Which festivals are going ahead and when do live gigs restart?

Music fans have had a disappointing 12 months with festivals and gigs cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

But with the silver lining of lockdown easing on the horizon, many will be hoping they can get back into shows in the near future.

Boris Johnson has finally confirmed that from 17 May, fans will able to get their first taste of live music for more than a year.

No earlier than 21 June, as long as things go to plan, all limits on social contact will be removed. While some issues around mass events are still to be ironed out, the government is hoping to reopen nightclubs and lift restrictions on large gatherings such as festivals at this point.

Below is a rolling list of live music shows – both festivals and touring acts – that have already revealed plans to hold events in full.


Black Deer

When: 25-28 June

Where: Eridge Park, Kent

Although only in its infancy, Black Deer has already won awards for the event, which it says is a “Festival of Americana”.

Van Morrison, Frank Turner, Jake Bugg and Saving Grace ft Robert Plant are all scheduled to perform at the event, which will be the first festival in the UK to get underway.

Jake Bugg performs on the main stage at the BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend at Powderham Castle in Exeter.
Image: Jake Bugg will perform at Black Deer festival in June


When: 22-25 July

Where: Henham Park, Suffolk

Only three acts have been revealed so far for the event – Bastille, First Aid Kit and Snow Patrol – but organisers insist it is all systems go for July.

Previously acts such as Haim, the Chemical Brothers and Bill Bailey have performed at the festival in the past.

A general view of the Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk.
Image: Latitude has only announced a handful of acts but say it is all systems go this year

Camp Bestival

When: 29 July – 1 August

Where: Lulworth Estate, Dorset

Rob Da Bank’s family-friendly festival returns for another year, with Becky Hill, Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada among the big names.

You can also expect comedy from Dick and Dom, fun with Sam and Mark, and entertainment for the little ones with Mr Tumble.

Revelers dance in the Temple Field at Bestival at the Lulworth Estate in Dorset.
Image: Camp Bestival will go ahead this year

Kendal Calling

When: 29 July – 1 August

Where: Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria

Stereophonics, Supergrass, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal are among the performers announced for this one.

Surrounded by the majesty of the Lake District, acts such as Craig David’s TS5, Sundara Karma and Strictly Come Dancing winner Bill Bailey are also on the bill.

Dizzee Rascal performing at the V Festival in Hylands Park, Chelmsford.
Image: Dizzee Rascal will hit the stage in the Lake District this summer

Reading & Leeds

When: 26-29 August

Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading, and Bramham Park, Leeds

Held simultaneously in the north and south of England with a rotating line-up, you’ll hear from headliners Liam Gallagher, Queens Of The Stone Age, Stormzy, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Post Malone and Disclosure.

If that’s not enough, fans can also expect to hear from Brit-nominated AJ Tracey, YouTube sensation Madison Beer and scouse indie rockers The Wombats at the sold-out events.

Festival-goers at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park, West Yorkshire.
Image: Leeds Festival is a staple on the circuit

Slam Dunk

When: 4-5 Septmeber

Where: Leeds Temple Newsam and Hatfield Park

Sum 41, Don Broco and NOFX will headline this one day festival that visits both Leeds and Hatfield over the course of weekend.

The punk-pop festival has a dedicated following, with many returning year after year.

Deryck Whibley, from left, Jason McCaslin, and Dave Baksh of Sum 41 perform during Louder Than Life at Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Image: Pop-punk royalty Sum 41 will headline Slam Dunk festivial. Pic: Amy Harris/Invision via AP


When: 10-12 September

Where: Glasgow Green

Ian Brown, Sam Fender and Courteeners lead the bill at the Scottish festival.

TRNSMT was born out of the aftermath of T in the Park in Strathclyde, and also features YouTuber-turned-boxer-turned musician KSI, Manchester group Blossoms, and up-and-comer from Lincolnshire, Holly Humberstone.

Fans watch The Wombats perform on the Main Stageduring the TRNSMT festival at Glasgow Green, Scotland.
Image: TRNSMT takes place on Glasgow Green


When: 11-12 September

Where: Heaton Park, Manchester

Around 80,000 people will pile into the North West to watch the likes of Brit-award winning Dave, Grammy-winning Megan Thee Stallion and dance music legend Eric Prydz.

Camelphat, AJ Tracey and Skepta also feature on the bill – but tickets have already sold out.

View from above of the festival site on day 2 of Parklife festival on June 07, 2015 in Heaton Park Manchester, United Kingdom
Image: Parklife sold out shortly after announcing its line up

Isle of Wight

When: 16 -19 September

Where: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight

Liam Gallagher, Snow Patrol, David Guetta and Duran Duran will all headline the event, which has been moved from its usual summer slot.

Elsewhere on the bill you can expect to hear from Tom Jones, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Imelda May.

Festival-goers relax in the main stage arena on day four of the Isle of Wight Festival 2017, at Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight.
Image: The Isle Of Wight festival has moved from its usual summer spot to the end of September

Major live shows

The below list (unless stated otherwise) shows the first music acts to perform at the venues after lockdown measures ease.

Wembley Arena

Who: Arijit Singh, 28 August

The Indian megastar will be the first act to say the hallowed words, “Hello Wembley!” when he visits the northwest London arena.

Simple Minds and McFly are also among the early performers at famous venue.

London, United Kingdom - May 22, 2009 : Wembley Arena at night with colorful lighting before a concert
Image: Indian superstar Arijit Singh will perform at Wembley Arena in July

Utilita Arena, Birmingham

Who: Arijit Singh, 29 August

Singh will then hotfoot it to the West Midlands to take his show to Birmingham the day after he performs at Wembley.

Birmingham, United Kingdom - June 6, 2016: View of the National Indoor Arena aka the Barclaycard Arena at Old Turn Junction with people passing by, Birmingham, England, UK, Western Europe.
Image: Birmingham’s arena will also host Arijit Singh in July

Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Who: Manic Street Preachers, 16 July

Welsh indie legends Manic Street Preachers will hold a free headline gig for NHS staff in July.

However – it’s already sold out!

The Specials, McFly and Elbow are also among the early acts there.

British music band Manic Street Preachers performs during the Rock for People festival in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, on July 6, 2019. Photo/David Tanecek (CTK via AP Images)
Image: The Manics will hit the stage in Cardiff in July. Pic: AP

SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Who: Dua Lipa, 11 September

Grammy-winning Dua Lipa will open the Glasgow venue in September with her Future Nostalgia tour.

Bring Me The Horizon, Haim and McFly will head to the venue not long after.

Utilita Arena, Newcastle

Who: Dua Lipa, 13 September

The Grammy-winning, Brit-nominated artist also looks set to be the first act in months to perform at Newcastle’s arena.

The show was initially scheduled to take place earlier, but was pushed back by the pandemic.

AO Arena, Manchester

Who: Dua Lipa, 16 September

Dua Lipa will also reopen Manchester’s iconic arena later that week.

Dua Lipa won best pop album. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Image: Fresh from her Grammy win, Dua Lipa will tour in the summer. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

First Direct Arena, Leeds

Who: The Isley Brothers, 25 June

All being well, the Grammy Hall of Fame inductees will grace the stage in Leeds in June.

The group is known for hits including It’s Your Thing and Shout.

Ronald Isley (R) performs "Try Me" with the Isley Brothers during a special tribute to James Brown at the 21st Annual Soul Train Music Awards in Pasadena, California, March 10, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
Image: The Isley Brothers will play at the arena in Leeds when it reopens after the lockdown. Pic: Reuters

M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool

Who: The Drifters, 4 July

The Drifters will bring their six-decade wide back-catalogue to Liverpool in July when they become the first group to play the arena since last year.

The group are best known for their tracks Under The Boardwalk, Saturday Night At The Movies and Sweets For Sweet.

Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham

Who: The Drifters, 11 July

The doo-wop group will head to Nottingham too, as they reopen the city’s arena on 11 July.

This is a May 1971 photo of the popular rock-and-roll group the Drifters. (AP Photo)
Image: The Drifters, here in 1971, will tour the UK later this summer. Pic: AP

Brighton Centre

Who: The Specials, 4 September

The Specials will head to the south coast in September to perform in the Brighton Centre as the first music act to hit the stage there.

The Ghost Town pop-rockers have released their eighth album, Encore, in the last 12 months.

The Specials during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Image: Ghost Town pop-rockers The Specials are the first music act to perform in Brighton this year

Other notable venues across the UK that will be looking to host gigs not long after lockdown

  • Rock City, Nottingham – Yungblud, Passenger and Black Stone Cherry
  • O2 Academy, Bristol – Lupe Fiasco, New Hope Club and The Specials
  • Electric Ballroom, London – Twin Atlantic, The Beat and The Magic Numbers
  • Engine Shed, Lincoln – John Cooper Clarke, Blossoms and Becky Hill
  • LCR, Norwich – Declan McKenna, Postmodern Jukebox and Tom Grennan
  • Leadmill, Sheffield – Martin Kemp, You Me At Six and The Rifles
  • O2 Apollo, Manchester – The Isley Brothers, Van Morrison and Louis Tomlinson
  • King Tuts, Glasgow – The Rifles, Another Sky and Cloth
  • O2 Academy, Leicester – Circa Waves, Twin Atlantic and Showhawk Duo
  • St David’s Hall, Cardiff – Black Stone Cherry, Leo Sayer and Jamie Cullum
  • Waterfront Hall, Belfast – Passenger, Elbow and Rag N Bone Man
  • O2 Academy, Newcastle – Max & Harvey, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and The Vamps
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