It is Festival season again, and not learning from his mistake last year, The Big Cat has again asked me for my top tips. Now, last year I enthused about the line-ups I was going to go and see and report back on, and frankly, I failed miserably as real life got in the way. But maybe this year…
We are well served for festivals around these parts. The Editor has provided me with a neat crib list of events of various sorts all within or very close to our region that is 65+ strong. Impressive choice then, from tiny little pub garden festivals all the way through to the big boys of Glasto and Reading.
Early summer is always a little touch and go weather wise, so why not start off with an indoor festival, especially one that focuses on local music. I covered the Punt (May 14th) last month so check back for why this is a great event, and ensure you get to see Vienna Ditto and Flights Of Helios in particular. But if you have to go outdoors for your festival fun, have a crack at Wood (May 16th-18th) as they have Luke Sital-Singh and Oliver Wilde, or Wychwood just over our borders (May 30th-June 1st) where they have their usual mix of old (The Levellers, The Stranglers) and new (Gentlemens Dub Club, Gabby Young, Bipolar Sunshine and of course Black Hats). The Concert at The Kings (May 31st) has the usual big names, but I would recommend lower down the bill the brilliant Greasy Slicks and Jake Meeking, both excellent blues inflected acts.
June is dominated by the might of Glastonbury and its behemoth of a line-up. But elsewhere there are some great local acts playing, for example SherstonFest (June 13th – 14th) has Sam Green & The Midnight Heist, Henry Green and one of my favourites Bite The Buffalo.
July is packed, just over in Gloucestershire 2000 Trees (July 10th – July 12th) has an incredible line up, the pick of which would be Public Service Broadcasting, Band of Skulls and some great stuff lower down like The Retrospective Soundtrack Players and Kitten & Bear. Larmer Tree near Salisbury (16th – 20th) has Frank Turner and Stornoway at one end of the bill, and Rob Heron & The Teapad Orchestra and Beans On Toast at the other end. All equally worth watching. Summer Breeze and Truck occupy the same weekend (July 18th – 19th) but with very different offerings. Truck have a stellar line up including Deap Vally, The Cribs, Los Campesinos! and Catfish & The Bottlemen. Summer Breeze are more low key with Sheelanagig, Hip Route, SN Dubstation and Faye Rogers.
August’s big one is Reading (22nd – 24th) although the top of the bill is not the best this year (barring Queens Of The Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys). Instead, look lower for treats such as The Hives, Peace, Cage The Elephant, Eagulls, Royal Blood and Wolf Alice. Elsewhere Wilderness (7th – 10th) has London Grammar, Joan As Policewoman, Connan Mockasin and Teleman (oh, and Burt Bacharach!), and End Of The Road has a stellar line up as usual that includes Drenge, The Flaming Lips, Tune-Yards, Wild Beasts, Black Lips and Hookworms.
And to be honest, this is just the tip of the iceberg. So do yourself a favour, get some fresh air and spend some time dancing around a field this summer! See you there.