Music

Find your next favourite band at the best new music festivals 2023

Your new favourite band could be waiting!

Pink Pirate is just one artist you could discover at the best new music festivals

Pink Pirate will play at Dot to Dot. Photo: PR

The hectic, packed schedules of most music festivals are a great place to expand your listening horizons. This is our pick of 2023’s best events to hear new music.

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The Great Escape

May 10-13
Various venues, Brighton
£105

Are your playlists due for a refresh? Immerse yourself in cutting edge sounds at this world-renowned festival of new music. Like a seaside-set South by Southwest, TGE doubles as a music industry conference, so it’s the best place to discover up-and-coming bands out to impress. Previous editions have seen the likes of Adele, Vampire Weekend and The 1975 grace Brighton’s smallest stages – this year, see Debby Friday and Enumclaw before they get big.
greatescapefestival.com

Dot to Dot

May 27-28
Various venues, Bristol and Nottingham
From £25

Discover your favourite new band over the May bank holiday at this pair of all-dayers. Mercury-nominated Leeds upstarts Yard Act and Toronto noise rockers Alvvays are the headliners, but we’d encourage you to embrace the Dot to Dot spirit and turn up early for some of the lesser known acts. The festival takes over multiple venues in Bristol on Saturday, before moving to its original home of Nottingham on Sunday.
dottodotfestival.co.uk

Forwards

September 1-2
Clifton Downs, Bristol
From £114.34

Only in its second year, this Bristol festival already has the clout to deliver an enviable line-up from the top down, reflecting the city’s reputation as a groundbreaking music city. Headlined by neo-soul legend Erykah Badu, influential beatmaker Bonobo and idiosyncratic producer Aphex Twin, the festival also welcomes upcoming acts including Amyl and the Sniffers, Jockstrap and Arlo Parks. Leftfield and Primal Scream round out the heritage acts, along with Goldie’s new – and highly acclaimed – live ensemble.
forwardsbristol.co.uk

Supersonic

September 1-3
Various venues, Birmingham
From £150

One of the best UK festivals for experimental music, Supersonic celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a typically wide-reaching and thoughtful weekend. The first wave of announced artists range from local metal legends Godflesh to experimental folk singer Josephine Foster, with the biggest coup being the first UK performance from Montreal industrial artist Backxwash.
supersonicfestival.com

Hidden Notes

September 23-24
Various venues, Stroud
£70

Founded by independent Stroud-based culture magazine Good On Paper, Hidden Notes platforms cutting-edge work from contemporary classical and avant-garde musicians. Traverse boutique venues across the city and discover new work from Japanese composer Midori Takada, drone choir NYX, pianist Sarah Nicolls and many more. There’s also film screenings, talks, installations, and a special Manchester Collective performance of Steve Reich’s Different Trains.
hiddennotes.co.uk

Read our full 2023 festivals guide here.

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