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Experience the UK’s best metropolitan festivals, by Emma Baylis

As a seasoned festival goer, it’s only taken me until recently to experience a metropolitan festival – a concept that’s been slowly on the rise in the UK and is now a booming part of this country’s live music scene.

It’s not hard to see why. Whilst trudging across muddy fields and not showering for four days has its appeal for some, many would prefer a more laid back environment but one that still enables them to experience some of the best up-and-coming artists Europe has to offer, in a short space of time.

Live at Leeds was the first taste of such an event – being local it was a no-brainer at just £30 a ticket. An award-winning festival, thousands of people not only from Yorkshire but across the UK, flock to see hundreds of artists play in a variety of venues across the city. Despite 12 hours of walking, it felt really relaxed, we even managed to stop for tea and cake and we saw all the acts we wanted to. A big thumbs up.

So it’s safe to say whilst Glastonbury is still on the cards and will always be my true festival love, I’ll certainly be hitting the streets of cities across the UK to have a taste of a few more metropolitan events – it’s a great opportunity to explore new places too. Here’s a few that are coming up:



Starting out as a free event back in 2009, Sheffield’s infamous festival Tramlines has increased both in popularity but also success. Held for three days over a weekend in July, it’s inspired by the city’s tram network, hence the name. With an eclectic mix of artists, as showcased by this year’s line-up featuring the likes of All Saints to the Libertines, it attracts thousands each year.

Dot to Dot:

A unique concept, this festival takes place over the last May bank holiday – but in three UK cities. Known for unearthing the country’s best new talent, Dot To Dot returns to Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham this year, with a day in each city. Expect lesser known artists but ones that are likely to take the music scene by storm in years to come –  London Grammar, Catfish and the Bottlemen and the 1975 have all played in previous years.

Sound City:

Liverpool is of course known as the birthplace of one of the world’s most famous bands, so it’s little surprise that it’s host to a music festival. This year it turns 10 years old and will see the likes of The Kooks and The Cribs as headliners over May Bank Holiday weekend. Held by Liverpool Docks, it’s a really iconic setting too.


A lesser known but equally as exciting city festival is Portsmouth’s Victorious which is held over August Bank Holiday Weekend. Set against the backdrop of the sea, the line-up is pretty impressive with Madness, Stereophonics and Elbow headlining. This one does offer offsite camping too, so you can experience the best of both worlds.


Finally, we couldn’t end without a nod to the ultimate metropolitan festival held in London. Hosted in Finsbury Park, Wireless has more of a hip-hop urban vibe and will see Chance the Rapper, The Weeknd and Skepta play to thousands this July. With high street retailers as sponsors and merchandise galore, this one’s definitely a bit more on the commercial side – but offers a good time nevertheless!