Festivals without Tents

Rockaway Beach, 11th – 13th January 2019
The Boaty Weekender, 8th – 12th August 2019

Fed up with festival downpours and cancellations due to the weather? The increase in urban festivals goes some way to addressing this with city-based multi-venue events cropping up all over the UK. May 2019 will see Brighton’s long established The Great Escape, Live at Leeds and Dot 2 Dot spanning 3 days across Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham to name but a few.

But if running around town isn’t your thing, you can go one step further towards ensuring that your feet stay dry and your ‘campsite’ contains a proper bed.

Heading into its fourth year, Rockaway Beach makes its home at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, a perhaps unlikely setting for ‘a boutique indoor music festival (which) focuses only on the best emerging, breakthrough and established alternative artists’. However, Butlin’s does have a tradition of staging music breaks, notably retro, punk and soul weekenders, complete with your own self-contained apartment and not a portaloo in sight. What makes Rockaway Beach different is that it attracts an eclectic hybrid of big names and newer acts who are making waves and building reputations as the ones to watch.

2019’s Rockaway Beach (11-13 Jan) brings touring stalwarts Gary Numan, Echo & the Bunnymen and Maxïmo Park to the south coast holiday camp. It’s some of the smaller acts though that make it stand out, Goat Girl and The Orielles already firm favourites amongst the 6 Music crowd – check out Madonnatron and Squid to shake the winter cobwebs away in style. And when the music stops (or before it starts) you can while away the time with film screenings, pool parties, DJ sets and arcade games or just have a lie in safe in the knowledge that your tent’s not going to blow away.

Not content with being wrapped up warm indoors? Take a look at The Boaty Weekender (8-12 Aug). Taking the hosting helm is of one of Scotland’s favourite melodic duos, Belle & Sebastian,  suggesting ‘…a party, an adventure, something on the horizon, something to take the chill out of the thought of winter… a sail around the Med, a nice little trip with friends, some of the best people, in some of the best places!’

It’s cruise life for the music aficionado; a relaxed environment where you get to sail from Barcelona to Cagliari, taking in live music and potentially even some onboard sunshine along the way. There’s a pool, hot tubs, a casino and fitness centre to occupy your down time. And when Belle & Sebastian say they’re bringing along some friends to play, it becomes apparent that they have an excellent group of friends, as the starting line up includes Alvvays, Mogwai, Django Django, Hinds and Honeyblood with more to be announced. A summer holiday with a difference and cruise ship singers like you never heard before.

You can find more details about Rockaway Beach and The Boaty Weekender here. But keep your wellies handy; festival season’s not festival season without trawling through the mud at least once.

Words by Siobhan

6th December 2018