Music Festival Guide: Let the wild rumpus begin
Most of this year's summer music festival line-ups have been decided. Elisa Bray picks the highlights of what to see
Friday 19 March 2010
It's the time of year that festivals across the UK start to announce their line-ups. Glastonbury may already be sold out, but there are another 485 festivals to choose between. Here we present some festival Highlights: to help you make your decision.
A couple of years ago, the ubiquity of "landfill indie" was felt across the festival circuit. Radio-friendly bands Editors, The Fratellis, The Pigeon Detectives and Scouting For Girls appeared at Glastonbury and at other festivals across the country. Then last year, Blur were the highlight of Glastonbury, performing one of their first shows together in 11 years, showing how a reunion show at a festival can create a moment that goes down in history.
This year, there are some highly anticipated acts – because they have chosen festivals to perform their first gigs in several years. Roxy Music are headlining at Groove Armada's Lovebox Weekender, their first UK gig in five years. Over at RockNess, Leftfield will play their first set in 10 years, while at Latitude, Belle and Sebastian are performing for the first time since 2006.
Latitude, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, 15-18 July
It has become so renowned for its consistently good music line-up and non-musical entertainment that it's hard to believe this will only be Latitude's fifth year. Set in the beautiful rolling countryside on the Sunrise Coast of Southwold, Vampire Weekend headline on the Sunday, while it's the first festival headline set for Florence + The Machine (right), on the Friday night – and Belle and Sebastian have not performed live for four years. Critically acclaimed The xx will play their stripped-back soulful, moody indie as well as Brooklyn heroes The National and Grizzly Bear.
Highlights: Belle and Sebastian, Florence + The Machine, The National, The xx, Grizzly Bear
Wireless, Hyde Park, London, 2-4 July
It is typically more of a lairy event than its more indie counterparts, but this year's acts will appeal to fans across the genres. The London festival has some of the best names in dance music on its Saturday. Grammy-nominated James Murphy's disco-punk electronica outfit, LCD Soundsystem, co-headline the main stage, while producer DJ Shadow heads the second stage. His Mo'Wax labelmates UNKLE play the same stage. Rapper turned soul-pop singer Plan B is one to watch, with his second album out this year and a film appearance to come.
Highlights: LCD Soundsystem, Jay-Z, DJ Shadow, Plan B, Lily Allen
Glastonbury, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, 23-27 June
The past two years of Glastonbury have been tremendous successes. Jay-Z breathed new life into the festival in 2008, and Blur's set last year was a highlight that will endure as one of the festival's best moments. This year, for their 40th anniversary, they have picked two of the biggest UK rock groups – U2 and Muse – as well as legend Stevie Wonder. It is U2's first set at the festival giant. Country star Willie Nelson has also been confirmed, and dance brother duo Orbital, whose 1994 set went down in Glastonbury's history, and who re-formed last year, return to their spiritual home in Pilton.
Highlights: Stevie Wonder, Muse, U2, Willie Nelson, Orbital
End of the Road, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, 10-12 September
The premiere festival for alt-country, Americana and folk, End of the Road may be one of the most intimate, but its acts are in no way inferior. There is plenty of folk from The Unthanks, the blissful Iron & Wine, and The Low Anthem, plus melancholic, dreamy indie from The Antlers. Plus, Wilco (right) never fail to live up to expectation as one of the greatest rock acts.
Highlights: Wilco, The Antlers, The Unthanks, Phosphorescent, Ladyhawke
Isle of Wight, Seaclose Park, Newport, 11-13 June
It's one of the major festivals and its headliners live up to expectation. Paul McCartney headlines its final night, while The Strokes and Jay-Z also take top spots. There's plenty for Eighties fans, with Blondie and Spandau Ballet, while the younger fans will enjoy Mr Hudson, Paloma Faith, Friendly Fires and The Courteeners.
Highlights: Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, The Hold Steady
Lovebox Weekender, Victoria Park, London, 16-18 July
Groove Armada's festival has a major coup this year with their headlining act Roxy Music, who are performing for the first time in the UK in five years. Bryan Ferry had recorded a song with his friends Groove Armada for his new album so when the dance duo asked if Roxy Music would play, the group (minus Brian Eno) agreed. But there are also newer stars to draw the crowds. It's a rare chance to catch Joy Orbison, one of the hottest dance producers of the moment, Kendal's Wild Beasts, and Dizzee Rascal (right), whose star keeps on rising.
Highlights: Dizzee Rascal, Joy Orbison, Roxy Music, Wild Beasts, Grace Jones
RockNess, Clunes Farm, Loch Ness, 11-13 June
If the promise of the panorama of the Highlands is not enough to entice you, the headliners will do. Ambient electronica band Leftfield play their first live set in 10 years, while other dance acts merge with rock and pop bands such as Vampire Weekend (above) on the banks of Loch Ness. Exclusive to RockNess is French DJ collective Club 75, featuring disco duo Justice and house duo Cassius, as well as Busy P and DJ Mehdi. Rising bands and comedy are to be found in Howard Marks's Pub, "The Howard's End", with story-telling from Mr Nice himself.
Highlights: Leftfield, The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, The Cuban Brothers, Club 75
Bestival, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight, 9-12 September
It's a party festival, and the theme for this year's fancy dress is "fantasy". The line-up boasts acts that are no less hedonistic, such as The Prodigy (right), who promise this will be their last show in a while. Don't miss The Wailers, Bob Marley's backing band, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary. It's a chance to see Gil Scott-Heron, while synth pop star Howard Jones was voted in by Bestival fans themselves. If you're not into dance, there's indie rock from The Flaming Lips and folk-pop from rising band Mumford and Sons. DJ sets come from La Roux and Gilles Peterson.
Highlights: The Prodigy, The Wailers, Gil Scott-Heron, Fever Ray, The Flaming Lips
Wychwood, Cheltenham Racecourse, 4-6 June
The family-friendly festival has a line-up to keep grown-ups happy. Crowd-pleasing headliners include the Happy Mondays (below) and the Lightning Seeds, but Wychwood has always leaned towards a more eclectic mix of folk and world music. This year, Seth Lakeman is on the folk side, with The Leisure Society, who are an exceptional live act, while Pauline Black of the 2 Tone ska revival band The Selecter plays, as does Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté.
Highlights: Happy Mondays, Justin Currie, Toumani Diabaté, Pauline Black of The Selecter, The Leisure Society
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