When the British summer delivers on the weather front, there’s nothing better than a music festival (especially if you can find one serving champagne). Whether you’re looking for family-friendly festivals, extra-special small independent music festivals, or boutique options at your favourite dusk-till-dawn alfresco rave, we’ve rounded up the best boutique festivals to come in 2023.
The Ultimate Boutique Festivals Calendar
Click on the month to skip ahead
- April: Cheltenham Jazz Festival
- May: Elderflower Fields, The English Riviera Food and Music Festival
- June: Hampton Court Palace Festival, The Grange Festival, Iford Manor Jazz Festival
- July: Henley Festival, Jupiter Rising, Bluedott Festival, Truck Festival, Summer Camp By The Good Life Society
- August: Wilderness, Boomtown, Houghton Festival, Big Feastival
The Best Small & Luxury Boutique Festivals 2023
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
When? 26 April–1 May 2023
Where? Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham
What? One of Europe’s largest jazz festivals is returning to Cheltenham this May Bank Holiday, featring world premiers, brand new commissions, exclusive collaborations and one-off shows alongside a series of free performances at venues across the pretty town centre. Superstar vocalist Gregory Porter is the Artistic Curator for 2023, handpicking a selection of artists to perform alongside his own headline show. Expect also to hear from Damian Lewis, Laura Mvula, Gregory Porter, Will Young, MIKA, Squeeze, Tony Hadley, Van Morrison and Rufus Wainwright, alongside many more.
BOOK IT: cheltenhamfestivals.com
When? 26–29 May 2023
Where? Ashdown Forest, Sussex
What? One of the most family-friendly boutique festivals, this Sussex-based extravaganza is designed especially with children in mind. With music, sports, nature and art, this lush festival features hot showers and a woodland spa, set in beautiful Sussex countryside.
BOOK IT: Adult weekend tickets from £159.83. elderflowerfields.co.uk
The English Riviera Food and Music Festival
When? 26–29 May 2023
Where? Torre Abbey Meadows, Torbay, Devon
What? New for 2023, The English Riviera Food and Music Festival will celebrate the best of the Southwest, across food, music and culture. Expect an eclectic mix of tasty dishes and high-quality local produce at the daily food market, talented chefs cooking up a storm live on stage, performances and interactive activities designed especially for kids and families, and a stellar mainstage lineup featuring the likes of Scouting For Girls and Rebecca Ferugson. All with a stunning beachy backdrop to boot.
BOOK IT: Exclusive pre-sale tickets start from £27.25 and exclusive pre-sale family tickets (2 adults + 2 children) £64.50. rivierafoodmusicfest.co.uk
When? 9–11 June 2023
Where? Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire
What? This festival of ideas and music is set across seven stages at the idyllic Grade I listed Palladian house in Kirtlington Park overlooking the Chiltern Hills near Oxford. Now in its second year, expect a mixture of literature, music, politics, art, culture and comedy, with music from Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde and Hot Chip, and debates and talks from the likes of Adam Kay, Munroe Bergdorf, Elizabeth Day, and chief interviewer at The Sunday Times Decca Aitkinhead in conversation with Dame Joan Collins.
BOOK IT: Day tickets from £59, weekend tickets from £145 and camping tickets from £154. kitefestival.co.uk
Hampton Court Palace Festival
When? Throughout June
Where? Hampton Court Palace, Richmond-upon-Thames
What? Boutique festivals don’t get much better than this. Artists perform to a beautiful backdrop in Henry VIII’s open-air Base Court for an intimate audience of 3,000 at what is sure to be one of the summer’s biggest celebrations. This year’s line-up includes race Jones, Kaiser Chiefs, Björn Again and Rick Astley, with more to still be announced. It’s also the perfect festival if a picnic on the lawn pre-show is on your check-list. We’re very much in.
BOOK IT: hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com
The Grange Festival
When: Throughout June
What? The Grange Festival is an event series dedicated to performing world-class opera in the heart of Hampshire. Located in a modern opera house, tucked away in the orangerie of the neo-classical ruined The Grange, head here if classical music is your thing, and be pleased by the added benefit of rolling parkland, the beautiful main house, and delicious delicious sparkling wine grown on site.
BOOK IT: thegrangefestival.co.uk
Iford Manor Jazz Festival
When? 29 June–2 July 2023
What? One of the country’s most beautiful, historic venues, Iford Manor launched a new jazz festival a few years ago. Curated by multi-award-winning jazz vocalist, Claire Martin OBE, the programme is filled with acclaimed jazz artists from all over the world, alongside rising stars. Expect performances from the likes of Ray Gelato and The Giants, alongside a whole host of food and drink offerings including a champagne bar and an open fire Argentinian asado.
BOOK IT: ilfordmanor.co.uk
When? 5–9 July 2023
Where? Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
What? We’re always first in line for tickets to the country’s only black-tie music festival. The music line-up is always stellar, and this year is no different, with Rag’n’Bone Man, Westlife and Nile Rodgers & CHIC all on the cards. You can also expect comedy from the likes of Marcus Brigstocke, Jo Brand, Chris McCausland and Adam Kay – and, if it’s festival food that gets you excited, you won’t find a better culinary line-up than this one on the banks of the River Thames.
BOOK IT: henley-festival.co.uk
Fancy learning more? Learn all about Henley Festival from Jo Bausor, who’s been at the helm for over a decade, in episode #120 of Break Out Culture
When? 14–16 July 2023
Where? Jupiter Artland, near Wilkieston, West Lothian
What? How does one make a boutique festival even more atmospheric? Host it in a stately home. Jupiter Rising is Edinburgh’s newest boutique music and art festival; Jupiter Artland, found just outside of Edinburgh, is a sculpture park full of grand art installations and sculptures. The line-up is varied and features some lesser-known artists which only adds to the unique, boutique-feel Jupiter Rising promises.
BOOK IT: jupiterrising.art
When? 20–23 July 2023
Where? Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire
What? This spacey celebration at Jordell Bank, Cheshire is a science-lovers dream. This fun fusion of music, science and the exploration of space takes place at the iconic observatory. The 2023 line-up includes headliners Grace Jones, Young Fathers, Roisin Murphy, Leftfield, and Pavement in their only show of 2023.
BOOK IT: discoverthebluedot.com
When? 21–23 July 2023
Where? Hill Farm, Oxfordshire
What? This small, independent, family-friendly music festival takes place on Hill Farm in Oxfordshire. The 2023 line up stars Two Door Cinema Club, alt-j, Royal Blood, The Wombats and The Vaccines, alongside many others and an excellent food offering.
BOOK IT: Weekend camping tickets from £140. truckfestival.com
Summer Camp By The Good Life Society
When? Throughout July
Where? Hawarden, Wales
What? Over in the glorious, unusual and historic setting of the Hawarden Estate against the backdrop of two castles, The Good Life Society is back with Summer Camp, a series of micro festivals set in the estate’s Walled Garden, taking place over four weekends in July. Stepping back from larger-scale events following the pandemic, micro really does mean micro: there will be space for only 125 guests at each weekend, creating an intimate and personal atmosphere bolstered by guided foraging walks, wild swimming and self-improvement workshops.
BOOK IT: thegoodlifesociety.co.uk
When? 3–6 August 2023
Where? Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
What? Expect big names in music and culture plus great food served banquet-style to accommodate chats with like-minded festival-goers; this Oxfordshire (relative) stalwart is always a favourite. With wellbeing workshops and boutique camping, there’s no need to feel wild as you reacquaint yourself with nature at Wilderness. This year’s line-up includes Underworld, Years & Years and Peggy Gou on the music side, plus chefs including Skye Gyngell, Adam Handling and Robin Gill.
BOOK IT wildernessfestival.com
When? 9–13 August 2023
Where? Matterley Estate, Hampshire
What? As boutique festivals go, Boomtown is certainly one most highly anticipated. This multifaceted music and theatrical event is hosted at the Matterley Estate, Winchester, and previous years have featured the likes of Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage and The Streets. Boomtown puts equal importance on stage design and theatrical storylines, with the ‘city’ split into nine unique districts.
BOOK IT: boomtownfair.co.uk
When? 10–13 August 2023
What? This Norfolk fest has a licence that permits music from dusk to dawn, with ‘spontaneous’ back-to-back sets, award-winning DJs and a stellar music line-up. Set amongst dense woodland with an abandoned woodland and a picturesque lake, Houghton, curated by DJ Craig Richards, is becoming one of the most exciting prospects on the festival calendar.
BOOK IT: Tickets on sale 3 February 2023. houghtonfestival.co.uk
When? 25–27 August 2023
Where? Kingham, Cotswolds
What? Held on founder and Blur star Alex James’ farm in Kingham, the Big Feastival is a music/food festival with plenty on offer for everyone. With festival fun for all the family, little ones can enjoy the Little Dudes’ Den, pop along to the Farm Park and enjoy entertainment from children’s TV favourites. Anne-Marie, The Human League and Stereophonics are headlining this year.
BOOK IT: thebigfeastival.com
Featured image: Big Feastival