Culture Events

Uber-Niche Festivals To Indulge Your Inner Hobbyist

A field with music and beer: fantastic. But these are even better


Best For... Seeing the Future

London Future Fest (Tobacco Dock, 6–7 July)

The future was a beautiful place, once. We thought it would be plain sailing by now, bopping off on cheeky holidays to the moon in airborne buggy carts, teleporting our robotic clones to do the washing while another feeds us space-grapes. Instead it’s all “melting ice caps” this, “impending nuclear war” that – d’oh! Pop along to this brilliant festival of innovation to find out how our best and brightest are trying to fix the future of this squalid little planet we call home.

Uber-Niche Festivals To Indulge Your Inner Hobbyist

Best For... Guzzling Belgian Beer

Ales Tales Festival (Oval Space, June 1–2)

Belgium: a place so determinedly nondescript that its geographical flatness is the first thing people comment upon. We have nothing but the fullest of respect, however, for a nation who successfully dedicated themselves to mastering the holy grail: chocolate, chips and beer. This summer is the second outing for Ales Tales, London’s only Belgian craft beer festival. With five hours of unlimited tasters of over 70 different beers – that’s right, unlimited, so don’t bring Mad Dave lest they have to shut the whole thing down – this is a true bargain at £42. Tapas style traditional Belgian bites will be available too, along with the classique frites and mayo.

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Best For... Clowning Around

London Clown Festival (Various locations, until June 3)

One of the most effective ways to slight another person is to say “What are you, some kind of clown?”, because it implies that not only is the person a clown, they aren’t even one of the more renowned, famous clowns. Clowns haven’t garnered much respect historically, mainly functioning either to vaguely amuse or profoundly terrify children. But wait! There’s a whole new generation of exciting, edgy, sexy performance which falls under the clown tree. Catch some at this year’s festival, with various reasonably priced performances taking place at venues dotted around the city from Dalston to Great Portland Street: think experimental physical comedy, rather than ubiquitous honking red noses.

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Best For... Audio Experiences

London Podcast Festival (Kings Place, September 12–16)

We can scarcely remember a time before every bout of dish-washing, every walk, every train journey, was not narrated by some nasal bespectacled American or other from inside our headphones. Podcasts are part of the very fabric of daily life for many of us, a convenient way to catch up on what we’ve missed – whether it’s politics or football or a juicy true crime story – within a busy schedule. Innovative serial projects like S-Town have commentators declaring that podcasts are the new novel. Don’t miss the third dedicated festival, where many of the big hitters from the world’s favourite podcasts will be in conversation and recording live episodes, as well as hosting workshops for the aspiring pod people amongst you.

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