Here’s the best of boutique festivals from around the world that absolutely must go into your bucket-list!
Undiscovered, non-pretentious and happy, boutique music festivals come with their own unique identity and are conducted on a smaller scale compared to say a Glastonbury or Creamfields. (Also associated with a charming summer’s day vibe.) Some enthusiasts say boutique festivals are about ‘forward thinking music’ and are usually independently run, featuring a variety of obscure yet strong talent. Subsequently, boutique festival tickets are cheaper and great platforms for struggling and diverse indie artists.
1. Secret Garden Party
Where: Abbots Ripton, England
When: Last weekend of July
Two words. Magical and carnival-esque. This annual independent festival for music and arts is probably the most well known and loved boutique festival that exists. It takes place in Abbots Ripton, near Huntingdon, England. The location of the festival is its USP – a Georgian farm house accompanied by its own lake, river and gorgeous landscape. The organizers concentrate on making the festival a visual experience with floating boats, crazy entertainment and a yearly theme. Over the years (starting in 2004) Chase and Status, Django Django and Bastille are some of the bands who have featured at this festival.
2. End Of The Road
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, North Dorset, England
When: August – September
Hosted at the Lamer Tree Gardens in England, End of the Road is a considerably smaller festival and that is just what it’s trying to create. The couple (Simon and Sofia) who started it wanted to make their own little perfect festival. Props to them for the quality of music and the intimate and warm vibe they’ve seemed to generate. Music that features is usually alt rock, American and folk. Sigor Ros, Belle and Sebastian, Frightened Rabbits have featured here.
The Guardian has called it “beautiful, captivating stuff, a perfectly formed festival.”
3. Green Man Festival
Where: Brecon Beacons, Wales
Green Man has successfully carved quite a niche for itself as a ‘non-corporate and ethically-minded festival’. Its identity revolves around its showcasing of Literature, art, all night bonfires, comedy and secret gigs. As one of the biggest festivals in Wales, it features around 400 acts per year with nine different stages. The seven day festival features folk, indie and American music. Artists include – Mogwai, Local Natives, The Tallest Man on Earth and The Walkmen.
4. Soundwave Festival Croatia
Where: Tisno, Croatia
Known for its infamous boat party, Soundwave Festival is a holiday experience with its sunny beach setting and terraced bars. Jazz, dub, electronic and a bit of R&B is the sort of music you’ll get to enjoy. The festival has successfully put Croatia on the boutique festival map. Artists like Bonobo, DJ Shadow and Com Truise are regulars at the festival. Apart from the music and the parties, festival activities include sailing, island hopping and fishing!
5. Festival No. 6
Where: Portmeirion, Wales, UK
With Portmeirion as a backdrop along a Welsh coastline, this festival is supposed to have the most stylish setting imaginable. The Italian–style village comes alive with spontaneous performances, installations and bizarre street theatre. Artists to look out for: Manic Street Preachers, Everything Everything, James Blake and The Staves.