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Festivals 2010 - previews May to June

22nd April 2010

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It's that time of year again when we gear up for another summer of musical fun and frolics. Here we take a look at the pick of this year's festival action in the UK..... festival wellies


All Tomorrow's Parties
Minehead, Somerset
May 7-9 and 14-16

Surely there is little with more allure than the chance to face off with Matt Groening from behind the wheel of a dodgem. That's the veritable magic of ATP (May's pair of weekends curated by the Simpsons creator and indie legends Pavement): the stars are housed, fed and entertained in Butlins just like the fans, as the holiday camp is given over to the festival spirit. Anything can happen- bands pulling off impromptu sets on the beach, a bus ride to the post office sitting next to Bon Iver's frontman, or a rock star holding a Sunday morning knitting class (Kim Deal's relatives won't have felt the cold last Christmas).
All this and you get a bed, a roof and a shower whilst housed up in the chalets over the weekend, so dour weather can't spoil the party and the musk of debauchery will be long gone by Monday's trip home. (DW)

Bands: Iggy & the Stooges, Spiritualized, Joanna Newsom, Pavement, Broken Social Scene

The Great Escape
May 13-15

Of the three things Austin, TX is best known for - the Lone Star, Texan bohemia, and the SXSW music festival - Brighton can only really take a stab at recreating the latter convincingly. The Great Escape takes place across a startling 30 venues, with the bold self-proclamation of being Europe's largest festival for emerging acts.
And touting 350+ bands on the roster already, this may well be true. Not much point in name dropping then, but rest assured there are some tantalising big names down there for those tired of scouting for new talent and would prefer the safety net of an established act.
In reality, it's unlikely to be a super-sized industry showcase comparable to the bloated SXSW, but with bands swinging from the rafters of plenty of Brighton's venues, it'll more than suffice for now. (DW)

Bands: Groove Armada, Broken Social Scene, Chase & Status

Slam Dunk
May 29-30

Split between the Universities of Leeds and Hertfordshire, Slam Dunk brings a torrent of punk to both ends of England. In its second year, the festival has the unenviable task of focusing on a genre whose bands usually disseminate amongst the better known festivals.
It does seem to be picking up speed now though, with statesmen such as New Found Glory, Capdown and RX Bandits on board to play. Joe Strummer will be looking down on this one from beyond the studded leather gates of punk heaven. (DW)

Bands: New Found Glory, Alkaline Trio, Capdown

Evolution Weekender
May 30-31

What better way is there to fritter away the tail end of a bank holiday weekend than the cheap Evolution festival in the North East? Since the main stages are based on edges of the Tyne, hope for a balmy sunset. But if you have room in your bag amongst all the brown ale and peanuts for sustenance, pack a coat.
A fairly mainstream line-up (with impressive names, considering economical ticket prices) is peppered with some more quirky bands, including the literal onstage insanity of Dananananaykroyd. Good luck getting up to revise on Tuesday morning. (DW)

Bands: Paolo Nutini, Delphic, The Horrors, Dananananaykroyd

Dot to Dot
May 29-31

With latest inclusion of Manchester alongside Bristol and Nottingham, Dot to Dot festival now forms a well spread triumvirate.
As the name implies, the idea here is to jump between the myriad of venues in the host city (or for the keen journeymen, between the cities themselves) to catch bands of choice. For a day festival the roster is huge and packed with emerging talent, which means timeslots are swift and unabashed power walking is required to sneak in consecutive bands at distant sites. Shoppers must marvel at the reams of indie kids flocking back and forth.
The bigger names roll out in the evening and are gifted more time, but by then you'll have settled to stake out the last few acts, whether that's for a caustic burst of Los Campesinos!, the charm of Ellie Goulding, or to blast the night away with Zane Lowe. (DW)

Bands: Mystery Jets, Ellie Goulding, Los Campesinos!, Liars


The Warehouse Project
June 11

The name may be familiar to some readers as the name of one of Manchester's biggest club nights, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Platt Fields Park they're putting on a special show (followed by Parklife the day after).
The event will feature some big names from Manchester's musical history with ex-Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown headlining and various faces from the heady days of Factory and the Haienda playing too. Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division will be playing solo and his former bandmates Bernard Sumner and Phil Cunningham will be performing with their new band Bad Lieutenant.
Showcasing Manchester's musical present will be electro-rockers the Whip, and stalwart Mr Scruff (a long-time fixture of the city's clubs) will also be making an appearance. Visitors UNKLE will be playing, as will their onetime collaborators and infamous turntablists The Scratch Perverts. Sounds like The Warehouse Project know how to throw a party. (DB)

Bands: Ian Brown, UNKLE, Bad Lieutenant

June 12

Parklife is a new festival taking place in Manchester's Platt Fields Park as part of its extensive centenary celebrations, and it's aimed squarely at the student demographic. With six different stages, it's impressively large for a new event and has managed to grab some big-name headliners.
The main stage will feature Calvin Harris, Friendly Fires and Booka Shade, but the real magic is happening elsewhere. The two dance stages will see sets from dubstep veterans Skream and Benga (performing both separately and together as Magnetic Man) as well as D'n'B pioneer Goldie, Andy C, High Contrast, Sub Focus and DJ Hype.
The indie-inclined may want to take a look at the Now Wave stage, which will be showcasing new music from Bloc Party's Kele Okereke (currently working on his solo album) and folktronica legend Four Tet, preceded by hyped bands Errors, Egyptian Hip Hop and We Have Band. This is shaping up to be a potentially excellent festival. (DB)

Bands: Friendly Fires, Calvin Harris, Vitalic, Simian Mobile Disco

Donington Park
June 11-13

Since 2003, Download has showcased some huge names in hard rock, punk, and metal, and every year they manage to grab bigger acts as headliners.
This year will see AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Rage Against The Machine topping the bill and is likely to be very special indeed this year being the thirtieth anniversary of the Monsters of Rock festival which Download has essentially succeeded. Most of Friday's acts have not yet been revealed so prepare for some surprises. Download is one of the biggest festivals the UK sees and on top of that is also one of the most fan-friendly for each festival the organisers take and often implement suggestions from attendees. The festival is comparatively safe too; it is well staffed and has one of the best-equipped festival field hospitals around. A good choice for anyone into the harder end of the musical spectrum. (DB)

Bands: AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Them Crooked Vultures, Motorhead, Deftones

Isle Of Wight festival
Isle of Wight
June 11-13

If you're willing to cross the Solent and be within stone-skimming distance of France, you'll find a goliath of a line-up on the Isle of Wight. Having resurrected the '60's Woodstock beater in 2002, the festival has steamrolled back on to the big stage. Plenty of questions can be asked of the stellar cast though. Are the Strokes still relevant?
Can they build a stage big enough for Jay-Z's ego? Will this performance finally let Macca pay off that damned alimony?
If these arouse no curiosity, the immense depth of the roster means there is plenty of A-list talent to be found elsewhere. (DW)

Bands: Paul McCartney, Blondie, Florence + the Machine, Vampire Weekend

Loch Ness
June 11-13

There's seldom a more idyllic spot for a festival. However, don't let the alluring scenery of rural Inverness lull you into a roaming in the twilight with dewy-eyed reverie; RockNess is as gruelling as festivals come.
Considering the somewhat biblical showers that befall our friends in the very uppermost north, you'll find you're often at the mercy of the Gods where RockNess is concerned, but endurance is part of what festivals are about, right? RockNess has thus far enjoyed a modest attendance; however that looks set to change this year, with an early line up including The Strokes, Fatboy Slim and Vampire Weekend.
RockNess caters for fans of all musical genres, coupled with a site that's small enough so you'll not get lost too easily on those hazy nights. Add to this the local penchant for pushing things a little further than you may be used to and you have yourself an extremely raucous weekend ahead. In its fifth year, RockNess benefits from being a festival that still has something to prove. (JH)

Bands: The Strokes, Fatboy Slim, Doves, Vampire Weekend

Compiled and edited by Dylan Williams

Contributors: Dylan Williams, David Biddle, Chris Marks, Jonathan Hopkins, James Thornhill

Articles: 29
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