After a muted return for the south’s festival scene in 2021, this is the summer when festivals are coming roaring back with a vengeance all across the south of England, Sussex and Brighton. And thank goodness for that; summer’s not summer without the chance to go crazy in a field, accompanied by bands, pals, food and drinks.
This year, all the usual big players are present and correct and never more so than in Brighton’s flourishing music scene. Brighton and Hove has already played host to huge festivals such as ‘The Great Escape’, ‘Land Beyond and Noughty 90s Festival, plus massive events have been held on Brighton seafront including club take-overs with ‘We are FSTVL’ and ‘Cream’, ‘On the Beach’ where Fatboy Slim rocked Madeira Drive and of course Europe’s largest Pride event (Pride Brighton) is only a week away.
We at Absolute and Sussex Visitor HQ were sat thinking about all these amazing events gracing our city this year and how Brighton has really built a stellar reputation for huge, safe and fun events. However, despite all this success, it seems there’s a sticking point….why have we not yet seen anything here that involves an overnight camping element?
We have the space and infrastructure within our city to handle such events without impact on residents. In fact, we know that these events provide huge boosts to the local economy. But why haven’t we seen events along the lines of Winchester’s ‘Boomtown Festival’ or ‘Herefordshire’s idyllic ‘El Dorado Festival’ being announced here at home?
Imagine an event of that scale being put on in our city, raising the bar yet again and finally pulling our gorgeous city away from its ill-deserved title of a stag and hen do paradise? Instead, Brighton can once again be heralded as a place of musical premiership with the world’s biggest artists choosing Brighton as the must-visit place to perform. With this in mind, the Absolute & Sussex Visitor team have looked at what we consider the UK’s best 5 overnight and camping style indie festivals and how they have brought huge benefits to their local areas…..
Lost Village is a day-centric festival experience with activities such as talks, workshops, wellness and restaurants opening from 9am, then comedy and music commencing at midday. Being day focused, headline artists all play in the day, prior to 11pm, however, most stages stay open until 2am with the addition of various breakout parties taking place from 11pm to 2am (2022 will have more of these than ever we are told).
Located in an abandoned forest, long since forgotten by the outside world, the Lost Village is a place where reality flickers and the inexplicable occurs. A place where nothing is what it seems.
As you navigate through the trees, passed derelict buildings and relics of a time gone by, through deserted junkyards moving deeper into the woods, your curiosity grows and the dissonance of real life fades into the night. We have it on good authority that you meet the most extraordinary people on your journey, dance to the most incredible sounds, eat the most exceptional food and share the most amazing stories.
When the gates of Boomtown are thrown open in August the guests will be witness to a brand new world we are told! In planning for over 2 years, the dream of the organisers is fast turning into a reality and Boomtown as revellers once knew it will now been transformed into a brand new city! We’re told this sunken city will cover every single inch of the Downtown Valley. Born out of the core ethos of the event, it will be set to a soundtrack like no other, packed full of theatrical and creative masterpieces, with new districts to explore plus reincarnations of some of the most iconic favourites from the past. With the infamous Forest Parties that will take place in the woodland areas surrounding the city, the organisers have told us there will be a revolutionised camping experience at one of three new Campsite Villages that provide a sanctuary overlooking all the action below.
The map has definitely changed! Previously, huge areas of Downtown were taken up with camping and big backstage areas. This year, they have taken full advantage of the topography of the Downtown area using over double the space so have increased not only the size of Downtown but also the opportunities it brings to add new stages, venues, technologies, sound systems, creative shows and theatrical experiences to the Boomtown mix. Boomtown Fair is held at the Matterley Estate near Winchester, Hampshire and by the sounds of it is set to have its biggest and best event to date this year.
25th – 28th Aug
Creamfields is by far one of the biggest and most beloved festivals in the dance music scene as a whole, Each August, the world’s biggest DJs (such as Martin Garrix, Tiësto, Carl Cox and just about any other DJ you can think of across every sub-genre) join forces in Daresbury from Friday to Sunday for three days of fun (with Thursday reserved for campers only), making for an unforgettable weekend.
Starting in 1998 for its first edition, it was a one-day affair, being held at The Bowl in Winchester, Hampshire and attracting 25,000 partygoers. It wasn’t until the following year in 1999 that Creamfields moved to its forever home of Liverpool and upped the ante, although back then it was hosted at the Old Liverpool Airfield, and wouldn’t move to its home in Daresbury that people know and love until way down the line in 2006.
With 2022 set to be one of the biggest events to date and with a huge line up of the world’s best DJs and acts, plus a camping experience that ranges from tents to cabins to luxury airstream campers, this festival really knows its stuff. The depth of choice available suits all pockets and ages and really is something to behold – which is why we guess this festival brand just keeps going from strength to strength.
For festival fanatics across the UK and beyond, the Isle of Wight is host to the Festival that kicks off the UK summer season each year. While many go for the emerging acts of the modern generation, thousands are drawn towards the memories the festival reignites, with its emergence dating back over an astonishing 54 year period.
Since 2002, The Isle of Wight Festival stages have hosted bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Muse, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Kasabian, Kings of Leon, The Strokes, Coldplay, The Sex Pistols, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Blondie and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. In addition, festival-goers have had the pleasure of stand-out solo performances with David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Jay-Z and Amy Winehouse all gracing the Main Stage.
With the Isle of Wight itself enjoying its very own mini micro climate the location, just 2 hours from London door to door, yet across the water, provides a feeling of escapism that others struggle to achieve.
Real music is the festival’s brand ethos and one they are constantly building on. They say like life, music constantly evolves and changes and so does this popular festival. This is the destination for real music lovers of all ages and that’s why this year they provided ticket choices for a variety of age groups, with amily-friendly areas, as well as a raft of accommodation options for the non-campers, campers and people after that VIP festival experience.
El Dorado is an intimate boutique music festival in Herefordshire. It is the brainchild of the wonderfully imaginative team behind Cirque Du Soul. Eclectic musical performers gather each summer in the stunning natural location of Eastnor Castle Deer Park to celebrate the weird, the wonderful and everything in between.
The lineup delights just about every electronic music lover with house, disco, drum and bass and even some electronica. Just under 10,000 revellers bask in El Dorado Festival’s invigorating mix of the natural world and the colourful surprises on stage.
The venue is the beautiful grounds of Eastnor Castle Deer Park, in between the Cotswolds and the Brecon Beacons with its five famous stage areas; The Garden Stage, Cirque Du Soul, El Paradisco, Mount Boom and The Nest. Vice City is the latest immersive experience added to the storybook world of El Dorado, set amongst the woodlands.
All weekend tickets include access to the general camping. In addition, several luxury boutique camping options are available, provided by specialists at Hotel Bell Tent, Woodville Project, and Vintents.
Each package option is tiered in pricing and provides the opportunity for every possible camping desire you may have. Add in 24-hour concierge service, piping hot showers and even bougie toilets and you have all the creature comforts you need. However, if sleeping under canvas isn’t your thing, Airstreams and caravans are available too.
What is clear from looking at all these incredible examples, is that there is a wealth of events in the UK that are held each year, all which grow and adapt by working with local residents and businesses to provide each area with not only huge economic benefits, but cultural gravitas too. These events are successfully putting previously unheard of towns on the map and bringing world leading acts to places for the first time. In our opinion, Brighton must follow this path by creating landmark events to really place our beautiful little city on that music map of the world. We deserve this and we have earned this. We’ve made a good start: Brighton seafront with its famous old names of the The Honey Club, Zap, Escape and Digital is now seeing new pioneering destination venues surging forward, pushing the bar ever higher. Now it’s time we take the next step and rocket Brighton’s musical offering to the next level.
What do you all think? Does our city need and deserve a multi day camping festival such as one of these? We think Brighton, with its amazing culture and history would make the perfect host to the next big thing in the UKs festival scene.