Hitting The Right Note: 6 Of London’s Best Summer Festivals

1: British Summer Time 
Headliners: Take That, Carole King, Mumford & Sons, Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack and Florence + the Machine

Good for: Families 
and pop junkies

Vibe: Wholesome fun 

More than 50,000 revellers pack into Hyde Park for British Summer Time, now in its fourth year. The event won accolades at the 2015 UK Festival Awards for best major festival, family festival and headliners for Taylor Swift’s performance. James King, senior vice president for organisers AEG Live, says: ‘This is shaping up to be the best British Summer Time.’ There are five stages. Massive Attack (1 Jul) plays on the Great Oak Stage in front of a huge screen of video art, and Florence + the Machine headlines the next day. Carole King (3 Jul) performs her 1970s Tapestry album live in full, joined by Eagles drummer Don Henley. The following weekend, you can see Mumford & Sons (8 Jul) and Take That (9 Jul;). Stevie Wonder closes the festival by performing hits from Songs in the Key of Life – 40 years after it came out. bst-hydepark.com 

2: Summer Series At Somerset House 
Headliners: James Morrison, Everything Everything, Laura Mvula, Unkle and St Germain
Good for: Fans of emerging talent
Vibe: Chilled and eclectic
These open-air gigs are held in Somerset House’s courtyard. Australian quartet Hiatus Kaiyote (7 Jul) opens the festival, followed by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott (8 Jul) and Mercury Prize-winner Benjamin Clementine (9 Jul). Soul singer Laura Mvula will wow with her new album, The Dreaming Room (10 Jul), and singer-songwriter James Morrison performs, too (12 Jul). Listen to Jack Savoretti’s soul-soaked vocals (15 Jul) and St Germain’s mix of house, jazz and electronica (16 Jul). The finale is provided by electronic group Unkle (17 Jul), set against visuals from Stanley Kubrick. Sounds good? Visit the gallery earlier for the exhibition Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick (to 24 Aug). Somerset-house

Lovebox3: Lovebox
Headliners: Major Lazer, Katy B, LCD Soundsystem, George Clinton and Stormzy
Good for: Hipsters and Instagrammers
Vibe: Messy fun
Put your hands in the air for Lovebox, a lively two-day festival in Victoria Park, east London. There’s a roller disco, fashion and beauty boutiques and a slack-line ropewalk. DJs from Fabric play techno tunes and there are lots of street-food vans and cocktail bars.


4: Greenwich Music Time 
Headliners: Seal and Jamie Cullum
Good for: Old souls

Vibe: A refined night out
This year’s headliners include Seal (6 Jul), best known for Kiss from a Rose. Meanwhile, 40 years after their first single, Donna, 10cc sing classics such as I’m Not in Love (9 Jul). The award-winning jazz pianist and singer Jamie Cullum curates concerts showcasing new talent and headlines the finale (10 Jul). You can’t take your own food, but there are stalls selling crêpes, hot dishes and drinks. 

5: Wireless 
Headliners: Calvin Harris, Jess Glynne, Chase & Status and Boy Better Know
Good for: Dance music lovers
Vibe: Lively teenagers and young adults.
Wireless has been entertaining revellers at various locations since 2005. Crowded and controversial, this Finsbury Park fest is not suitable for children. DJ Calvin Harris (8 Jul) kicks things off – his tune Summer should get you in the mood. You can also catch electronic duo Chase & Status (9 Jul) and Jess Glynne, who sang on Clean Bandit’s hit Rather Be, belting out her blend of poppy house (10 Jul). You can take your own food and drink, but not alcohol. wirelessfestival.co.uk

6: East London Festival 
Headliners: It’s all about grassroots talent
Good for: Discovering new artists
Vibe: Bohemian creatives
Fed up of overpriced tickets and A-listers taking over festivals? Then the new East London Fringe Festival is for you because it champions the intimate, local and creative. As the name suggests, it takes place on the fringe of the City at various locations including Hoxton Square, Shoreditch Park and nearby bars and clubs. As well as performances from upcoming solo artists and bands, there’s a street party, pop-up cinema, cook-off and fashion show. 

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