Bestival has just closed its doors after a damp but typically cheery crowd - literally thousands of happy revellers - spent four days enjoying themselves despite this summer's crazy, unpredictable weather. It's one of the biggest and best-loved in the country, a bright star in the festival firmament since 2004. But it's only one of literally thousands of British music festivals taking place all over the nation every year..
The traditional British music festival scene
Go back three decades and there were nowhere near as many festivals. There was Glastonbury, of course, plus the big rock music staples and a host of small, eccentric events filling in the gaps. My husband tells a story of some kind of Green Gathering thing he went to in the early 1980s where, after a couple of days' worth of blazing sunshine, the place became a huge sea of happy, completely naked hippies. Hm.
Luckily - or unluckily, depending on whether or not you're a hippy who loves to go naked - there's more to music festivals these days. Small and large, specialist and generalist... take your pick.
Here's a run down of five of the most popular UK summer festivals to whet your appetite for next year. Most have tickets for 2016 on sale now, so you can grab bargain-priced early bird entry.
Bestival – The bees knees for tens of thousands of music-lovers
Bestival takes place at the Robin Hill country park on the Isle of Wight, an annual event that's been steadily gaining in popularity since it first kicked off in 2004. This year's event ran from 10th to 13th September and saw an enviable list of more than 100 bands and musicians taking to the stages. There's a different theme every year, and this year's was 'Summer of Love 2015'.
The first ever Bestival attracted 10,000 people. It had grown to 60,000 by 2013 and has been nominated for a 'Best Major Festival' award as well as 'Best Dance Event' at the 2014 UK Festival Awards. It won 'Best-Medium Sized Festival' in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, 'Best Major Festival' in 2010 and 2012, and came top as the 'Fan's Favourite' in 2011. All of which means that just eleven years down the line, Bestival is well on the way to becoming a legend.
Click here for news about the line-up and tickets for Bestival 2016.
Brighton's very own Great Escape Festival
We love Brighton's own contribution to the UK festival scene, The Great Escape. This year it hit the streets between 14th and 16th May, headlining with Django Django, Swim Deep and Kate Tempest. It's the perfect way to blend a visit to our funky city with some of the best emerging music around, and it takes place in an astonishing 35 or more different venues.
Altogether this year we enjoyed a total of 400 or so of the 'next big things' to hit the British music scene, all with just one wristband. If that isn't a party, we don't know what is.
The 2016 event takes place from 19th to 21st May and tickets are already on sale, here.
The Isle of Wight Festival – An old favourite, born again
The Isle of Wight Festival 2015 delivered some stonking music from big names like The Prodigy, Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys and Pharrell Williams. It's great to see the event, a reincarnation an old favourite on the UK festival scene, pulling huge audiences once again.
If you love nothing better than strutting your stuff to some of the finest guitar-slingers and mega-giants of the pop and electronic genres, it's perfect. Tickets for the 2016 event are already on sale and it takes place between 9th and 12th June next year. Follow this link to find out more.
The Love Supreme Jazz Festival
Nestled just north of Brighton in the South Downs, right on the doorstep of the famous Glynde Opera House, Love Supreme raises the rafters annually with a superb collection of jazz, funk and soul. This year's leading lights included Van Morrison, Lisa Stansfield and Chaka Khan, with smaller acts on a pretty bandstand centre-field.
This is one seriously chilled festival, about as far from a noisy, drunken teen-fest as it gets, with an older demographic, top quality food stalls and loads of excellent flushable loos. If you like your festivals civilised, bring your own collapsible chair, set it up next to the main stage – or in one of several big tents – and mellow out to fine jazz in real comfort.
The 2016 event takes place from 1st - 3rd July, the line up is to be announced and tickets should be on sale soon. If you fancy it, here's a link.
Boardmasters, Fistral Beach & Watergate Bay, Newquay
Want to attend a festival with a difference? Some of the coolest surf dudes and chicks attended the annual Boardmasters event, held between 5th and 9th August 2015 in Cornwall.
This nis the only surf, skate and music festival in Europe, leading with superstar acts Faithless, Rudimental and Bastille, combining some of the planet's most talented boarders – surfers, skaters and BMXers - with an epic soundtrack including dance, folk and pop favourites.
Scenic clifftop sessions merged with surf shack shows to provide a heady cocktail of experiences that added up to a completely perfect boarders paradise. Head for Cornwall's lovely, sandy Fistral Beach, famed for its chilled vibe. You can either sit back and admire the music and the action, or even unleash your inner surfer or skater if you like, with numerous competitions to enter.
This is a must for extreme sports fans and next year's event takes place between 10th - 14th 2016. Get your tickets here.
What's your favourite British music festival, and why?
We'd love to know which festivals you rate highest and why. Feel free to leave a comment. And don't forget to buy your festival clothing from us, your one-stop-shop for funky festival fashion and cool hippy clothing classics.