It’s that time of year again when all the big summer festivals are over and the realisation that winter is on its way sends a nasty chill down the spine. Although there may be few opportunities for bikini tops and short shorts remaining in the UK this year, there are still some scorching lower-key events to be enjoyed throughout the country. While all of the festivals will give you the opportunity to catch an earful of up-and-coming talent and the headliners of tomorrow, many of these unpretentious parties have lured in incredibly famous faces, including Dizee Rascal, Public Enemy, Professor Green, Alvin Stardust, De La Soul, Beardyman, Katy B and many more. A good number also support worthy causes, so don’t let the post-holiday blues take the glow off your 2012 festival season. Check out our PAAM festival software guide to the best UK autumn and winter festivals of 2012.
Viva La Divas Festival – Boisdale, Canary Wharf, London
Wed 12th Sep – Sat 29th Sep
Girl power will be the beat on the street in London for the remainder of September. The Viva La Diva Festival has been oozing sultry sexiness from the iconic Boisdale restaurant and live music venue in London’s Canary Warf since Jools Holland (a man, we know!) got the party started on 12th September. There’s still plenty to come, as distinguished divas and rising stars take audiences on an audio adventure through all that is female and fabulous in the world of music. Modern rock, soul, jazz and blues singers will perform their own work, while tributes will also be paid to the femme fetales of yesteryear, including Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. Be sure to catch jazz and Latin extraordinaire Georgia Mancio on the 25th, widely acclaimed UK jazz singer Liz Fletcher on the 26th, and the grand finale with British soul sensation and TV personality Mica Paris on the 29th.
Loopallu Festival- Broomfield Holiday Park, Ullapool
Fri 21st Sep – Sat 22nd Sep
With perhaps the best indie line-up of all the 2012 autumn festivals, the seventh Loopallu Festival is set to prove why a September event in a remote Scottish village does not guarantee a washout. Headlining this year are energetic Scottish rockers The Fratellis and Dylan-esk teenage sensation Jake Bugg on Friday, followed on Saturday by toe-tapping indie-poppers Scouting for Girls and home-grown hairy newcomers Kassidy. If you don’t yet know the latter, this Glaswegian four-piece is set to release its debut album, produced by Jim Abbiss, the genius behind Arctic Monkeys, Adele and Kasabian – enough said! There will be plenty more eclectic acts on site and around the Ullapool pubs, and the authentic Highland comfort grub will sooth away any autumnal blues.
Looe Music Festival – Looe, Cornwall
Fri 21st Sep – Sun 23rd Sept
For zero-chance of muddy boots, head to Cornwall for the beach-based Looe Music Festival. Sixty bands will perform over three stages, with the legendary likes of the Levellers and The Stranglers leading the pack. Multitalented reggae-dub divas The Skints will have you dancing holes in the sand, while retro rockers Sowaddywaddy will keep you cosy with a warm wave of nostalgia. For a serving of Cornish folk wrapped in a punk pasty, check out local lads Crowns early on Saturday night. Also appearing are Empire of Fools, Two Spot Gobi and Mad Dog Mcrea, and many others.
BrisFest – Ashton Court, Bristol
Sat 22nd Sep – Sun 23rd Sep
Bristol’s Ashton Court will come alive in September with an array of huge international artists and local talent, as well as comedians, cabaret acts, street artists and workshops. Topping the music bill are long-standing American hip-hop trio De La Soul, with their witty wordplays and innovative sampling. Also up top is beatboxing heavyweight Beardyman, and the drum and bass duo that is Roni Size and Dynamite MC. Don’t forget to keep an ear out for Hawkwind, Sheelanagig and Babyhead, as well as Phaeleh and Laid Blak. The eclectic line-up will also feature a host of up-and-coming talent, and all proceeds go towards the local arts scene.
Shakedown Festival – Stanmer Park, Brighton
Sat 6th Oct
The top treat for October is Brighton’s Shakedown Festival, set to melt icy hearts with a white-hot line-up of fresh urban acts. Headlining the Main Stage is the undisputed guru of grime, Dizzie Rascal, who is sure to get the crowd bouncing with his incredible collection of number-one rap-alongs, including Bonkers, Dance Wiv Me and Dirtee Disco. Also bagging top billing on the Main Stage is culture-conscious rap sensation Professor Green, and genre-merging, super-sassy songstress Katy B – two ballsy Brits on the brink of massive global success. The Supercharged Arena will also not disappoint, with a headline set from destructive DJ duo Chase and Status, who will bang out their potent plethora of dance floor anthems and underground classics for the last set of the day. Also look out for Pendulum founders Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen with their contagious and chaotic DJ creation Knife Party, and drum and bass godfather Shy FX.
Lancaster Music Festival – Various locations, Lancaster
Friday 12th Oct – Sun 14th Oct
The Lancaster Music Festival provides something low-key and family-friendly in the first half of October, with endless entertainment offered through a variety of music genres, great food and real ale. Now in its fourth year, the event has bagged local and global talent from across all genres, including folk, funk, punk, pop, rock, jazz and blues. There will also be street theatre, dance workshops and a whole host of arts and crafts on sale, perfect for alternative stocking fillers!
Freeze Festival 2012 – Battersea Power Station, London
Fri 26th Oct – Sat 27th Oct
For the ultimate wintery treat, head to Battersea Power Station for this year’s Freeze Festival. As much of a winter sports competition as a music festival, the event has attracted huge snowboarding champions, such as Staale Sandbech, Peetu Piiroinen and homegrown talent Jamie Nicholls, since first staring up in 2008. A whole host of amazing boarding talent is lined up to grace the slopes of the Freeze arena this year, but organisers are keen to keep the biggest names under wraps until the last moment. Confirmed music-wise, however, is hip-hop sample addict DJ Shadow, the forcefully enlightening Public Enemy, and hip-hop founder and original turntable teaser Grand Master Flash. There will also be gourmet food, a shopping village and traditional alpine-style bars hosting the ultimate après ski parties.
A Carefully Planned Festival – Various Venues, Manchester
Sat 20th Oct – Mon 22nd Oct
For some organised October fun, head to Manchester for the Carefully Planned Festival. A whole host of amazing bands will be appearing at the city’s hippest venues, including The Castle, Soup Kitchen, 2022NQ and Nexus Art Café. Sunday at Soup Kitchen will see We Are The Physics guild modish punk with eighties disco, while multi-talented loop pedal-abusers Tall Ships will go beyond genres to bring audiences an energetic feast for the eyes and ears. Also check out Brontide at the same venue, Shield Your Eyes at Gullivers and Ben Butler & Mousepad at The Castle.
Whitby Goth Weekend – Whitby Pavilion Complex, Whitby
Fri 2nd Nov – Sat 3rd Nov
The Whitby Goth Weekend provides a deliciously dark start to winter, with weird and wonderful characters from all over the UK descending on the usually pensioner-packed seaside town for two days of music and mayhem. Bristol synthpop extraordinaires Mesh will headline on Friday night, backed up by Fangs of Fur and Inertia, while Saturday will host the likes of deathrock spouses Alien Sex Fiend, Blitzkid and All Living in Fear. Despite being one of the world’s premier goth events, all alternative types are catered to, including punks, emos and metalheads. If you’re looking for gentle pop songs and an outing for granny, however, this is probably not for you!
Nightmare Before Xmas – Pontins Camber Sands Holiday Park, Nr Rye
Fri 30th Nov – Sun 2nd Dec
Get into the festive spirit and head to Nightmare Before Xmas by All Tomorrows Parties. To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Shellac of North America, a post-hardcore/minimalist rock trio from Chicago, have curated and will headline the event. The surreal and rhythmic band has chosen all 35 acts, which include Wire, Mission of Burma, Shannon Wright and The Ex + Bass Unbound. There are also numerous DJs to enjoy, as well as cinema and more. This is a winter weather-proof event, as all venues are indoors!