Ah that great summer tradition the music festival. I remember back in the day there were about three (there weren’t it just seemed like that). There was Reading & Leeds, you’d go there if you read the NME and listened to Steve Lamacq on Radio 1. There was Glastonbury, you’d go there if you wanted to get muddy, sleep with someone in a tent and take some sort of brain altering drugs whilst listening to Aphex Twin play a tree, and there was Download/Oz Fest you went there if you were into Metal, like really into metal!
Luckily those days are long gone now, and you get to go see bands you actually like. They’re still playing in a field, and it’s still sort of weird that you’ve all gone to the middle of nowhere to do it, but by heck we’re going to have a bloody good time and drink some cider. There’s so many brilliant options, in fact there’s almost certainly something for everyone. With End Of The Road announcing it’s line up yesterday, most of FTR’s favourite festivals have now confirmed just who’s going to be turning up this year. So it seemed as good a time as any to compile all that information in one place and allow you, our wonderful readers, the chance to decide where best to spend your cash.
The line up’s this year are wonderfully varied, largely varying from really bloomin’ good through to Wilderness. Oh and if you’re wondering about Download, it looks like the same bands who’ve played for the last 15 years in a slightly different order this time, some things never change…
Well established indie-folk-americana fest Greenman has been quietly excellent up in Wales for years now. This year they’ve arguably gone and compiled the line up of the summer. Big hitting headliners come in the form of Beirut and reformed whine-folk legends Neutral Milk Hotel. While squinting down the line-up like Charles Campion eyeing up the deserts menu there’s some real treats. The best option would be the trio of solo wonders that are Kurt Vile, Jeffrey Lewis and best of all Sharon Van Etten, who’ll be fresh from the release of her brand new album and no doubt bringing some funky fresh new tunes along with her. Less appetising are the omni-present trio of fairly unexciting middle of the road moaning that is Polica, Anna Calvi and Daughter, though if that’s as bad as it gets we’re all in for a pretty good meal/festival (it’s not even nearly lunchtime yet)
Rob Da Bank’s Isle of White spectacular, always looks a bit debauched and well too much fun for us here at FTR, but this year he’s gone and compiled some darn impressive headliners. Seeing Outkast is (we imagine) bloody good fun, with lots of bouncing and moving your feet in time with the music (they call that dancing don’t they?), Foals are an excellent live act even if they have gone a bit white-guy funk of late and best of all they’ve gone and landed Beck, who’s well Beck! That’s a powerful trio I’m sure you’ll all agree. Elsewhere there’s still some to be announced, including a whole load of dj’s, but at the moment we’re scrabbling around a little to find anything particularly exciting beyond the big three. Wild Beasts are playing most festivals this summer, but they’re always a treat, while Caribou are an interesting prospect and certainly a good fit for the hedonistic swaying people apparently get up to down there. Elsewhere they seem to have gone for the stick a pin in the Radio 1 playlist approach and ended up with London Grammar, Disclosure and Sam Smith, and whilst I’m no expert on such things that sounds bloody awful!
Less a music festival and more the living embodiment of the Guardian weekend magazine, Wilderness has a habit of having about one good band and then a lot of stuff that’s designed to keep teenagers entertained whilst their parents get drunk and eat swanky food in a field. This year isn’t much exception, though they seem to have forgotten about getting a good band in. Headliners are Metronomy (oh ok they’re alright actually, they did that one good song anyway) Burt Bacharach (really?) and London Grammar (yawn). Elsewhere there’s a lot of bands who sound a bit like lectures, “Who’s off to see the English folk dance and song society anyone?” Nope didn’t think so. Further down the bill somehow Mount Kimbie and Conan Mockasin have ended up playing which will no doubt confuse a lot of people whilst they’re tucking into something lovely from the Moro Souk Tent or banqueting with Simon Rogan & Angela Hartnett’s who we can only hope are working out of a burger van. Sadly for Wilderness a festival that always sounds lovely, this line up looks a lot like shooting yourself in the foot, then the other foot then the face, which might be more fun than watching London Grammar.
London’s hippest young things descend on Victoria Park yearly for what was England’s premier day festival, but has now expanded into a two day shin dig. Headlining this year are Metronomy (another band who seem to be playing nearly everything this year) and constantly reforming/reformed 90s grunge megastars The Pixies. Whilst the presence of The Pixies is getting most people super excited there’s a lot of fun to be had elsewhere from big stars like sultry-sirens Warpaint down to more under the radar names like Leeds’ premier post-rockers Vessels, former Pete & The Pirates new pet-project Teleman and Aussie proggers Pond. However rumours of poor sound and the fact you’re just in a park in London and have to go home afterwards combined with the fact The Pixies aren’t that good anymore make it hard to get too excited.
From the ashes of Moor Fest came Beacons. The hippest thing to ever hit Skipton, and possibly the whole of Yorkshire. It’s kind of like Field Day but for a whole weekend with some nice views of hills and stuff. They’ve sorted out the flood threat now as well apparently which makes it an all together more exciting prospect. The line-up’s a nice mash of old and new with headliners Darkside, Daughter and Jon Hopkins bringing the hipsters in, while The Fall are always amusing if a bit rubbish. The most exciting act in our eyes though is certainly bearded-folky-ex fence collector King Creosote, and with Jon Hopkins also in attendance the prospect they might perform some of their mercury nominated collaboration is a bit exciting (though possibly unlikely). The line up’s lacking a big name headliner to bring the crowds rushing in but if it’s a value for money weekend or hipster spotting you’re after this might well float your boat.
Latitude is the best thing that’s ever happened in Suffolk, that is clearly a fact. We went a few years back and had a wonderfully middle class time climbing trees, playing pianos and back in the day they had some rather amazing bands. As the years roll on it gets bigger and the line up gets more inclusive, pah “who’s idea was that” we crowed as they got bands people actually wanted to see rather than obscure but beautiful oddities. This year they’ve got a bit of coup getting Damon Albarn to headline, which will either be a brilliant set encompassing his entire back catalogue including the best bits of Blur & Gorillaz, or a bit of a trudge through his brand new solo album, which from what we’ve heard so far is a tad underwhelming. Joining him at the top of the bill are Two Door Cinema Club which is frankly baffling, I’d forgotten they existed but apparently we’re meant to believe they’re headline worthy now, they’re not! The line up’s got many a treat though from the ever incredible San Fermin, Cass McCombs and Tame Impala. These are balanced out by the truly awful Haim and 80s plodders Hall & Oates, no we have no idea why they’ve booked Hall & Oates either! However a reformed Slowdive and the excellent live stylings of Damien Jurado should more than make up for that nonsense and there’s enough bands to avoid seeing much of the rubbish.
End of The Road
We’ve saved the best till last, and also the last till last as End Of The Road have only just announced their line up. The festival is however still 7 months away though so they’re hardly late are they! The line up is after all bloody incredible! Headliners mix established festival smashers The Flaming Lips with the eccentrically brilliant Brits Wild Beasts and the grandiose musings of John Grant who mesmerised over on the beautiful garden stage a couple of years back. The rest of the line up is a stunning who’s-who of good music, Mark Kozelek, British Sea Power, Perfume Genius, Marissa Nadler & Horse Thief are all down to entertain, to name but a handful. Treat after treat basically. There’s also a light up dance floor in a forest, and as many peacocks as you would ever hope to lay your eyes upon. Along with Greenman it would appear they’ve knocked it out of the park and it’s set to be the highlight of the summer, even if we do have to wait till right at the end of August for it…Thanks End Of The Road, you do spoil us don’t you?