Wellies at the ready: it's nearly festival season. Whether you fancy a hip happening the Highlands, a DJ set in Wales or niche nighttime fun in Northampton, here are just eight of my favourite lesser-known festivals; and I think some of them may surprise you.
As soon as you start trying to protect people from the potentially offensive, the whole thing turns into a giant game of whack-a-mole. Potentially offensive things leap up from all directions, and no sooner have you squashed one than a dozen more potential shocking things pop up instead. Because EVERYTHING is offensive. In some context. To someone.
Hyperbole doesn't quite do Laura Marling justice. She is, record by record, cementing and reaffirming her place as the greatest female singer-songwriter of a generation.
Silly pop songs, over-the-top costumes and dance routines, and a (possibly) fake sense of intra-European bonhomie. Yes, it's easy to dismiss the annual Eurovision song contest. But wait. This year might be a little bit different. Eurovision might actually get political - and not just political in the usual sense that neighbouring countries vote for one another in a show of regional support... What better time to demand equal rights than when you have the eyes of much of Europe on you?
Clinging on for dear life to the side of the carnival catamaran in the middle of the Caribbean ocean, my rollercoaster that was the St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival was off to a rip-roaring start.
Dear Rakhi Kumar, As I write this letter to you, my 7 week old daughter is asleep on my shoulder. Having her was and still is the scariest and harde...
The annual celebration of all that is kitsch, camp and quirky in European music comes to our screens this Saturday at 8pm BST, from Malmö, Sweden. We've watched both semi-finals and as many rehearsals as we can to give you a taster of what to look out for (and when to take a loo/fag/cuppa break).
So here we are: I'm going to be flying the flag for the United Kingdom at the 58th Eurovision Song Contest this year in Malmo, Sweden. And what's more - I am completely honoured to do it! I have to be honest, I wasn't sure at first - but then it suddenly dawned on me that this is an incredible thing. It's an amazing opportunity to represent your country for doing something you love. In actual fact my husband Robert had represented the UK in the Olympic Games at judo in 1972. So we are two halves of a couple who have both done something for their country. Now that can't be bad!
In the late 1980s British jazz boom, classically-trained pianist Rebello made his mark, finding himself in the company of players such as Steve Williamson and Courtney Pine. They and their cohorts redrew the benchmarks of jazz excellence with a virtuosity that silenced lesser players daring to call themselves jazz musicians.
Being partly responsible for one of the UK's biggest dance music movements, Benga is one of the forefathers of Dubstep. Creating earth rattling bass lines and heart stopping drops, he leaves a trail of destruction not only with the music he creates but the crowds he plays to.
Whether you're a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest or not, it's hard to downplay the strength of a competition that has held the attention of a continent for nearly 60 years.
There's something peculiar about the UK's relationship with Europe. It's like an arranged marriage - seems a good idea on paper (interests aligned, status consolidated, families united). But then you get to know them. And sometimes love doesn't grow like they all said it would.
Soul singer and songwriter Adenikè, who you might recognise as the Judges 'regrettable rejection' from the current season of BBC's The Voice UK is set to unveil her brand new single titled 'I Stayed' which is due to be released on June 10 this year.
Lead by a parade of commanding smoky mountains, enduring date palms and proudly powering wind farms on a seemingly infinite carpet of brick red desert sand, we traverse upon the lusciously green Indio Polo Club, official venue for the Coachella Festival.
How much fun can you have in a field? A lot if you're heading down to Victoria Park on Saturday May 25th.
This week's new music gig guide hopefully comes to you after your chilled-out and possibly boozy Bank Holiday. Even though topping up your social calendar may not be high on your agenda right now, we reckon that you should certainly start planning your gigs for the week ahead. It's always good to be organised, right?