Festival Trail

From Gothenburg to the lush parklands of Cornwall, these are the festivals you should have on your radar this summer.

Coachella, California

Nestled between the San Bernardino Mountains and the Salton Sea, the sun-soaked desert valley of Coachella has, in recent times, become synonymous with Instagram-skewed snaps of flower crowns, brand-sponsored parties, and not much else. However, the 2018 Coachella programme looks set to reinstate the festival’s powerhouse-performance past with a line-up that includes headlining performances from Beyoncé, The Weeknd and Eminem. Also playing are indie darlings Alt-J and Haim, as well as Cardi B, Kelela, SZA, Tyler, The Creator, and this year’s most hyped act, a comeback concert from Talking Heads’ David Byrne. For those who don’t wish to go without housekeeping and room service, try cult favourite Ace Hotel (acehotel.com) with its in-house party and live music scene. For something more relaxing, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas (omnihotels.com) moves at a slightly slower pace and is best known for its spa, which offers 50 different treatments. 13-15 and 20-22 Aprilcoachella.com

SXSW, Texas

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Austin’s annual South By South West festival and its cultural programme worthy of celebration. Opening with the premiere of John Krasinski’s third directorial effort, the supernatural thriller A Quiet Place, starring his wife Emily Blunt, the full line-up will also include the debut showing of documentary The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man, Bill Hader’s HBO series Barry and Jordan Peele’s The Last O.G. starring Tracey Morgan. Add to that a schedule that promises to better last year’s 5,088 conference speakers, 2,085 musical acts, 1,084 parties, art exhibitions, book signings and brunches, and it’s little wonder droves descend on the Texan town each year to get a first glimpse of the next big things in the worlds of art, business and technology. The South Congress Hotel (southcongresshotel.com) in Austin, with its Texan-inspired interiors (denim, leather, unfinished wood and exposed concrete ceilings), rooftop pool and 12-seat sushi restaurant, Otoko is our pick. Free concerts are held in the hotel’s open courtyard, too. 9-18 Marchsxsw.com

Port Eliot, Cornwall

This gentle, literary festival, fashion-parade flower show is the polite, British answer to the summer festival circuit, attracting cultured crowds to the private estate of St. Germans each midsummer. It’s set among ancient, verdant grounds of lush parklands with a beautiful estuary and viaduct that can only be described as Downton Abbey come to life, especially as it has remained largely untouched since the 1890s. The all-ages festival is an amalgamation of ideas and inspiration around literature, music, art, food, fashion and gardening frequented by literati and glitterati alike, including over 500 artists, musicians, writers, wits, chefs and poets. Stay on-site in one of the festival’s boutique camping options: the Yurtel huts are fitted with French linen headboards on king-size beds, handcrafted furniture and fresh floral arrangements. 26-29 Julyporteliotfestival.com

Way Out West, Gothenburg

Scattered across Slottsskogen, a 137-hectare emerald park in central Gothenburg replete with roving elk and deer, music and film festival Way Out West is a leafy utopia. Swedes and a sizeable international cohort have been flocking into the forest (bordered by a zoo and a botanical garden) and its surrounding theatres and cinemas since it began 12 years ago. Three days of music, festivities and culture are encouraged with vegan-friendly cuisine as the classic Swedish landscape of ice and snow thaws for balmy days and never-ending evenings illuminated by the summer sun cycles. This cultural melting pot attracts hundreds of performing artists and film screenings, this year headlined by disparate heavyweights Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and everyone’s favourite Swedish songbird, Lykke Li. Stay at the nearby Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant (dorsia.se/en), a boutique hotel with Egyptian-cotton bedding and rich, dark, den-like interiors for a plush take on forest vibes for the evening. 9-11 Augustwayoutwest.se

Afropunk, Brooklyn

‘No sexism, no racism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no fatphobia, no transphobia and no hatefulness,’ reads the house rules of Brooklyn’s Afropunk festival. An annual celebration of the African community and its diaspora, the festival was founded in Brooklyn in 2005 as a response to the lack of people of colour in subcultural communities such as punk rock. Having since expanded to Paris, London and Johannesburg, Afropunk NYC is held each year in Fort Green’s Commodore Barry Park and seeks to showcase music, film, art and skate culture created in the spirit of African heritage and freedom. The festival is also a low-key hub for style, with uninhibited attendees turning out in a riot of colour and traditional African-inspired looks. The festival also supports the local community, offering a ‘Buy One Get One’ pass, in which each ticket purchased is supplemented by another and donated to local disadvantaged youth, and a ‘Spinthrift’ market that includes the best of New York’s maker community through bespoke, one-of-a-kind items inspired by African art and textiles. Get into the downtown Brooklyn spirit in the loft-like Nu Hotel (nuhotelbrooklyn.com), which is walking distance from the park and settled among brownstones and neighbourhood bars – opt for one of the rooms fitted with a hammock. Though a line-up for 2018 has yet to be announced, previous artists have included Lauryn Hill, Frank Ocean and Lenny Kravitz, so prepare for the best. 25-26 Augustafropunkfest.com/Brooklyn

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