Arts and Entertainment

Festivals can be challenging enough considering summer weather in Britain, but they're even trickier to enjoy with a toddler in tow, as David Taylor found out...

Ten best overseas festivals

Positivus Festival, Latvia

Sunshine on a rainy day

Festivals can be challenging enough considering summer weather in Britain, but they're even trickier to enjoy with a toddler in tow, as David Taylor found out...

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Spork: yes. Didgeridoo: no. Washing: never. Festival first-timers listen up – you could be just one false move away from spinal damage and inadvertantly flashing your parents…

Watch Niki & The Dove perform a lovely acoustic version of their upcoming single DJ Ease My Mind

The hotly tipped Swedish duo release new single "DJ Ease My Mind" on 27 February 2012. As a sneak peak to whet your appetites, here's a video of singer Malin Dahlstrom performing a lovely, understated acoustic version of the song in a garden.

The Travelling Band on the road, part one

We'd been cruising south for a couple of hours before our drummer Nick had said a word. 'Cotton Box', as we lovingly call him due to his wiry buffon, suffers from a useful strain of travelling narcolepsy. When not drumming or sipping on beer, he will sleep at any given opportunity until awoken by sudden breaking or a rare epiphany.

A tribute to Paul Simon

“Can you imagine us years from today/ Sharing a park bench quietly/ How terribly strange to be 70,” laments Paul Simon on his enduring ode to companionship “Old Friends/Bookends”, and the insightful singer reached a ripe 70 on Friday.

Planningtorock, King's Cross Scala, 11 October 2011

There’s something deeply eerie about this show. It’s not just the prophetess-like figure of Janine Rostron swaying in the darkness of the stage – something’s off about her face. It’s hard to tell what, but as she rocks back and forth in time to the cultic drumbeat of her music, it gradually becomes clear: her nose and brow are grotesquely prominent. It’s a prosthesis, we’ll confirm later, but it’s monstrous, especially protruding from an otherwise attractive face.

RIP REM

“Sometimes I feel like I can’t even sing (say, say, the light)/ I’m very scared for this world/ I’m very scared for me,” Michael Stipe emotes on the sumptuous downer “You Are the Everything”. After 31 years, REM are no more, abruptly signing off with “To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

Music & Me: Fool's Gold

Los Angeles-based musical collective Fool’s Gold seamlessly meld indie rock, pop and African-influenced rhythms. Their second album, Leave No Trace, is released on 5 September and they are supporting the Red Hot Chilli Peppers around the UK in November. Guitarist Lewis Pesacov takes some time out to discuss his influences…

End of the Road Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset

While several festivals have struggled to shift tickets this year, End of the Road sold out in record time. To find out why you only had to look at the line-up, which surpassed any other boutique option rich in Americana, folk and alt-rock.

Pulp, Brixton Academy, 1 September 2011

In any area of life, comebacks can be a precarious business. At their best (George Foreman winning belts at 50, Johnny Cash’s haunting late work), they’re emotional, life-affirming and can send us into rose-tinted bliss about the individual’s early career. Get it wrong (Sugar Ray Leonard being duffed up by no-marks at 40, Amy Winehouse’s tragic shambling around in Belgrade) and you can sully your memory beyond repair.

Music & Me: Missing Andy

Essex five-piece Missing Andy finished as runners-up in the Sky1 talent competition Must Be The Music. Comprising Alex Greaves (vocals), Rob Jones (bass), Jon Sharpe (keyboards), Steve Rolls (guitar) and Elliot Richardson (drums), they released their debut album The Greatest Show On Earth – Act I in October 2010. The band’s single “The Way We’re Made (Made In England)” reached no.38 in the UK singles chart.

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