There’s something quintessentially British about observing the rituals of summer in the months of June, July and August. As God-given as the predisposed flight of migratory gannets, we descend en masse to the nearest beer garden as soon as the working summer day is done. Whether you’re casting long shadows over cricket pitches, drinking warm beer or traversing the invincible greenery of Sefton Park, it’s crucial to plan those precious days of sunlight and to think about which of the many festivals you’re going to attend. With such a host of great events catering to all kinds of mainstream and niche tastes, it can be a bit of a daunting task. Well worry ye not: Bido Lito!’s serial wristband and lanyard collector Philip Morris has marinated in this year’s mammoth festival calendar, putting together this selection of the best festivals taking place on our doorstep over the next few months. If you end up at that lawn-mower festival in Southport again, don’t blame us…

Summer Festival Guide 2016 Image

Festival No. 6

1st-4th September / Portmeirion, Wales

Bido Lito! Highlight: HOT CHIP

Set in the idyllic ‘Welsh Riviera’, FESTIVAL NO. 6 is a bespoke offering like no other. The Italiante village of Portmeirion – a geography-defying coastal retreat that blends sub-tropical vegetation with the traditional rugged beauty of Snowdonia – offers fairy-tale surroundings of sandy estuaries and 70 acres of exotic woodland that wouldn’t be out of place in the quirky yet bountiful universe of a Wes Anderson film set. Spend the weekend discovering screenings, readings and installations in the various coves and crannies of this truly magical site. Now in its fifth year, Festival No. 6 will be hosting an eclectic array of headline talent, from NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS to ROOTS MANUVA. Elsewhere, the world-famous MANCHESTER CAMERATA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA will perform their very special tribute, David Bowie Reimagined.

Green Man

18th-21st August / Brecon Beacons, Wales

Bido Lito! Highlight: SONGHOY BLUES

The serene and genteel atmosphere of GREEN MAN has established itself as a staple for festival-goers everywhere. Nestled away amongst ancient oak trees lies the discerning indie pagan’s nirvana. Enveloped in the emerald-green beauty of the Brecon Beacons, enjoy a haven of holistic realignment or let the little folk loose in the family-friendly children’s area. This year’s line-up is one of the strongest of the season, with the emphatic JAMES BLAKE set to showcase his new material, alongside stalwarts BELLE & SEBASTIAN and the unstoppable LAURA MARLING. Further down the bill, KAMASI WASHINGTON showcases his epic new jazz and CHARLOTTE CHURCH brings her Late Night Pop Dungeon.

Gottwood Festival

9th-12th June / Anglesey, Wales


Take a delightful train ride to the most north-western point of Wales and you’ll find the UK’s best-kept secret. GOTTWOOD, now in its seventh year, blends an expertly curated assortment of underground sounds. Meander through the hand-made yurts and beautiful woodland and you’ll come across an intimate dance arena carved into the trees. This year’s music bill sees ANDREW WEATHERALL going back-to-back with ROMAN FLÜGEL, JOY ORBISON coalescing funky-step and garage vibes, and Brian Shimkovitz’s AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICA bringing the sound system of the savannah to the secret plains of Anglesey. Expect awe-inspiring installations, psychedelic light shows and sets lasting several hours.

Kendal Calling

28th-31st July/ Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

Bido Lito! Highlight: SPRING KING

Conceived by a bunch of music lovers who felt the abundant fields of the Lake District could be put to better use, this now annual event lures some of the industry’s biggest names to a region rich in natural beauty. Ten years on from its inception, KENDAL CALLING has become something of an epicentre for Cumbrian culture. Set amidst the dense forest and rolling hills of Kendal, this year’s event boasts Mercury-nominated artists like RUDIMENTAL and GHOSTPOET alongside prominent musical mastodons like THE CHARALTANS, MADNESS and DONOVAN. Lose yourself in this Lost Eden, an area dedicated to wandering percussion troupes, brand-new sculptural pieces and stunning woodland walks.

Summer Festival Guide 2016 Image

Fire In The Mountain

3rd-5th June / Isaf, Cnwch Coch, Aberystwyth

Bido Lito! Highlight: THE TURBANS

Located on an ancient farm in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, you’ll find FIRE IN THE MOUNTAIN. Cradled by the beautiful beaches of Cardigan Bay, this lively and family-orientated folk festival casts a warm glow high up in the valleys of Aberystwyth. A jam tent will be set up for anyone who wants to join in the music, and a range of local ales and ciders will be on tap to slowly nudge people towards doing so. Now in its sixth year, organisers have attracted international acts from the furious fiddlers of America (FOGHORN STRING BAND) to the laid-back groove of Jamaica (HORSEMAN AND THE UPPERCUT) – and the event even featues local representation from THE PRINNY AVE. JAZZ BAND. Join them in bringing this hippy kingdom alive once again in another magical gathering of hearts, minds and music.


22nd-24th July / various venues, Sheffield

Bido Lito! Highlight: FIELD MUSIC

Sheffield’s TRAMLINES is as reliable as the British Steel the city was built upon. The once free festival has swollen in size and proportion in recent times; but don’t be mardy, this year organisers have delivered the biggest and best event yet. Bringing together a strong selection of contemporary urban and indie acts, 2016’s genre-spanning curation includes Sheffield’s finest TODDLA-T as well as CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN. For a bustling inner-city event aimed at the nippers, organisers have challenged the audience by providing genuine eclecticism: DIZZEE RASCAL is billed alongside JANE WEAVER, and YOUNG FATHERS share a stage with QUANTIC. Even the old-timers are catered for with funky sets from GEORGE CLINTON AND PARLIAMENT, reggae veteran DAWN PENN and the eternal Babylon of DAVID RODIGAN.

Long Division

10th-12th June / various venues, Wakefield

Bido Lito! Highlight: KAGOULE

There was a time when Wakefield looked with envy at Leeds and its Carling-drenched festival. Five years ago, LONG DIVISION put Wakey back on the map, with their annual zenith of cultural achievement held in the historic city centre. The event has become the beating heart of the local music scene and a vital platform for young artists to develop – most of the bill is comprised of acts looking to impress and some of this year’s whipper-snappers-to-watch include South Yorkshire five-piece DEADSET DREAM and Leeds noiseniks FOREVER CULT. Further up the bill LOS CAMPESONIS! and JOHNNY FOREIGNER bring reputable quirk pop and post-punk legends GANG OF FOUR top the bill with the ever-serene FIELD MUSIC.

Summer Festival Guide 2016 Image


22nd-24th July / Jodrell Bank, Cheshire

Bido Lito! Highlight: AIR

In its maiden voyage, the brand new BLUEDOT Festival invites you to contemplate the wonders of the universe from the stargazing setting of Jodrell Bank observatory. Camp under the cosmos and explore a galactic curation of music, science and technology from the organisers of the iconic Live From Jodrell Bank series. This edifying experiment blurs the boundaries of art and science and promises earth-shattering encounters with pioneering electronic acts such as UNDERWORLD and CARIBOU. If that doesn’t set your thrusters ablaze, space-out under the starry dynamo to the staggering visuals and new-age eccentricity of French composer extraordinaire JEAN-MICHEL JARRE.

Lunar Festival

3rd-5th June / Tamworth in Arden, Warwickshire

Bido Lito! Highlight: OS MUTANTES

The Midlands’ mini Glastonbury continues to go from strength to strength and this year’s LUNAR FESTIVAL looks set to orbit that trend. This year they present an ambitious programme over three days, with Liverpool’s winsome heroes BILL RYDER-JONES and STEALING SHEEP carrying the torch for the locals. Legendary New York-scene lynchpins TELEVISION bring some gravitas to the bill, alongside futurist, powerful post-rock duo MERCURY REV and Brazilian tropicalia act OS MUTANTES. Pitched in the Umberslade Estate, the spiritual home of Nick Drake, you’ll find an eclectic mix of acts with a strong undercurrent of psychedelia charging through this Lunar line-up.


11th-12th June / Heaton Park, Manchester

Bido Lito! Highlight: FOUR TET

It’s a simple equation, but park + great music almost always equals win – that’s exactly the formula PARKLIFE have stuck to for years, and nobody does it better. This year they’ve outdone themselves, with THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS leading the charge on a bill that offers something for everyone. The mercurial FOUR TET, the fiery grime spitting of STORMZY, and WOLF ALICE’s summer-ready rock are prime examples of the huge variety on offer across multiple stages in the gorgeous setting of Manchester’s sprawling Heaton Park.

Summer Festival Guide 2016 Image



If you’re not one to venture too far from your own back yard then Liverpool has plenty to keep you occupied on the festival front this summer, too. Home comforts have never been so tantalising, with a host of family-friendly and free weekend events dominating the sun-drenched season. It’s no longer necessary to pack the car with tents and tinnies to go on a journey in search of musical nourishment: some of the biggest names in the global music community are descending on the city this very summer. Happy wristband collecting!

Africa Oyé

18th and 19th June / Sefton Park


Chillax in the vibrant greenery of Sefton Park and enjoy a truly international festival that harnesses the spirit of multiculturalism and tolerance. AFRICA OYÉ is a celebration of all aspects of African culture, with food, drink and craft stalls representing culture from right across the African diaspora, packed into the ever-popular traders’ village. With music from MBONGWANA STAR – our all-time favourite band from DR Congo – and Gambian composer SONA JOBARTEH, this free weekend is a real highlight on the calendar.

Liverpool International Music Festival

21st-24th July / Liverpool (multiple venues)

Bido Lito! Highlight: LIANNE LA HAVAS

Another ray of sunshine in the city’s summer schedule, LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL has fast become the leading family festival in the UK, simultaneously cementing Liverpool’s world-class cultural offer and global city of music acclaim. This year’s Summer Jam – held in the splendour of Sefton Park – will see SIGMA, LIANNE LA HAVAS and WRETCH 32 perform at Europe’s largest free music event, with the ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA offering a reimaging of some of the city’s most-revered musical motifs. Alongside, the festival also has a range of specially commissioned events taking place across various venues. We are hosting our own tribute to legendary LA band Love in our FROM LIVERPOOL WITH LOVE commission, and Gilles Peterson takes us on his own FROM THE SOUL musical adventure.

Liverpool Calling

9th July / Camp and Furnace

Bido Lito! Highlight: YAK

If you can’t quite manage a long weekend outdoors convening with nature, then you might want to squeeze your festival fix in to a single day, and that’s precisely what LIVERPOOL CALLING offers. Upgrading from their bijou former residence at The Bombed Out Church, this year’s event has been up-scaled to make full use of Camp and Furnace and the adjacent Blade Factory. Indie vanguard act SPECTOR are this year’s pièce de résistance, while Bath blues siblings THE FAMILY RAIN head proceedings at Blade Factory. It goes without saying there’s a tonne of talented local bands on the bill too, in floral psychsters THE WICKED WHISPERS, the awesome ELEVANT and cock-rocking indie eccentrics JACKOBINS.

Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia

23rd – 24th September / Camp and Furnace, Blade Factory and District

Bido Lito! Highlight: THE HORRORS

Calling all freaks: the UK’s largest celebration of psychedelic sub-culture is back to expand your mind and enrich your soul. The 2016 edition follows last year’s sold-out and critically lauded instalment of the festival. This year’s congregation is helmed by goth/psych dreamers THE HORRORS, oddball psych royalty SUPER FURRY ANIMALS, and Japanese, post-punk, noise/prog specialists ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE. Elsewhere, the PZYK 2016 line-up features a fine selection of artists from across the globe, between them spanning the international PZYK sub-culture. For out of towners, PZYK Dorms and Hotels are available as accommodation packages.


9th – 10th June PLUS 8th and 10th July / Sefton Park Palm House

Bido Lito! Highlight: FRANK TURNER

If you want tropical but you’re not too keen on travelling miles to get it, then X&Y FESTIVAL surely ticks the box. The increasingly popular mid-summer event has found a new home: Sefton Park’s gorgeous Palm House, which plays host to two weekends of action in June and July, headed up by folk/punk troubadour FRANK TURNER. X&Y has developed its reputation by being a showcase of the brightest in new music, and this year is no different. Soulful electronic duo HONNE are joined by BABEHEAVEN’s hazy vibes, the aggressive indie rock of VANT and a whole host more.

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