Jun. 1st, 2010

Top Summer Music Festivals Bring Festivity to the UK

Luxury Vacations: If the word ‘festival’ conjures images of muddy fields, rain, queues for toilets and standing around for hours waiting to see your favorite band, let England’s finest festivals change your mind.

In a bid to appeal to a wider, more refined audience, music events are now enticing the more elite with a range of luxurious offerings – gone are the days of drinking warm beer from a plastic cup. Think five-star boutique accommodations, glasses of chilled Cristal champagne, VIP access and watching your favorite operatic singer while dining on a traditional English picnic.

Below are six top festivals and what they have to offer to add a touch of glamor to your summer.

Hampton Court Palace Festival: London; 8 – 19 June 2010
To observe world-class performers, it doesn’t get more regal than this magical 16th century palace and with capacity for 2,700, performances truly remain intimate.

Choose from Jackson Browne, Gipsy Kings, Van Morrison, Jools Holland with Alison Moyet, Nicola Benedetti and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Simply Red, Michael Bolton, Katherine Jenkins and Michael Ball who will all take to the stage for this stunning 10-day festival.

Luxuries include picnic hampers from French cuisine specialists Villandry (from £60) or dine inside the palace (from £249) then wander and take in the renowned Royal Art Collection. Bring your own or quaff the Veuve Clicquot champagne from the bar. Book tickets starting from £45.

Cornbury Festival: Charlbury, Oxfordshire 3 – 4 July 2010
Dubbed ‘Poshstock’, this is one of the UK’s most glamorous festivals, which attracts high-profile politicians and celebrities alike. Celebrating English eccentricity, the event is similar to a traditional fare with Morris Dancers and cake baking, but with a firm modern twist where Pimms drinking is the order of the day.

VIP revellers can book on to the exclusive ‘glampsite’ and stay in a luxurious Tipi equipped with furnishings including rugs and cushions which will make it feel like a home-from-home. Enjoy buggy shuttle service to and from the car park and relax in the VIP area – often frequented by the likes of prime minister David Cameron - where you’ll be treated to first-class cuisine and champagne bars.

With performers including David Gray, Noisettes, Imelda May, Candi Staton, Newton Faulkner and The Feeling, this year’s chic-boutique festival offers a civilized alternative to larger events. To book tickets, priced from £150, visit them online.

Mercedes-Benz World Summer Concert Series: Weybridge, Surrey; 3 –4 July 2010
If you like a dash of opera with your pop, this eclectic festival will quench your musical thirst. Held outdoors over two evenings, you can make a day of it with an exclusive dinner package with platinum seating, hospitality parking and a three-course dinner (£140). If the sun is shining, order a picnic for two made up with fresh, homemade delights.

The concerts kick off with Will Young, The Saturdays and Scouting for Girls and also see Russell Watson, Myleene Klass, Blake and Camilla Kerslake take to the stage. If you fancy watching world-class performances from a glamorous sun terrace, book a Panoramic Suite at the Brooklands Hotel where you and up to 30 friends can enjoy cocktails and canapes while overlooking the concerts. Tickets begin starting at £40.
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Carol Driver
A journalist with more than 12 years' experience writing, subbing and editing at national and regional publications and websites in the UK.

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