With the sun finally beginning to peek its head out from behind the clouds, we’re well and truly getting into the festival spirit.
Every year Liverpool’s summer festival line-up seems to get more and more jam packed, making it pretty hard to keep track of all the goings-on and clashes. To help you out, we’ve compiled a handy guide of the best festivals to look out for this summer.
It’s time to dust off your wellies, dig out those obnoxious sunglasses, grab your emergency rain ponchos and stock up on cider.
Smithdown Road Festival
When: 29th April – 1st May
Where: Various venues on or around Smithdown Road
It may be slightly lesser known on Liverpool’s festival scene, but the Smithdown Road Festival is starting to make a big name for itself in the city.
A fresh young face on the events list, this festival offers free entry to all and a stellar line up of acts.
Taking place at several venues on or around Smithdown Road, this eclectic festival will feature over 160 acts including Craig Charles, Dave McCabe, Mark Morriss, Tramp Attack and many more.
With 15 stages including two huge circus big tops, a large range of food outlets, exhibitions and cultural delights to explore, this year’s festival is set to be their biggest achievement yet.
Independent Liverpool Spring Gin Festival
When: 29th-30th April
Where: The Great Baltic Warehouse
For a truly memorable bank holiday weekend, get down to The Great Baltic Warehouse for a smashing couple of days filled with Liverpool’s finest gins, jazz and good times.
With an amazing range of Merseyside’s best microbreweries to choose from including Liverpool Gin, Tappers Gin, Whitley Neil, Wirral Gin, as well as 100 gins from around the world, it’s an enthusiast’s paradise.
At this great event you can also try a scoop of gin ice cream or ice lolly, take part in gin master classes from industry leaders or just chill out with a juniper infused tipple in the vibrant garden.
So, set your watch to gin o’clock and enjoy some beautiful botanical goodness in the sunshine.
Birkenhead Park Festival
When: 29th April – 1st May
Where: Birkenhead Park
This is the perfect family festival.
Birkenhead Park Festival is a three-day extravaganza for all ages featuring artisan crafts, mouth-watering food and drink, a unique Medieval encampment and plenty of fun activities for the kids.
With free entry for children and a dedicated ‘Kids Zone’ to keep them occupied, this festival is a great weekend out.
Featuring specially invited makers of high quality arts and crafts, plants and flowers, homeware, music workshops, face painting and even donkey riding, there is something for everyone.
When: 30th April
Where: Invisible Wind Factory
Relocating from its former base at Camp and Furnace to the Invisible Wind Factory, the latest project from the team behind the dearly departed Kazimier, FestEVOL Gardens is a fab all-day festival set on the docklands.
With brilliant bands such as Wild Beasts, The Parrots, Cabbage, Black Honey, Sundowners, PINS and many more, this is sure to be a highlight of the festival scene in Liverpool.
This spectacular event will make use of the vast areas of the Invisible Wind Factory, including the never before used basement area. It’s an event not to be missed.
67-17: 50 Summers of Love
Where: Various venues
The year of 1967 saw some of the biggest cultural shifts of a generation and Liverpool played a big part. It was the year Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, The Mersey Sound poetry anthology was published, the Metropolitan Cathedral was opened and homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK.
This year marks 50 years since the Summer of Love and to celebrate this golden anniversary a host of related events and activities are being organised by the city and different cultural organisations across Liverpool.
They include the recreation of Sgt Pepper by the RLPO and the Bootleg Beatles, and celebrations of the Mersey Poets at the Unity, Playhouse and Philharmonic Hall.
Organisations across the city such as Bluecoat, Everyman, Homotopia, Hope Street CIC, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Sound City and Unity Theatre will be producing works reflecting the momentous year.
This festival is a massive celebration of everything Liverpool holds dear so be sure to get involved in this unique celebration.
Liverpool Disco Festival
When: 6th May
Where: Baltic Triangle
Another relatively new name on the festival circuit, the Liverpool Disco Festival is back for a second time with an impressive line-up featuring Glitterbox, David Morales, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Simon Dunmore.
The festival has joined forces with the Southport Weekender which is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is set to be a fun filled night of dance, soul and of course disco.
Set in the Baltic Triangle, the festival will take over various venues including Constellations, Camp and Furnace, Great Baltic Warehouse, New Bird Street Warehouse, Hangar 34 and 24 Kitchen Street.
When: 19th May
Where: Various venues
Back for the eighth year, Liverpool’s famous LightNight is taking over the city for another free late-night of extraordinary arts and culture.
This glorious festival is made up of over 100 special events and unusual art spaces that showcase and celebrate the outstanding culture of Liverpool.
This year the theme of the festival is ‘Time’ – the past, the present and future of Liverpool, it’s people and the world we live in, as well as the influence of time on scientific discovery.
Expect magnificent light projections, live music, workshops, dancing, craft, spoken word, street performance, theatre, late night opening exhibitions and walking tours as the city comes alive for one night only.
Venues for this year’s LightNight include the Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral, Bluecoat, St George’s Hall, Albert Dock, Gostin’s Building, LJMU sites, the Baltic Triangle and more. Liverpool’s museums and galleries open their doors late into the night as the city provides the stage.
When: 27th-28th May
Where: Liverpool Waters, Clarence Dock
Undoubtedly the biggest festival in Liverpool, Sound City returns this year to take over Liverpool Waters, Clarence Dock. Celebrating its tenth birthday, the festival is set to be even bigger than last year with four days of planned music and festivities; it’s one you can’t miss.
Since its inception in 2008, Liverpool Sound City has grown into one of the most important and well-respected cultural events in the UK and was crowned Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards.
This year headliners include The Human League, Cale, Metronomy and The Kooks; Liverpool Sound City is an unrivalled festival of incredible live music and arts.
When: 9th-10th June
Where: Baltic Triangle
Liverpool’s award-winning celebration of reggae music and Jamaican heritage returns in June 2017 for a jam-packed weekend of cultural appreciation and positivity.
It was the winner of Best New Festival at the UK Festival Awards 2016, so it’s safe to say festival goers are in for a treat with this one.
Expect plenty of Caribbean food and drink and internationally renowned bands such as The Selector, Channel One, Scientist, Reggae Roast, plus loads more.
Following the huge success of 2016’s inaugural festival, Positive Vibration is set to be even bigger and better in 2017.
This family friendly festival is taking place at various venues across the Baltic Triangle (Constellations, Hangar34 and District) and will play host to a plethora of legendary sound systems & selectors, a Reggae Q&A, creative workshops and a record fair & market.
Albert Dock Rum Festival
When: 16th June
Where: Albert Dock
Get ready to be whisked away to the tropics this summer as Albert Dock is transformed into a Caribbean haven full to the brim with rum.
Many of the dock bars, restaurants and shops will be showcasing their wide rum selections, as well as foodie flavours of the Caribbean and live music to put you in the summer mood.
Popular rum emporium, Smugglers Cove will be leading the way with festivities with Chairman’s Reserve rum tastings, special rum cocktails, a Caribbean food special and live sea shanty.
Elsewhere, there will be rum-based cocktails at PANAM, samba dancers, rum tastings and live music at Revolucion de Cuba, Mojito boxes at Revolution, and rum tastings in aid of charity at Holiday Inn Express. Revellers can even purchase a special-edition Rum Festival leather eye patch from Leather Satchel Co, with a free rum shot for every purchase.
When: 17th-18th June
Where: Sefton Park
A vibrant showcase of live African and Caribbean music, Africa OYE is the UK’s largest free celebration of African music and culture.
It’s arguably one of the most exciting events in Liverpool, this festival will be making a dynamic return this July 2017. Filling Sefton Park with a celebration of music, delicious food and drink and fantastic African culture.
The festival has become a favourite in the city and this year it is celebrating its 25th Anniversary edition, hosting many of the audience’s favourite artists and many more new ones.
International Mersey River Festival
When: 23rd-25th June
Where: Liverpool’s waterfront
The International Mersey River Festival is a celebration of Liverpool’s glorious and historic waterfront in a completely free three-day extravaganza of family fun, amazing music and entertainment along the iconic River Mersey.
Featuring an amazing display of everything from narrow boats and tall ships, to polo tournaments, jet skiing demonstrations, have-a-go water sports sessions and thrilling air displays, this festival is a family favourite.
It also features a great music line up with three stages dotted along the fabulous waterfront and a host of creative workshops and entertainment.
When: 29th June – 2nd July
Where: St George’s Hall
The biggest German beer festival to come to the city is set to open at St George’s Hall Plateau at the end of June.
The festival will include a German Village, an open-air 1,200 seater Biergarten and exclusive DJ shows.
Visitors will find wooden huts selling delicious German food and drinks including three different specially brewed Bavarian beers, hugo, sekt, bratwurst, bockwurst and much more.
While the adults enjoy a beer or two, the kids can play in the activity area with the traditional Hau den Lukas game.
All staff will be dressed in special Bavarian costume including Lederhosen for men and Dirndl for ladies.
It is free entry to the open-air areas and table booking are available for the Bier Tent.
Pier Head Village Festival
When: 30th June – September
Where: Various venues on the waterfront
Officially opening on Friday 30th June, The Liverpool Village is a summer long festival home to an eclectic mix of live music, street animation, food and drink outlets and a whole host of family-friendly activities including crazy golf, bungee jumping and Segway rides.
A festival for all the family, Pier Head Village is a celebration of independent city brands and showcases the beauty of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With the spectacular backdrop of the Three Graces, this festival will deliver a programme of world-class entertainment, locally-sourced street food and artisan markets, high flying thrill rides and activity based family entertainment.
This year the festival has teamed up with Liverpool Sound City to bring a new sound of live, acoustic music to the south side of the village with the first ever Sound City Bar & Garden.
To the north of the village, enjoy the best laid back beats with the Balearic Sunset Sessions’ legendary DJs at the Village Beach Club.
Also taking over the Pier Head is Liverpool Art Fair and the Artisan Village and Farmer’s market that promises to provide high quality affordable art from the region’s top artists and up to 30 traders.
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
When: 8th-16th July
Where: Various venues
One of the most dazzling and vivid festivals on the circuit, the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival returns to various venues across the city this summer with a packed line up of visual arts, music, dance, film, theatre and family events.
The UK’s biggest annual celebration of Arab culture, this festival features a diverse programme of over 35 events, featuring around 140 UK and international artists.
LAAF attracts both local audiences and audiences from around the world, who flock to see the richness of Arab culture.
Events this year include a celebration of Eid on Lodge Lane, live performances at the World Museum, world-renowned Palestinian singer Reem Kelani, and a spectacular finale at Sefton Park Palm House.
When: 15th July
Where: Various venues
If you love a carnival atmosphere, Brazilica festival is the one for you.
Bringing an injection of vivid colour and the party spirit to the streets of Liverpool, this festival celebrates the best of Brazilian arts, music and culture, with a range of artists from the UK, Europe and Brazil.
Latin American rhythms and samba sounds will fill the streets for the tenth consecutive year as Brazilica promises to be the biggest and most vibrant show yet.
Thousands of people will line the route as the parade winds its way from Abercrombie Square through the city centre streets ending at a new location to be announced.
So, if you really want to get a taste for Brazil without having to board a place, this festival is one you can’t miss.
Liverpool International Music Festival
When: 20th-23rd July
Where: Sefton Park
Back for its fifth year, Liverpool International Music Festival will be kicking off on Thursday 20th July for a four-day celebration of new musical talent, well-known names and music heritage.
Set in the beautiful Sefton Park, with stages at the Palm House and surrounding areas, LIMF prides itself on being culturally diverse and featuring an eclectic line-up.
Featuring a mixture of home-grown talent, up and coming acts and household names, you’ll be treated to sets from Gorgon City, Corinne Bailey Rae, Katy B, Kate Nash and many more.
This year’s festival theme ‘Remember The Times’ will explore and showcase pivotal music moments throughout the decades, which were the springboard for genres such as hip hop, house and pop.
From the main stage to silent discos, DJ sets and even an orchestra, the Liverpool International Music Festival is for everyone.
When: 29th – 30th July
Where: Various venues
An amazing festival that celebrates Liverpool’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Liverpool Pride is back for another weekend of fun and festivities.
This year the festival welcomes Southport superstar Marc Almond to headline, with stages covering various venues around the city including St George’s Hall Plateau, St John’s Gardens and William Brown Street.
At the heart of this vibrant event is the colourful Pride March which attracts thousands of people to the streets of Liverpool, but the entire festival runs over two days, with a number of amazing events. Expect the best gay bars around the city to be hosting parties and celebrations into the night.
The theme of this summer’s festival will centre around International Love, with Pride organisers looking to work with partners, businesses and Merseyside’s twin towns and cities to help spread the message far and wide.
Hope and Glory Festival
When: 5th-6th August
Where: St Georges Quarter
This brand new music festival is set to take over Liverpool’s St George’s quarter, outside the World Museum and St John’s gardens on the first weekend in August.
With a stellar line up including Manchester headliners James and 70 piece orchestra Hacienda Classical, alongside, The View, The Fratellis, Razorlight, Ocean Colour Scene and many more, this is sure to be a big hit in the city.
The main action will take place at The Great Exhibition stage, plus there will be variety acts such as stand-ups and an air guitar competition at Wonders of the Age Stage. The Lady Garden Stage will play host to eclectic acts like Charlotte Church and a football legends charity darts competition.
All profits of this fantastic festival will also be donated to the victims of the Manchester attacks.
Viva Vegan Festival
When: 12th August
Where: The Bluecoat and the Friends Meeting House
The world has gone vegan mad and to celebrate this Liverpool is hosting a fabulous vegan friendly festival in the heart of the city centre for one day only.
With over 100 stalls across two great venues, this fantastic festival will feature stalls selling vegan food and beauty products, amazing cookery demos, food sampling, informative talks and advice on going dairy free, ethical gifts and competitions.
Viva staff will be sharing their secrets to making delicious vegan food that is also healthy, including a tasty chocolate orange cheesecake!
Entry is £3 each and there will be an array of refreshments and a kid’s room to keep the little ones occupied.
Go and check it out between 10am and 5pm and find out what the vegan lifestyle is all about.
When: 20th August
Where: Stanley Park
This free children’s festival has a packed programme of family fun that will keep the kids entertained all day.
First launched in 2015 to honour the short life of James Bulger, organised have promised that this years festival will be the biggest event yet.
The James Bulger Memorial Trust is working alongside Orb Events to bring the fun day back to Stanley Park, where it has previously attracted more than 8,000 visitors.
This year the festival will include a main stage programme of entertainment for children of all ages and a toddler and pre-school area for mini festivalgoers.
Other attractions will include fairground rides and a bouncy castle world, a Royal Marines assault course and a giant dart ball game.
There will also be a balloon artist creating larger than life-size balloon sculptures, a zip wire, kid’s cookery classes, a mini food festival, yoga, sport, soft play and planting workshops.
International Beatles Week
When: 23rd – 29th August
Where: Various venues
Liverpool wouldn’t be Liverpool without a week dedicated to celebrating the fab four, The Beatles.
An annual festival which stretches over the whole city, Beatlesweek will take over a wide range of venues including the Cavern, The Royal Court, Alma de Cuba, St George’s Hall and many more.
With performances from The Bootleg Beatles, Larry Kane, The Original Quarrymen, Cavern Club Beatles and loads of fun Beatles themed activities, its a great day out for any music fan.
On Sunday, there will be the Annual Beatles Convention which will feature guest speakers, a huge Beatles marketplace, quizzes and more live music.
Liverpool Prosecco Festival
When: 26th and 27th August
Where: Camp and Furnace
In need of a recharge after all of that music and culture, check out our guide to the best places to eat lunch outdoors around the city centre of Liverpool.
If you have anything to add or think we’ve missed out any important festivals coming up this summer in Liverpool let us know in the comments!