It is that time of year again when the Editor of the magazine I write for, The Ocelot (www.theocelot.co.uk), works up one of his famous sweats compiling a compendium of amazing festival facts, figures and fun. Yes, it is the definitive guide to the most excitement that can be had in and around the local area this summer that legally involves wellies, dodgy sanitation and vegetarians; The Ocelot Festival Guide! And in a bout of generosity (or laziness) he has asked Gig Monkey to open up proceedings with some of my musical hints and tips to ensure readers don’t miss anything good out. And to ensure I put my money where my mouth is, I will be going to as many of these festivals as I can blag my way into, and reporting back on them in the magazine and on the website (so consequently, through this blog as well). So expect to see me at the following festivals and sets, although it won’t just be the bigger festivals I have highlighted below that I grace with my presence, there are so many brilliant little festivals dotted around that are always worth a visit. For fuller festival line-ups and details check out the May issue of the magazine!
Wychwood takes place just over our borders at Cheltenham Racecourse (May 31st to June 2nd) and as always has one of the most diverse line-ups (Headliners are Soul II Soul, the Human League, and Bill Bailey!) but highlights for me would be the folk-pop loveliness of Emily & The Woods and Lucy Rose, the weird blend of public information films and future-pop that is Public Service Broadcasting, Bristol band Seasfire’s bleak, trippy indie and of course the now traditional Cbeebies favourite who this year is Mr Bloom! They rate themselves as a family friendly festival, so I may take them up on the challenge and take along some junior Monkeys.
Oxfordshires Truck festival (19th-20th July) is another whose line-up leaps out, with its mix of major and local artists. And pleasingly they have interest right the way from the top of the bill with headline acts like indie-goths The Horrors, dance / poetry crossover Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, folk-rockers Dry The River and excellent welsh rock band The Joy Formidable. Further down the bill you should check out the scuzzy blues rock of Wet Nuns, the mathy indie of Tall Ships or local Oxford lads Gunning For Tamar who ease ever closer to the big time. And that is really just the beginning of the list, it is a must festival for any serious music fan.
Picks for me musically in Wiltshire happen down the southern borders and would include hobo bluesman Seasick Steve at Larmer Tree (17th – 21st July), alongside the often brilliant Dexys, and on the same site, later in the year End Of The Road (August 30th – Sept 1st) has an incredible line up. Grunge pioneers Dinosaur Jr, indie band Teleman, Californian psychedelic hippy punk girls Warpaint, the amazing Frightened Rabbit, eclectic Americans Eels and indie-pops Dutch Uncles are highlights, but of the tip of the iceberg variety. Oh, and Fieldview Festival (1st – 4th August) is always worth a mention as well. Check it out.
And finally I can’t avoid the behemoth that is Reading Festival (23rd – 25th August). Already a list of superb acts is confirmed, and as ever most of the fun will be lower down the bill with already huge acts like Bastille, Alt-J and Palma Violets all playing on the NME/Radio1 Stage. Alongside them is one of my favourite bands to ever perform barefoot, in tiny hotpants and big hair. Yes, Deap Vally, the hardest rocking blues-rock lady-duo to ever plaster on the mascara are in town to show the boys how to do it. And I for one hope to be there to witness again! Are you listening Mr Ocelot?