UK Rock & Heavy Music Festival Guide 2023

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Download Festival 2022 - Iron Maiden - James Bridle
James Bridle

With the UK festival scene stampeding towards us like a raging bull, the team here at Rock Sins have been collecting up the information of all the best rock, metal and alternative festivals taking place across the country over the next few months. Here’s a look at just SOME of the great events happening in the UK alternative festival scene over the Spring and Summer of 2023.

April

Takedown Festival

When: 8th April
Where: Portsmouth, Guildhall
Rock Sins recommends: Skindred, Jamie Lenman, Punk Rock Factory, Our Hollow Our Home, As December Falls, Palm Reader, Ithaca
Info: https://takedownfestival.com

Making a return after several years away, Takedown is the UK South Coast’s much loved and much missed one day rock and metal festival. With a huge varied line up topped up by the mysterious Sleep Token and everyone’s favourite festival band Skindred, Takedown Festival 2023 looks to be a fine return for the event. Hopefully it sells out and the return is permanent, rather than a one off. You can also check out a full preview for Takedown Festival 2023 on this link.

Takedown Festival 2023 Final Line Up Poster

Teddy Rocks Festival

When: 28th – 30th April
Where: Charisworth Farm, Blandford,Dorset
Rock Sins Recommends: Punk Rock Factory, The Bottom Line, Dream State, Bronnie, Those Damn Crows, Mason Hill
Info: https://www.teddyrocks.co.uk

One of the UK’s best loved charity festivals, Teddy Rocks raises huge amounts of money for good causes with it’s assorted multi-genre line up. Ranging from Indie to rock to metal, with dance and comedy options, plus a variety of facilities for kids, it is a great option for those looking to spend their end of April / first May bank holiday weekend at a festival.

Teddy Rocks Festival 2023 Line Up Poster

May

Slam Dunk Festival

When: 27th / 28th May
Where: Temple Nesam, Leeds / Hatfield Park, Hatfield
Rock Sins Recommends: Enter Shikari, Bowling For Soup, Vukovi, Kids In Glass Houses, Holding Absence, Creeper, Malevolence, Maggie Lindemann
Info: https://www.slamdunkfestival.com

The end of May bank holiday brings the annual return for Slam Dunk Festival to Leeds and Hatfield and the line up is stacked, even by Slam Dunk Festival standards. With headliners as varied as Enter Shikari and The Offspring to Creeper, Yellowcard and Malevolence, there really is something for everyone. Expect favourites like Bowling For Soup, the reuniting Kids In Glass Houses, Holding Absence, The Menzingers and modern pop rock princess Maggie Lindemann to all offer options for the set of the day alongside the bulk of the headliners.

Slam Dunk Festival 2023 Final Line Up Poster

Call Of The Wild Festival

When: 26th – 28th May
Where: Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln
Rock Sins recommends: Those Damn Crows, Fury, Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters, Shadow Smile, wars
Info: https://callofthewildfestival.com/

Relative newcomers to the UK rock and metal festival scene, Call Of The Wild are establishing themselves as a small but growing, independent, family friend festival. If Slam Dunk’s array of pop punk and metalcore isn’t your thing, Call Of The Wild offers a great alternative, with a mix of classic rock, new wave of classic rock and metal across three days at the Lincolnshire Showgrounds.

June

Download Festival

When: 8-11th June
Where: Donington Park
Rock Sins recommends: Bring Me The Horizon, Metallica, Slipknot, Alexisonfire, Architects, Evanescence, Ghost, Parkway Drive, Alter Bridge, Halestorm, Jinjer, A.A. Williams, Coheed And Cambria
Info: https://downloadfestival.co.uk

The 20th anniversary of the Download Festival brings us the biggest ever Download so far. Download Festival 2023, aka Download 20, brings Donington devotees four full days of music, topped off by headliners Bring Me The Horizon, Slipknot and two lots of Metallica – promising two fully unique sets with no repeated songs! A huge line up full of internationally successful bands and a lot of up and coming talent from the UK and elsewhere, the biggest ever Download is set to be one hell of a party.

Download Festival 2023 Second Line Up Poster

Outbreak Festival

When: 23rd-25th June
Where: Depot Mayfield, Manchester
Rock Sins recommends: Denzel Curry, Death Grips, Code Orange, Converge, Loathe, Trapped Under Ice, Jesus Piece, Soul Glo, Zulu
Info: https://www.outbreak-fest.co.uk

The UK’s biggest hardcore festival has gone through some changes in recent years. After putting on their biggest event so far last year, they’re looking to go one step further this year with their most diverse line-up yet. The likes of Code Orange, Converge and Bane would make for a big Outbreak all on their own but this year features Denzel Curry and Death Grips topping the bill. Branching out into alternative hip-hop bookings is a great step for the festival and we can’t see to watch it all play out in Manchester. Don’t forget to sign the all important mosh waiver.

July

Dog Day Afternoon

When: 1st July
Where: Crystal Palace Park, London
Who: Iggy Pop, Blondie, Generation Sex, Buzzcocks, Lambrini Girls
Info: www.festivalrepublic.com

Join the biggest punk celebration in London this year with Iggy Pop, super group Generation Sex (combined of Generation X members Billy Idol, Tony James and Sex Pistols’ Steve Jone and Paul Cook) first ever UK appearance, Blondie, Buzzcocks and Lambrini Girls at Crystal Palace Park – it’s not one to miss!

2000Trees Festival

When: 5th-9th July
Where: Upcote Farm, Cheltenham
Rock Sins recommends: Frank Carter, Skindred, Press To Meco, Holding Absence, Saint Agnes, Cancer Bats, As Everything Unfolds, And So I Watch You From Afar, The Wonder Years, Heriot
Info: https://www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk

Our favourite festival that has it’s own forest, 2000Trees continues to grow and go from strength to strength. The line up for 2023 is already looking very impressive, and that’s with two headliners still to be announced! With everything from festival powerhouses like Skindred to a veritable who’s who of the up and coming talent of the UK rock and alternative scene (with a few great bits of metal like Heriot and post-hardcore like As Everything Unfolds thrown in for good measure), a wonderful time awaits at Upcote Farm this July.

2000Trees Line Up Poster 2023 - March Edition

RADAR Festival
When: 28th-30th July
Where: BEC Arena, Manchester
Rock Sins recommendations: Periphery, Loathe, Heart Of A Coward, God Is An Astronaut, Long Distance Calling, Wheel, Exploring Birdsong, The Callous Daoboys
Info: https://www.radarfestival.co.uk

Moving from Guildford to Manchester, Radar Festival expands at their new home for their biggest edition so far in 2023. With Periphery and current UK scene favourites Sleep Token on board as headliners, with a fantastic supporting cast of prog, tech metal, post rock and post-metal bands appearing across the weekend. Between Radar and ArcTanGent (more on that in a minute), the UK is getting really spoiled this year for those who enjoy “post” type bands.

Radar Festival 2023 Latest Line Up Poster (February 2023 Edition)

August

Bloodstock Open Air

When: 10th-13th August
Where: Catton Park, Derbyshire
Rock Sins recommends: Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Meshuggah, Fit For An Autopsy, Knocked Loose, Employed To Serve, Zeal & Ardor, URNE, Tribulation, Unto Others
Info: https://www.bloodstock.uk.com

Bloodstock never fails to scratch that itch for metal fans with slightly more niche interests. As you would expect, there are tons of heavy and extreme bands scattered around the line-up with some of the genres staples taking the trip down to Derbyshire. Killswitch Engage getting a festival headliner on the Friday night is mouth watering but the Saturday just gets better and better, topped off with a Meshuggah headline set that will tear the place apart. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that this years instalment isn’t taking place on literally the hottest weekend in the UK ever.

ArcTanGent
When: 16th-19th August
Where: Bristol
Rock Sins recommends: Converge, Russian Circles, Cave In, Pigs x7, Brutus, Svalbard, Sikth, And So I Watch You From Afar, Curse These Metal Hands, Witchsorrow, Rolo Tomassi, Conjurer, Heilung, Empire State Bastard
Info: https://arctangent.co.uk

The South West’s annual gathering of post-rock, post-metal, noise rock and other such genres at the more ambient and extreme ends of the alternative music spectrum, quite frankly ArcTanGent have done it yet again. This festival seems to be incapable of having anything other than an excellent line up and ArcTanGent 2023 is no different. This will surely sell out with a capacity of around 5,000 people, so if you want to go, do not delay in snapping up tickets.

Reading and Leeds Festival
When: 25th-27th August
Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds
Rock Sins recommends: Billie Eilish, Sam Fender, Knocked Loose, Meet Me At The Altar, You Me At Six, Becky Hill, Scowl, Yonaka
Info: https://www.readingandleedsfestival.com

Held on the August bank holiday weekend Reading & Leeds Festival provides a mix of almost everything and even with a pop-heavy line-up it always manages to keep stay true to its rock roots with some of the best in pop-punk, rock and alternative music.

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