Festival Guide 2012: As Glastonbury rests, rival festivals look to raise their game

With the daddy of them all taking a fallow year, 2012 is a chance for smaller festivals to show off their charm and diversity

Santigold plays to an ecstatic crowd

Why SXSW is a voyage of discovery

Bruce Springsteen, Fiona Apple, barbecue – who needs them? Not Gillian Orr, who went off-piste in search of new acts to get excited about at the biggest and best music festival in America

Whistles' gold owl pendant, £35, Whistles.co.uk

Music festivals face a lean 2012

Rock and pop stars gearing up to play at British festivals this year may be playing to one man and his dog as festival-goers desert in their droves, according to new research.

Feeling mud: Have festivals like Glastonbury lost their allure?

Are our field days over?

Interest in the Big Chill has cooled, Glastonbury is too now commercial... Summer festivals need to get creative andreinvent themselves if they hope to survive, says Lena Corner

Feeling mud: Have festivals like Glastonbury lost their allure?

Music festivals: are our field days over?

Interest in The Big Chill has cooled, Glastonbury is too commercial... Summer music festivals need to get creative and reinvent themselves to survive

BBC 'value for money,' says executive

A BBC executive said the corporation was "delivering value for money" on the day it published expenses claims showing senior staff claimed thousands of pounds for taxi journeys and entertaining.

Rihanna to headline Wireless Festival

The 'Only Girl (In the World) hitmaker will make her only UK performance of 2012 at the London event, topping the bill on the final night of July 8. 

Man About Town: Fake tan at the M&S ready meal of music festivals

For entertainment journalists, covering a music festival is as close as most will come to war reporting.

Eavis calls for ban on Chinese lanterns at Glastonbury

Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis has called for Chinese lanterns to be banned nationwide. Revellers smuggle them into the festival site and send the paper, wire and lit wax candle lanterns into the sky.

A rainbow nation in a field of Cath Kidston tents – must be Womad

The chilled-out world music festival, now in its 29th year, has never tried to be cool, and it's all the better for it

Radio 1 boss Andy Parfitt to stand down

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt is to leave his role at the station after 13 years.

Far from the madding crowd - the alternative Glastonbury

There’s far more to Glastonbury than the main stages, David Taylor discovers

Michael Eavis predicts end to Glastonbury

Glastonbury festival organiser Michael Eavis thinks the event could end in "three or four years".

Footballers: We know what you did this summer...

From Glastonbury to Las Vegas to Jakarta, Jack Pitt-Brooke investigates how our Premier League players have been relaxing as they return for pre-season
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
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Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

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Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

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Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
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Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

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Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
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14 best kids' hoodies

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Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk