Festival Frenzy

The festival mood finally took hold of me this morning as I sat at my kitchen table, munching away at a bowl of Cheerios.

The sun was shining and a warm breeze was drifting in through my patio doors, which were slightly ajar.

I could hear the birds singing in the trees that overhang my back garden and you know what, life felt pretty good.

It’s about this time of year that my mind drifts towards the possibility of picking up some festival tickets.

Sadly, this lack of foresight and organisation means that I have never had the pleasure of going to Glastonbury.

See full size imageUnlike some, who balk at the sheer size and growing sense of commercialisation of the daddy of all festivals, I have always quite fancied it.

Unfortunately, I can’t quite seem to muster the same level of enthusiasm in October, when you have to register for Glastonbury tickets.

I’m also more than a little put off by the military-style planning that is required to get your hands on a ticket, ie. submitting an application form and passport photo. It gives you a feeling of what it must be like to be a refugee.

As a result, I found myself sat watching a couple of birds playfully chasing each other from branch to branch, seduced by a vision of a balmy summer stretching out in front of me, but with no way of satisfying my unrequited love of Glastonbury.

But beggars can’t be choosers, so I decided to boot up my laptop and launch into a quest to find the next best thing.

The link below is the result, a handy chronological list of the summer’s best musical happenings. But be warned – clicking on this link is not for the faint hearted . . . FESTIVAL FRENZY awaits.

My handy festival calendar

See full size imageIs there a cure?

If you failed to heed my warning and clicked on the above link then don’t worry, I know what you are going through.

If you decided to show restraint then let me give you an inkling of what we are dealing with here. Click on the link below and you will get a glimpse of the problem.

Glastobury line-up 2010

It’s scary isn’t it? We all know about our democratic right to freedom of choice but the UK’s music festival organisers have taken this philosophy one step too far.

Glastonbury is like a microcosm of the problem – the sheer scale of it is enough to melt any music-loving brain.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t fancy the headliners, there are so many bands playing at the same time that you couldn’t possibly catch every act that you wanted to see.

See full size imageThat’s why I’m half relieved that I failed to mobilise in time again this year. Faced with such a choice I would probably have a breakdown very early on – like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit.

Give me a festival with a handful of goods bands on one stage, with a beer tent close by and I reckon I would be happy as a pig in truffles.

Sadly, once you have come to the conclusion that you are probably better off watching Glasto (anniversary or no anniversary) on the telly, you are still left with the choice of which festival to go to instead. And that is where festival frenzy starts to kick in again.

I spent a whole day trawling through cyberspace to try and find an answer to this tricky dilemma, which is how the frantic feeling took hold. After a few hours sifting out the lame, the tame and the downright shameful, I narrowed my search to around 30 festivals.

But I fell short of making my final decisions, which is where I was hoping my faithful Citylifers could lend a hand.

See full size imageThe choice is yours!

Below is a host of links to what I consider to be best festivals these fair isles have to offer this summer.

The rules are as follows:

  1. Use my ents24 festival calendar to figure out which event I can conceivably attend (many are held on the same weekends).
  2. I am going to be choosy here – I want to go to three festivals: a city festival, a small festival and a bumper festival.
  3. I’m not loaded, so try and choose a selection that offers the best value for money – by that I mean the best line-up at the lowest price with the least possible travelling involved.
  4. Don’t be worried though, I’m no Philistine, if you can argue that the organisation and quality of the festival is so good and the setting is so beautiful that I should damn the expense, then I’m willing to rob a few banks (a la Point Break) to fund my trip.

See full size imageTime to find a winner

Pick one festival from the following three lists and submit your entry to the comments section at the end of the article, along with a brief explanation of what swayed your decision.

I have added my picks at the start of each list (in bold). See if you can convince me to change my mind.

City festivals

I love city festivals because they are basically just an excuse to go on a giant pub crawl with a brilliant live soundtrack to keep you entertained. Also, you tend to end up in a bed at the end of the night, rather than a tent (unless things go drastically wrong).

With that in mind, my pick has to be Hungry Pigeon. I went last year and had a great time. It ticks all the boxes – it’s in Manchester (my hometown) and has bands playing in all my favourite bars. However, I am intrigued by the Parklife (Platt Fields) idea and have always fancied checking out Camden Crawl, while Brighton’s The Great Escape has a brilliant line-up. What do you think?

Hungry PigeonThe Great Escape

Dot to Dot Festival (biog)


Liverpool Sound City

Sounds From The Other City (shortish biog)


Hungry Pigeon


Lovebox Weekender


Small festivals

This is a very tricky one as they all look great and I haven’t been to any of them before so I can only go by the websites. I was very tempted by the Hop Farm festival, but I have been lucky enough to see Bob Dylan before so, instead, I have narrowed it down to two – Camp Bestival and Secret Garden. I fancy these two because they look quirky, fresh and different. But which should I choose, if either?

Secret Garden Party

Standon Calling (short biog)

Kendal Calling (biog)

Solway Festival

The Wickerman

See full size imageBeach Break Live 2010

Boomtown Fair (short biog)

The Big Chill


The Green Man

See full size imageCamp Bestival

Stop Making Sense (short biog)

Beautiful Days

Hop Farm Festival

Lounge On The Farm

Bumper festivals

Glastonbury would, of course, be the choice of any sane festival fan, given half the chance, but sadly that ship has long since sailed. I have merely left the link in below to tease you. However, having checked through the rest, my heart is veering towards Latitude. It has a really nice blend of great bands and interesting extras. However, if any of you have not been to the Isle of Wight festival before I can strongly recommend that one. It has the history, the weather and the small matter of ferry ride to make it feel like an adventure. Is anyone prepared to tell me any different?

See full size imageLatitude


Leeds and Reading


See full size imageRockness

T In The Park


Global Gathering

See full size imageSummer Sundae Weekender

V Festival

Isle of Wight



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