8 unmissable UK festivals in May 2022

Festival season officially begins this month so here's our pick of eight of the best that May has to offer

See that bright ball in the sky? No, don’t straight look at it! That’s the sun. It’s been a while since we were properly reacquainted but it’s why everything looks a lot brighter, why you’re warmer and why the world seems a tiny bit better than it did when three swimming pools worth of water were assaulting you from a sky the colour of charcoal.

“But what do we do with the sun?” you ask. “Do we hide from it? Do we offer it tea? We can’t remember!” Well, glad you asked. There are many things you can do in the sun (as long as you’re wearing sunscreen). We may be a little biased but one of our favourites is to stand with a load of people in the open air, listening to live music, drinking and eating tasty things, and having truckloads of fun.

“That sounds wonderful,” you say. “Is there a name for that?” Yes, there is, it’s called a “festival” and here are some of the best UK music festivals coming up in May 2022.

Great Escape festival

The Great Escape

The south coast’s answer to SXSW has long been a goldmine for discovering acts on the rise. This year is no exception, as we found out when we went digging through the immense line-up for our preview piece. Anywhere and everywhere that could approximately be described as a venue will play host to a list of names that you’re guaranteed to be hearing more from in the coming years. Brighton, 11 – 14 May

CloseUp Festival

A three-dayer in East London celebrating rising talent in indie and electronic circles with a line-up that includes Orchards, Bandit, Havelock, King No-One, APRE and more. It’s indoors so one for those who are too cool for vitamin D. Colours Hoxton, 20–22 May

Flashback Festival

Party like the last 15 years never happened at Platt Fields Park with an impressive amalgamation of dance acts from the 90s and 00s. Standouts include headliners Example, Tinchy Stryder, Tulisa, 2 Unlimited (No no, no no no no. Actually… yes!), Judge Jules, Ultrabeat, DJ Luck & MC Neat (widaliddabiddaluck) and many, many more. Manchester, 21 May

Soundcrash Funk And Soul Weekender 2022 poster

Funk & Soul Weekender

Smooth sounds by the sea. Doesn’t get any more blissful than that. Funk & Soul Weekender celebrates that meeting point between the two interlinked genres across three days at Dreamland. Sister Sledge and George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic get top billing, with a whole host of other luminaries from Craig Charles to Gilles Peterson also on the list. Margate, 27 – 29 May

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend

The first massive pop weekend of the summer hits Coventry’s War Memorial Park with a bonkers good line-up: Lorde, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Calvin Harris, Becky Hill, Disclosure, Charli XCX, Anne-Marie, Holly Humberstone, Wet Leg, Griff, Fontaines D.C., Foals… Massive feels like a bit of an understatement. Coventry, 27 – 29 May

Neighbourhood Weekender

Victoria Park opens its gates to some huge names over two days of pop, indie, dance and more. Highlights include Courteeners, the returning Kasabian, Blossoms (hot off their critically acclaimed fifth album), Irish indie rockers Inhaler, synth pop goths Pale Waves, dance superstar Becky Hill, and Wet Leg, aka the hottest band in the world right now. The night before Neighbourhood sees My Chemical Romance play a separate, standalone show in the park. Not to be missed either. Warrington, 28 & 29 May

Neck Of The Woods

Another newbie festival for 2022, family friendly one-dayer Neck Of The Woods brings indie and pop to Newham Park with The Kooks, DMA’s, Sea Girls, Dodie, The Snuts and loads more across three stages. Norwich, 29 May

Slam Dunk 2022 poster

Slam Dunk

OK so it’s actually in June, but it’s technically the May bank holiday. Who are you, the date police? (Seriously, don’t mess with the date police. We did and spent three months in June 2016). If you like punk and you like emo and you like metal, you already know how great this is going to be. Particular excitement around these parts for The Wonder Years, Hot Water Music, The Bronx, Spanish Love Songs and Nova Twins. Leeds & Hatfield, 3 & 4 June

To find your perfect festival for summer 2022, try the Ticketmaster Festival Finder