Five festivals for 2015
With festival season well under way and the biggest (Glasto) out of the way, we thought it was time to pick out five festivals we think you should be checking out this year, and what makes them worth your while.
The coolest of the medium-sized festivals mixes the music with a mountain of non-music entertainment. Whether your thing is theatre, poetry, literature, film, dance - or something a little weirder - Henham Park has something to spend your day doing. You have to really like your poetry for one of the acts on that stage to make you buy your ticket though, so the real big hitters here come from the comedy arena, headlined this year by Alan Davies, Jason Manford and Jon Richardson.
Musically, Latitude trades on its headliners. The now established format of the new, trendy guitar wielders (Alt-J), the established mainstreamer (Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds), and the left-field (an all too rare UK appearance form Portishead) means that Latitude covers all its demographic bases. Add to that diverse acts like hardcore soul man Curtis Harding, pop punker Ezra Furman, band of the moment Wolf Alice and it means there's something for everyone. Oh, and the must-have band of festival season 2015: Public Service Broadcasting. Phew.
Where? Henham Park, Suffolk When? 17th - 19th July
Cambridge Folk Festival
The venerable festival is now in its 51st year and has probably never been more popular. Mixing the best of folk (represented by the likes of Joan Baez, Bella Hardy, and Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker) with country (the awesome Angeleena Presley) and Americana (the inventive The Lone Bellow and raucous Ben Miller Band) from both sides of the Atlantic makes this the one of the best, and biggest, niche festivals in the UK.
Add a solo performance from punk-turned-folker Frank Turner, a rare UK show from Carolina Chocolate Drop Rhiannon Giddens, the ever entertaining Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain, and this is the must-have ticket for any discerning roots fan in 2015. (Although if you want a ticket and don’t have one you’re out of luck, the festival sold out on 29th June.)
Where? Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge When? 30th July - 2nd August
Green Man Festival
Tucked away in the Brecon Beacons, this Welsh festival has grown in popularity over its eleven years. When your headliners are Hot Chip, St Vincent, and Super Furry Animals you might not be expecting to sell out in early June, but it has, more than two months before the fields open. Not bad for a festival with one of the more eclectic (read: trendy) line ups of 2015.
There are no chart bothering acts here, instead you can catch a snippet of outlaw country with Sturgill Simpson, or Californian storytelling from Father John Misty. Maybe some dry Aussie wordplay from Courtney Barnett, haunting beauty from Villager, the retro nightclub vibes of Jamie XX, noise rock from Viet Cong, the list goes on. Whilst music is the main call Green Man also has a great list of comedians, movies, and literature to while away your time.
Where? Brecon Beacons, Wales When? 20th - 23rd August
Now V might not be to the taste of the discerning music snob but a quick poll of TMF Towers suggests it has a lot going for it. Think of it as “My first festival” and you’ve got the gist: Kasabian, Calvin Harris, Sam Smith, Olly Murs, Tom Jones,
With breaking acts like Jess Glynne and Ella Eyre meeting the recently broken Hozier and George Ezra and longtime festival heads The Charlatans and Stereophonics, if mainstream is your thing there really isn't another festival option.
Where? Weston Park, Staffordshire and Hylands Park, Chelmsford When? 22nd & 23rd August
Reading & Leeds Festival
A quick look at the first line of names for the joint Berkshire/Yorkshire festival suggests something of a confused thing: bright young things Mumford & Sons make a play for the young pretenders slot; shambling The Libertines take the 'risky booking' slot; and Metallica are the throwback to the days when this was all about "the rock".
Look a little further though and you find a line up that, while devoid of many women-fronted acts, is focused on the new and the noisy. All Time Low, Royal Blood, Twin Atlantic, Slaves, Deadmau5 - all archetypal for this festival. But Festival Republic like nothing more than throwing a leftfield choice or two in, - this year Kendrick Lamar subs Docherty's lot while the dance and Lock Up stages fill the roster with the cool and unknown. So really it fulfils its remit: to entertain the youngsters who've just had their exam results.
Where? Reading, Berkshire and Leeds, Yorkshire When? 28th to 30th August