7 Best rock festivals in England to experience before you die (2023-2024)

Best rock festivals in England

England is one of the countries with the strongest roots in rock music since the 70s. For example, T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Sweet, Slade, Mott the Hoople, and Suzi Quatro are some of the best glam rock bands of the 70s. In addition, metal music was born in England in the 60s. England, the homeland of these genres, hosts many festivals. Let’s take a look at the best rock festivals in England.

The first rock festival in England was the National Jazz and Blues Festival in August 1961. Although the festival initially focused on jazz and blues, some early rock and roll acts were also part of it. Later, the festival evolved into the famous Reading Festival.

Metallica at the Glastonbury Festival 2023
Metallica at the Glastonbury Festival 2023

Harold Pendleton organized the festival. He was the founder of the Marquee Club in London. In 1971, the festival moved to its current location in Reading, Berkshire, and became known simply as the Reading Festival. Today, the Reading Festival is one of the most iconic and best music festivals in the UK.

Best rock festivals in England

The rock and metal community in the UK welcomes many subgenres, including classic rock, alternative rock, punk rock, death metal, heavy metal, and black metal. There are various clubs where both local and international bands perform. Of course, the feeling of festivals is completely different when it comes to rock music. If you live in England, you can see your favorite bands live at many festivals, not just in bars and clubs. Here are the best rock festivals in the UK:

1. Glastonbury Festival (2023-2024)

Although it is not exclusively a rock festival, Glastonbury is one of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world. It welcomes a diverse lineup that includes rock, metal, pop, indie, electronic, and other genres. The festival takes place in Somerset and usually occurs in June. Glastonbury Festival is bigger than Coachella.

In 2023, Glastonbury Festival took place from June 21, 2023, to June 25, 2023.

Glastonbury Festival 2023
Glastonbury Festival 2023 Flyer

Who headlined the first-ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970?

The first-ever Glastonbury Festival did not have a traditional headline. The lineup for the 1970 Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival included several folk and blues acts, such as Marc Bolan, Keith Christmas, Al Stewart, and Quintessence. Glastonbury Festival was organized by Michael Eavis and was known as the “Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival.”

How much does it cost to go to Glastonbury Festival?

The Glastonbury Festival 2023 ticket price stood at £335, plus a £5 booking fee. In 2022,  Glastonbury Festival-goers paid £285 in total. This year, there was a 26% increase on its last price.

Glastonbury Festival 2024 will take place from June 26 – June 30, 2024.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to Glastonbury?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks to the festival. However, amounts considered beyond reasonable personal use will be confiscated.

Click the play button and listen to Guns N’ Roses at the Glastonbury Festival while reading the rest of the article.

2. Reading Festival

As mentioned earlier, the Reading Festival has a long history and is one of the most famous and best rock festivals in England. It takes place in Reading, Berkshire, usually over the August bank holiday weekend.

The Reading Festival 2023 took place from August 25, 2023, to August 27, 2023.

How much does it cost to go to Reading Festival?

This year’s presale weekend tickets were available for £264.45. Day tickets cost between £90 and £100.

Reading Festival 2023 lineup

The lineup for the Reading Festival 2023 was: Billie Eilish, Central Cee, Sam Fender, Nothing But Thieves, The Killers, Foals, Subfocus & Dimension, Imagine Dragons, Doyle Carter, Steve Lacy, Bicep Live, Beck Hill, Wet Leg, Declan McKenna, Rina Sawayama, Lovejoy, and more.
Best rock festivals in England
Reading Festival lineup

3. Download Festival

Download Festival is one of the most important and best rock festivals in England. The festival has its roots in the Monsters of Rock festival. It was first held at Donington Park in 1980 and was later renamed Download Festival in 2003.

Download Festival primarily focuses on rock and metal music. Each year, Download Festival hosts a lineup of top-tier rock and metal acts, with major bands headlining the main stage. Some of the best rockstars of the Download Festival were Metallica band members. In addition to Metallica, concertgoers also had the opportunity to see the best Slipknot masks of all time.

How much does it cost to go to Download Festival (2023)?

  • Weekend and five-night general camping: £345.00
  • Weekend and four-night general camping: £325.00 

Download Festival 2023 lineup

DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL REVEALS EPIC LINE-UP FOR 2023 – R o c k 'N' L o a d

Metallica on the stage at the Download Festival 2023:

4. Isle of Wight Festival

Another legendary music festival in the UK is the Isle of Wight Festival. It features iconic rock performances. It takes place on the Isle of Wight and usually happens in June.

The Isle of Wight Festival is an award-winning festival.

How much does it cost to go to the Isle of Wight Festival? (2023)

Early bird adult tickets for those based outside of the Isle of Wight cost £189 each. Early bird passes for teens,13-17 years old, and students cost £183.60 each.

Isle of Wight residents can unlock Islander Special weekend tickets for just £145.80 which includes all fees.

Who headlined the first-ever Isle of Wight Festival?

The first-ever Isle of Wight Festival took place in 1968, from August 31 to September 1. The festival was held at Ford Farm, near Godshill, on the Isle of Wight, England. It was organized by brothers Ronnie and Ray Foulk.

Some of the well-known performers at the first-ever Isle of Wight Festival included: Jefferson Airplane, T. Rex, Fairport Convention, Pretty Things, and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

Here is the lineup for the Isle of Wight Festival:

Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival lineup

5. TRNSMT Festival

TRNSMT Festival is relatively newer compared to some others on this list, TRNSMT has quickly gained popularity as a rock and indie music festival. There is an age limit for the TRNSMT festival. No under 16s will be able to gain entry to the festival.

TRNSMT Festival 2023 took place in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 5, 2023, to July 7, 2023.

Unlike some other major festivals, TRNSMT does not have on-site camping facilities. Attendees usually stay in nearby accommodations or travel to the festival grounds each day.

How much does it cost to go to the TRNSMT Festival? (2023)

  • Three-Day Weekend General Admission Ticket – £200.10 each
  • Three-Day Weekend VIP Ticket – £325.95 each

TRNSMT Festival was first held in 2017 as a replacement for the T in the Park festival, which went on hiatus. It was organized by DF Concerts, the same company responsible for T in the Park. Radiohead headlined the opening day of the festival on July 7, 2017.

Here is the TRNSMT Festival 2023 lineup:

best rock festivals in england
best rock festivals in England

6. Latitude Festival

Latitude Festival was first held in 2006 and has since become one of the major summer festivals in the UK. Although it is not exclusively a rock festival, it offers a mix of music genres, including indie, alternative, rock, folk, electronic, and more.

Latitude Festival features multiple stages, including the Obelisk Arena (main stage), BBC Sounds Stage, Sunrise Arena, Lake Stage, and more.

How much does it cost to go to the Latitude Festival? (2023)

  • Weekend Adult Ticket: £286.45
  • Accompanied Teen Weekend Ticket: £175.40
  • Weekend Adult Ticket in Family Camping: £286.45
  • Accompanied Teen Weekend Ticket in Family Camping: £175.40
  • Child Weekend Ticket: £15.00
Latitude Festival line up
Latitude Festival lineup

7. Bloodstock Open Air

Bloodstock Open Air Festival was first held in 2005 and since then it has become one of the biggest and most famous heavy metal music festivals in the UK.

In 2023, the festival was 4 days long, including 4 different stages. 150 groups participated in the festival. The capacity of bloodstock is 20.000.

The festival focuses on heavy metal music and offers a variety of sub-genres including death metal, black metal, thrash metal, and power metal.

Do you feel like crowd-surfing? Bloodstock Open Air is the right festival for you.

Bloodstock Open Air
Bloodstock Open Air lineup

This post will be updated!

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