The Best UK Music Festivals 2018

 In Indie Oxford Explore

The idea of donning your sandals, shorts and a t shirt, might bring on the shivers in this weather, but thousands of Brits are dreaming of summer days and planning which festivals they will be heading to in warmer weather.

We are big fans of music festivals at Independent Oxford, as they are often a breeding ground for creative, innovative indie talent, vying for your support. As well as new music, festivals are increasingly promoting and creating a whole world within in a field, offering much more than just music, with everything from massage and yoga to roaming performances and cookery lessons.

As the festival scene grows every year, we have put together a list of our favourites to give you some inspiration for getting outside (brrr!) this summer.

Truck Festival

As the UK’s longest running and best small festival, Truck has just announced its first wave of artists for 2018 to ring in its 21st birthday. The festival, which formed two decades ago in 1998, will this year take place from 19th – 22nd July at Hill Farm in Steventon, Oxfordshire. 2018 will be the first time ever that the festival has opened its doors on the Thursday with the festival taking place over four days this year.

It’s great to see local legend Gaz Coombes on the line up, as well as awesome Oxfordshire based artists such as Kanadia, Little Brother Eli, I Cried Wolf, Leader and one of my current favourites, Low Island.

The festival is known for it’s support and promotion of local Oxfordshire bands, and I covered this at last year’s Truck Festival.

The festival has just launched its Band App which offers the chance for local bands to submit their music to Truck’s organisers and be offered a spot to play the festival. Truck Festival’s organisers personally listen to every single submission. Artists should upload their music to Truck’s website by 30th March –

For more info and to get your ticket, visit the Truck Festival website.

Truck Festival


This festival has to be the most theatrical and immersive on the UK circuit at the moment, and the organisers pride themselves on being one of the largest independent festivals around. Charity and community play a big part in the festivals ethics, with £2 from each ticket sold going to a nominated local charity. They also employ sustainability initiatives to make sure the festival is as green as possible.  The 60,000 capacity event held at Matterley Estate nr Winchester over 9th – 12th August ties together interactive theatre with an overarching story line, and a eclectic line up of music covering diverse genres. You can read my 2017 Boomtown review to get a feel for this festival adventure.

This year, acts include Gorillaz, Jimmy Cliff, Limp Bizkit, Morcheeba, The Skatalites and Oxford’s own Count Skylarkin.

The 10th chapter has sold out, however Boomtown will be running a resale of unclaimed deposit tickets in June. Anyone looking for a ticket should register here to be the first to be informed when they are released.

You can also participate in the festival by applying to be a performer, creating an installation or kids activity, or be a trader (a great marketing opportunity for indie businesses!). Check out the get involved page for details.

Visit the Boomtown website for further info.

Boomtown festival


After calls from fans to return after last year’s Fabulous Finale, the rejuvenated Cornbury Festival is back for 2018 with a fantastic UK festival exclusive. Alanis Morissette will headline the festival’s Saturday line up on July 14th.  The festival will be celebrating it’s 15th year in 2018 with a wonderfully eclectic line up, featuring a whole host of female acts including; Mavis Staples, Caro Emerald, Amy Macdonald and Lissie. It’s great to see that organiser Hugh Phillimore is helping to redress the balance in an industry that is known for being too male-dominated.

Cornbury Festival takes place in the beautiful setting of Great Tew Park, in the rolling hills of the North Oxfordshire countryside, on the 13th-15th July.

You can check out the line up and buy tickets on the Cornbury website.

cornbury festival


Wilderness Festival returns for its Eighth Season with an innovative and progressive program, across the arts. Having sold out in 2017, the Wilderness experience is back bringing you a whole mix of genres, across a diverse line-up.

The main stage is supported by BBC Music and will feature acts including Nile Rodgers & Chic, Bastille & Jon Hopkins. Other acts include Groove Armada, Chk Chk Chk and Kamasi Washington.

However, that’s just the beginning! Immerse yourself in theatre, book a table at a banquet, attend a writing masterclass, learn archery, sign up to an art workshop, take a yoga class, the possibilities are vast!

Wilderness is held at Cornbury Park from 2nd-5th August.

Find out more and book your tickets on the Wilderness website.

wilderness Oxfordshire
Ottolenghi photographed by Justine Trickett at Wilderness

Common People

Common People is back for 2018 taking over South Park in East Oxford, with headliners The Jacksons on Saturday, and James and local boys Ride, on Sunday. Organised by the team that bring you Bestival, there’s always an opportunity for some festival fancy dress. Disco Day on Saturday, means time to don your best Saturday Night Fever outfit and get dancing. There are some great Oxford bands on the line up too, plus Common People have teamed up with some awesome local social enterprises and charities to keep the kids entertained including Oxford Playhouse, The Story Museum, Pegasus and Cowley Road Carnival.

This festival is just £57.50 for a weekend ticket making it the cheapest out of our 5. There’s no camping but it’s in the middle of Oxford, so if you’re local you can enjoy a festival with the comfort of your own bed at the end of the day!

Other acts include The New Power Generation, The Cuban Brothers, Boney M, Maximo Park, and Low Island.

Common People Oxford is on 26th – 27th May in South Park Oxford.

For more info, check out the Common People website.

Common People Oxford
Image courtesy of Common People

There are some really exciting concepts on the UK festival scene this year, and it’s great to see so many of them close to home.

While we continue to battle against the beast from the east, we’ll be thinking ahead, and dreaming of warmer days, and fun filled festival adventures.

Love, Rosie

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