Festival Season 2018: Weekend getaways within easy reach of Liverpool
Liverpool Sound City’s 5-6 May return signals the start of 2018’s summer festival season. If you’re looking to combine a brimming bill of music, comedy, food and activities with a weekend getaway though, you don’t have to venture far from the Liverpool City Region to find a field of fun no matter what you’re into.
We’ve rounded up five of this summer’s best festival weekenders within easy reach of the city.
Words by Natasha Young
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The Big Grill
Burrs Country Park, Bury
When is it? 14-15 July
What’s happening? Meat is the main event at this North West festival of food, drink and music. Attendees can expect a feast of fun for all the family as eating competitions will see participants going head to head in challenges such as ‘The Chicken Wing Battle’ and ‘Hot Dog Heist’, and there’ll also be children’s entertainment and live musical performances across the Acoustic Stage, Electric Stage and Finger Lickin’ Beats Tent. Those seeking tasty tipples are in for a treat as the two-day festival promises a heady mix of cocktails, real ales and a whiskey and gin bar.
How to get there: Burrs Country Park is around an hour and a half away in the car, or can be reached via public transport links from Liverpool Lime Street station with changes onto local transport networks from Manchester Victoria.
Accommodation: Day tickets and full weekend tickets for adults, children and families are available but camping isn’t included in the price. The Burrs Caravan Club independent caravan park is, however, situated right next to the festival site.
Price: Tickets are priced from £7 for children and £13 for adults (incl. booking fee).
Jodrell Bank, Cheshire
When is it? 19-22 July
What’s happening? Bluedot is a family festival which holds its own musically, as The Chemical Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Future Islands and The Blue Planet in Concert with the Hallé are topping 2018’s diverse bill so far. There’s much more than bands though, as the event promises a weekend of discovery against the backdrop of Jodrell Bank’s iconic Lovell Telescope. Science workshops, out of this world activities and prominent speakers including evolutionist Richard Dawkins are also added to the mix, alongside other cultural features to be explored. Plus David O’Doherty, Cassetteboy and Robin Ince are just a few of the stellar acts announced for this year’s comedy offering.
How to get there: You won’t have to travel for lightyears as Jodrell Bank is a mere 50-minute drive from Liverpool city centre. Return coach services from outside Liverpool Central Library can also be booked in advance, and train travellers are advised to head to Macclesfield station to catch a coach to the site.
Accommodation: Take your tent or book in a live-in vehicle, but if star treatment is more your thing there are boutique camping and pre-pitched tent options too. Upgrade your experience with hot tubs and the ‘posh’ Meteor Showers toilet and washing facilities.
Price: Adult weekend camping tickets from £169 + booking fee, with a full day ticket range available soon.
When is it? 23-26 August
What’s happening? For its 21st year, this electronic music favourite from Liverpool superclub Cream is once again bringing together the biggest names in the genre. Legendary DJs including Carl Cox, Pete Tong and Sasha & John Digweed rub shoulders with live Creamfields debut performer Major Lazer and festival regulars such as Annie Mac and Eric Prydz in the packed 2018 line-up. Dance music fans can expect more than 300 artists across 30 stages during the four-day event, covering house and techno to trance and drum & bass.
How to get there: Thanks to Creamfields’ nearby location, your dancing feet won’t be cooped up in a car, coach or train for too long. The festival is a 31-minute drive from Liverpool, and if you’d prefer public transport there’ll be shuttle buses running between the city and the festival site throughout the weekend.
Accommodation: Pitch your own tent or take advantage of the already set up ‘Pre-Pitch & Party’ camp. There are more luxurious boutique options in the ‘Dreamfields’ area, and for those who really don’t fancy embracing outdoor living, Creamfields goers can opt for off-site hotel accommodation in nearby locations.
Price: Day tickets from £85 and tickets with camping from £185 + booking fees.
Arley Hall, Cheshire
When is it? 25-28 May
What’s happening? Little ones don’t have to miss out on festival fun with this event aimed at children aged 13 and under and their families. Kids and grown-ups alike will be entertained by Geronimo’s diverse programme of performers, live music, arts and crafts, action-packed activities and main stage appearances from children’s TV favourites. Entertainers including CBeebies star Justin Fletcher and the ‘Andy and the Off Socks’ gang will bring fun for young attendees, while a mixed bag of music featuring the likes of Grammy nominated jazz singer/songwriter Becki Biggins and DJ Clint Boon promises a broader appeal. Adults can also relax with holistic treatments in the healing area, or hit the Bathing Under the Sky spa which offers crèche and children’s club facilities for a totally chilled experience.
How to get there: The Arley Hall and Gardens site in Northwich is under an hour’s drive from Liverpool and, during the festival, Geronimo signs near the site will guide motorists to the correct car parks and camping fields.
Accommodation: You can set up your own tent but if you’re seeking fuss-free family fun there’s also a range of ready pitched and luxurious glamping options. Choose from Cloudhouse’s spacious yurts and squrts or Tangerine Fields’ selection of boutique designs and affordable family-sized tents.
Price: Advance tickets from £30, with one to four-day tickets available.
The Beat-Herder Festival
The Ribble Valley, Lancashire
When is it? 13-15 July
What’s happening? The Beat-Herder’s 2018 edition is lining up another dose of beats, bands and brilliant creativity.
The bumper line-up announced so far includes Orbital, Soulwax, and Django Django alongside the likes of The Lancashire Hotpots, nostalgic popstars S Club, a Foals DJ set and the London Astrobeat Orchestra performing Talking Heads. Plus there’s a Sunday afternoon of top comedy to be thrown in, and this year’s festival fancy dress theme is still to be revealed. Acts will perform across a range of weird, wonderful and immersive stages, such as the corrugated metal castle that is The Fortress, the fragranced Perfumed Garden dome, and the wooded Toil Trees to name a few.
How to get there: The site is just over an hour and 20 minutes from Liverpool by car. Those travelling by public transport can catch a train to Preston and then hop onto the regular X80 bus, which runs along the A59 and passes the festival gates.
Accommodation: Book in your campervan or caravan, or take your tent to the festival. Alternatively, the event has teamed up with Camping Under the Stars for a glamping option and booked in guests also have access to a separate shower block and posh toilets, as well as the Pamper Parlour Marquee with flooring, chairs, lamps, mirrors and electricity points.
Price: Adult weekend tickets from £137.50 + booking fee.