A weekend of concerts, costumes and Christianity

There's something for everybody at the bank holiday festivals. Terri Judd and Neil Lancefield report
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The Independent Online


The Carling Weekend is a twin-venue rock/indie festival. Reading dates back to the 1960s, and its younger brother, Leeds, was born in 1999.

Where and when Sunday at Bramham Park, Leeds, and Little Johns Farm, Reading. Leeds is sold out, but there are day tickets at Reading, £60.

Star attractions Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, Kings of Leon, Pixies and the Killers.

Atmosphere Head-banging, lager-swilling rockers in sweaty mosh pits. Thankfully there hasn't been a repeat of the violence that marred Leeds in 2002. This year at Reading you can say "Bollocks to poverty" at the development charity ActionAid's tent.

Audience 55,000.

Dress code? Filthy black T-shirt and old jeans.

In a word Rockin'.

Notting Hill

After 41 years, the London event has gone middle-aged in more ways than one but it still remains Europe's biggest and brightest Caribbean festival. It is free and this year's theme is Unity and Diversity.

Where and when The festival remains in its traditional hangout of Ladbroke and Westbourne Grove despite recent attempts to shift it to Hyde Park. Tomorrow is Children's Day; main parade is Monday.

Star attraction An amazing array of floats glide past, sound systems pounding out everything from deep dub reggae to soca and house music.

Atmosphere Calypso in the streets but a lot more tame than its once wild - and at times dangerous - past.

Audience One million per day.

Dress code? A seven-foot high, sequinned headdress.

In a word Irie!

Gay Pride

A celebration of gay culture featuring live entertainment, and everything from pink cinema to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender heritage trails.

Where and when Manchester city centre. Ten days of attractions culminate with the Big Weekend (tickets £10) including a parade today.

Star attraction Hosted by Graham Norton; performers include Rowetta, Rosie Lugosi, Chloe Poems, Geek Girl and Jenny Frost, plus the Cheeky Girls, Four Poofs and a Piano, Q-Boy, D-Rail, Hazel Dean. For the first time the Army, Royal Air Force and Mountain Rescue team are represented.

Atmosphere You've got to be out to be in.

Audience 250,000

Dress code? Anything out of the closet.

In a word Fabulous.


Regular Saturday nights at Cream in Liverpool are over, but the promoters have created what they claim is the UK's biggest, friendliest dance festival. For £51.50 you can enjoy more than 90 live acts and international DJs.

Where and when Today at the old Liverpool Airfield.

Star attraction At the Live Stage, Basement Jaxx and Faithless; in the Cream Arena, Paul Van Dyk and former Cream resident Paul Oakenfold; the DJs Fatboy Slim, Jazzy Jeff and Felix Da Housecat will keep everyone bouncing till sunrise.

Atmosphere A sea of Scousers dancing like a maniacs while having their eardrums blown out.

Audience 40,000

Dress code? Glow sticks, tracksuits and Reebok Classics.

In a word Loud.

Get Loaded

Early-1990s acid house-meets-baggy trousers in a celebration of Mancunian nostalgia. Double the size of its debut year, it promises to "reignite the indie touch paper from Manchester to Liverpool via London".

Where and when The festival, which started as celebrity DJ sets in Clerkenwell has moved to Clapham Common, south-west London. On tomorrow.

Star attraction Headliners Happy Mondays are joined by other Madchester stalwarts the Stereo MCs, The Farm and Flowered Up. Fatboy Slim and Armand Van Helden also join in the fun. The Cuban Brothers host.

Atmosphere "Another infamous day of sun-drenched beats & beer".

Audience 20,000.

Dress code? Dad's old sunhat.

In a word Parklife.


Earnest annual Christian shindig developed into a liberal arts festival, where workshops on protest politics and social justice are as important as worship. Greenbelt was in the non-conformist fringes in the 1970s. Adult tickets £70, concessions £48.

Where and when Cheltenham Racecourse until Monday.

Star attraction For the tunes, Jazz Jamaica, Gilles Peterson, Carleen Anderson and The Proclaimers; Turn up for Bill Drummond, Alan Boesak, Michael O'Siadhail and Bishop James Jones with the talks.

Atmosphere Happy-clappy hippies making the world a better place. The line-up mixes believers with those who just share Greenbelt's values.

Audience 20,000.

Dress code? Sandals and an olive branch.

In a word Amen.