Festival Guide 2016 Urban

Our 2016 Picks: The best festivals for Hip Hop, Grime and Soul lovers this summer

If 2015 is anything to go by, then 2016 will be another great year for live music. This summer season is jam-packed with renowned festivals like Glastonbury, Wireless and V Festival, along with a handful of new festivals popping up for fans and up-and-comers alike to network, party, and hear some great music. Many festivals might claim to be multi-genre but will often feature very few acts from the worlds of Hip Hop, Grime, Soul, R&B, Reggae and other Urban genres. With so many events taking place across the country – some for as little as £35 – here are some of the best summer music festivals that put these sounds at the forefront, or feature them heavily amongst the mix.

Wireless Festival

We couldn’t start this list without including Wireless Festival. Each year, Wireless Festival sees the hottest urban acts from the States head over to the UK for one huge party in London. Boy Better Know, J. Cole and Future are all set to grace the Finsbury Park stage this summer.

Where: Finsbury Park, London

When: 8, 9 and 10 July 2016

Headline Acts: J. Cole, Boy Better Know, Bryson Tiller, Future, Chase & Status

Who Else Is Playing: Miguel, Yungen, Kwabs, Krept and Konan, WSTRN, Kehlani, Young Thug, Anderson Paak, Section Boyz


Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival may not be the first choice for urban music lovers, but the 2016 line-up includes a plethora of acts from the worlds of Grime, Hip Hop and Soul. Skepta, Stormzy and Little Simz are all set to grace the Worthy Farm stage this summer.

Where: Worthy Farm, Pilton

When: 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 June 2016

Headline Acts: Muse, Adele, Coldplay, Foals

Who Else Is Playing: Skepta, Stormzy, Lady Leshurr, Nao, D’Angelo, Disclosure, Earth, Wind & Fire, James Blake, Laura Mvula, Jack Garratt

Born & Bred

Joining forces with Rinse FM this year, Born & Bred festival will be a weekend long celebration, bringing together pioneers and rising young artists alike, all inspired by the capital’s collisions of rave-inspired dance music and sound system culture – from grime, hip-hop and drum ’n’ bass to house, techno, garage and beyond.

Where: Haggerston Park, London

When: 4, 5 June 2016

Headline Acts: ILOVEMAKONNEN, Azealia Banks, Wiley, Novelist

Who Else Is Playing: AJ Tracey, Bugzy Malone, Ghetts, Lady Leshurr, Logan Sama, Ray Blk, Geko, So Solid Crew, Newham Generals


The Inner city festival set in East London is offering a line-up of popular and alternative acts, as well as boutique stalls and food stands. Packing as much fun in two days as many festivals manage in three days, this year’s massive headliners are LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer.

Where: Victoria Park

When: 15 & 16 July 2016

Headline Acts: Major Lazer, LCD Soundsystem, Run The Jewels, Jungle

Who Else Is Playing: Stormzy, Kano, Shy FX, Big Narstie, Chronixx, Goldlink, Toddla T, Kojey Radical, Jack Garratt, Izzy Bizu


Parklife returns with its biggest line-up yet, bringing more than 100 acts and over 75,000 people together for a massive weekend of partying at Heaton Park. Major Lazer, Ice Cube, Skepta and Katy B are all set to grace the Heaton Park stage.

Where: Heaton Park, Manchester

When: 11 & 12 June 2016

Headline Acts: The Chemical Brothers and Major Lazer

Who Else Is Performing: Skepta, Ice Cube, Stormzy, Katy B, Busta Rhymes, Craig David, De La Soul, Kaytranada, Kano, Soul II Soul, Lethal Bizzle, Kurupt FM, Section Boyz, Goldlink, Kelela, Nao, WSTRN

Wild Life

After a successful start in 2015, Disclosure and Rudimental’s sister festival of ParkLife returns for its second edition with top acts from around the world. Pusha T, Skepta, James Bay, Kano and Preditah are all set to grace the Brighton City Airport stage.

Where: Brighton City Airport

When: 11 & 12 June 2016

Headline Acts: Disclosure, Rudimental

Who Else Is Playing: Skepta, Snakehips, Logan Sama, Stormzy, Kaytranada, James Bay, Ice Cube, Lady Leshurr, Novelist, Jorja Smith, Anne Marie, Section Boyz, Chronixx, Julio Bashmore

Strawberries & Creem

Relatively new in the festival game, the one-day independent music festival is set to hit Cambridge this June, featuring a line-up of some very exciting names indeed. Nelly, Kano, Cardinal Sound and Big Narstie are all set to grace the Haggis Farm stage.

Where: Haggis Farm, Cambridge

When: 11 June 2016

Headline Acts: Kano, Nelly

Who Else Is Playing: David Rodigan, Kurupt FM, Big Narstie, Snakehips, D Double E

Outlook Festival

Outlook Festival returns to Croatia this September, offering a celebratory fusion of dub, reggae, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, garage, house and more on the dazzling Adriatic coast. Stormzy, Damian Marley and Section Boyz are all set to grace the Fort Punta Christo stage.

Where: Fort Punta Christo, Croatia

When: 31, 1, 2, 3 & 4 August 2016

Headline Acts: Damian Marley, Slum Village

Who Else Is Performing: Stormzy, Kano, Joey Bada$$, Section Boyz, Novelist, Lady Leshurr, Artul Dodger, Little Simz, Akala,

Fresh Island

Returning for its fifth anniversary in 2016, Fresh Island is the only beach festival in Europe where you’ll see DJs, MCs, boat parties, pool parties and more representing the absolute best in Hip-Hop, R&B and Grime. Kehlani, Wiz Khalifa, The Game and Chip are all set to hit the Zrce Beach stage.

Where: Zrce Beach, Croatia

When: 12, 13 & 14 July 2016

Headline Acts: Wiz Khalifa

Who Else Is Playing: The Game, Kehlani, Shakka, Ty Dolla $ign, Chip, Tim Westwood, Logan Sama, DJ Premier  

Reading and Leeds 

This long-lived festival fave, which takes place in both Reading and Leeds over the August bank holiday, remains one of the most popular festivals in the country. Despite having a primary focus on rock music, Disclosure, Krept and Konan, Boy Better Know, G-Eazy and more are set to hit the festival stage this year.

Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading / Bramham Park, Leeds

When: 26, 27 & 28 August 2016

Headline Acts: Disclosure, Fall Out Boy, Foals, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Who Else Is Playing: Boy Better Know, Giggs, Protoje, The Internet, Travi$ Scott, Section Boyz, Anderson Paak, A$AP Rocky, Yungen, Kurupt FM, Lady Leshurr

V Festival

Serving as one of the UK’s biggest music festivals, you can always count on V Festival to provide a line-up of the biggest anthem makers on the planet. Tinie Tempah, Katy B, Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Big Sean are all set to hit the festival stage this year.

Where: Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire

When: 20 August 2016

Headliners: Justin Bieber, Sia, Rihanna, David Guetta

Who Else Is Playing: Craig David, Big Sean, Lethal Bizzle, MistaJam, Tinie Tempah, Kurupt FM


Still relatively new, BoomBap is a rapidly growing festival that has the UK hip hop scene covered. With a focus on home-grown talent, the Brit-heavy line-up includes some of best underground talent the UK has to offer. Pharoahe Monch, D Double E and Elf Kid are all set to hit the Suffolk stage.

Where: Mildenhall Stadium, Suffolk

When: 29, 30 & 31 July 2016

Headliners: Pharoahe Monch, RA The Rugged Man, A-F-R-O

Who Else Is Playing: AJ Tracey, Jammz, Elf Kid, D Double E, Logan Sama, 808Ink


Bestival returns for four more glorious days of live music and premier-league DJs, boasting (as ever) a great line-up of bands and artists from across the style spectrum. With the announcement of a Eskimo Dance stage at this year’s festival, fans can expect to see some of the premiere faces of Grime hit the Isle Of Wight stage.

Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight

When: 8, 9, 10 & 11 September 2016

Headliners: Major Lazer, Hot Chip, The Cure

Who Else Is Playing: Damian Marley, Wiley, Section Boyz, Chip, Big Narstie, Frisco, P Money, Jammz, Logan Sama, Maximum, JP Cooper, Kano, Katy B, Lady Leshurr, Skepta, Snakehips, Krept and Konan