If you asked any Briton to describe their dream summer in the North West, almost every answer would include references to Parklife, Creamfields, a biblical Liam Gallagher all-dayer or, if you stretched it to the equinox, the Warehouse Project season opener. In recent years, however, Greater Manchester and its surrounding areas have become a hub of partying diversity, from thickly-forested bass festivals to world-renowned astronomy parties.

Here are the best alternative festival options on the Summer 2022 calendar:

Manchester Wellbeing Festival | Manchester Central | 11th June | Sat 11 Jun | 10am | £25

With a schedule full of yoga, ab workouts, mental health panels and inspirational stories of personal recovery, this inaugural wellness carnival transforms Manchester Central Complex into a serene, day-long Balinese spa break. Featuring celebrity personal trainer Alice Liveing, official government Mental Health Ambassador Dr. Alex George and guests discussions with Vicky Pattinson and DJ Fat Tony, Manchester Wellbeing Festival is the perfect alternative antidote to the usual festival options around the area.

Manchester Central Complex, Windmill St, Manchester M2 3GX, Tel: 0161 834 2700
Africa Oyé | Sefton Park, Liverpool | 18th-19th June | Sat 18 Jun | FREE

Billed as ‘the UK’s largest celebration of African music and culture’, this entirely free festival takes over Liverpool’s legendary Sefton Park for a family-friendly weekend of song, dance and food originating across the continent, from Lagos to Nairobi and beyond. Headlined by Oumou Sangare and Fuse ODG, Africa Oyé’s 30th anniversary edition promises to be its best yet.

Sefton Park, Liverpool, L17
Right to Roam | Bolton Town Centre | 8th-9th July | Fri 8 Jul | £8-£21.50

Rocking Bolton town centre over a full weekend, Right to Roam festival is alternative to the core. Taking place across four venues, the local celebration of poetry, music and arts comes sound-tracked by a slew of acclaimed indie headliners including Will Varley, Lottery Winners and Jane Weaver.

Bluedot Festival | Jodrell Bank | 21st-24th July | Thu 21 Jul | £35-£195

It’s reasonable to say that no other science festival in the world could breezily announce Mogwai, Metronomy, Groove Armada and a Hallé Orchestra-backed Bjork as their weekend headliners, but Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot Festival has gone bigger than ever for its fifth instalment of galactic frivolity in the Cheshire countryside. Featuring talks from astronaut Tim Peake and other renowned scientific figures, The Sky At Night’s Chris Lintott and – with fair warning against hallucinogens – an appearance from The Clangers, Bluedot is set to embark on its most awe-inspiring cosmic journey yet.

Jodrell Bank Observatory, Bomish Ln, Macclesfield, SK11 9DW, Tel: 01477 571766
The One In The Woods | Orrell Hill Woods, Merseyside | 21st-22nd August | Sun 21 Aug | 12pm | £44.25-£88.25

Nestled deep inside ancient Merseyside woodland, the enchanting setting for this bone-rattling drum and bass festival is likely as much about the soothing escapist wonder as it is about council noise warnings and terrified seismologists

Orrell Hill Woods, Orrell Hill Lane, L38 5DA
Just So Festival | Rode Hall, Cheshire | 19th-21st August | Fri 19 Aug | £27.36-£177.44

Planted gently but conclusively at the other end of the alternative festival spectrum, Rode Hall’s Just So Festival promises an ‘imaginative outdoor family adventure like no other’ with childlike awe at its heart. Featuring world-renowned literature, circus skill lessons, theatre, dance and music for all ages, think bunting over bassheads for this delightful jamboree among the rolling Cheshire plains.

Church Ln, Scholar Green, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 3QP
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 13 Jun 2022