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NOISILY (July 5-8, Coney Woods, Leicester, noisilyfestival.com) has been steadily gaining a reputation as one of the best small music festivals in the country. Since its inception in 2011, the festival has prided itself on keeping numbers down — its current capacity is 4,000 — and atmosphere high.
Set in idyllic surroundings that combine woodland with green fields and open skies, the electronic music festival stages great dance across the spectrum of techno, drum'n'bass and psy-trance.
Ethically minded, the site also offers talks and meditations for mind, body and soul, while Noisily co-founder Charles Audley has vowed to fight for gender equality in a male-dominated festival industry, including better representation of female DJs.
Winner of the best major festival at UK Festival Awards last year, Latitude (July 12-15, Henham Park, Suffolk, latitudefestival.com) not only has a great track record of live acts — Beyonce's talented sister Solange Knowles (pictured) is on the bill this year — but it is arguably the very best for theatre.
With dedicated stages to dance and drama, this year sees shows presented by Sadler's Wells, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Matthew Bourne, comedy from Mark Thomas and Dylan Moran, and even some hip-hop Shakespeare.
Rightly described as a "knock-out celebration of global sounds," WOMAD (July 26-29, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, womad.co.uk) began life in a West Country field in 1982 and has since become an international festival in more ways than one.
Boasting some of world music's greatest, headliners this year include Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, Spanish guitarist Amparanoia and French singer Camille. This year's big party also sees Womad upping the ante on the DJ stakes with sets from Leftfield and Goldie.
Everyone’s favourite for music line-ups, Bestival (August 2-5, Lulworth Estate, Dorset, bestival.net) has hosted some of the more niche big names for the discerning muso, from My Bloody Valentine and Kraftwerk, to a three-hour set from The Cure and a characteristically messy set from Amy Winehouse and this year will see the likes of Grace Jones and pop-rap princess M.I.A.
Bestival relocated to Dorset from the Isle of Wight last year, marking a new era in its already impressive history. Another change this year sees the festival move its date forward from the first weekend in September to August.
Celebrating its 10th birthday, Boomtown (August 9-12, Matterley Estate, Hampshire, boomtownfair.co.uk) is the king of set design, with towering stages like Bang Hai and District 9 among themed zones which include Chinatown, the Wild West and Old Town.
With one of the more eclectic programmes on the festival circuit, Boomtown has stages for reggae, psy-trance, electronic and all the rest and it's famed for blending music with immersive theatre and a crazy sci-fi backstory that adds a chapter to the plot each year.
Live music this year is from Gorillaz, Die Antwoord, Sleaford Mods and Jimmy Cliff.
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