Festivals Focus 2007: The Dream Trip (part 2)

01 May 2007

You should just about have recovered from four days of hedonism to take things down a notch for Cambridge Folk (26-29 July).

Joan Baez, Steve Earle and Alabama 3 will be rubbing shoulders with Toots & The Maytals and the fantastic Newton Faulker.

And so we enter the peak month of festival season, where there are more festivals than there are days.

The Big Chill (3-5 August) will set you on this trajectory with a sparkling bill that mixes up The Cinematic Orchestra, Paul Hartnolls Ideal Condition project, Bonobo, Findlay Brown and Hafdis Huld. As ever Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay will be about.

Its now safe to unearth the hippie within for Fairport’s Cropredy Convention (9-11 August) which celebrates its 40th anniversary with Seth Lakeman, Wishbone Ash and classic Fairport line-ups on show.

Elsewhere in London’s Victoria Park, the inagural Field Day (11 August) sees indie, folk and electro lumped with classic festival fayre (welly throwing, Morris dancing, tea and cakes) for a mish-mash that Londoners will lap up. Archie Bronson Outfit, Erol Alkan, The Aliens, Four Tet, Foals, Bat for Lashes, Vetiver and Battles will all be about. Justice also play a rare live set with giant strobe crucifix in tow. We like.

Give it a week and pickup the trail in Brecon Beacons for The Green Man (17-19 August). Headliners Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation, Joanna Newsom and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks top a bill that also features Indigo Moss, Alasdair Roberts, Richard Swift, Vashti Bunyan and Gruff Rhys.

Its then onto the Bank Holiday weekend, the spaghetti junction of festivals. Up in Daresbury, Cheshire, Creamfields (25 August) are throwing a storming one with a stupidly superb bill: Chemical Brothers, Mark Ronson, David Guetta, MSTRKRFT, Miss Kittin, Tiga, Pendulum, Justice, Ladytron, DJ Hype, Evil Nine, Sinden…need we go on?

Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal
The Metro Weekender (25-26 August) in London and Cardiff boasts Paul Van Dyk, Pete Tong, Ferry Corsten, The Steets and Dizzee Rascal. Lest we forget TDK Cross Central (26-27 August) in Londons Kings Cross yard which has yet to announce its line-up but will no doubt cause yet another decision-making headache for clubbers.
Then theres the small matter of every band written about in the popular press getting shovelled and dumped in a field which really ought to be bigger to allow 80,000 human beings to fester. We are of course referring to the Carling Weekend (24-26 August Little Johns Farm, Reading / Bramham Park, Leeds).

Despite its pitfalls, The Carling Weekend is an experience, and the array of bands on offer is seductive: Interpol, Nine Inch Nails, Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, Gogol Bordello, The Shins. It almost makes headliners Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Smashing Pumpkins seem pedestrian.

You have approximately 2 hours to sleep before the 6am at Heathrow to fly out to Black Rock Desert, Nevada for the Burning Man Project (27 August-3 September). This is the festival to go to.

Eight days in the desert, 50 miles from civilisation, a 25,000-strong community which springs up with an almost blank canvas (there will be bands amongst other things). As the organisers say, “there are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event (save the rules that serve to protect the health, safety, and experience of the community at large); rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community.”

Sound intense? For sure,but there will come a point, on more than one occasion on this grand festival voyage, where you just think to yourself, what the hell is going on? What am I doing here? Enter Bestival (7-9 September). The experience, if you havent been, is as outrageous as youve heard about. If you put aside the fancy dress, inflatable churches and worrying adult behaviour, there are some bands there too: Beastie Boys, Primal Scream, The Chemical Brothers, Gossip, Calvin Harris, Shy Child.

Bobby Gillespie
Bobby Gillespie
Well were almost the end of the road and next we find ourselves, erm, at the End of the Road (14-16 September). The Bees, Hush The Many, Fionn Regan, Mistys Big Adventure, Super Furry Animals, King Creosote and Seasick Steve are amongst the treats that await you. Hows this for a mission statement:
– you won’t get all the over hyped bands headlining
– most bands play longer sets than usual
– you can eat a range of quality food
– you can drink a range of quality beers
– the staff and security care about everyone and show respect
– the crowd will be there for the MUSIC
– you can watch the bands without having to stare at huge advertising hoardings.

You know what to do.

After six months of toil, the fatigue, strange body odours and liver damage will have had a month to subside. Reykjavk is your final destination for Iceland Airwaves (17-21 October).

Airwaves is renowned for its intimacy and party spirit. Since the first event in 1999 it has become a key showcase for new music with hundreds of journalists and industry people arriving in Reykjavik in October each year to explore new talent. The bill is still in its infancy with Bloc Party, !!! and Of Montreal announced alongside a slew of Icelandic bands and DJs.

And so there you have it. Six months of your life gone. What a trip it could be. We’ll be there for part of the way. Will you?

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