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The English Learner’s Guide to UK Festivals

The UK might not have the most reliable weather or the warmest summers, but that doesn’t stop the British from going crazy for a summer festival!

The main music festivals include Glastonbury, Bestival, Isle of Wight Festival, Wireless and Reading & Leeds Festival. These tend to have very famous headliners (the main band or singer, which performs last) as well as lots of newer bands that are just starting to get famous.

There are also lots of festivals that focus on one type of music, like Cheltenham Jazz Festival, SW4 in London, which is all about techno, house and rave, Africa Oye, which celebrates African music, and Love Supreme, which focuses on jazz, soul and R&B.

It’s not just about music, though. All over the UK, summer is also filled with festivals celebrating everything from food, beer and wine to theatre, comedy, art and film.

For example, the Byline Festival is a three-day festival that’s all about great journalism, including international documentaries, masterclasses and talks by journalists and filmmakers from all around the world. East End Film Festival focuses on the work of filmmakers in London’s East End, and Soul Circus is an unusual festival in the countryside where people go to meditate, do yoga and generally try to rejuvenate (feel better, healthier or younger).

The Cambridge Beer Festival serves delicious beers, ales, ciders and even mead (an ancient alcoholic drink make from honey). The Lincoln Sausage Festival is, unsurprisingly, all about sausages, while VegFest is a celebration of vegetarian and vegan food. Taste of London is probably the country’s biggest food festival, bringing together famous chefs from all over the world. The “hottest” festival of them all is the North East Chilli Festival, which is completely dedicated to the chilli pepper and spicy snacks!

Notting Hill Carnival is a very popular festival that has taken place in London every August Bank Holiday weekend (a UK national holiday) since 1966. It’s a huge celebration of Caribbean culture, with parades (people dressed up in costume or playing instruments, walking through the street together) and floats (stages driven through the streets) with dancers in carnival costume. You can buy Jamaican food and drinks from street stalls, dance in the street to Caribbean music, and cheer on the dancers, steel drum players and other musicians.

Some of the most popular festivals bring together several different types of art or performance.

The Edinburgh Fringe is one of the biggest culture festivals in the world. It lasts for three weeks every August and takes over the whole city, with thousands of shows put on across hundreds of venues. It’s not just ‘proper’ theatres that take part – many pubs, bars, hotel rooms, church halls and even street corners become a temporary stage for plays, musicians and comedians! In fact, many famous comedians and playwrights from all over the world started their careers at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire and Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire are two amazing festivals that bring together live music, spoken word and literature in a beautiful outdoor location.  

These are just some of the many festivals to enjoy if you’re visiting the UK during the summer. No matter what you are interested in, you’ll be able to find a festival for it!

Planning a summer holiday to the UK? Improve your English first with our range of courses at www.Eurocentres.com