Beattie on a bandstand, Primal in the park, Hozier in Halifax… the best open-air concert series around the UK this summer
Summer is all about taking things you usually do indoors and doing them outdoors instead. Drinks on the veranda, steaks on the barbecue, dinner on the patio, baths in the paddling pool… wait… what?
You know what else is great outdoors? No! Stop that. Gigs! For those now lacking the stamina for an entire festival weekend, the last decade has seen an explosion of the festival’s close cousin: the outdoor gig series. After all, the only thing better than one outdoor gig is a load of outdoor gigs. These balmy nights of big-name shows have grown massively in popularity, popping up in all sorts of lovely locations, from parks to seaside resorts to stately homes. Here are a few of the best outdoor concert series for summer 2023 and beyond.
All Points East
The lovely folks behind APE are better than most when it comes to curating a line-up. A lot of consideration has clearly gone into crafting the vibe for each day of this year’s run in Victoria Park. Stormzy’s This Is What We Mean organisation has an entire day, bringing along Kehlani, Sampha, Ms Banks and loads more. The Strokes with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs is a 00s paradise, while Haim with Confidence Man, Tove Lo and Girl In Red has summer bliss written all over it. Let’s not forget Field Day either. Bonobo, Aphex Twin and Fever Ray might be the best electronic line-up to ever grace the UK.
Victoria Park, London | 18 – 28 August | Get tickets
Brighton Valley Series
Tom Jones, N-Dubz, Paolo Nutini and Nile Rogers & Chic all headline a poptastic schedule at Stanmer Park, just down the road from the Amex Stadium.
Stamner Park, Brighton | 5 – 9 July | Get tickets
Where once there was Hard Rock Calling, now there’s British Summer Time (BST to its mates). The line-up gets bigger every year, although it’s hard to see how they’ll ever go bigger than Billy Joel, P!nk (twice), Bruce Springsteen (twice), Take That, Guns N’ Roses, Lana del Rey and Blackpink.
Hyde Park, London | 23 June – 9 July | Get tickets
Cardiff Bay Series
Brighton Valley’s dancier cousin comes to Alexandra Bay in September with Scooter, The Chemical Brothers, The Streets and N-Dubz. You’ll need a helmet to protect you from all those shapes being thrown.
Alexandra Bay, Cardiff | 6 – 9 September | Get tickets
Live At The Piece Hall
Halifax’s Piece Hall is an 18th century cloth hall now reborn as one of the country’s best outdoor venues. A long list of shows runs right into August, covering every base possible with Orbital, boygenius, James, Limp Bizkit, The Cult, Sting, George Ezra, The Lumineers, The Charlatans and more.
The Piece Hall, Halifax | Now – 26 August | Get tickets
What began life as the Lytham Proms has grown exponentially into one of the highlights of the summer on the North West coast. This years boasts the return of space cowboy Jamiroquai, the soothing baritone of George Ezra, more hair and leather than Game Of Thrones with Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe, a new wave bill from heaven with Blondie supporting Sting and era-spanning pop titan Lionel Richie.
Lytham Green, Lytham St-Annes | 28 June – 2 July | Get tickets
Margate Summer Series
The concert series that has audiences literally in Dreamland. Margate Summer Series is that rare opportunity to see massive acts and also go on a few rides in between. A well-laid-out site also gives a compact feel to proceedings, so you feel up close and personal with the likes of Tom Jones, Primal Scream, Olly Murs, McFly, Bastille and more. It’s a summer holiday and a gig all in one.
Dreamland, Margate | Now – 30 September | Get tickets
Scarborough Open Air Theatre
Scarborough’s neatly laid-out theatre is a perfect amphitheatre. It’s tiered sections mean you actually get to see Dermot Kennedy, Pulp, Hollywood Vampires and the like, and not just the sunburnt neck of the really tall bloke in front of you.
Scarborough, Yorkshire | Now – 23 August | Get tickets
Somerset House Summer Series
This gorgeous series by the Strand is known for going beyond the obvious in search of its headliners. This year is another great example, with Young Fathers, Interpol, Gabriels, beabadoobee, Greentee Peng and more.
Somerset House, London | 6 – 16 July | Get tickets
Sounds Of The City
This annual series offers city centre shows in Manchester and Leeds, with headliners including Blossoms, The Lathums, McFly, Morrissey and more.
Castlefield Bowl, Manchester and Millenium Square, Leeds | 29 June – 12 July | Get tickets
Crystal Palace Park has one of the richest musical histories of any green space in the country and South Facing has played a massive role in bringing live music back to the park. This year sees Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, First Aid Kit, Primal Scream and more to the historic bowl.
Crystal Palace Park, London | 28 July – 13 August | Get tickets
Summer Nights At The Bandstand
Last but not least, we head north of the border for the annual outdoor shindig at Kelvingrove Bandstand. A top-notch line-up includes headliners Siouxsie, Anastacia, Glasvegas, Jack Savoretti, Squeeze, Callum Beattie, Sophie Ellis Bextor and more. And it’s not really summer in Scotland unless Del Amitri show up, which they will. Twice!
Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow | 25 July – 12 August | Get tickets