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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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Reach for the skies

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These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
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Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

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How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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