Saturday, January 28, 2006

Festivals for the rest of alls

In these mornings of frost the mind turns to warmer days, and thus to the festival circuit. Here's the major dates and details as far as we can find - and seriously, if you do have any complementaries available...

All Tomorrow's Parties

WHEN: 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th and 21st May

WHO: The chalet-bound have, as the dates suggest, two long weekends and six different curators to mooch to this time around. So: on the 12th Mudhoney bring along psych-rock acid freaks Comets On Fire and heavy prog influenced one time Coldplay support Black Mountain; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are on the 13th with the Liars, TV On The Radio, Celebration and the Blood Brothers; Devendra Banhart acknowledges his roots by gaining support from Vashti Bunyan and Bert Jansch on the 14th; Dinosaur Jr find room among the PA cases for Broken Social Scene, the Lilys, Bevis Frond (are they still going?), the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dead Meadow on the 19th; Sleater-Kinney bring a curious amalgam of Spoon, Joanna Newsom, the Boredoms, Lightning Bolt and the Gossip, plus MCage from the US alternative's inhouse comedian David Cross, on the 20th; and the Shins on the 21st might find themselves outdone by the Decemberists, the New Pornographers, Clinic and the Black Keys.

HOW: Pretty much sold out already, says the website, with all the five berth chalets gone for weekend 1, so get cracking.

Monsters Of Rock

WHEN: 3rd June

WHO: Lordy. The name has been revived for a one day event at the Milton Keynes Bowl, headlined by the none more mid-80s Monsters duo of Deep Purple and Alice Cooper.

HOW: Tickets on sale now for £38.50.

Download Festival

WHEN: 9th-11th June

WHO: Despite the Monsters being about the house festival for the pierced of nose remains at Donington. The Prodigy have confirmed themselves, while rumours centre on the Foos, Korn, the Deftones, System Of A Down, Tool, Korn, AC/DC, new noises Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine and, er, Bon Jovi. We'll know everything for sure from 1st February...

HOW: ...when ticketing details will also be released.

Isle Of Wight Festival

WHEN: 9th-11th June

WHO: The first major festival of the year seems to be set in stone now after the 32 years off, even if it's not a free event any more. The Prodigy, Goldfrapp, Placebo and the Rakes are all confirmed

HOW: £85 the weekend, £105 with camping.

Wireless Festival

WHEN: mid-June, no dates confirmed yet

WHO: O2's ambient marketing tool proves that anything in London will automatically get a shedload of publicity. It's not a festival as such, just a week of single day events at Hyde Park, with only Depeche Mode confirmed to date on the 25th June. Oasis and the Foo Fighters are also being whispered about.

HOW: Full news should be released soonish.

T In The Park

WHEN: 8th-9th July

WHO: Balado's weekend in the sun, or approximation thereof, might become the early summer's biggest event by proxy this year. Rumoured bands? Well, Radiohead, Coldplay, Muse, Scissor Sisters, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Green Day, Morrissey, Massive Attack, Richard Ashcroft, Paul Weller, Charlatans, Snow Patrol, Starsailor, KT Tunstall, Hard-Fi, Goldfrapp... why not play along?

HOW: 25,000 tickets sold out in one day of advance sales days after last year's event and the rest will go on sale soon. Should be £100 camping, £85 without.


WHEN: 8th-9th July

WHO: T's unofficial Irish cousin, so pretty much see that list of bands above for an idea.

HOW: Keep an eye out. Helpful, these big festival organisations, aren't they?


WHEN: 14th-16th July

WHO: Often responsible for the oddest looking bills of the year - last year's main stage played host at various points to Paul Weller, Lulu, Marillion, The Subways, The Others, Echo & The Bunnymen, Daniel Bedingfield and Status Quo - the Stoke Park event is also regarded as a laid-back, family friendly event.

HOW: Keep watching the skies.


WHEN: 22nd-23rd July

WHO: Two things everyone knows about this one: it's held on an actual working field with a stage called The Barn That Cannot Be Named, and it's called Truck because the main stage was originally made out of two flatbed trucks. Always home to the more off-kilter shores, last year they stepped up to the place with headline slots for Biffy Clyro and the Magic Numbers while still finding room for the usual two blokes and a messed up synth acts.

HOW: Locally available from 1st February, across the land via the web from 1st March for a bargain £40.

Cambridge Folk Festival

WHEN: 27th-30th July

WHO: That's folk often in a very pejorative sense, last year's bill including KT Tunstall, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, Martha Wainwright, Hayseed Dixie, the Proclaimers, Mavis Staples, Laura Cantrell, Damien Dempsey and Idlewild. Radio 2 sponsorship helps out too.

HOW: They've not updated the website since last year apart from to confirm the dates, so don't ask us.


WHEN: 28th-30th July

WHO: Subject of hundreds of world music jokes, Peter Gabriel's baby stays in Rivermead with its workshops, craft stalls and, last year, Robert Plant, Apache Indian, Richie Havens, Chris Difford and, um, Kiki Dee.

HOW: Stay tuned. To someone else, we're not updating this every day.


WHEN: 10th-12th August

WHO: By this time we'll have worked out if there really is a proper British folk revival going on and how far down it's digging in time Fairport Convention's annual Oxfordshire reunion, and they're bringing Steeleye Span with them this time. It's one of the few festivals where you can park your vehicle next to your tent, which is ideal for tupperware-based picnicking.

HOW: Keep checking Fairport's own website.

Summer Sundae

WHEN: 11th-13th August

WHO: Leicester's indoor/outdoor festival, with proper bathrooms and everything, was blogged by us last year - look in the archives for yourselves - and almost certainly will be again this year. As its reputation grows they'll have to top 2005's Patti Smith, as well as an upholding of the tendency to book bands when their stock is just emerging at the start of the year that are huge by the time they come to play halfway down the bill.

HOW: On sale from February 1st for £65 for two months and £75 hence.

Green Man

WHEN: 18th-20th August

WHO: Nu-folk and folktronica's natural home is in a venue yet to be announced in Powys, organisers It's Jo And Danny - they're a band as well as a committee, see - promising a bigger, better experience.

HOW: Come on, they've not even finalised the venue yet, although oddly it does seem a weekend price of £65 has been confirmed.

Secret Garden

WHEN: 18th-20th August

WHO: Acquaintances went to this last year and reported it was an excellent, chilled out experience. Virtual Festivals' new festival of the year 2004 and 2005 - how does that work, then? - is set in a ten acre private landscaped garden in an apparently secret Cambridgeshire location and boasts unlikely amusements which last year included space hopper contests and snail racing. Breaking the peace last year were Hard-Fi, Super Furry Animals, Desmond Dekker, Mystery Jets, Adam Freeland and Regina Spektor.

HOW: Details from Eastertime.

V Festival

WHEN: 19th-20th August

WHO: Ah, the soulless monolith. Staying in Hylands Park and Weston Park, this one really is all about the music more than most and seems to attract more backstage bar liggers than anywhere else too. The Who, Kasabian, Keane and Razorlight seem decent rumours, although we suspect Radiohead might think twice about such a branded event.

HOW: Available from March.

Carling Weekend

WHEN: 25th-27th August

WHO: Reading and Leeds by any other Melvin Benn-approved name, of course, and surely the big one this year. Muse and The Strokes might as well be confirmed, with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Flaming Lips and Alice Cooper in the running. Also, Daphne & Celeste are reuniting...

HOW: Last year the initial batch of tickets went on sale on 22nd March and were sold out for Reading by the 30th, so be alert. Assuming you didn't get the few very early bird ones, of course.


WHEN: 26th August

WHO: Superclubs may come and superclubs may go but the Old Liverpool Airfield, Speke booking will remain forever with its charity football tournament and rows of girls in bikini tops and straw hats. The Prodigy have confirmed that they'll be drinking it all in.

HOW: Soon enough.


WHEN: 8th-10th September

WHO: The last full size festival of the year and the second on the Isle Of Wight, this presumably constituting an out of the way venue, Sunday Best and Rob Da Bank's brouhaha won a couple of awards in its second year with its eclectic mix of dance live acts, near-superstar DJs and mid-ranking indie allied to a decent atmosphere and the knowledge that the Cuban Brothers would only be there for one day.

HOW: Tickets are already on sale, which is strange considering the much earlier events that haven't even announced their intentions yet. £85 for islanders, an extra tenner for outsiders.

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