Events Planner: Rock festivals

From blues to PinkPop, via Toronto and Madrid



1 April, David Bowie, Air Canada Centre, Toronto

As part of his "A Reality" world tour, David Bowie will be performing new material from his Reality album, as well as old classics, in Toronto in April with support from the exuberant Dallas pop/gospel choir-cum-orchestra The Polyphonic Spree.

The Air Canada Centre is built on the old site of the Canada Post Delivery Centre (it still retains the original east and south walls) and was unveiled in February 1999. Bowie will continue his tour of Canada in April with concerts in Ottawa (2 April), Quebec City (4 April), Winnipeg (7 April) and Edmonton (9 April). Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets cost between C$44.75 (£18.70) and C$84.75 (£35.40).

For more information call 001 416 870 8000, or go to


2 April, Eric Clapton, Preussag Arena, Hannover

After announcing that he would be retiring from the touring circuit in 2001, Eric Clapton is back on the road again. On 2 April he will be arriving in Hannover and performing songs from his new album, Me and Mr Johnson, a collection of songs written by the 1930s blues guitarist Robert Johnson. Johnson (who, according to legend, sold his soul to the devil in return for his musical talent) is credited with inspiring the likes of Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones as well as Clapton. Doors open at 8pm and some tickets are still available for around €50 (£33). Clapton will also be playing other dates in Germany including Stuttgart (30 March), Munich (31 March), Hamburg (3 April), and Cologne (15 April). For more information call 00 49 40 3005 1173, or see


1-2 May, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California

Nestled in the Coachella Valley desert is America's answer to Glastonbury, where sandstorms replace deluges and mud baths at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Big names are a fixture of the festival and this year the star performers include Radiohead, The Pixies (who have recently reformed after more than a decade apart), The Cure, Kraftwerk, The Flaming Lips, Air and Basement Jaxx. The festival setting in Indio, near Palm Springs, is both dramatic and unusual - mountains tinted with purple loom in the distance and date palms are dotted around the valley floor.

Campers need not worry about sleeping on the sun-baked sand as the campsite area is comfortably grassy. But remember to bring your woolies - no matter how hot the days are, once the sun has gone in the desert nights are mercilessly cold. The festival opens at 11am each day. Tickets cost $142 (£78.50) for a two-day pass and $76 (£42.20) for one-day entry. Camping costs $25 (£13.50) per person for three nights. To book tickets call Ticketmaster on 001 619 220 8497 or visit the festival website at


30 May, Paul McCartney, Estadio de Madrid, Madrid

Macca begins his 13-date "04 Summer" tour on 25 May in Northern Spain, at the El Molinon Stadium in Gijon. If this small town in the Asturias region appears an unusual venue for a star of this size, that's because it is - McCartney has chosen to visit a series of locations that he has yet to encounter during his 40-year career.

If you prefer your gigs in bigger stadiums then do not despair - he will also be taking to the stage in more established venues, such as the the Estadio de Madrid on 30 May.

The set list is likely to include hits from the Beatles, Wings and McCartney's solo career, while one of the most anticipated concerts, given the huge success of last year's performance in Moscow's Red Square, will be an appearance in Palace Square in St Petersburg on 20 June. McCartney will finish off the tour with a headline performance at the Glastonbury Festival on 26 June. Tickets for the Madrid gig cost between €42 (£28) and €88 (£59).

To book tickets call 00 34 90 288 8902, or for further information go to Macca's


11-13 June, Nokia Isle of Wight Festival, Newport

The capital of England's largest island is host to one of its biggest rock festivals this summer. Jefferson Airplane first headlined the festival back in 1968, followed by Bob Dylan in 1969 and The Who in 1970, who played solidly for three hours from 2am. The 1970 festival also saw the last live performances of both Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison of The Doors. The festival was revived in 2002 and it would seem as if history is repeating itself - The Who return this year (albeit at a more decent hour than 24 years ago) to headline alongside David Bowie and The Stereophonics. Other acts to have been confirmed include The Libertines, Groove Armada, The Charlatans, Suzanne Vega and Snow Patrol, making this a main contender to the Glastonbury Festival, which takes place two weeks later.

Weekend tickets cost £80 for adults and £40 for children under 12, day tickets cost £37.50 for adults and £18.75 for children. For more information call or visit


29-31 May, PinkPop, Landgraaf

Just over 130 miles from Amsterdam in Holland's southern Limburg region is Landgraaf, a town well-known for its open green spaces. Its most famous is the expansive Park Gravenrode, which is home to the 35th annual PinkPop Festival.

Tickets usually sell out for the festival, and with a line-up that includes Muse, Lenny Kravitz, Moloko (right), Franz Ferdinand, Starsailor and Goldfrapp, this trend is set to continue. Campsites are located in the adjoining fields and are open from 12pm on 29 May until 12pm on 1 June. Gates open at 11am each day. A three-day pass including camping costs €95 (£64). For more information call 00 31 46 475 2500, or visit

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