Monday, 24 May 2010

Festival Previews 2010

Written for the Vice Festival Guide.

September 3-5, The Garden, Petrčane, Croatia
Why Croatia remains unexplored by the marauding English holidaying hordes is beyond us. It’s cheap as chips, the food’s good, the weather is amazing and both the urban architecture and the countryside are mind blowingly stunning. As it is we’re pretty happy to keep Croatia to ourselves and share it with the slowly increasing number of Stag Do’s that seem to represent the only other form of English tourism in the area. Stop Making Sense may be the undoing of keeping Croatia a guarded secret though offering as it does a great lineup if you are into dancing lots (Carl Craig, Theo Parrish, Matias Aguayo and Nathan Fake) and a great backdrop (it’s by the seaside). Get there before everyone else does by heading over to and getting yourself a ticket for just £80 for the whole weekend.

July 15-18, Henham Park, Suffolk
The festival that was born to be mild goes from strength to strength. Constantly pigeon-holed as a fun for the whole family affair if you have a hunt around behind the poetry tents and stand up shows Latitude has some teeth. The xx, The Horrors, The Big Pink and hot tips Egyptian Hip hop and Active Child are all worth a look with Belle & Sebastian, Vampire Weekend and Florence & The Machine proving to be the big draws. Latitude has in fact proved such a hit with all-comers that there is not a single ticket to be had via legitimate means so you won’t get any of them at but you will be able to find out anything else Latitude-related.

September 9-12, Robin Hill County Park, Isle of Wight
Crazy costume ahoy! It’s only Rob Da Bank’s insanely popular late season Isle of Wight shindig. If the summer months have passed you by without of a weekend spent in tents with no running water then Bestival is a good bet. The line-up is as diverse as ever: LCD Soundsytem, Roxy Music, Richie Hawtin, The Wailers, Vitalic, Joy Orbison and Todd Edwards all feature and if you plan on dressing up the theme is “Fantasy” so you can basically go wild. There are a handful of tickets left at £160 each for the weekend and you get them and find out everything else you need to know at

May 29-31, Various venues, Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester
What started as Camden Crawl-style affair across a handful of venues in Nottingham a few years ago now engulfs a phalanx of bars, clubs and pubs in probably the three best cities for live music in the country that aren’t London. Dot To Dot tends to plump for the exciting and new and there’s now deviation from that manifesto with this years line-up seeing turns from Chapel Club, Yuck, Washed Out and Jamie Woon with Beach House, Wild Beasts and The Mystery Jets in the headline slots. Tickets are a snip at £30 and you can get those and more information over at

July 16-18, Victoria Park, London
Lovebox now sprawls over a whole mid-July weekend of dance-orientated shenanigans handily located in popular London summer spot Victoria Park. Dizee Rascal, Chase & Status, Roxy Music, Grace Jones and Hot Chip hog the limelight with plenty of things to keep you dancing from Chromeo to Booka Shade and Joy Orbison and MJ Cole representing the improbably healthy state of UK garage music in 2010. All of that and you can probably pop home for tea if it all gets a bit much. Tickets for one day are £45, two days is £80 and it’s £99 for all three. You can get a hold of those and find out more at

June 17-19, Various Locations, Barcelona
The gilded swan of electronic music gatherings, Sonar has amassed an almost statesman like reputation that can easily mislead. Take away the more refined than thou aesthetic and it is basically a load of the best DJ’s and produces on the planet all shoved into one of the best cities to throw a party in the world. Sounds like a good combo? That’s because it is. It is basically not humanly possible not to have fun at Sonar. There things that are worth seeing are too numerous to mention here but if we were you we’d be excited about Zomby, Roska, Jackmaster, Wooky and perhaps worthy of the flight alone: a rare appearance by Detroit City’s finest: Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodymann. Tickets are 155 euros and you can get those and all other info at

August 28-29, Daresbury, Cheshire
Probably the closest you’ll get to a spirit of ’88 M25 outdoor rave with overtones of being trapped in the Cirque de Soleil on acid anywhere in the festival season. One for the committed hedonist, Creamfields doesn’t let up on the bpm’s so if high-octane dance floats your raving boat then this one is for you. Several dance music titans will be making the trip to a field near Runcorn for your dancing pleasure this year including Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta and Sven Vath. Joker, High Contrast and Erol Alkan are of interest elsewhere. A weekend ticket including camping comes in at £100 and ‘hospitality camping’ tickets (whatever that means) are £185. Those and whatever else you need to know at

August 10-14, Gamlebyen, Oslo, Norway
If you are considering getting out of the UK in order to get your festival fill Oya offers some pretty stunning Norwegian countryside and a line-up that puts most of the UK’s grandstanding events to shame. Pavement, M.I.A., The Stooges, a solo turn from Outkast guy Big Boi, LCD Soundystem, The Specials and Fucked Up will all be there. Book your flights early enough and getting out there will be cheap enough to make all the terrifyingly expensive booze you’ll drink worthwhile. Tickets cost a scary sounding 1940 NOK and you can get those and further information at

July 8-11, Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
Exit takes place in a 13th century medieval Hungarian fortress overlooking the river Danube in Serbia. Which sure beats Clapham Common or that park somewhere outside Leeds that Google Map can never find in terms of a location. Throw in appearances from acts as varied as hardcore survivors Bad Brains, disco-punk pioneers LCD Soundsytem and Chilean techno magi Ricardo Villalobos and a four day ticket for just £85 if you book before June and you have a very attractive excuse to explore Serbia for the first time. Find out all things Exit-related at

September 4-5, Hainault Forest, Essex
Every year more festivals shift their dates further into what can realistically be described as ‘autumn’ to avoid doing battle with sixty million competing events in the busy June-August period. If you are attending a September festival though it’s nice to have the option of sodding the tent off and hopping on the Central Line back home to your own bed if the rain comes. Offset offers just that option. A discerning lineup that takes in punk-funk vets Liquid Liquid, krautrock royalty Cluster and a heap of bands that blogs have told you to like so may times that they already seem like part of the furniture (Telepathe, These New Puritans, Male Bonding) make Offset a safe bet if you live within the M25. Tickets are £65 for the weekend including camping, £55 if you plan on going home to sleep and £29 per day. Get them and all other info at

July 31, Victoria Park, London
Let’s face it, if you live in London, the sun is shining and you can’t face being rammed like a KFC battery hen into London Fields you’ll probably be in Victoria Park anyway. As well as all of the Park’s usual, slightly grubby charm, for one Saturday a year only you also get one of the most well thought out one day festivals in the country. The line up is, as ever, great with appearances from established older guys like The Fall and Andrew Weatherall as well as young whippersnappers that everyone is getting excited about such as Yuck and James Blake plus it’s all happening, quite literally, in most of your back gardens. Tickets are £39.83 after all the booking fee nonsense and you can get those and find out more at

July 25-18, Benicassim, Spain
Sweaty, lobster-coloured English people ahoy! It’s only Benicassim time again! So many English people make the trip to the East Coast of Spain for this European heavyweight every year that if you Google the thing the English fans guide to the festival beats the official festival site. Fact. Still, if you like following the herd and you want to roll a sunny week away into seeing a bunch of bands then you could do worse. Ian Brown and Kasabian should keep the Stella and sunburn brigade happy but dig a little deeper and you’ll come across jj, Lindstrom, Dirty Projectors and a rare appearance by the reformed Public Image Limited. If you are seriously considering going take our advice and get an air-conditioned apartment. You’ll thank us later. Tickets are £172.50 including camping and you can get those and further info over at

August 13-15, DeMontfort Hall, Leicester
Flying the flag for Midlands festivals this one seems to grow exponentially at a pretty alarming rate every year. Maybe one day in the future it will bulge to so many stages that you’ll be able to walk from Reading up to Leeds via Summer Sundae. While the main stage seems pre-occupied with folk this year, featuring turns from Seasick Steve and Mumford & Sons, have a look further down the bill and you get Caribou’s glitchtronica, grime from Skepta and interesting pop from The Invisible. Basically all things to all men. In a good way. For a reasonable £105 you get entry and camping and you can make that happen and find out more at

May 27-29, Parc Del Forum, Barcelona
Imagine an ATP but instead of staying in a Butlins you are staying in a nice apartment of the Ramblas in one of the hands-down best cities in Europe. Yep, Primavera is pretty good. So good in fact that ATP nullified our analogy back there by actually setting up shop with their own stage so you don’t even have to imagine that you are at an ATP, you will be at an ATP. Kind of. Oh, and it gets our seal of approval as they gave us a stage too. The list of bands that you will actually want to see as opposed to miss accidentally-on-purpose goes on forever but highlights include: Atlas Sound, The Black Lips, Sian Alice Group, The Clean, Shellac, Mission Of Burma and some guys called Pavement. Tickets are 180 euros but go get them quick at as this one actually sells out.

August 27-29, Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds
If you want to see the re-formed Libertines, Klaxons’ return to festival duty or whatever the fuck Axl Rose is now calling Guns N’ Roses this summer then you’ll have to bite the bullet and make it to Reading or Leeds. Sadly the days of Leeds descending into a good bit of arson, rioting and looting by the Sunday seem to have come to an end so it’s more a case of whichever is closer and whether you got a ticket in time or not. Beware if you think you already have one of the now sold out weekend tickets as the festival has been targeted heavily by ticket scammers this year. To find out if your ticket is real or not or get a day pass for £75 head over to or

July 9-11, Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland and Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, Ireland
The Celtic answer to Reading and Leeds offers similarly safe line-up options but with the added bonus of lashings more booze and bad behaviour as standard. The Scots and Irish simply know how to have more fun than the English. Sorry, it’s a fact. I am English so I’m allowed to speak these words of truth and you’ll just have to deal with it. Have a root around below the Eminem/Muse/Kasabian sized headliners and Yeasayer, Black Mountain and a resurgent The Coral as well a solid dance lineup including Erol Alkan, Sven Vath and Richie Hawtin doing his Plastikman thing all make a trip north worth your while. Oxygen tickets are 224 euros including camping but you’ll have to resort to ingenuity to get yourself into T at this stage as it is completely sold out. All information can be found at and

October 22-24, The Custard Factory, Birmingham
Shockingly, Supersonic is already in its eighth year. It seems like just the other day the girls behind astute Birmingham bookers Capsule came up with the idea of shunting a bunch of their excellent shows together into a single weekend. If you have a beard, subscribe to The Wire and/or Terrorizer, haunt the Southern Lord blog or simply possess good taste in music then Supersonic is well worth your attention. The reformed Swans are the only act yet to be announced but what more do you need? Weekend tickets will set you back £75 and you can get those and more line-up information as it surfaces at

June 23-27, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Glastonbury
The labrynthine ticketing application/initial sale/refund/resale nightmare that seems to get more confusing with every year that passes. However, we can now safely say that unless you have a ticket already or are willing to risk almost certainly getting ripped off by eBay scammers then the golden passes to Michael Eavis’ annual mudbath are now officially all gone. If you do have a way of getting in then you will be able to bear witness to lots and lots of solo artists playing the main stage. Seriously go look at the lineup: Snoop, Shakira, Ray Davies, Stevie Wonder, Slash, Willie Nelson, Femi Kuti, Norah Jones, Paloma Faith. The list goes on… What happened? Are they allergic to bands all of a sudden? You know what to expect elsewhere and you’d probably just as well stay at home and watch it on TV as the BBC seems to mistake this yearly pop music event in a field for some form of world shattering current affairs dropping literally everything else in their schedules to bring you 24 hour coverage in multiple angles and possibly 3D across every channel they possess. No tickets but lots of information at

June 11-13, Donnington Park, Midlands
The Ronseal of rock festivals lumbers ever onwards. Not straying too far from the tried and tested riffs and leather formula this years edition of what was once known as The Monsters Of Rock sees a host of veterans return to Castle Donnington. Aerosmith, Motorhead, AC/DC, Saxon, Megadeath and even Billy Idol all make appearances on the main stage while Napalm Death, Suicidal Tendencies and Dillinger Escape Plan crop up elsewhere. Weekend tickets including five nights worth of camping will set you back £180. We’re not sure why you would need to stay for five nights but a trip to might explain that and anything else you wanted to know about the festival.

August 28-29, Clapham Common, London
For the final bank holiday weekend of the year South West London cottaging hotspot Clapham Common transforms into a ginormous dance arena. Formerly known as Get Loaded In The Park the event now stretches over two days as opposed to one and sees headline sets from household name DJ’s John Digweed, Judge Jules, Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox and Zoe Ball’s husband. Elsewhere more interesting propositions such as bass envelope pushers Skream & Benga and SBTRKT and French disco don Vitalic make the whole thing worthy of your attention. Weekend tickets are £85 and you can get those and find out more at

July 22-25, Huntingdon Mill Field, Peterborough
If the characters in an Enid Blyton novel ever found themselves in the here and now and had to go to a festival it would probably be the Secret Garden Party. All leafy, whimsical, anti-branding and well manicured the Peterborough three dayer continues to draw a loyal following all of whom extol its virtues like it’s the second coming in festival form. Highlights include a live Gorillaz performance, a rare UK appearance by Mercury Rev and up and coming blue-eyed soul guy Othello Woolf. Head over to to get hold of weekend tickets for £149.50 including camping.

August 20-22, Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons, Wales
The festival that banks on rustic charm and a cultivated sense of pastoral rootsiness, Green Man continues to gently woo the mature end of the festival-going spectrum with grandstanding sets from Doves, Billy Bragg, Tindersticks, The Flaming Lips and Joanna Newosm. Meanwhile, our favourite tear-jerking troubador Cass McCombs, Welsh hardcore hopefuls Islet and the much talked about Egyptian Hip Hop keep things interesting on the smaller stages. Tickets are £120 including camping and they are available from

August 1, Victoria Park, London
The Field Day for little people is so much fun that lots of big people try to get in every year masquerading as parents. True story. With a lineup as here and now as it is borderline pathologically diverse ranging from Lightspeed Champion to Donae’o to Is Tropical it’s easy to see why. If you are younger than 18 and live in London you probably already have a ticket but just in case you don’t they are only £29.50 and can be got at

July 23-25, Hill Farm, Steventon, Oxford
What began as DIY anti-festival with secret line-ups 13 years ago now takes in an Oxford version of SXSW called OX4, Wood, a folk-y sister festival and, as of this year, a Truck America in upstate New York. Not bad going for a couple of brothers who insist on minimal corporate presence and giving most of what they make to charity. Now that they tell people who’s playing in advance we can reveal that there will be sets from Fucked Up, Teenage Fanclub and Mercury Rev with dancing duties handled by DJ Zinc. Tickets are only £80 and you can get those and find out more at

June 11-13, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle Of Wight
Back when Dylan made an appearance at the Isle Of Wight in 1969 in the middle of his reclusive Woodstock period the festival was one of the first of its kind. It’s probably a safe bet that if you’d asked Bob whether he thought a Beatle would be headlining the same festival 41 years later he would probably mumble something cryptic and incomprehensible but underneath all that we’re betting he’d be surprised. Paul McCartney takes on the Sunday with Jay-Z and The Strokes headlining the Friday and the Saturday respectively. The rest of the bill is equally heavy on big names with Blondie, Spandau Ballet and even Pink all making the trip to Newport. Tickets for a weekend on the Isle Of Wight will set you back £150. Find those and further information at

July 24, Shoreditch Park, London
Sean Mclusky’s 1234 one-dayer swaggers into its third year. Within spitting distance of the bars that many of the people reading this will be drinking in anyway.1234 takes place on a patch of green next to City Road that optimistically calls itself Shoreditch Park. You could probably guess the lineup with your eyes closed but that is no bad thing. These New Puritans, Veronica Falls, Dum Dum Girls and up and coming anarcho-punks Flats are all playing and the after party options will be numerous. Tickets are only £15 if you get them now from

September 10-12, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
This one could be the festival manifestation of Captain America’s much missed Virgin radio Americana shows. They seem to somehow get Wilco to headline every year and it’s beards and acoustic guitars aplenty elsewhere too with appearances from Iron & Wine, The Mountain Goats and The Felice Brothers all turning up to strum and holler. There is also a cinema stage curated by Little White Lies in case you get bored of the bands. Tickets are £130 for the weekend including camping. You can purchase those and find out what else is happening at

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