TMF Festival Gems 2013
In the UK summer season festival goers get wet no matter what the weather: either from the rain or from sweat. There is no escape. Whilst we don’t have the desert weather of Coachella, we do have a bunch of unique smaller festivals hidden away in the great British countryside. Forget the heavyweights, you’re about to embark on the TMF guide to the festival gems of summer 2013.
When: 19-20th July
Like the proverbial phoenix from the flames Truck Festival has risen again to show that there can be a way back from the brink of disaster. Basically, get back to basics. Following a disastrous 2011 where everything that could go wrong did go wrong (the weather, trying to grow too quickly, selling cheap tickets at the last minute), the team behind Y Not Festival took over running it and went back to revive the little festival that can, in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside.
Set on a farm, it feels like the working farm, it's because it is. The Barn smells of muck; the Truck Stage is just that - a flatbed truck, and if it rains they use hay from the field. And now there’s the newer Market Stage set amongst the local Rotary Clubs that feed the festival goers. There are local beers and ciders on tap, as well as various charities selling donuts and running the sweet shop. It’s like the biggest village fete you’ve ever seen.
Acts to watch: The Joy Formidable, The Epstein, Fonda 500, Gunning For Tamar, Ash.
When: 26-28th July
After a wet and difficult year in 2012, LOTF is back looking for sunny days. Carving out a niche for itself as “Simply Kent’s Best Festival” and integrating the farm aspect into everything it does, LOTF has a quite different feel from your average festival.
As well as the nationally known acts on the bill, it’s a showcase for local bands and artists to get some much needed exposure, and generally gives a headline slot to an emerging artist - with past alumni Ellie Goulding and Emeli Sande proving their nose for a star. This year it’s Jessie Ware.
With their ever increasing capacity the challenge this year is to keep the uniqueness whilst recovering from a tough 2012. As well as supporting local artists all the food and drink is locally sourced, the burgers are made from cows raised on the farm itself - truly homegrown!
Acts to watch: Jessie Ware, Tribes, Simone Felice, Treetop Flyers, Lucy Rose
When: 15-18th August
Set in the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Brecon Beacons, the music at the Green Man Festival has to go some to compete with the scenery. With an attendance that’s grown massively over the eleven years it’s been in existence, the festival has expanded from one to four days.
2012 saw their first truly legendary headliner in Van Morrison, but this year has seen a change with the fresher talent of Ben Howard and Band Of Horses two of the headliners. Another festival that gives itself a wider remit than just music, hosting, amongst others, the Babbling Tongues Stage - spoken word, obviously - as well as the music focused Mountain’s Foot, Far Out, and Walled Garden stages.
Acts to watch: Phosphorescent, Lord Huron, Local Natives, Parquet Courts, F#ck Buttons
When: 30 August-1st September
Beards and banjos. Trucker caps and check shirts. They were the watchwords for EOTR, but it’s moved on a long way since then with Sigur Ros, Belle & Sebastian, and David Byrne & St Vincent headlining this year. Not a beard or banjo in sight. Hidden away behind the Cotswolds in deepest Wiltshire, the festival is held at Larmer Tree Gardens, a uniquely British setting, with the main stage, The Woods, constructed right in front of a woodland area at the bottom of a small hill, ensuring great views all round and a wonderful backdrop to the music.
The Garden Stage is set in the garden area of the site, there is a disco in the woods - literally - and hidden nooks and crannies around the site, including a library and piano ‘stage’ where acts from the festival pop up for spontaneous and unannounced slots - Patti Smith in 2012. Then there’s the after hours music, when in the dead of the night artists from throughout the day appear in the small tent stage to play looser sets that go on until very late indeed!
Acts to watch: Houndmouth, John Murry, Dawes, Frightened Rabbit, Matthew E. White
When: 13-15th September
Now in it’s second year, this little festival on the Welsh coast uses its beautiful Portmeirion setting to compliment the music. By managing to attract arena size acts (New Order last year and Manic Street Preachers this), it’s managed to get a foothold in an already crowded space - and at a time when many similar sized festivals are cancelling.
Uniquely the town is closed to traffic over the festival weekend; all punters have to bus in from a park & ride four miles away. The stages themselves are spread across the town: Stage No. 6 and the i Stage are typical festival stages, set in the main site, Castell Park. The dance tents (Late Night Pavillion and Studio No. 6) are stood overlooking The Sandy White Bay and set in the shadow of the castle respectively.
Not just a music festival there are talks, performances, readings, and plenty of other activities spread across the town to keep you interested.
Acts to watch: Lianne La Havas, Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, Alunageorge, Leisure Society, Temples