Are you still deciding where you’d like to spend your hard-earned pennies this summer? We’ve made life a little easier for you, here is a selection of some of the coolest festivals around with a pretty wide expanse in terms of dates and cost – there’s something for everyone…
We Are FSTVL
Essex | 24-25 May
Featuring a line up of well-established acts and up and coming producers, We Are FSTVL is set to be one of the best festivals of 2014. In addition to last year’s success, new arenas and attractions have been promised and they even picked up last year’s Best New Festival Gong. With 16 stages across the two days and nights, it would be easier to name the artists who will not be performing among the 150 announced. With a focus on house and techno, DJ’s from across the globe are coming to Essex. Here we pick out our top acts of the two days… Saturday brings in the likes of world heavyweights, Richie Hawtin, Disclosure (obviously), Maya Jane Coles, Yorkshire heart-throb – Hot Since 82 – and the finest bros on the circuit, The Martinez Brothers. Already, that sounds impeccable – but that’s just the first stage… Across the board, we see the likes of Chicago house legend Derrick Carter; Deetron who’s latest LP is up there with our favourites of the year; Hot Creations prodigy WaFF; house and garage bass enthusiast Huxley and fellow bass affiliates, Hector Couto and Martin Ikin. Hospitality curate their own, rather predictable stage with the likes of Drum & Bass badmen, High Contrast, Shy FX, Danny Byrd blah blah, we’ve seen and heard it all before. Funnily enough, the lineup is so good, that you are bound to miss out on a fair few incredible arists, along the lines of pretty much everyone on the MK stage, minus MK. Pleasure State with Anabel Englund, G-house providers Amine Edge and Dance, last years one-hit wonder Ninetoes and recent UK number 1 chart topper – Route 94.
Words: Shivam Sukha
Official Website [Tickets]
Manchester | 8-9 June
Manchester’s Parklife Weekender returns for its 4th year on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June. Based at Heaton Park, home of the now legendary gigs by Oasis and The Stone Roses, having moved across Manchester to cater for the ever increasing demand for tickets. The metropolitan festival is curated by the popular and successful Warehouse Project which takes place at the Victoria Warehouses just outside of Old Trafford during the dark and damp winter months. Headlining this year’s festival are Foals and the effortlessly cool Snoop Dogg who will be supported by a quartet of artists that broke through in 2013: Disclosure,Bastille and Rudimental, all of whom released their debut albums last year and were all nominated for the Best Breakthrough Act at this year’s BRIT awards. Rudimental will support Snoop Dogg, whilst Bastille and London Grammar will play before Foals on the Sunday night, Disclosure provide a dance alternative headliner to the indie offerings on the main stage.
The main stage has an acoustic feel on Saturday afternoon with Foxes and George Ezra, before Katy B and Annie Mac begin to warm things up for the evenings entertainment. The organisers have really lavished the main stage on Sunday with new music. If you had heard of any of the bands (except Foals and, perhaps, Warpaint) just 18 months ago you would have been very well informed indeed with Sam Smith, Ella Eyre and Clean Bandit having only become mainstream since the turn of the year, given the calibre of music they are all releasing at the moment it looks like a shrewd move by the organisers. Such is the quality of the Saturday stage line-ups, attendees will be spoilt for choice when deciding which headline act to watch; the likes of MK, Duke Dumont, Kendrick Lamar and the Hot Natured crew with Jamie Jones B2B with Seth Troxler. All of these will by vying to draw the attention away from Snoop Dogg.
London | 14th June
On Saturday 14th June 2014 FOUND Festival returns to East London with a line up bolstered by some of the finest electronic music artists from around the Globe
FOUND once again curate the main stage with an eclectic group of artists renowned for standout contributions to electronic music culture past, present and future. Heading the FOUND stage is Crosstown Rebels boss Damien Lazarus who’s forthcoming record is currently Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune. Jackathon leader and BBC Radio 1 resident Heidi also features. Love Fever, NoFitState bring Bicep; MadTech signee Citizen; ViVa Warriors, Sankeys and now Tribal Sessions bossman Darius Syrossian. It doesn’t stop there, Lefwing & Kody have been releasing bangers for the past couple of years on the likes of OFF Recordings and now their brand new label LOST are billed on the headline stage. Add this to Northern Irish – now tech-house- producer Ejeca; producers of one of the finest records of 2013 with ‘Colt’ – Dense & Pika – and Leeds and bass-fuelled house boy Josh Butler and you have yourself a fine array of some of the best dance music the country has to offer at the moment.
FOUND Festival is pleased to reveal their class of 2014, a mammoth line-up that celebrates the very best in world-class electronic music, delivered by a string of artists renowned for outstanding contributions to forging and developing the strands of house, techno and disco that dominate around the globe today. This set of DJs will converge from across London, the UK, Europe and the United States, all carefully chosen for a relentless commitment and dedication to their craft. FOUND has placed genuine pioneers with some of the most hot-tipped up-and-comers on the circuit today, delivering a 360 degree selection that looks to the clubs and to the clubbers for inspiration. Introducing a line-up for the true lovers of the very best in underground electronic music…
Words: Shivam Sukha | FOUND
London | 4-6 July
If you’re looking for a reason to go to Wireless this year, Kanye West’s only UK date this summer should more than suffice. And even if you don’t fancy catching Yeezus (and Jesus) in the flesh, there’s more than enough heat from the other headliners. Bruno Mars is bringing his high energy live set back to the UK and Drake is still riding high off the back of last year’s Nothing Was The Same. Taking place simultaneously in both London and Birmingham over the 4th 5th and 6th of July, Wireless brings together an unrivaled mix of RnB, Hip Hop and Pop that can keep any music fan happy.
Day 1 sees the pop party in full swing with Pharrell, The Human Hit Machine, Williams following up a set of dance floor classics from Basement Jaxx. And then into Day 2 the big guns come out in the form of Chance The Rapper, A$AP Ferg, Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt and YG which pretty much reads like a who’s who of contemporary Hip Hop. Oh, and if you still need more persuasion after all that: Outkast are Playing.
London | 18-19 July
It could be argued that this relatively small piece has taken me far too long to complete, my excuse being that it’s come during a particularly scattered and uninformed period in my life, as well as a rather harsh Bank Holiday weekend. Obviously, with the professional effort that I’ve come to expect from myself, I swiftly looked up Lovebox once I found the time in an attempt to glean some content from the available information. Despite this, I’m still languishing frustrated at square one.
For starters, Lovebox is held in Victoria Park in London meaning the festival is non-camping; alright for some but less so for me. If the idea of traipsing back from the park at a snail’s pace with the other festival-goers on crammed public transport isn’t enough to put you off, then this is the one for you. The line-up is intriguing, made up of an eclectic mix of genres and a combination of both established acts with a raft of newcomers. From Nas to Joey Bada$$, from Bonobo to Bondax and from The Horrors to Crystal Fighters, Lovebox is clearly intent on making sure nobody is left out during the crammed weekender. There’s a fair few among the list that I’d love to see or go see again, but whether or not I’d pick this festival to see them is another question entirely. Is there much else to say? I mean it is in London which may put some readers off; not only will non-camping render your time there costly, you’ll have to be in London the entire time which is enough to leave any self-righteously self-respecting northerner nauseous. Perhaps they could take a few pies to keep them company for the couple days out of their environment. Check out the programme online for yourself and if you’re a middle class graduate who likes what they see, this thing is for you. If you’re a northerner who’s neither a graduate nor middle class, just hope the impressive amount of artists is enough to draw a crowd that reaches further than the locals. Unless Victoria Park is one of those areas in London that middle class graduates regularly pretend doesn’t exist, then you’ll probably be in your element.
London | 2nd August
If you’re looking for one of the coolest one day festivals in the UK right now then Eastern Electrics is no doubt up there as one of the main contenders for this hypothetical gong. Past attendees (including myself), close friends and word-of-mouth all point to the same conclusion when describing Eastern Electrics – “You’ll never look back”.
Becoming an increasingly saturated market, one day festivals are popping up all over the country, but what sets Eastern Electrics apart from the rest is that they focus their attention on their fans. Rather than herding thousands of people into a 500-capacity field with bar queues so long you’d rather drink your own piss and over-capacity arena closures leading to another half an hour walk to a tent that’s less than ten-metres away – Eastern Electrics fill their joyous field with just the right amount of people, bars, toilets, drinking facilities, food outlets and of course – the meatiest of lineup’s.
This year’s festival takes place at Hatfield House on the 2nd August and if you haven’t yet got yourself a ticket, we recommend you get off your arse, find some friends and book now because at less than £50 a pop, they’ll be gone soon – if you need any more persuasion, they’re on their third and final release! This years bill includes the mighty Daniel Avery – a favourite of ours here at Turks and Underdog HQ – along with ViVa head honcho Steve Lawler. The house heads are in full force: Maxxi Soundsystem, Laura Jones, Route 94 and Art Department have all been confirmed to appear. However, we’ve saved the best till last – Kerri Chandler – who I had the absolute pleasure to meet a EE 2012 is also billed in what is set to be one of the festival season highlights of the year.
Words: Shivam Sukha
Lake District | 1-3 August
Bigger is not always better, if the apocalyptic crowds are your not bag, perhaps make a beeline for one of our smaller boutique festivals, i dot e dot, perhaps Kendall Calling, based in the beautiful rolling hills of the Lake District, in the glorious Kendall Park, you might find for your pleasure the likes of Sean Ryder aka Happy Mondays, accompanied by the man Bez, obvs, if that’s not twisting your melons perhaps three might be your magic number, DE LA SOUL all up in your grill….so much to do …make it a Kendall MINT weekend
Winchester | 7-10 August
It’s really easy to be cynical about The BoomTown Fair, with its reverent – if somewhat contrived – adherence to psychedelia and fantastical revelry. Unless you embrace the theme, and immerse yourself in the world that the organisers create, the whole thing can feel a bit overdone and, as the festival enters its fifth year, a bit tired. But you have to simply admire the effort that goes into curating an event on the scale of BoomTown, and the organisers’ attention to detail is impressive, if not to everyone’s taste. Musically, the live acts and DJ offerings this year are a bit hit and miss. The trouble with BoomTown is that while it started as an almost exclusively reggae, dub and ska event, it’s grown into something much larger and is now catering for a much wider audience – it’s even now a hotspot for West London school kids who don’t know Dub FX from Shy FX. Thus the music policy has widened – BoomTown call it diverse, but it’s actually just a bit weak. Highlights this year bizarrely include Shaggy, Boddika, Chas & Dave, Eats Everything, Melé and Slick Don, Sonic Boom 6, Stanton Warriors and The Skints.
This being said, everyone who goes to BoomTown has a really good time; the atmosphere is relentlessly positive, and the encouraging approach to mind altering experiences adds to the general carefree vibe. The music ultimately takes a backseat and with the amount of other stuff going on, you could easily miss every act you wanted to see and still have a good weekend. Moreover, it’s really impressive that BoomTown has managed to grow into such a successful enterprise but remained entirely self sufficient and not bent to corporate funding or sponsorship. It’s not my cup of tea, but if I was going this year, I’d make sure to catch these acts:
Kry Wolf: a good up and coming duo whose deep house cuts ensure they’ll work a night time crowd – also on the line up is Benton, whose bass heavy remix of Kry Wolf’s ‘Bluffin’ is a surefire dancefloor filler. My Nu Leng: the new additions to Black Butter, whose remix of Sonnentanz got impressive air play last year, while their track ‘The Grid’ demonstrates a diversity of influence which they also bring to live sets. UK Allstars (world debut): basically just a group of jungle legends, including Congo Natty, Tippa Irie and General Levy, all performing together – will surely be a highlight of the weekend. Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit: because my 14 year old self wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t.
South West Four
London | 23-24 August
Well, where to start with this one? Regardless what kind of Electronic Dance Music you’re into, there’s most definitely something for you here. I haven’t seen an electronically inclined better stage at a festival – hands down – than the ‘Last Day On Earth’ stage curated by none other than Sasha. Now, I went to see Sasha in Manchester over the Easter period and it was honestly one of the most incredible nights that I’ve been to in a very long time – and those sorts of accolades are not thrown about loosely. On top of Sasha, we see Paul Kalkbrenner and German techno duo – Booka Shade. Across the weekend Clapham Common plays host to the likes of…- I just don’t know where to start…It’s first-rate across the board, fuck this lets list – lists are always a good option… Bicep B2B Simian Mobile Disco (amazing), Special Request vs Marcus Intalex with I’m sure stages of Paul Woolford vs Trevino coming into play at some point, Eats Everything (of course), Claude Von Stroke (amazing-er), Laurent Garnier (wow) and finally, special guests – Mike Skinner vs MJ Cole (whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?) – that would be worth paying the entire weekend price alone!