It's the time year when spending nights hunched on a deflating air bed seems like the best idea ever, and the inevitability of soggy socks and lack of basic essentials like loo roll won't stand in the way of covering ourselves in glitter and not washing!
Festivals. It's what we do best. A chance for us Brits to display our eccentricity come rain or shine - and we really don't mind rain. Wimbledon anyone?! Crowds of people under brollies huddling around a TV screen next to the pitch when they could've just GONE HOME AND WATCHED IT?! We're ridiculous. An excuse to party, drink Pimms, get your pals together and escape the real world for sure but also for the next generation of musical talent to cut their teeth performing to sozzled crowds in places you've never heard of.
Parties and club nights are thriving as we try and escape the economic reality, and as sites like efestivals would testify; old, young, family orientated, crazy or teetotal there's a festival that's sprung up somewhere in the UK for you. As a music lover they're amazing places to discover your new favourite band while you're having a cup of tea at four in morning and willing your phone to stay charged.
Interestingly savvy promoters have clocked that sometimes we don't even care who's playing. Glastonbury is a constant trek round the eight mile site, programme in hand so as not to miss one of the legends performing at the same time. It's the daddy for sure, but a new wave of smaller festivals promoting lesser known acts with more focus on the experience than the line up is emerging, and with it the best places to find your new favourite tunes...
The not-so-Secret-anymore Garden would rather all their punters get to experience an amazing boat trip out on their lake than catch the one night only reunion of the Rolling Stones. Secret Productions behind the event go all out with imaginative decorations, from tying bananas to trees to 24 hour cinemas and art classes and it's def the best place for mischief making. This year an anonymous donor gave the festival £10,000 to put on a firework display. It sticks smaller - but great bands - like Little Dragon and Utah Saints alongside festival regulars Caravan Palace and Correspondants...the latter acts spearheading a trend I find interesting. Bands little known in the mainstream but making a great career of hitting almost every festival in the UK and bringing joy to many a punter, although revellers probably wouldn't buy their album.
Wonderfully it's this laid back attitude to the line-up that has lent itself to the festival becoming an organic breeding ground for tomorrow's talent, with the likes of Florence and Metronomy taking to the stage before anyone really knew who they were in the past few years. Watch out for Boom Town too for an interesting line up, the West Country's village like reggae inspired festival includes MC battles from Don't Flop, live performances from David Rodigan and Black Twang, a thriving bassline circus frequented by the likes of SL2, Roska and the Nextmen and a distinctly free party vibe...
Intrigued by the pop up festival phenomenon, I've been to explore a couple of smaller ones and as we're almost three quarters of the way through summer I've seen some great bands but can't help feeling the it's the DJs really stealing the show. Standon Calling bills itself as the place to discover new music, starting originally as a BBQ, it's tiny, spread out and even has a swimming pool. The random line-up boasted headliners no less than Fat Freddy's Drop, I got into cool-as-they-come chap King Charles and cracked a few lols at the hilarious and heart felt performance from Beans on Toast. But a bass heavy line up blasting from the Meantime discovery stage, albeit slightly misplaced to a very family friendly festival backdrop is where I was mostly hanging. Enjoying grime inspired party tunes from Teeza, fresh house beats from T Williams, house infused future garage irresistible beats from Toyc and it's no surprise that Kode 9 put on a show and a half while the Urban Nerds guys bought home the classic garage and party tunes.
Jack's festival is a one day affair on an even smaller level combined sunny Kent countryside vibes with legends DJ Luck and MC Neat, hot property Huxley and about to blow pop acts like Lonsdale Boys Club to achieve the perfect boutique festival vibes to line up ratio.
For real new music discoveries, Strummerville's Strummer of Love festival is guaranteed to introduce you to your favourite band you haven't heard of yet. A charity supporting up and coming music acts in Joe Strummer's honour, this is a celebration of people that they been working with for the past year. My top tip? Look out for Nimmo and the Gauntletts.
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