Posts Tagged ‘Festival’

So it’s that time of year again. That’s right, Summer Festival Announcements!

Today saw the release of the eagerly awaited Reading and Leeds festivals line ups for 2011, and my my we haven’t been let down. In fact, I’d say this is perhaps one of the best line ups I’ve seen in a long time (that’s absolutely biased to my music taste though). See for yourself:

Bang-ing. Correct.

Every year, a chaotic marathon ensues as loyal festival patrons (and bastard touts) attempt to secure themselves with the proverbial golden tickets. As 7.15 approaches the race is prepped: Enough money in my account? Check. Laptop on, five different ticket sites open, finger lingering tenderly above F5? Check. Phone in hand, number dialled, ready for redial? Check. And all this before we’ve even seen who’s playing!! Usually festival goers must rely upon a combination of vague rumour and reasoned inference (what bands are touring the UK around festival season usually offers some interesting speculation) to provide some early idea of what they can expect for shelling out £200 a ticket. Fortunately that was not the case this year though; thanks to an early leak of an official Reading poster the inner ring no longer existed, and from Midday today it became clear that I had, HAD, to be there.

Reading is shaping up to be an absolute cracker, and the Lock Up Stage – perhaps one of my favourites at the annual festival – hasn’t even been announced yet! Let’s start with the headliners:

  • My Chemical Romance: I have to say that generally I wouldn’t care for this sort of band, and that’s being diplomatic (Panic! At The Disco can fuck right off…). However, for years a good friend has gradually forced their music upon me and I am, reluctantly, impressed. Their early material has a really punky vibe – pacey riffs, heavy drums and vocals that are more aggressive than whiiiiiiney. Even some their more recent offerings, despite various style transitions, are really catchy and likely to be good fun live. Na na na na na na. Yet, I’m slightly dubious about how successful a selection they are for the first day headliner, as a headlining band at all for that matter. I guess time will tell. If you have no interest, you can always check out Beady Eye on the NME stage instead. It’s sure to be a memorable show! Paisley scarves at the ready.
  • The Strokes: I must admit, I’m not the greatest follower of the Strokes, but as headliners go, they seem suitable. They’re relatively big, they have new material to perform, alongside various renowned albums and a vast back catalogue of classic singles – everyone’s going to keep a keen ear open for ‘Someday’. Importantly, they also stand out musically from all other headliners on the bill. It’s gunna be rammed, and could well be a winner. Let’s just hope the new album doesn’t disappoint.
  • Muse: The epitome of festival headlining (closely followed by Rammenstein. If you’ve seen them live you’ll know what I mean). I saw them last year at Rock AM Ring in Germany, and MY GOD, what a performance! Muse has become a byword for quality assurance: incredibly written songs, delivered with a passion and intensity of vocals unrivalled by any other band I’ve witnessed live. Further enhanced by beautifully organised visual accompaniments, like the noteworthy mid-air gymnast, they clearly put their all into performances; no expense is spared. They are an ideal choice for a final night headliner – as the old maxim goes: Save the best ’til last.

Alongside these headliners come a cornucopia of incredible bands. Particular highlights include Rise Against, Deftones (my favourite metal band – I’m already anxious about the pits during ‘Seven Words’) and American punkers the Offspring – let’s just hope they play a majority of their set from Smash and Ixnay on the Hombre. I’ll never forget the first time I heard ‘All I Want’ on the Crazy Taxi soundtrack. Feckin’ awesome. As you’d expect of a festival as musically diverse  as Reading, there are plenty of less ‘alternative’ alternatives: British ska band Madness are a sure-fire hit during the sunshine, and American rappers OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Em All) fulfill the vital hiphop element early on the Saturday.

Ohh, and if you become fatigued with the music, you can always pop along to some live comedy, with Russel Kane and Tim Minchin guaranteed to entertain packed audiences. Lee Nelson shouldn’t bother turning up. Someone has to get bottled and my money’s on him. After all, Daphne and Celeste aren’t there this year.

Now, who wouldn’t pay to see that?


Originally written September 17th 2010 – Published on Roar! Newspaper’s website

With fierce competition like Download, Ozzfest re-establishing itself at London’s O2 this year, and alternative bands being regularly added to the UK’s more mainstream festivals, it’s getting harder and harder for rock festivals to offer a unique selling point. However, Sonisphere has managed to achieve this, removing perhaps the greatest festival annoyance –  clashes between bands – by alternating set times on the main stages.

Rammestein plus pyro

In only its second year, Europe’s only touring rock festival offered classic rock at its best – Iron Maiden wowed crowds with the ‘Number of the Beast’, and Rammstein bellowed industrial metal to a 60,000 strong crowd accompanied by enough pyrotechnics to make the Human Torch blush. In addition, festival residents Slayer and Soulfly guaranteed some particularly ferocious circle pits. Luckily for the battered and bruised, respite was provided throughout the weekend by synth-rock veterans Gary Numan and Europe, and the androgynous Aussie comic Tim Minchin.

With the renowned Alice Cooper eager to provide Friday night warm-up entertainment, clearly this festival is a triumph.

Originally written September 17th 2010 – Published on Roar! Newspaper’s website

Fancy attending a festival but can’t deal with 3 days of muddy camping without straighteners? Slam Dunk provides the perfect solution – a day long festival celebrating the best of UK ska, emo and hardcore at Hertsforshire and Leeds Universities.

With 6 stages and over 40 acts, navigating our way round the labyrinthine Herts Uni proved a challenge, but fortunately the indoor Vans Music Stage housed us from the rain with a plethora of amazing artists – Random Hand, RX Bandits and Skindred, to name the best.

Jake salutes the crowd, sax in hand

Undoubtedly, headliners were the highlight: Capdown reunited with familiar vigour, and despite having aged, they delivered a passionate set, proving once again why they are so sorely missed on the UK ska scene. New Found Glory wowed their vast audience with a set spanning their 6 studio albums, closing with a energetic rendition of ‘My Friends Over You’, and although clashing with NFG, we managed to catch Alkaline Trio’s closing tracks including ‘Private Eye’.

Unfortunately, the day was slightly overshadowed by congestion issues in the university halls, with security even locking people out of the building. But, refuting rumours of the event being oversold, organisers apologised promising a better organised festival next year.