The 18 best festivals in the UK and Europe for 2022

After two very quiet years, there’s more than enough to keep music fans happy through summer. Roisin O'Connor, Adam White, Annabel Nugent and Jacob Stolworthy have picked the best of the bunch

<p>Festivals are back with a vengeance this year</p>

Festivals are back with a vengeance this year

After two years of almost total silence in fields and cities around the UK and Europe, festivals are back, and organisers are clearly determined to remind us of what we were missing.

Some of the world’s biggest and best artists are lining up to headline events in Portugal, Spain, Finland, Sicily, and a muddy field in Reading. Each of these festivals offers something completely unique, whether due to its setting, lineup, or what else it’s offering outside of music.

Take a look at our pick of the best festivals to head to this year:

Glastonbury

Where: Worthy Farm, Somerset

When: 22 – 26 June

The big kahuna – the one we’ve all been waiting for. Having been forced to cancel for two years running, Emily and Michael Eavis have put together one of the best Glastonbury lineups in a long while. In the headliners you have legends Paul McCartney and Diana Ross alongside the young innovators: Kendrick Lamar and Billie Eilish. And it only gets better as you cast a glance down the poster: Arlo Parks, Charli XCX, Fontaines DC, Phoebe Bridgers, Sam Fender, Megan The Stallion, Self Esteem... Prepare yourself for the greatest party on Earth. ROC

Ypsigrock

Where: Castelbuono, Sicily

When: 4 – 7 August

Set among the spectacular historical surroundings of Castelbuono, near Sicily’s capital city Palermo, Ypsigrock is a boutique gem of a festival that never hosts the same act twice. That means you can guarantee something different every time – at least when it comes to the music. What never changes is the jaw-dropping main stage in the courtyard of the town’s 14th-century castle, the incredible food, and always excellent weather. ROC

Wilderness

Roisin Murphy is performing at Wilderness festival this year

Where: Cornberry Park, Oxfordshire

When: 4 – 7 August

Wilderness is all about the new, whether that’s a new band, a new idea, or a new experience. The main stage alone is host to an eclectic range of artists, from Maccabees frontman turned solo artist Orlando Weeks to disco queen Róisín Murphy. There are late-night dance parties, a dedicated folk stage, performance arts and a number of workshops including fashion and crafts. Over at the House of Sublime you can celebrate with drag king and queens, burlesque artists, and cabaret and spoken-word performers. When you need to refuel, you can sample one of many dishes from the festival’s headline chefs, including Tom Barnes (L’Enclume), Jeremy Lee (Quo Vadis), and celebrated vegan chef Bettina Campolucci Bordi. Need to unwind? Try the Goddess Space for specially curated women’s events, or the cult London running group Midnight Runners. ROC

Nos Alive

Don’t miss Stormzy at Nos Alive

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

When: 6 – 9 July

With one of the best lineups of any festival in Europe, Nos Alive has something for even the most discerning music fan, along with plenty of crowd-pleasers. Set in a turf-covered portion of Lisbon’s docks, right next door to the 16th-century Belém Tower, this festival offers spectacular music along with all the bustling, brilliant culture of Portugal’s capital. This year you can catch live performances from Metallica, Stormzy, Florence + The Machine, The Strokes, Fontaines DC, The War on Drugs, Royal Blood, Haim, St Vincent and Phoebe Bridgers. ROC

Standon Calling

Where: Standon Lordship, Hertfordshire

When: 21 – 24 July

A boutique and family-friendly festival, Standon Calling offers a eclectic range of live music performances. This year the festival is being headlined by the always entertaining Madness, pop star Anne-Marie, hip-hop artist Loyle Carner and rock veterans Primal Scream. Standon consistently goes above and beyond to achieve a diverse lineup, and this year they’ve achieved a 50 per cent gender balance, along with an entire day at the Laundry Meadows stage for female and non-binary artists. You’ll also find children’s entertainment including Dick and Dom’s DJ Battle, a dedicated baby-sitting service and arts and crafts, plus stand-up comedy, late-night parties, excellent food and drink options, and even a swimming pool if you fancy a refreshing dip. ROC

Latitude

Where: Henham Park, Suffolk

When: 21 – 24 July

A bona fide crowd pleaser, Latitude has something for everyone. The Suffolk-set, four-day event is beloved for its broad line-up – and this year is no different with acts including Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Phoebe Bridgers, Groove Armada, Kae Tempest, Little Simz, Manic Street Preachers, Rina Sawayama, Fontaines DC, and Self Esteem. Music isn’t all that’s on the cards. Russell Howard will be headlining on the comedy front, while families can enjoy kid-friendly activities including dance workshops, puppetry, and model making. If you manage to find time between all that, cool off in the lake with some wild swimming and paddle boarding. AN

Rock En Seine

Arctic Monkeys are headlining a number of festivals this year

Where: Domaine National de Saint-Cloud

When: 25 –30 August

Taking place in a picturesque park 45 minutes west of Paris, Rock En Seine has become a firm favourite among European festival attendees with a predilection for indie music. This year’s line-up won’t disappoint: Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Nick Cave and London Grammar are just some of the many acts who’ll perform within André Le Nôtre’s scenic gardens. Where else can you say you’ve seen Alex Turner perform amid scenery designed by the principal gardener of King Louis XIV? JS

Wireless

Where: Crystal Palace, Finsbury Park, Birmingham

When: 1 – 3 July; 8 – 10 July

The UK’s biggest rap weekender is back – and set to make a massive return if the lineup is anything to go by. This year’s festival takes place across two weekends in London’s Crystal Palace Park and Finsbury Park, with the second weekend also hosting an event in Birmingham’s NEC. It seems almost every hip-hop heavyweight will be in attendance, with a line-up comprising Cardi B, SZA, Nicki Minaj, Tyler, The Creator, Dave, J Cole, Baby Keem, Kali Uchis, French the Kid, Flo Milli, Little Simz, Roddy Rich, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Ghetts, Jack Harlow, Polo G, and A$AP Rocky. AN

Primavera Sound

You can catch Tyler, the Creator at Primavera this year

Where: Barcelona, Spain

When: 2 – 4 June

One of the world’s biggest parties: Primavera is a kaleidoscopic celebration of the best music around. Set in bustling Barcelona, this year’s lineup is as impressive as ever, with artists including Lorde, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Charli XCX, Fontaines DC, Dua Lipa, Gorillaz and Tyler, the Creator all booked to play across two massive weekends in June. ROC

Green Man

Where: Brecon Beacons, Wales

When: 18-21 August

Green Man continues its reputation as one of the UK’s gentlest festivals for its 20th anniversary celebrations this year. Held in the heart of the rolling Welsh hills, August’s event will play host to Michael Kiwanuka, Beach House, Metronomy, Ezra Furman, Cate Le Bon and Jenny Hval, as well as bonafide legends such as Kraftwerk. AW

Flow Festival

Where: Helsinki, Finland

When: 12 – 14 August

This year’s Flow Festival is set to be a standout European event, with a line-up consisting of Florence + the Machine, Princess Nokia, Fontaines DC, Gorillaz, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Jamie xx, Michael Kiwanuka, Sigrid, Little Simz, Pa Salieu King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, DJ Koze, JARV IS…, Aldous Harding, and Nineties punk rock icons Bikini Kill. Rounding off the agenda is a comprehensive art program offering visitors a thought-provoking experience spread across the festival area. Taking place at a disused power station built at the turn of the century, the festival is only a short walk away from Helsinki city centre. AN

End of the Road

Where: Larmer Tree Gardens near Blandford, Dorset

When: 1 – 4 September

End of the Road is a charming independent festival with the heart of a tentpole production. The event prides itself on being genre-fluid and this year’s lineup continues that tradition. Pixies, Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes, and Khruangbin will headline the four-day event, with acts including Aldous Harding, Black Midi, Lucy Dacus, Greentea Peng, Perfume Genius, Kurt Vile & The Violators, The Magnetic Fields, Kevin Morboy, Tinariwen, Nilüfer Yanya, and The Weather Station also set to perform. Music aside, End of the Road will welcome back its fantastic comedy stage, curated cinema experience, and workshops for all-ages, such as animation classes, yoga, and songwriting. Immersed in the woodland wonderland of Larmer Tree Gardens, you’ll also find a library where festival-goers can grab a moment of peace and crack open a good book. AN

Oya

Oya Festival in Norway is one of the best in Europe

Where: Tøyen Park, Oslo

When: 9-13 August

Held amid lush Norwegian greenery, Oya can’t help but seem like a Euro fantasy land that happens to have a great soundtrack. This year’s fest is no different, with a diverse lineup that bounces from veterans such as Nick Cave and Bikini Kill to newbie superstars including HER and AJ Tracey. Also on the roll call are Little Simz, Gorillaz, Fontaines DC, Bright Eyes, Perfume Genius, Sons of Kemet, Aldous Harding and many more. AW

BST Hyde Park

Emma Thompson dances in the audience of An Audience with Adele

Where: Hyde Park, London

When: 24 June – 10 July

Set in the heart of London, British Summer Time is renowned for hosting some of the biggest stars in music. This year kicks off with Elton John on 24 June as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, followed by headline sets from the Rolling Stones, Adele, Pearl Jam, Eagles and Duran Duran, plus special guests across the two weeks including Pixies, Cat Power, and Nile Rodgers and Chic. ROC

Exit

Where: Novi Sad, Serbia

When: 7-10 July

One of those festivals that’s so weird and unique that the state of its lineup is slightly irrelevant, Exit is hosted in an 18th century fortress off the coast of Serbia. If you require more incentive to attend, this year’s event will feature performers heavy on the bangers, with Calvin Harris, Jax Jones, Joel Corry, Afrojack and Iggy Azalea on the lineup. AW

Mad Cool

Wolf Alice are one of the most exciting live acts around

Where: Madrid, Spain

When: 6-10 July

To celebrate its fifth birthday, Europe’s sunniest music festival has expanded this year to five days of indie, rock and pop, with a dreamy lineup of heavy hitters. Stormzy, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Haim, Metallica, Florence + the Machine, Phoebe Bridgers, Sam Fender, Arlo Parks and Placebo are among the many, many names scheduled to appear. The final line-up has also seen additions of Incubus, Mother Mother, Don Broco, CL, Only The Poets, Alyona Alyona, Noisy and Alina Pash. Being Madrid in summertime, good weather is guaranteed, while the 100,000 square metres of land the festival sits on means you won’t get cramped if you don’t really want to. AW

Parklife

Where: Heaton Park, Manchester

When: 11 – 12 June

Parklife consistently outdoes just about every other festival in the UK when it comes to the sheer scale and range of its lineup. This year is no different, with headliners including Tyler, the Creator, 50 Cent and Megan Thee Stallion, plus Lewis Capaldi. Central Cee, Loyle Carner, Four Tet, Arlo Parks, Headie One and Jamie XX. ROC

Reading/Leeds

Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds

When: 26-28 August

The “sloshed in a park at 16” of UK festivals is back with a surprisingly decent lineup of major names. Spread across the weekend in both cities are Dave, Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow, Run the Jewels, Halsey, Rage Against the Machine, Italian Eurovision champions Måneskin, as well as the all mighty return of Arctic Monkeys. AW

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