"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford"
London is staking its claim as the home of the UK music festival scene. The capital continues to attract the biggest names to play huge shows on star studded bills throughout the summer. From indoor arenas, to the cities many parks, London will be alive with the sound of music and after a day of partying it's only a tube ride back to a warm shower and a comfy bed. Here is my pick of the capital's summer.
British Summer Time- Hyde Park (3-4-5-6 & 12-13 July) (Piccadilly, Jubilee and Victoria Line to Green Park) (Pop, Rock, Metal) (£55-80)
In a way this is the daddy of all London festivals, if you can really call this summer residency of concerts in the capital a 'festival'. Hyde Park has long since hosted the biggest bands in the world year after year. Despite snotty neighbours bemoaning the 'noise' and the dodgy sound levels this enforces it's notoriously big name, big budget lineup is always a hot summer ticket.
This year really is the epitome of everything this festival has to offer. Arcade Fire fresh off the back of headlining Glastonbury to kick it all off, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Faith No More the next and then Mcbusted, Boyzone and Tom Jones to finish it all off.
The big talking point has to be The Libertines reuniting once again to grace the biggest of summer stages. If I had to make a prediction, I think The Libertines may fall a little flat. Whereas their triumphant return at Reading and Leeds was lapped up by a field of infinitely excitable, sweaty, rowdy young 'wasters', Hyde Park just doesn't seem an appropriate environment for The Libertines. They were also on such fine form that day it's hard to see them replicating it. Here's to hoping.
You won't win any hipster points with your Barclays British Summer Time ticket, but then if you've just watched Faith No More and Soundgarden support Black Sabbath you're unlikely to care.
Wireless Festival- Finsbury Park (4-5-6 July)(Piccadilly and Victoria Line to Finsbury Park) (Hip-Hop, Pop) (Sold Out)
Another weekend 'festival' that has a rich history in the capital. Re situated again this year Victoria Park has been chosen as the new home of a festival that is increasingly defining itself as the London home of big selling international Hip Hop and Pop. Kanye West with Pharrell is a star studded Friday. Drake with Rudimental was first to sell out on Saturday. Bruno Mars and Ellie Goulding is a forgettable Sunday save for the special guest appearance of Outkast below little Mr Mars. A slightly bewildering booking considering Rudimental would fit far better on the pop heavy day.
It's great to see that Wireless isn't just resting on the A-list at the top of its lineup as elsewhere hip hop fans will find the biggest up and comers in the game on saturday. Chance The Rapper, Schoolboy Q and Earl Sweatshirt are all potential future headliners and all are making big waves in the states, could Wireless be their time to break in to the U.K's big league.
Lovebox- Victoria Park (18-19 July) (District and Central Line to Mile End) (Hip-Hop, Dance) (£79 Weekend)
This year Lovebox has a distinctive hip hop flavour with a lineup that I'm sure the purist would say rivals that of Wireless' big hitters. Nas performing what is considered to be the greatest hip hop album of all time, 'iLLMatic' in full is a huge coup. Add to that MIA, A$AP Rocky and Joey Bada$$ and the lineup is looking tasty for hip hop fans.
Chase & Status are a little more predictable to Lovebox in that they reflect the dance vibes that the festival is famous for yet they are only the icing on a cake of a who's who of modern dance music. Bonobo, Duke Dumont, Moderat, Mount Kimbie and Bondax amongst countless others make up a big lineup of DJs and live electronics, complimented with live sets from The Horrors and Crystal Fighters.
Lovebox has by far it's best lineup this year and I can't wait to head to Victoria Park and mark a return to form for this London staple.
Field Day - Victoria Park (7-8 June) (District and Central Line to Mile End) (Indie, Rock, Dance, Eclectic) (£78 Weekend)
Probably the biggest alternative festival in proximity of the capital this summer and just two weeks away, Field Day has a bit of everything. Exclusive headliners Pixies are sure to please alternative music fans and their devoted fan base, even if new album sans Kim Deal was a disappointment.
Metronomy top the bill on saturday, a slot I'd say is a little bit of an overshoot. Whilst their popularity undoubtedly and deservedly grew after sophomore effort 'The English Riviera', new LP 'Love Letters' was a damp squib in both record sales and quality. Still across the board Field Day is packing a massive punch. Pond (featuring current and ex members of Tame Impala) along with Blood Orange, Sbtrkt, Jamie XX, The Horrors, Temples and Simian Mobile Disco demonstrate the diverse range of both electronic, rock and psychedelic vibes that run throughout the Field Day bill. The festival is also renowned for its 'village' theme and random side stalls and games that litter the site giving what could be another London festival an edge.
Jabberwocky - ExCel Centre- Docklands (15-16 August) (DLR to Custom House) (Indie, Rock, Folk, Electronic, Eclectic) (£38 Day ticket, weekend including hotel two nights two people £600)
The new festival on the block Jabberwocky is hardly lacking in experience with ATP, Pitchfork and Primavera at the reigns. The ExCel event space also means rain can't dampen this party one but.
Pitchfork, the home of internet music snobbery and reviews defined by a decimal point has long since been the online source of all things definitively alternative. All Tomorrow's Parties has been putting on shows peppered with the bands that the aforementioned online hipster handbook has raved about for decades. The head on collision of these two could have ended up all too pretentious: the Jabberwocky that has emerged, however, seems a somewhat more accessible yet equally exciting beast rearing it's head thanks to an intriguing, unique and delightfully eclectic line up.
James Blake and cult legends Neutral Milk Hotel head up the bill along with special sets from newly reformed Thee Oh Sees, electronica trailblazers Darkside and Caribou, even obscure post-metal bands like Jesu and Deafheaven make up a bill that really is unlike anything else not only in the capital but in the UK this summer. Add to this after parties at Shapes in Hackney Wick and the Ace Hotel featuring Kode 9, F**k Buttons and others, this becomes a proper city weekender.
As with Field Day it seems that eclecticism is the new cool in terms of UK Festival line ups this summer.
There you have it, my pick of the top London festivals this summer. No camping, hopefully not too much mud, and a tube ride home at the end of the night. When it comes to music London really does have all that life can afford this summer.