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The Best Indie & Alternative Festivals in the UK

Oh, how we long for the temperamental British weather, drinks in hand with the best company imaginable and seeing some of the most exciting new bands. Who said the guitar was dead?

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 6th May 2021

Oh, how we long for the temperamental British weather, drinks in hand with the best company imaginable and seeing some of the most exciting new bands. Who said the guitar was dead?

This year has seen some guitar bands grab high chart placements, this is our guide to where you can catch some of them this year. 

From the return of Mercury Prize favourite Wolf Alice to the relentless duo of Royal Blood, you'll find them and similar names gracing the stages of Truck Festival, Kendal Calling and more.




Truck Festival

2021 lineup: Bombay Bicycle Club, The Kooks, Royal Blood, Fontaines D.C., IDLES, Little Simz, Black Honey, Shame, Sports Team

When: Friday 23rd July- Sunday 25th July

Where: Hill Farm, Oxfordshire

Truck Festival has certainly not disappointed with their 2021 lineup, the Oxfordshire festival boasts established indie favourites such as The Kooks and Bombay Bicycle Club and potential future stalwarts such as Fontaines D.C. and Squid.

The festival prides itself on showcasing some of the most promising upcoming bands and pop artists in the country and 2021 is no exception, and there's the added bonus of having your hangover shaken off by Mr Motivator.


Find tickets for Truck Festival here



Kendal Calling


Image credit: Kendal Calling (Facebook)

2021 lineup: Stereophonics, Supergrass, The Streets, Dizzee Rascal, Blossoms, Pale Waves, Scouting For Girls, The Magic Gang

When: Thursday 29th July- Sunday 12st August

Where: Lowther Deer Park, Kendal

A trip to the Lake District is good enough but going there for a festival must be pure bliss. By day, you'll find names such as Stereophonics dominating the main stage as headliners and a wide selection of indie and pop bands to choose from across the various other stages at the festival.

By night, Kendal Calling introduces DJ sets into the mix, where you can dance away to Joel Corry, Faithless and more. Kendal Calling is a festival that immerses you in some class new bands and luscious scenery.


Find tickets for Kendal Calling here



Manchester Psych Festival

2021 lineup: Dry Cleaning, Stereolab, Girl Band, Stealing Sheep, Porridge Radio, Whyte Horses, Tinariwen, BDRMM

When: Saturday 4th September

Where: Various Manchester venues, YES, 02 Ritz, Deaf Institute, Dancehouse, Gorilla

For one day in September, we return to a staple event in Manchester. Psych festival has always welcomed the most wonderful and weird bands into the heart of the city. The event is spread across some of the city's finest venues including YES, Gorilla and the 02 Ritz.

If you can spare a second for some downtime amongst all the talent on show then feel free to explore the various art installations, street food stalls and a few DJ sets for good measure.


Find tickets for Manchester Psych Festival here



Liverpool Sound City


Image credit: Liverpool Sound City (Facebook)

2021 lineup: Rejjie Snow, Red Rum Club, The Lathums, Working Men's Club, The Snuts, Abbie Ozard

When: Friday 1st- Sunday 3rd October

Where: Baltic Triangle, Liverpool

Liverpool Sound City has garnered a reputation as being one of the premier places in the UK to check out indie artists who may just go on to do great things. Located within Clarence Dock, each stage is within a couple of minutes walking distance of one another and range from small coffee shops to an outdoor main stage.

As well as supporting new music, the festival is also committed to the Keychange 50/50pledge and also runs a conference alongside which discusses key issues within the industry and plays host to some fascinating guests.


Find tickets for Liverpool Sound City here



Dot To Dot Festival



Image credit: Dot To Dot Festival (Facebook)

2021 lineup: Sports Team, Palace, Girl Band, Do Nothing, Kofi Stone, Low Island, Drug Store Romeos

When: Saturday 25th September (Bristol) Sunday 26th September (Nottingham)

Where: Various venues to be announced in Bristol and Nottingham

Dot To Dot is spread across both Bristol and Nottingham, taking place over the weekend starting September 25th. With a whole host of venues in both cities, you'll be on the trail of some of the most promising acts around at the moment.

Moving back to the Autumn for the first time in their 16-year history, the festival will be aching for people to get back through the doors and you may just find your new favourite band.


Find tickets for Dot To Dot Festival here




Leeds/Reading Festival

2021 lineup: Liam Gallagher, Queens Of The Stone Age, Stormzy, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Sam Fender, Post Malone, Two Door Cinema Club

When: Friday 27th- Sunday 29th August

Where: Bramham Park (Leeds) Richfield Avenue (Reading)

Despite welcoming ore genres into the fold, something about Leeds/Reading will always remain distinctively indie and you can see that in the 2021 lineup. Former Oasis man Liam Gallagher takes one of the headline slots and you can still find bands galore.

The Wombats are long-serving festival favourites and are joined by fellow indie stars Wolf Alice and Two Door Cinema Club. There's no shortness of excitement surrounding this lineup where there's an artist or band for pretty much anyone.


Find tickets for Leeds/Reading Festival here



Green Man Festival

2021 lineup: To be announced

When: Thursday 19th- Sunday22nd August

Where: Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons

It's fair to say that Green Man is always a contender for best location as its setting within the heart of Wales' Brecon Beacons is always a sight to behold. The twin festival to End Of The Road, Green Man is a festival dedicated to bringing in some of the finest indie talents from across the globe.

The 2019 edition saw the likes of Father John Misty, Sharon Van Etten, Four Tet and Stereolab perform and in 2021 the Welsh countryside is set to welcome even more talent.


Find tickets for Green Man Festival here





Image credit: Boardmasters (Facebook)

2021 lineup: Foals, Gorillaz, Jorja Smith, Loyle Carner, Sam Fender, BlossomsMahalia

When: Wednesday 11th- Sunday 15th August

Where: Watergate Bay, Newquay

Boardmasters is the ultimate party by the beach. Taking place on Fistral beach in Newquay, the festival has a strong ethos of sustainability and surfing. Offering you a place throughout the day to pick up a board yourself or to just take in the various entertainments on offer.

The festival boasts 11 different stages, ranging from smaller local folk acts to huge headliners, with the like of Foals, Gorillaz and Jorja Smith all performing this year. 


Find tickets for Boardmasters here



All Points East

2021 lineup: Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club, Nadine Shah, Caribou, Jade Bird, Holly Humberstone

When: Monday 30th August

Where: Victoria Park, London

A little later than usually planned this year, All Points East will return to London's Victoria Park on August bank holiday. The Monday will boast an indie lineup featuring much-adored rockers Foals and festival staples Bombay Bicycle Club who have been at the forefront of British indie since the late '00s.

With multiple stages and a seemingly endless amount of food stalls, it is going to be a great day to see some of the best indie music new and old coming out of the UK.


Find tickets for All Points East here




Has this list of incredible indie festivals got you hungry for more? Click here to see more from our festival guides and start planning a summer in 2021 that you won't forget.


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Header image: Leeds Festival (Facebook)

Festivals 2021