Summer Festival Forecast

Happy chappies at T in the Park

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration and the London Olympics, this summer is already set to be full of buzz. But let’s not forget the cracking array of music festivals on offer to us over the next few months.

For starters, 2nd– 4th June brings us Dot To Dot, the UK’s only touring festival, at a bargain price of £20 for the day. The festival will grace Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester with its presence, so travel distance is no excuse for steering clear. Dot To Dot hosts stages for hotly tipped new acts like Pond, as well as the more well known like Willy Mason. If you’re keen to find some new fresh bands to add to your summer tunes playlist this is the place to find them.

One of the most exciting summer weekends to look forward to is RockNess, held in Inverness (north Scotland) on 8–10th June. Rated NME’s ‘Best Small Festival 2012’, it’s set to be a stormer with headliners Mumford & Sons, DeadMau5 and Biffy Clyro. Recent additions to the line up include Ash and The Pigeon Detectives who join other big acts like Noah & The Whale, Ed Sheeran and Friendly Fires. The comedy line up will give us the giggles with saucy Scotsman Daniel Sloss and Ozzy comedy rocker Tim Minchin amongst a long list of others. There will also be some interactive touches to the festival with a Big Love Inflatable Church so that the Romeos and Juliets of RockNess can renew their vows. The inflatable church will even host a Glaswegian couple’s actual wedding. RockNess is currently running a competition for aspiring DJs to win a slot at the festival by uploading a club mix to Soundcloud. Even if the heavens unleash hailstorms, happy times will be had by all.

70,000 campers will be setting up tents on 6–8th July in Scottish town Balado at T in the Park. The main stage will see Snow Patrol, The Stone Roses, and Kasabian stimulate the crowds. US rapper Nicki Minaj, fierce Florence + The Machine and Calvin Harris, whose third studio album is due to be released this summer, add to the juicy line-up. The festival’s highly regarded Slam Tent will open a day earlier this year so that superstar DJs can drop their rumbling beats an extra night. Fitting in with the Scottish surroundings will be the Ceilidh Tent, sure to get everyone’s wellies tip-tapping around and Fancy Dress Friday will return for a fifth year to add a splash of colour just in case the heavens erupt with rain.

Bon Iver, Elbow, and Paul Weller will take to the main stage at Latitude (12–15th July) in Suffolk. Crowds will also be pleased by the calming melodies of Ben Howard, endearing charm of Laura Marling and Metronomy’s comforting beats. Huge crowds will surely be drawn by a Sunday midday performance from Rufus Wainwright.

BoomTown (9–12th August) in Winchester offers us huge musical diversity and what seems to be an earthier, more alternative vibe. A jungle of acts including Alborosie, Tanya Stephens and Natty will feature on the UK’s biggest reggae festival stage. Quirky mutated vehicles will tour the grounds of BoomTown including a Police Rave Unit that projects a full sound and light show, an adapted military vehicle known as ‘The Armadillo’ and the fire-snorting beast ‘Lrry 1’ who has the heart of a citroen 2CV keeping him alive. Skatejams, circus performers, and dance offs will add to the huge amount of entertainment on offer.

Set at a picturesque country estate in the Northamptonshire countryside is Shambala (23rd-27th August). This festival is guaranteed to introduce crowds to hidden musical gems, and will appeal to those fond of the arts thanks to its inclusion of cabaret, theatre, art installations and nationally acclaimed poetry. This year the theme for Shambala’s Fancy Dress Carnival is ‘Celebration’. Families will be particular fans of the festival with hands-on workshops like the Wild Bush Camp, and a Random Workshop Tent for more off-the-wall classes (knit-your-own-breasts featured there last year…).

September’s Bestival (6–9th) ends the festival season smashingly with headliner Stevie Wonder. Bestival-goers are guaranteed a right jolly jape with a Silly Sportsday in line with the Olympics. After an oath swearing ceremony, contestants will try their luck in a Chariots of Fire SlowMo race and ‘Jaffa’-lin throwing. Comedy from Jimmy Carr, music from New Order, The xx and Sigur Ros, and activities like Morris Dancing, a Roller Disco and Wall of Death will keep everyone smiling. The Ambient Forest’s tree-tops will act as a ceiling to brand new performance stage, The Amphitheatre. Here, Rob da Bank will thrill cinema fans with a live re-scoring of the 1930s film King Kong. Bestival’s twinning with Serbia’s Exit Festival (12–15th July) will mean that artists, audiences and expertise are shared. A competition will give 10 lucky entrants the chance to win a trip to the twin festival.

Whatever your plans for the summer, it would be silly not to soak up the sun at one of these fun-loving festivals. If the performances from music knockouts like Bon Iver, The xx, and soul legend Stevie Wonder aren’t enough to get you pumped up, the variety of crazy add-ons to these festivals should be.

Leave a Reply