The above photo was taken at an outdoor band concert at Kneller Hall, Whitton (or Twickenham)
One of the best things about summer in the UK is attending outdoor concerts of all types. There are many music festivals, the most known one worldwide being Glastonbury which takes place in June. This year it begins June 26 and ends on June 30. People often take tents and stay for the duration of the festival. It has been sometimes a very wet and muddy festival but due to the quality of the musicians, it is widely popular. Other notable concerts this year is Creamfields (August 22-25 in Daresbury, Boomtown; 7-11 August in Winchester; Lovebox, 12-13 July in London; Fusion, 31August-1 Sept in Liverpool; Camp Festival 25-28 July at Lulworth Castle; Latitude, 18-21 July, Southward; Download, 14-16 June, Derby; Isle of Wight , 11-14 July; Reading and Leeds, 23-15 August, Reading and Leeds; Green Man, 15-18 August, Brecon Beacons (Wales); Houghton, 8-11 August, Houghton. Steakhouse is from the 26-28 July in Ebbw Vale, Wales.
There are also classical music concerts throughout the UK. What makes these events fun is the tradition of taking a picnic with you and eating it either in the car park or at your seat prior to the concert. Many people go all out, bringing table linen and candlesticks and even champagne!
In England, there is the Henley Music Festival at Henley. It takes place this year 10-14 July. People generally dress up for the concerts. National Trust properties often have outdoor concerts in the grounds throughout the summer. There is everything from Jazz on the Lawn to Opera in the garden. Check the National Trust website for a concert near you. Some English Heritage sites also have concerts such as the Music on a Sunday series at Audley End House and Garden in Saffron Walden. At Whitton, there are monthly band concerts on the grounds of Kneller Hall where there is a band conductor’s school. The evening’s entertainment always ends with fireworks. For a diversion, you can watch the planes coming into Heathrow one after another as they fly overhead of the stage. Leeds Castle has a one night concert each year and this year there will be a tribute to 900th birthday of that castle on 13 July. Other venues such as Kenwood House have outside summer concerts.
There is an eclectic range of other music concerts. Some of these are: The South Tyneside Festival at South Shields where there are 4 open air concerts on Sunday afternoons at Bent Park starting on July 14th; the Y Not Festival at Pikehall, Derbyshire 25-28 July; The Cornbery Music Festival at Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire 5-7 July; the Rhythmtree Festival on the Isle of Wight from the 12-14 July; the Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park, London from 5-7 July; the International Music Festival in Liverpool from the 20-21 July and the Buxton International Festival which has literature, art and politics as well as opera and classical music. It runs 5-21 July at the Buxton Opera House in Derbyshire.
In Wales, there is the Gower Festival from 1-13 July where there is a concert at a different outdoor venue each evening somewhere on the Gower peninsula. The Westival is deep in the Pembrokeshire Coast national Park from 19-22 July. Go to scotlandwelcomesyou.com for concerts of which there are many. Most are indoors. In Northern Ireland there is the Heart of the Glens Festival 3-11 August which is in the Glens of Antrim on the Causeway Coastal route on the Antrim Coast.In Londonderry on 3 August will be the Walled City Tattoo which will include drama, music and dance.
Because of the popularity of the Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall each summer, other venues hold their own. The Battle Proms is a picnic concert series and this year will be at Blenheim Palace on 6 July; Hatfield House, 13 July; Burghley House,20 July; Highclerc Castle, 3 August; and Ragley on 10 August. Bedford also has a Proms concert which will be at Bedford Park on 28 July.
Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland as well as England, participate in an outdoors Last Night of the Proms concert, usually on the second Saturday of September. The venues can change but it is always at Hyde Park in London for the English venue. This year it is at the Titanic Slipway in Northern Ireland, Glasgow Green in Scotland, Colwyn Bay, Wales and of course Hyde Park.
Have a magnificent musical summer outdoors! And don’t forget your picnic!