Despite the title, I can’t claim any credit for this one, apart from perhaps the seed of an idea. After my decision that I NEEDED to take in a festival this year and the lack of Glasto to attend, of course I turned to Penny to provide a thinking girl’s guide to the best of the rest. The stipulation to which she thankfully agreed, was no dirty teen-fests like Reading and Leeds, something suitably cool (aren’t all festivals?) and properly fun. Thanks Penny!
With Glastonbury well and truly cancelled this year, I can’t think of a better excuse to check out some of the smaller music festivals around for 2012. Why go to a big corporate event and spend entire days staring at the back of a tall person as you nurse an overpriced pint of fizzy wee? Instead you could have a boutique experience, with glamping (glamorous camping!), fine dining, amazing acts (not just music), some serious style opportunities and maybe even a holiday abroad, all for much less than some of the big hitters.
Festivals aren’t just about grebs standing in a field any more! They are multi-faceted interactive experiences not to be missed. Here are just some of my favourites this year:
Barcelona: 30-31st May, 1-3rd June
Porto: 7-10th June
OK, so you know if a festival has both me and FF super-editor Gemma C-S going to it, it has to be pretty good, yes? Primavera is just one of the many European festivals beginning to beat the UK’s offerings into submission. Festivals abroad tend to have much more affordable ticket prices, better lineups, and budget flights often add up to less than travel in the UK. Plus, there is sunshine more or less guaranteed! Primavera is Barcelona-based, but this year has spawned a sister event in Porto, Portugal – which is where I‘m going. I’ll be staying in a city apartment (see, you don‘t even have to camp!), then sticking around after the festival finishes for a little holiday too. Primavera tends to be left-field electronic and indie bands, and this year you can expect to see Bjork, the xx, Flaming Lips among others. If you fancy the idea of a European festival but this isn’t quite your taste, try Benacissim in July, which boasts big name acts including the Stone Roses and Florence and the Machine.
Victoria Park, London
Now in its 10th year, Lovebox is one of the biggest inner-city festivals in the UK. Initially started by the people behind Groove Armada as a dance music festival, the event now takes in a broad range of genres, and is a great solution if you have a group of friends with very different tastes in music. If you don’t fancy the whole weekend, a day ticket makes a great day out, especially if you’re London based. This year the line-up features Lana Del Ray, Hot Chip, Kelis, Emeli Sande, Friendly Fires and the mighty Grace Jones.
Broughton House, Northamptonshire
Following up on the success of Vintage At Goodwood, Wayne Hemmingway’s Vintage Festival promises to be a dressing-up box of delights for fashionista festival-goers. The event celebrates the style, music, films and food of eras gone by, featuring dance lessons, cocktails, hair and beauty and more. Acts confirmed include Chic, St Etienne and cutesy covers from the excellent Nouvelle Vague. Would make a perfect destination for a stylish hen weekend!
Latitude has a reputation as the thinking person’s festival, with a formidable theatre, literature and comedy line-up including Tim Minchin and author Iain Banks, as well as musical contributions from Bat For Lashes, Paul Weller, Simple Minds and FF favourites M83 and Janelle Monae. Expect political discussion, cabaret, art and poetry in the mix. Stroking your beard is optional…
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Younger, hipster sibling to the mad-as-a-sack-of-frogs Secret Garden Party, the super-stylish, teeny-tiny Wilderness festival is now in its second year. 2012 promises another whimsical affair, featuring masked balls, banquets under canopy (food-geek alert: one is with Yotam Ottolenghi!), healing treatments and wild swimming in the lake. Headline acts this year are Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Wilco and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
Skipton, Yorkshire Dales
In true Yorkshire fashion, the Beacons Festival simply loves music, no need for pretentious bells or whistles. You can tell the curators are really passionate about their lineup, and this year they welcome Wild Beasts, Patrick Wolf, Willy Mason and Maya Jane Coles among other critically lauded acts across a broad range of genres. If you’re a music lover this is a very strong line-up for a small, affordable festival. Gorgeous part of the world, too.
Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight
A magical 4-day extravaganza that promises to make crossing an actual sea worthwhile! Bestival always features an eclectic, crowd-pleasing line-up, and this year is no exception with Stevie Wonder, New Order, The XX, Sister Sledge, De La Soul, Friendly Fires, Justice and 2ManyDJs among many treats on offer. Bestival prides itself on pairing top quality live music with a hearty dose of the quirky, boutique festival experience. There’s always a fancy dress theme (this year it‘s Wildlife) and let’s not forget the Wishing Tree Stage, the Bollywood Cocktail Lounge and an actual roller disco. A massive event that still manages to retain oodles of personality.
I’m getting excited just reading this!
So, I dont think you guys are going to need any prompting on this one… tell me, have you been to a festival, which one (yes I’ll allow discussions on the big dirty ones in the comments box) and how was it?
I’m looking forward to reading your recommendations, reviews, do’s and don’ts in a proper snog/marry/avoid stylee…