Have you ever visited a city and spent a weekend at the most Googled venues without ever finding out where the locals were at? Well, here at Euro Hostel, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best independent events that are happening around the UK. From foodie delights to boutique festivals, there’s a little something for everyone.
On the Corner – Liverpool, 27th-29th April
A brand-new three-day event, On the Corner will take place at cool Liverpool event space, Constellations, in its award-winning Garden and a never-before-used side street stage. The soundtrack of the weekend is set to be delivered by ‘the UK’s most progressive artists’. Chilled jazz will permeate the air as performers like saxophonist/singer Laura Misch perform and sweet, soul rhythms from Yazmin Lacey and Mafalda will leave you reaching for the summer cocktails.
Scot Gin Fest – Edinburgh, 12th May
After selling out in incredible speed after launching in Glasgow, September 2017, Scot Gin Fest returns to a variety of Scottish venues. This craft gin festival combines masterclasses, gin tasting and a chance to pick up tips and facts from talks given by “gin experts” (erm, where do we sign up to become one of those guys?!).
Try some of the country's best gins like Eden Mill, Isle of Harris, Granite North and McLean's. There’ll be more than 20 Scottish gins for you to taste and take home within The Caves, one of Edinburgh’s most exciting haunts.
Hit the North – Newcastle, 4th-7th May
Hit the North is the North East’s largest inner-city music festival and returns for its 2nd year in 2018. The event runs for 3 days across the Bank Holiday weekend, with a pre-party headlined by Jungle and Circa Waves on the Friday, a local and unsigned talent showcase ‘Meet the North’ on the Saturday and the main event on the Sunday. Acts to grace the stages across multiple venues include Peace, The Horrors, Blaenavon and Ratboy. Experience well-known artists as well as your new favourite band up close and personal in the smaller spaces like Jumpin’ Jacks and micro bar Box Social. We can recommend finding someone to see in The Mining Institute, a Victorian building with a vast glass roof, beautiful stained-glass windows and acoustics that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Other venue highlights include the Boilershop, a Grade II listed building steeped in history from the Industrial Revolution. The Town Wall gigs will take place in the basement and cinema room of the Georgian building, while Riverside on the banks of Newcastle’s historic quayside is a hot and sweaty favourite with local gig-goers. Our tip: take a trip to the Town Wall to catch Amsterdam-based Pip Blom, best described as “an exceptionally talented lo fi rock monster.”
Yardworks Festival – Glasgow, 12th-13th May
For something a little different, Yardworks Festival is Scotland’s largest gathering of graffiti and street art. Taking place in Galvanizers Yard, artists “bring the concrete playground to life”, showcasing graffiti spectacles over 1,000 metres of wall space, along with breakdancing battles, a pop-up art store, workshops, large scale artworks and – of course – a selection of street food and craft beers. Over 80 incredible artists will be painting live and mini artists in the making can test their skills at the kids’ creative station. Headliners include Spanish-based artist duo Pichi & Avo and Glasgow-based spray-painter Rogue-one.
Pizza & Prosecco Festival – Liverpool, 19th May
Two of life’s greatest pleasures will merge on 19th May at the Liverpool-leg of the Pizza & Prosecco Festival. Following a sell-out tour across the UK in 2017, this perfectly proportioned pop-up event will pitch up in new Liverpudlian events space, Hinterlands. Boasting a singalong soundtrack that’s “cheesier than your pizza topping”, a range of rustic wood-fired pizzas and a freebie Aperol Spritz on arrival, you’re guaranteed more than a slice of goodness. The type of joy that only carbs can give. Don’t delay, final release tickets for brunch and evening sessions are now on sale.
Hidden Door Festival – Edinburgh, 25th May-3rd June
Tipped as a “riot of noise and colour” by the Times, Hidden Door Festival is volunteer-run and funded through ticket sales, sponsorship and fundraising. From cinema to dance, music, spoken word, theatre and visual art, there’ll be a smorgasbord of cultural delicacies that’ll keep you well and truly entertained. Re-entering the real world may be a struggle, but it’ll have been worth it.
The Baltic Weekender – Liverpool, 1st-4th June
After the sell-out sunny success of their debut festival in 2017, independent event The Baltic Weekender returns to the Baltic Triangle this year from the 1st-4th June. The event is hosted by 24 Kitchen Street, one of Liverpool’s leading independent music and arts spaces and club night Abandon Silence. The line-up is packed with house, techno, grime, bass and some of the finest local selectors. Seeing as the party goes on til 4am, we suggest booking a room in advance and making the most of our "fill ya boots" breakfast and late check out. Just a thought!
Great Northern Soul Food – Newcastle, 16th June
What more could you need to get yourself in the summer spirit than some live Northern Soul music, with a slice in one hand from critically-acclaimed Scream For Pizza and a craft ale in the other? Soul, funk and street food will be dished up at the Boilershop, along with a special set from Don Letts. Give the event’s Spotify playlist a listen for a taste of what you can expect on the night. And whatever you do, don’t forget your dancing shoes – or your appetite.
Foodies Festival – Edinburgh, 3rd-5th August
August bank holiday welcomes the return of the UK’s biggest food festival to Inverleith Park. Whether it’s the chefs, the cocktails or the music you’re interested in, we can pretty much guarantee you won’t be disappointed. On Saturday 4th August, The Hoosiers will headline the brand-new Musicians Against Homelessness stage, which will go on to greet Toploader on the 5th. Visitors can watch Michelin-starred chefs cooking live, meet the MasterChef Profesionals finalist and gather tips from the BBC’s Great British Menu contestants. If cream pie throwing, cheese stretching or chilli eating sound altogether too strenuous, take a seat in the Tequila Shack or Tikki Rum Bar and enjoy some refreshing cocktails to wash down treats from any of the 30+ street food stalls on offer.
For more inspiration on Edinburgh’s 2018 line-up of summer festivals, give this post a read.
Other alternative events to watch out for are music festival Liverpool Calling on 22nd-23rd June with headliners Pulled Apart By Horses and The Wytches; the Gin & Disco Festival, which will be hitting Liverpool on 30th June, followed by Glasgow on 21st July; and the Newcastle Vegan Festival on 1st July at the Assembly Rooms.
Whatever quirky event takes your fancy this year, head to Euro Hostel for your cash-friendly, city-centre accommodation.