It's without question that 2020 has been a disastrous year for many industry sectors across the UK, with the live music and festival sector in particular being hit especially hard as a result of COVID-19.
The numerous unique and stunning locations upon which the excess of world beating, annual summer UK festivals usually take place, have remained abnormally quiet and dismally dormant throughout 2020. But all hope is not lost.
With some degree of normality expected to return the British Isles next year, following the exciting news around the first COVID-19 vaccines, we begin to look to the future, to what is surely set to be one of the greatest years for festivals, live music and music in general - 2021.
From the legendary Glastonbury Festival to the Dance mecca of Creamfields and the UK's largest metropolitan festival, Parklife, theres so many, almost too many, amazing live music events to choose from. With many festivals promising their biggest lineups and production set ups to date, the task of deciding where to go can be somewhat overwhelming.
Which is why we've gone to the effort of lovingly producing a curated selection of some of our favourite festival happenings, taking place right here in the UK in 2021.
Whichever festival you choose, you can almost guarantee a festival atmosphere the likes of which might never be felt again.
Image credit: Parklife Festival
When: Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th September 2021
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester
Line-up: To be announced
The team behind the UK's biggest city based festival have recently announced 'a new date to dance to', with 2021's belated ten year anniversary event now set to take place in September.
A party thats been two years in the making, Parklife 2021 promises its loyal supporters a return to the good times. It's expected that to up to 160,000 festival goers will walk through the gates of Manchester's municipal Heaton Park over the course of the weekend next summer. That's not a typo.
Well known for consistently pulling in some of the biggest and most exciting names in electronic, hip-hop and pop music, the festivals organisers are said to be sparing no effort to provide more of the same in 2021, with the first announcements of the 'huge lineup worth waiting for', coming early in the new year.
Amongst the numerous high profile names that were confirmed to perform at this years cancelled instalment, were the likes of american rap star Tyler, the Creator, UK rap innovator Skepta, Scottish crooner Lewis Capaldi, US megastar Khalid, BRIT Award winner Jorja Smith and Swedish pop icon Robyn.
The anticipation is real.
When: Wednesday 23rd June - Sunday 24th June 2021
Where: Worthy Farm, Somerset
Line-up: To be announced
Even the legendary Glastonbury Festival succumbed to the cursed pandemic this year, despite the organisers many attempts to postpone the festivals scheduled date.
Robbed of its golden 50th year anniversary in 2020, the always in-demand event, the largest greenfield music festival in the world, was set to deliver a mammoth lineup in celebration of reaching its impressive milestone.
Marking its half centenary, three of the biggest names from the world of music, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross were all planned to make appearances, with the likes of Guns 'n' Roses, Madonna, Arctic Monkeys, Ariana Grande and pretty much every other musical act in the world, also on the bill.
Emily Eavis, co-organiser of Glastonbury Festival and daughter of founder Michael Eavis, has revealed that the festival is aiming to return to Worthing Farm on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 for five spectacular days of live music, running until Sunday 27th June.
As per every Glastonbury year, rumours of 2021's headliners are already beginning to circulate with the likes of Aitch, Arctic Monkeys, Aerosmith, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Caribou, Diana Ross, Blossoms, Fatboy Slim, Fontaines DC, Happy Mondays, Kendrick Lamar and many more rumoured to perform.
Tickets for Glastonbury 2021 have officially sold out, but there's some good news for those of you desperate to make it next year. A resale event is being held in April with limited tickets, we expect, up for grabs. Watch this space for more details.
When: Friday 14th May - Saturday 15th May 2021
Where: Williamson Park, Lancaster
Lineup: Rag'n'Bone Man, Rudimental, Wilkinson, Ella Eyre, Becky Hill...
Lancaster's premier music festival, Highest Point will return to the stunning grounds of Williamson Park in 2021.
Welcoming over 20,000 ticket holders across three days in 2019, the festival, situated beneath the impressive Ashton Memorial, has seen previous performances from a long list of legends, including disco queens Sister Sledge, pioneering DJ Grandmaster Flash, The Zutons and Feeder.
Boasting breathtaking views across the North West coast of England, a buffet of flavoursome food vendors and a designated family day packed full of workshops, theatrical performances and activities, there's plenty for all ages to enjoy.
Confirmed to appear on stage at Highest Point 2021, ticket holders can expect to see international hitmakers the likes of Rag'n'Bone Man and Rudimental (DJ), Ella Eyre, Becky Hill, drum n bass DJs Wilkinson and Sub Focus, General Levy, Seb Zito, Josh Butler... the list goes on.
When: Thursday 29th July - Saturday 31st July 2021
Where: Belladrum Estate, Inverness
Lineup: Nile Rodgers & Chic, Emeli Sande, Passenger, Van Morrison, Stiff Little Fingers
Situated amidst the stunning highland backdrop is one of the most popular, annual music gatherings in Scotland - the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival.
Priding itself on its inclusivity, Belladrum is renowned amongst the Scots for its welcoming family atmosphere and regular stellar lineups. Frequently attracting some of the most respected musical names on the planet, having previously played host to the likes of Elbow, Paloma Faith and native Scotsman Lewis Capaldi, the event continues to sell out year after year.
Quick to disclose details regarding next years event, following the unavoidable cancellation of 2020's edition, the team behind Belladrum have already announced a mind blowing bill crammed full of legendary, must see artists - from multi platinum selling, award winning group Nile Rodgers & Chic to Van Morrison, Emeli Sande, The Fratellis, Kyle Falconer, Shed Seven and The Magic Numbers to name a few.
When: Friday 4th June - Saturday 5th June 2021
Where: Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
Lineup: To Be announced
Taking residency in the live music spaces of Liverpool's trendy Baltic Triangle, the Baltic Weekender is a collaborative festival from the teams behind 24 Kitchen Street and Abandon Silence.
Celebrating the best in house, techno, grime and bass music, together with emerging talents, previous line-ups have included the likes of Streets legend Mike Skinner, D Double E, Helena Hauff, Eclair Fifi and My Nu Leng.
Subsequent to the postponement of this years Baltic Weekender due to concerns over COVID-19, the festivals organisers have yet to reveal the programme of DJs and producers set to perform at next years rescheduled event.
To say this year's line-up was impressive would be a huge understatement. Featuring the likes of Ben UFO back-to-back with Joy Orbison, Daniel Avery and Denis Sulta, it's clear that the next years Baltic Weekender is going to have to pull out all the stops to top what would have been a seriously charged weekend of music.
When: Saturday 10th July 2021
Where: The Drumsheds, London
Lineup: Bicep, Floating Points live, George Fitzgerald, Mount Kimbie, Maribou State...
After taking the gut wrenching decision to cancel Field Day 2020, following the example of almost every other event across the world, as you've probably gathered by now, the organisers behind the forever, eagerly anticipated event were quick to bounce back.
In addition to announcing the festivals return to The Drumsheds warehouse complex in London next year, the team wasted no time in also revealing the complete and, quite frankly, staggering lineup for 2021.
Continuing to push its focus onto the more electronic side of music, complimenting its relatively new warehouse setting, the bill is an accumulation of world-beating, visionary DJ/producers. Boasting over 20 artists, those in attendance will be spoilt for choice, with high calibre performances coming from the likes of Artwork, Floating Points, DJ Seinfeld, The Blessed Madonna, IMOGEN, Floorplan and .
To top it all off, celebrated production duo Bicep will perform an exclusive headline set to see out the one day spectacle.
When: Friday 4th - Saturday 5th June 2021
Where: Boston Manor Park, Brentford
Lineup: Jon Hopkins, Amelie Lens, Four Tet, Nina Kraviz, Adam Beyer...
Hidden within an area of natural beauty and built to coexist with the contrasting industrial features found on Boston Manor Park (including a whopping great road bridge), the electronic, techno-driven Junction 2 festival promises attendees a wealth of world-renowned artists, appearing on state-of-the-art stages, surrounded by enchanting rivers, fields and woodland.
Following the postponement of this years event, the organisers have confirmed that they have managed to secure the exact lineup for the return of Junction 2 in 2021.
With the likes of Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Four Tet, Maceo Plex, Romy, Honey Dijon, Seth Troxler, Nina Kraviz and Skee Mask, to mention just a few, scheduled to appear in 2021, Junction 2 is looking like a must for any and all electronic music fans.
Image credit: Matthew Higgs
When: Friday 4th June - Sunday 6th June 2021
Where: Donington Park, Derby
Lineup: Kiss, Iron Maiden, System Of A Down, Korn, Deftones...
A favourite amongst fans of rock, punk rock, metal and everything in between, Download Festival is the UK's heaviest and most gnarliest festival.
Spawning from the ashes of the legendary 'Monster's of Rock' event almost two decades ago, the annual, mammoth event frequently draws some of the biggest names in global rock and alternative music, having previously hosted the likes of Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Black Sabbath, to name a few.
Reclaiming it's usual residency of Derby's Donington Park race circuit in 2021, following this years cancelled event, Download will provide the UK's horn throwing, head banging, metal head syndicate with three days of mosh pit inducing music.
Those who are present in June can expect to be blown away by performances from the likes of System Of A Down, Deftones, Kiss, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Korn, A Day To Remember, Steel Panther and Killswitch Engage. Heavy.
See you there?
Image credit: Anthony Mooney
When: Thursday 26th - Sunday 29th August 2021
Where: Daresbury, Cheshire
Lineup: Bicep, Peggy Gou, Sub Focus, Camelphat, Charlotte De Witte...
Easily one of the world's largest and most famous dance music festivals, Creamfields will return to celebrate its 15th edition following this years cancellation, over the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2021.
The multi-award-winning event, which attracts a whopping crowd of 70,000 electronic music loving, rave fanatics draws the biggest names in the game every single year, from the likes of Carl Cox to Calvin Harris, Eric Prdyz, Pete Tong and Tiesto to name a few.
Combine the hugely impressive line-up with ground-breaking production and a notoriously up-for-it crowd and you've got one of the most impressive and important musical gatherings in the world.
When: Friday 27th August - Sunday 29th August 2021
Where: Clapham Common, London
Lineup: To be announced
Another August Bank Holiday festival, this time taking place on London's Clapham Common, is SW4 (or South West Four) festival. The three-day event returns to the capital next year following its sold out 15th anniversary edition in 2019.
Known for consistently welcoming the most sought after names in dance, hip-hop, drum n bass and afrobeat, to one of London's most famous parks, up to 60,000 festival-goers can expect to see the very best in the business working their magic live on stage at SW4 in summer 2021.
The finishing touches are still being made to next years big comeback event. Keep your eyes peeled for more details.
Image credit: Sarah Koury
When: Friday 2nd July - Sunday 4th July 2021
Where: Finsbury Park, London
Lineup: To be announced
From championing local talents to introducing international superstars to new audiences, Wireless Festival and its team of dedicated organisers continues to uphold its reputation as a major trendsetter amongst its rivals.
Having previously attracted names such as Jay Z, Drake, Rhianna and Kanye West to London's Finsbury Park, the festivals organisers were certain that the pull of a homegrown headliner, such as UK grime innovator Skepta, alongside a host of international stars, the likes of ASAP Rocky and Meek Mill, would have made 2020 their best year to date. Alas, it wasn't meant to be...
But fear not! The dedicated team behind this much loved and renowned event have already confirmed a date for next year, and are already beavering away tirelessly to bring Wireless Festival back in 2021 with a bang.
Image credit: Matt Eachus
When: Thursday 27th August - Sunday 29th August 2021
Where: Bramham Park, Leeds / Richfield Avenue, Reading
Lineup: Stormzy, Queens of the Stone Age, Liam Gallagher, Mabel, Post Malone...
Two festivals happening simultaneously over the same Bank Holiday weekend in August, hosting some of the biggest and most-celebrated names in world music from a diverse spectrum of genres.
From punk and metal to rock, alternative, indie, dance and electro, both festivals cater to their eclectic following, with something to whet each individual's taste. Attendees this year can expect to see world class performances from the likes of Stormzy, Liam Gallagher, Yungblud, Gerry Cinnamon, Disclosure, Doja Cat and more, across a multitude of big top and open air stages.
Plenty more artist announcements are still yet to be announced. Watch this space.
When: Friday 11th - Sunday 13th June 2021
Where: Gunnersbury Park, London
Line-up: To be announced
Beginning life as a club night and co-founded by superstar DJ duo Groove Armada, this three-day rap, grime, RnB and dance festival has grown to become one of London's most popular music events, welcoming 50,000 people through the Gunnersbury Park gates each day.
Featuring performances from some of the worlds most sought after musical talents year after year, previous headliners to appear at Lovebox include the likes of Chance The Rapper, Solange, Childish Gambino and N.E.R.D.
2020's sadly abandoned line-up was no less impressive, with hitmakers Disclosure, mercurial British singer/songwriter FKA Twigs, and Grammy Award-winning Anderson .Paak all lined up to perform.
Next years festival is still in the making but we're expecting announcements to come thick and fast early in 2021.
When: Sunday 2nd May 2021
Where: Grimsthorpe, Bourne
Lineup: To be announced
Celebrating what would have been the festival's fifth birthday in 2020, Forbidden Forest had planned to return to the entrancing woodlands of Bourne’s Wild Oaks Forest in May this year, for its biggest and most extravagant instalment to date. But yet again, COVID had other ideas.
Consisting of a series of unparalleled parties for hardcore ravers, Forbidden Forest is a festival celebration of underground bass, house and techno. Removing the constraints of a traditional clubbing experience, this unique festival heads deep into the wilderness, promising its faithful fanbase a day of unrestricted hedonism.
A date has been announced for the return of the festival in 2021, where its likely we'll see Forbidden Forest's most spectacular show yet.
We'll be posting more details as we get them so keep checking back.
If we've got you in the mood for a bit of festival planning, you might want to take a look at our guides to the best festivals in Croatia, Spain and all of Europe. You can also check out Skiddle's full festival guide here.
Headline image: James Bridle / Reading Festival