Festival Fever – 3 of the Best Alternative Festivals

You know summer is approaching when people start instagramming their Campervans en route to a hip festival you’ve never heard of and you get a big old case of FOMO. Always keen to stay a step ahead of this form of psychological torture, we’ve assembled a guide to the best boutique festivals of summer 2015. This is not the stuff of Kate Moss at Glasto that year she wore denim hot pants and Hunters to combat the ton of mud. This is wildly scenic, artsy fartsy food fair-meets-yoga retreat simply masquerading as the place to catch Grace Jones and her hoola hoop. Ready yourself, the season begins this month….

May: Mhor Festival, Loch Doine

Monachyle Mhor hotel is a beauty of an escape overlooking Loch Doine at the end of a skinny winding road near Balquhidder in Perthshire. Mhor festival is run by the food-and-design savvy people behind the hotel (who also own a motel, farm, fish and bread shops), so alongside DJ Sets, dance workshops, folk acts and, er, raft races, there’s a bake-off, an omelette challenge – yes it’s aimed at families – and a promising-sounding champagne and oyster bar. This festival marks the perfect excuse to acquaint yourself with one of rural Scotland’s cutest hideaways. You could camp, but then again you could try to bag a hotel room or stay in the resident Pilot Panther wagon overlooking the loch.

Chances of needing wet weather gear: Extremely High, so ignore what we said about the Kate Moss look. Full details here.
Mhor festival  Festivals in the UK  The Chromologist

July: Port Elliot festival, Cornwall

July and the chances of sunshine are strong-to-middling. Particularly in this stunning southern part of our island. How to sum up Port Elliot festival? Well there’s a night club in a rhododendron bush called The Boogie Round and in past years Fashion gurus Bay Garnett and Kira Joliffe from cult magazine Cheap Date were dispensing fashion advice at their pin-up tent. It’s eclectic is what we’re saying. This year the literary line-up includes Shami Chakrabarti, Sarah Waters and Iain Sinclair while music-wise there’s My Darling Clementine and Faerground Accidents (full line up here). Tom Hodgkinson from ‘just-chill-out’ magazine The Idler will also be running workshops and talks at The Idler Academy.

Do: Pack your yoga gear and willingness to take part in craft. Don’t: Expect to see a hellraser. Find out more here.

Port Elliot festival  Festivals in the UK  The Chromologist

September: Festival No 6, Portmeirion

For those of us who haven’t visited historic Portmeirion before, one big appeal to Festival No 6 in September is finally being able to see Wales’s answer to the Italian Riviera in the flesh – it’s all gorgeous coloured buildings and exotic plants nestled onto a hillside overlooking the river here. Then again, there’s also Grace Jones, Everything Everything and Belle & Sebastian to look forward to. Under the banner of Arts and Culture meanwhile – comedy, theatre, talks and workshops – there’s an extensive lineup including Irvine Welsh, Kate Tempest, Whispering Woods acrobatics, SWICA carnival and a Ukelele workshop. Head to the website for all you need to know.

Festival No 6  Portmerion Festival  The Chromologist

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

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