The 15 best grown-up festivals summer 2022 across the UK

Music festivals are no longer a slightly frightening zone of disruptive hygiene and flat beers. The industry has come of age, and if you haven’t thought about it in a while, it’s time to shake off your prejudices. Many of this summer’s events offer an excitingly broad, stimulating program and have evolved from Duke of Edinburgh-style survival challenges.

Festival loos have also been upgraded with VIP options in ‘pamper parlours’ and even private lockable cabins. As the variety of wine bars and stands selling quality spirits and cocktails has increased, lines for drinks have decreased. You can even trade your tent for the comfort of a vintage Airstream caravan, a yurt with a wood burning stove or a cool canvas bell tent in the walled garden of a country house.

These more sophisticated festivals attract sophisticated audiences who still love music but are also interested in thought-provoking activities and new types of cultural and social interactions. The most exciting of these are loosely called “idea festivals”. The premise is that the mind is a muscle and you don’t always need a yoga mat for a good old stretch.

With Kite, Ciro Romano has conceived a new festival that combines specialist lectures, for example by satirist Armando Iannucci, with culturally relevant music by acts such as Grace Jones and Self Esteem. He believes that literary, political and philosophical festivals are what people want these days. “Because of the internet and social media, we as a society are more familiar with current affairs and the world around us,” he said.

Today’s enriching festivals recognize that what we do with our hands matters too. Many have embraced adult crafts, like spoon carving, along with hands-on workshops like indigo dying, and treat them as a form of well-being. The variety of experiences on offer is overwhelming. “You could dance next to a theoretical physicist in a rum booth, learn how to build a raft with a Royal Marine, or learn from ancient Greek and Roman mythology why bad girls are good,” said Helen Bagnall, an organizer of Also Festival . who explores big ideas. The mature festival-goers’ appetite for quality food and drink continues unabated. This summer, expect banquets from Michelin-starred chefs like Atul Kochhar and Tom Kerridge, as well as al fresco feasts from Thomasina Miers and more.

So if images of mudflows bother you, consider the little luxuries and wide range of cultural experiences at 15 adult music festivals guaranteed to enrich your life this summer. (Prices include specified accommodation and two entrance tickets, see websites for more details on beds and VIP add-ons.)

The Best Adult Festivals in 2022

Best New Festival


Combining a passion for today’s big ideas with a love of music, Kite is a workout for body and mind in the grounds of a Palladian mansion. There are two music stages – the second curated by Heavenly Recordings – a town hall for debates and live podcast discussions. Speakers will include Empireland author Sathnam Sanghera and Tina Brown, who will discuss the royal family. The 15 best grown-up festivals summer 2022 across the UK

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