Did you find yourself trudging round a muddy field to get to the stage for one of your favourite bands this summer? Read our Music Editor’s post for her thoughts on this year’s line up for festivals around the UK.
For music lovers across the nation, the summer months not only inspire happy thoughts of longer days, possible sunshine and holidays abroad, but they also provide the chance to once again grab the wellies and head off to some of the best festivals. With Glastonbury having a year off this year, the pressure was on for the other events to deliver the biggest and best acts of the season. With so many taking place across the UK each year, it would be impossible to look at every one, so I have chosen a selection of the most well-known. Take a look at some of the biggest line-ups and see what you think!
Download festival – http://www.downloadfestival.co.uk/line-up/
Rockness – http://www.rockness.co.uk/artists/
Beach Break Live – http://www.beachbreaklive.com/en-uk/content/view/166/489
Isle of Wight Festival – http://www.isleofwightfestival.com/line-up.aspx
BBC Radio 1s Hackney Weekend – http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/events/e9wmxj/performances
T in the Park –http://www.tinthepark.com/content/default.asp?page=s3_26
Wireless – http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/line-up/
Latitude – http://www.latitudefestival.co.uk/line-up/
Global Gathering – http://www.globalgathering.com/2012/line-up
V-Festival – V Festival – Line Up
Bestival – http://2012.bestival.net/line-up
So there you have it, this year’s music offerings from the big guns of the British festival scene. Having only had a pathetic one day of festival action this year myself, it was hard to do the event justice in a review – as there is always more to it than just the line-up. So instead of attempting to write about events that I did not attend, I have given a more overall evaluation of how things turned out this summer.
The most impressive line-ups
First and foremost, the main purpose of any music festival is inevitably to provide the best acts it possibly can to the target audience. The greatest line-ups are those that offer an unique musical experience that you can’t get anywhere else. The finest headliners are those that make us feel like if we don’t get a ticket we will be missing out on a special event in musical history. Many of this year’s festivals definitely pulled out all the stops; with V securing headliners The Stone Roses and The Killers, Jay Z and Rihanna gracing the stages at Hackney Weekend and RockNess deservedly winning NME’s best small festival award with Mumford, Deadmau5 and Biffy in their top spots. But in order to be crowned the most impressive, there needs to be those acts that nowhere else has got and a line-up that overall just kicks ass, and these three definitely had that:
Although sharing headliners Florence & the Machine and New Order with other UK festivals, this collection of artists deserves to be noticed. As always, the line-up boasts a healthy mix of music styles, and there are plenty of smaller names in music to introduce festival goers to new artists, as well as the bigger acts too. Any festival which features Stevie Wonder is surely going to be a fun one, and with countless energetic acts amongst the line-up and enough DJs and drum and bass to keep you going throughout the night, it’s safe to assume you won’t get bored. All this was accompanied by the calmer and beautiful sounds of the XX who drew in what is believed to be the largest crowd in the weekend’s history. The complete craziness and the visual spectacle of a crowd in fancy dress also adds to its unique feel and there is always so much to be discovered. Bestival was the perfect end to a great summer of music and had all the right components for a beautifully impressive line-up.
This weekend, which takes place in East Midlands, celebrated its 10th anniversary in style by booking three incredible headliners you will only find at Download: The Prodigy, Metallica and the recently reunited Black Sabbath. Metallica, voted best act by NME readers, played a two hour set including ‘The Black Album’ in its entirety. Black Sabbath’s performance was one not to be missed as they recently reunited for the first time since 2005. Their set was full of energy and engaged the audience and of course it was fantastic to see Ozzy Osbourne running and jumping around the stage (or trying to). The remainder of the line-up also did not disappoint. Varying in styles it included acts such as Chase and Status, Biffy Clyro, Tenacious D and Soundgarden; and with a second stage also packed with big names, the list of greats is endless and plain to see. The three days of music were well split in to slightly varying genres making it easier for fans wishing to buy a day ticket to decide which would be more suited to their taste.
Reading and Leeds
Once again Melvin Benn pulled three massive headliners out the bag and managed to keep up the usual high standards, giving us The Cure, Kasabian and Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters announced during their set at Reading on Sunday night that they were performing one of their last shows for a long time, making the audience feel lucky to be at such a memorable event. Their set also took place on the 20th anniversary of the last performance Nirvana ever gave in England, allowing lead vocalist Dave Grohl to take a moment to remember his former band mates, dedicating songs to both Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. The festivals also hosted countless other huge names in rock/indie music with Enter Shikari being voted best act by NME readers. The Maccabees who headlined the NME stage pulled in a massive crowd despite clashing with The Cure. The twin festivals (which always have committed fans) did not disappoint, and hopefully next year will be just as impressive, if not more.
I’ts Raining it’s Pouring: A season of wet festivals
As always during the Great British Summer, there’s the chance when you plan anything that the heavens will open and you will be showered with days of endless rain. This year it certainly fell hard, blessing us with the highest amount of rainfall ever recorded in June. The rain was so bad at Creamfields that the final day was cancelled; organisers had to close the entrances to the site, evacuate fully and cancel all scheduled performances for that day.
Likewise, Wireless, Latitude, T in The Park, Wakestock and Isle of Wight (where the campsite became a mud bath) were all drenched with rain. Attendees of Download and Beach Break got some relief after arriving to torrential rain, when the sun did eventually come out.
The lucky escapees receiving a full weekend of blissful sunshine and cases of sunburn were Global Gathering and Bestival who definitely secured the best weather.
Hidden Gems: Reading and a few nice surprises
It is quite common for Festival Republic, who run Reading and Leeds, to include some surprise sets from acts who weren’t listed in the published line-up. This year rumours circulated that Green Day would be making a surprise appearance at Reading festival. A tweet from the band’s frontman confirmed the rumours 45 minutes before the set began at 11am on the Saturday morning.
In the lead up to the original release of the line-up, Green Day had been one of the most suspected and hoped for headliners. Obviously this did not materialise, leaving fans that were lucky enough to see the set naturally delighted by the surprise. Unfortunately fans of the punk rock band in Leeds were not as lucky, as the set was not repeated at the twin festival.
Reading offered a couple of other delightful surprises for its attendees – including an unscheduled acoustic performance from Two Door Cinema Club on the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday. There were also unannounced sets from favourites to win the Mercury Music Prize, Alt J and from singer song-writer Jake Bugg, both of which took place on the Friday on the BBC Introducing Stage.
The Downside To 2012 Festivals: Cancellations and poor ticket sales
One final thing that has to be noted is the number of cancellations that occurred in comparison to previous years. On the 29th March an official statement was released on the Sonisphere website stating that the rock and metal festival would not take place. They wrote “unfortunately circumstances have dictated that we would be unable to run the festival to a standard that both the artists and that Sonisphere’s audience would rightly expect”. The Big Chill was also cancelled with the fact that it would clash with the Olympics being given as the reason.
Many others also struggled with tickets sales which are speculated to be for a mixture of reasons, involving the argument that people do not have the money to spend at the moment and that people who used to attend several festivals a year are now choosing just one or two. It is also believed that many people chose to buy tickets for the Olympics this year instead.
With Glastonbury back on the scene and the splendor of the London Olympics a radiant memory, it is hoped that ticket sales will rocket again for 2013. I for one have already got some money in the bank – ready to spend on at least one music fueled weekend next summer, which I already cannot wait for.
By Rhiannon McVeigh