Lizzo, Princess Nokia and Kraftwerk.

Black Deer Festival

21-23 June 2019 | Eridge Park, Kent | From £45

A relative newcomer Black Deer Festival is the best place to enjoy Americana and country music this side of the pond.

Highlights: The Mavericks, Billy Bragg, Band of Horses and Alabama 3.

Brainchild

12-14 July | Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, East Sussex | £90

A fiesta of new ideas and a place to relish enjoying the moment from discovering new acts to debating the path to a better future.

Highlights: Travis Alabanza, New Economic Foundation, biig piig, Bridget Minamore, gal-dem, Voguing with Jay Jay Revlon.

Indietracks

26-28 July 2019 | Midland Railway Centre, Derbyshire | From £41

50 DIY / indie pop artists perform in this delightfully offbeat festival with free steam train rides

Highlights: Big Joanie, Bis, Stealing Sheep and Kero Kero Bonito.

Milhões de Festa

6-9 September 2019 | Barcelos, Portugal | From €20

A curious alternative festival with an unusual boundary pushing lineup.

Highlights: Gazelle Twin, Squarepusher, Grabba Grabba Tape, WWWater and Marilyn Misandry.

Ventnor Fringe

23-28 July 2019 | Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Get thee to the Isle of Wight for a grassroots fringe festival of music, theatre cinema and pop up events.

Highlights: Bilal Zafar, Puppet Pub Quiz, Ahir Shah and Impromptu Shakepeare.

Did we miss an unmissable festival? Leave a comment with your thoughts…

Rupert Dannreuther

About 

I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.