2021 ‘Small’ Festival Guidance


It’s that time of year again where we eagerly await our favourite festivals to announce their carefully curated lineups… or is it? Summer 2020 will be remembered for its lack of festivals, but we cannot let 2021 succumb to the same cruel fate.

There are lost causes, of course. Put your Glasto dreams on hold for another year because a gathering of that size would put us straight back into lockdown. Equally, festivals like Dekmantel and Houghton which would no doubt go off like a carbomb in these circumstances don’t hold too much hope for going ahead either.

This year we must get creative and seek out the festivals that have the greatest chance of opening their gates to us very eager attendees. This means leaving the pyrotechnics and light shows behind for smaller, more intimate local festivals where numbers won’t make politicians’ heads turn.

And so, using this train of thought, we’ve brought you all a select few of these personal and lesser-known jamborees where we hope to be dancing beside you this summer.

Parallel Festival
1,000 Capacity

Tucked away in the Catalan foothills of the Pyrenees, for three days of the year, you’ll hear ambient, techno and experimental music echo across the mountains. 1,000 guests make the annual pilgrimage to soak up the sun, sounds and sights. And while they’re holding off their confirmation of this year’s edition, their latest Insta post fills us all with a little hope. Their lineup in 2019 consisted of just 15 artists (with the inclusion of a certain Donato Dozzy) so you can bet your bottom dollar, pound and euro that this one’s going to be an intimate affair.

Cosmic Roots Festival
1,500 Capacity

Norfolk may have picked up a reputation for (not) hosting Houghton every summer. There does however exist another get-together in the forests of East Anglia that unrightfully gets overlooked. Cosmic Roots has hosted internationally acclaimed artists such as Elena Colombi and RAMZi alongside an array of British-based talent over its previous editions. Given they’ve penciled in a date for their 2021 edition, we know they’ve already started the curation process - and quite frankly, we cannot wait.

15 - 18 July 2021

Solstice Festival
1,000 Capacity (estimated)

Unless you live in the cultural and festive fun-hub that is the UK, you probably celebrate the summer solstice by means of a jubilant get together. The sun has been worshipped by the Egyptians, the Greeks, and just about everyone in a national lockdown last year. And so, where better to spend the summer solstice this year than up by the arctic circle, 9 hours north of Helsinki where we promise the sun won’t set on you. This year’s lineup isn’t yet out, but the likes of DJ Nobu, D. Tiffany & Buttechno have all previously attended this weekend away in pure Finnish nature.

24 - 26 June 2021

Meakusma Festival
< 1,000 Capacity (estimated)

Having journeyed out to the Eastern stretches of Belgium in 2019 to attend this utopia for experimental electronic music, I’m crossing my fingers for its return this summer. Held in the grounds of Eupen’s local cultural centre, Meakusma combines indoor stages with outdoor marquees, and asks you pitch up tent round the back by the tomato plants. This festival forges a real sense of community as you greet the same faces each morning, afternoon and night, picking up a sense for their personal musical tastes by the end of the weekend. More of an unorthodox festival, sure, but I suspect we’re in for an unorthodox kind of year.

Construction Festival
< 1,000 Capacity (estimated)

The award for best festival name on our list obviously goes to Construction Festival. Hosted in historic and dilapidated buildings around Dnipro, Ukraine, the festival combines daytime audiovisual displays with nocturnal industrial, electronic music. If you’re looking for a proper local score with local acts and an authentic atmosphere then convert your £15 to 600 Ukrainian Hryvnia and bag yourself a ticket. With previous editions spanning four days, Construction Festival is a great choice for those looking for some serious bang for your buck.

17 - 20 June 2021

En Masse Festival
Unknown limited capacity

The Bristol-based-bass-junky Batu had big plans for 2020 (didn’t we all *cry*). With his sets going viral and his label Timedance churning out the bangers, the obvious next step was to curate his own festival: En Masse. In a Welsh permaculture farm near the small town of Abergavenny, the stage was set for a joyous weekend away from the city. The dream was put on hold, but shall hopefully be realised this coming June. Expect several earfuls of UK Bass, as Batu intends to follow the concept which the team behind Labyrinth in Japan started with only one stage performing at any given time.

11 - 13 June 2021

UVA Festival
500 Capacity

Not gonna lie, we’re having a bit of a punt on this one. Boasting the smallest capacity and by default the most intimate and personal event on the list, Uva’s brought jungle, footwork, Call Super and Skee Mask all to the rolling hills of Ronda over the last few years. Sadly however, the organisers put out a statement on their Facebook page in January of 2019 stating they weren’t able to hold onto their monasteric Spanish venue that year and were looking for other options… they haven’t reported back since. So Uva organisers, if you’re listening, this is the year to make the comeback. We need you.

Image credits: Parallel festival (1), Cosmic Roots Festival (2), Solstice Festival (3), Meakusma (4), Construction Festival (5), En Masse Festival (6), Uva Festival (7)