Looking for a smaller festival this year? We’ve got you. Check out these charming small UK festivals that triumph over big festivals any day.
Last updated: 24th Jan 2023
You know what they say, good things come in small packages. The same ethos can be carried over to festivals. We mean sure, Glastonbury and R&L are great. Amazing, even. But there’s something special about smaller festivals.
They’re charming, enchanting, and intimate. Plus, many of them are centred around a specific genre or theme, which can make for crowds filled with people of a similar ilk. It's the perfect combination for a festival. Small festivals are also top because you can make new friends and have a good chance of bumping into them later. If you make friends at Glasto, you best believe you’ll never see them again.
Whether you’re looking to catch the best new indie bands or dance until you can’t feel your legs to tunes spun by the best DJs, this list of the best small festivals in the UK will more than have you covered.
(Click on the headers or images for FAQs and more information about each festival, and make sure to secure tickets in the boxes below each event.)
We Out Here is a festival for everyone, with this ethos reflected in the bold and wild-spanning programme which extends from spiritual jazz to live drum and bass, bossa nova to British funk, all represented by true pioneers and exciting emerging talent alike.
Astral jazz legends Sun Ra Arkestra, led by the visionary Marshall Allen, lead the programme highlights, alongside seminal British funk band Cymande, the enigmatic Black Midi, renowned for their mind-bending live show, and Marcos Valle who has remained on the cutting edge of Brazilian music for generations.
It's one of the coolest festivals about, and the intimate vibe means that it's also filled with the coolest people about. Get those tickets, you won't regret it.
Taking over the majority of Manchester for one day a year, Manchester Psych Fest has become of the biggest events on the city's festival calendar and for good reason. The wild success of 2022 saw over 60 bands fill up rooms across the city and deliver mesmeric performances of mind-bending music for all the tie-dye-clad customers to sway to. From Kurt Vile to Tinariwen to Black Midi, the event was not short of international names, and 2023 seems primed to surpass it.
Already announced are the likes of Los Bitchos, Sorry, The Lovely Eggs, Panic Shack, and L'Eclair, so you just know that it's gonna pop off. It is one of those festivals where there’s just too much good stuff for one person to fit in, given the persistent quality of the lineup, but that's why it happens each year!
Lancaster's number one open-air live music event, Highest Point has confirmed its return to the city's majestic Williamson Park next summer.
Taking over the magnificent grounds of the hill-top park once more, providing four days of amazing wall-to-wall entertainment, the festival will welcome a score of fantastic performances from recently announced headliners, Anne-Marie, Bastille and the Hacienda Classical, who make their long-overdue return to open proceedings on Thursday 11th May. Many more acts have still yet to be announced.
Tickets for the fifth instalment of the popular North West event are already in high demand. Secure yours now in the box below to avoid bitter disappointment.
Interactive art installations, pop-up parties, waterfall plunge pools, workshops, a 13th-century painted castle, The magical Kelburn Garden Party festival is a cultural and artistic safari for the mind, body and soul, featuring a unique programme of music, art and entertainment spread throughout the ancient and spell-binding forest glen and gardens.
This family-friendly, independent event is bursting at the seams with creativity. Turning its back on the standard idea of what a festival should be, entertainment can be found, seen and heard in the most absurd of environments.
2023 sees the magical garden party returning for another year, and bringing it with a host of familiar music names - from London-based electronic music and visual art producer, Max Cooper to radio host and British house DJ Paulette, the legendary Ragga Twins with DJ Krucial, East African rising star Kampire and many more.
Taking over Dreamland, Margate’s all-you-can-treat seaside entertainment sensation, thousands of Drum & Bass fans from far and wide will find a who’s who of top-tier DJs performing throughout the day, with a dozen artists setting the pace and giving everyone something to skank to.
Worried About Henry made a huge impact on Dreamland’s open-air stage last year, bringing a wicked day of Drum and Bass, sun and excellent vibes from start to finish. This year they are set to send ripples across the ocean as they return with heavy-weight duo Chase & Status for a DJ set, returning legend, Shy FX, and 2022’s hottest new artist, Hedex; plus a wealth of top Drum & Bass artists.
There's a second announcement coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. but with these three already announced it's pretty much a no-brainer for DnB lovers. Get it sorted!
51st festival in London had a hugely successful 2022 edition, which included names like Roger Sanchez, Kenny Dope, Charly Black and Mark Knight. The names for 2023 are yet to be announced but you can rest assured knowing that the festival always curates an experience that celebrates the very best in House music culture.
Exploring classic house, tech house, afro house, garage, soul, dancehall and much more, it exemplifies the global movement that the genre has become. Tickets are on sale now and you can find them below. Mark Saturday 5th August in your calendars and get ready to dance all day long.
The One In The Woods burst on the festival scene in Liverpool in 2021, and it’s back with another killer lineup featuring techno and drum and bass artists. From Liverpool City Centre, this little techno and drum and bass haven is only about a 25-minute drive, which is pretty damn good for a secluded weekend with that massive lineup.
Last year, punters saw sets from huge artists such as Pendulum and Camo + Krooked, as well as sets from smaller artists including SPFDJ, Dogger & Mindstate, Kenny Ken and many more.
After a hugely successful event last year, we know this year will only be better. So whack on your bucket hat and secure your ticket before they sell out!
Find more information on The One In The Woods 2023 - here
One of the biggest dance events in Liverpool’s calendar is back again to unite ravers up and down the country. As individuals come together to become crowds, the music drops, the alcohol is flowing, and all that’s on anyone’s mind is music and good times. Take us there already!
Now, we don’t have a lineup yet, but last year was an absolutely boss time, with the likes of Unknown T, Ross From Friends, Skepsis, Crucast, Darkzy and other huge talents setting the most serious of vibes. And of course, being in the city, you can get a lovely AirBnB instead of lying in your own filth in a field in the middle of nowhere.
Located In the beautiful Brecon Beacons near the Black Mountains in Wales, Green Man Festival is an immersive, otherworldly experience. When not taking in the jaw-dropping views, you’ll be watching some of the finest indie and alternative acts from around the world. 2022 had a huge lineup including Metronomy, Kraftwerk, Beach House, Micheal Kiwanuka, and Bicep so we can't wait to see what 2023 has in store.
The mesmerising festival site has ten entertainment areas and a whole host of activities to get involved in. Previous years celebrated literature, art, stalls offering Japanese kumihimo braiding, candle wax-powered boats and more. There’s something for everyone at the unconventional fest that is Green Man. Plus, you’ll get to witness the flames engulf the huge wicker effigy on the closing night!
Find more information on Green Man Festival 2023 - here
Pop punk never dies! Since its inception in 2006, Slam Dunk Festival has become a mecca for pop-punk and rock fans. With both a North and South edition over the same weekend, pop punk fans all across the country will be going mad to their favourite tunes on the same weekend. It's almost poetic.
If a day of moshing and screaming along to some of the hardest pop-punk anthems isn’t enough, you can sign up for the official launch and after-parties where you can catch some awesome exclusive sets from big bands. But, for the main event, Slam Dunk have really pulled it out of the bag this year with legendary bands such as The Offspring, Enter Shikari, Billy Talent, and Bowling For Soup, and there are still plenty more bands to be announced.
Find more information on Slam Dunk Festival North 2023 - here / Slam Dunk Festival South 2023 - here
Has this list of small boutique festivals got you interested in what else is out there? Well, look no further than our festival finderhere.
Header image credit: Kelburn Garden Party on Facebook