Saints, sinners and the Scream

The Independent's guide to the summer's festivals
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Reading Festival The Reading Festival is a direct descendent of the National Jazz and Blues Festival in the Sixties, making it the longest established festival on the UK music scene. The event was rescued by the Mean Fiddler organisation from the clutches of performers like Status Quo and Meatloaf in the late Eighties. Mean Fiddler expelled the rockers, brought in young indie bands at the height of their powers and diversified across different musical genres.

Reading Festival The Reading Festival is a direct descendent of the National Jazz and Blues Festival in the Sixties, making it the longest established festival on the UK music scene. The event was rescued by the Mean Fiddler organisation from the clutches of performers like Status Quo and Meatloaf in the late Eighties. Mean Fiddler expelled the rockers, brought in young indie bands at the height of their powers and diversified across different musical genres.

Last year, the festival expanded to incorporate a sister site in Leeds under the banner of the Carling Weekend. Taking place between 25-28 August, this year's event boasts one of its strongest line-ups. Oasis and Primal Scream begin, with the second day co-headlined by Pulp and Beck. Ian Brown and Asian Dub Foundation follow.

The supporting bands alone could make up a respectable festival - Gomez, Elastica and the Stereophonics are among them. Masked metallers Slipknot will be competing for worst behaved band with rap superstar Eminem.

V2000 Virgin's festivals are in their fifth year, and V2000 is held on the weekend of Saturday 19 August. Alternating between Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Weston Park in Staffordshire, the crowd and performers tend to fit Virgin's image, and this year should be no exception.

The festival is where young and enthusiastic revellers mix with families to listen to the kind of music they hear on the radio every day. This year's line-up includes the entire contents of a Metro's glove compartment: Macy Gray, Morcheeba, James, Kelis and Moby. All Saints continue their curious run as a festival band, and fans canjudge for themselves whether Saint Etienne's new album heralds their demise or revival.

Paul Weller, Sasha and Underworld, minus Darren Emerson, also appear, while Richard Ashcroft's solo slot should be a high priority. The festival's itinerary can become congested, so there may be no time to enjoy those extras like bungee jumping and market shopping. The natural slope of Chelmsford's arenas meanseveryone should get a good view of the stage.

Creamfields After the success of last year's event, Creamfields returns on 26 August, bigger and better than ever. The festival will operate with an increased capacity and an eclectic line-up working from seven arenas. Basement Jaxx and All Saints headline the event, with other acts including Moloko, Laurent Garnier and Groove Armada. The whole pantheon of DJs will also be rolling out: Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, Sasha, Paul Van Dyk, Seb Fontaine, Judge Jules, John Digweed, Dave Clarke, Goldie and Tall Paul.

TMF

Thurrock Music Festival is one of the country's largest underground festivals with more than 60 bands and DJs playing on six stages. Music ranges from metal and rock to blues, dance, indie and alternative, and includes such up-and-coming names as Norris 'Da Boss' Windross, Eugene Speed, Evil Knievel, Gwyn Ashton and X-posure who have just been signed to Shania Twain's Masquerade label.

The festival, now in its fourth year, is a showcase for new talent and attracts an audience of all ages. It's billed as a family day out and boosts a friendly, party-like atmosphere. Any profits raised go to local charities. This year's all-dayer is on Saturday 12 August at Belhus Park, Aveley, Essex.

Tickets £5 plus booking fees from Ticketmaster (0990 34 44 44) or via www.thurrockmusicfestival.com

Other events For something refreshingly different on 26-27 August the Eastbourne Winter Gardens will host the Club Montepulciano Lounge Weekender. Club M's Night Of A Thousand Stars features the Karminsky Brothers, champion ballroom dancing and the venue's own Casino Marino. A special It's A Knockout charity event will be hosted on the Sunday.

Also different, but less refreshing, is the Lost Weekend at the London Arena - the capital's best attempt at a big-name metal festival. Nine Inch Nails headline the event.

London will also be the scene of several free outdoor events over the coming months. South American culture will be celebrated at the Coin Street Festival on 9 July and the UK debut of Columbian circus-theatre ensemble Colombianos on 13 August. Prior to this are the combined events of the Arts Festival, the Pride March and Mardi Gras in Finsbury Park while rounding off the summer is London's Notting Hill Carnival from 26-28 August.

Carling Weekend: weekend tickets £80, including camping; day tickets £33. (020-8963 0940) V2000: Weekend £66; day £37.50 (www.gigsandtours.com) Creamfields: tickets £45 (www.cream.co.uk) CMLW: £15 (020-7403 0253 for info)

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