Our preview of this summer’s festivals continues apace, with a look today at those events that descend upon bewildered locals and immediately send alcoholism, crime and fun rates soaring –SXSW, The Camden Crawl, The Great Escape, Benicassim and Bestival. Just writing this got me ridiculously excited for the months ahead.
South By South West
Wednesday March 18th – Sunday March 22nd
Austin, Texas, US
Line-up highlights so far: The Dicks with David Yow, Roky Erickson with The Black Angels, What’s Up, Desolation Wilderness, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Parenthetical Girls, Department of Eagles, Camera Obscura, Phosphorescent, Danananananaykroyd, Kap Bambino, Vetiver, Circle Jerks, Echo and the Bunnymen, Mumford & Sons, Thomas Function, Laura Marling, Late of the Pier, Deadmau5, Booka Shade, Robert Gomez, Yoni Wolf (Why?), The Chap, Viva Voce, Manchester Orchestra, Lovvers, Sky Larkin, The Bronx, The Coathangers, These Arms Are Snakes, The Golden Filter, Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters, Glasvegas, Voxtrot, Anni Rossi, Beach House, Buraka Som Sistema, Friendly Fires, Passion Pit, Pete & the Pirates, Primal Scream, Ra Ra Riot, Sage Francis, Wale (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Symptomatic of the festival’s sprawling nature, there are a ton of acts who haven’t been officially confirmed by the SXSW organisers yet but who reckon they’re playing regardless – among them Andrew Bird, Black Lips, Future of the Left, Kurt Vile, Micachu, Wavves, Asobi Seksu, Charles Hamilton, Crystal Method, Crystal Stilts, Mika Miko, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Abe Vigoda, Alex Smoke, Blank Dogs, Blitzen Trapper, Bouncing Souls, Cadence Weapon, Cursive, Dirty Projectors, Ducktails, Eat Skull, Ecstatic Sunshine, Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners, Gary War, Girls, Dead Luke, Hatcham Social, HEALTH, Ipso Facto, King Khan and the Shrines, Lemonade, Let’s Wrestle, Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts, Matthew Dear, Meat Puppets, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, New York Dolls, Nite Jewel, No Age, Old Blood, Peter Broderick, Ponytail, Real Estate, Rolo Tomassi, Spinnerette, Sun Araw, The Drones, The Duke Spirit, The Hold Steady, The Rapture, The Warlocks, U.S. Girls, Vivian Girls, Wild Beasts, Women, YACHT and Zola Jesus (taken from here). If I’ve repeated myself or forgotten anyone you’ll have to forgive me, after that my brain is aged. If you go, make sure you check The Fader and Hank IV Siltbreeze Showcases, too.
What to expect: The above + music industry sharks gnawing on their red meat – get your tortilla with scrambled eggs and chorizo for breakfast at La Cantina on Congress, head to the BBQ at Stubbs and gorge on the foot-long hot dogs at the diner on 6th. Buffalo Billiards is a place better than many to booze, while Emo’s in the afternoon is worth queuing and paying for – with two stages, lots of bars and what’s usually a high standard of music (Bon Iver, No Age last year). You may find it a struggle to see the bands you went there to see, so best prioritise and stay loyal to venues rather than try to flooze around them all.
Friday April 24th – Saturday April 25th
Camden, north London, England
Line-up highlights so far: Baddies, BLK JKS, Brakes, De Tropix, The Joy Formidable, Kasms, Lion Club, The XX (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: With rumours of an appearance from Patrick Wolf dismissed and 1/3 of the acts already announced, all we hope is that the line-up gets better – beyond that, it’d be good if the organisers booked a few likely to get up the noses of the leather-clad, coke-eyed, post-Sun Doherty mob that hang around in the Hawley. The looks on faces as Wild Beasts swooned brilliantly into gear at Cuban Bar last April will never be forgotten.
What to expect: The Crawl has its place – it’s akin to a rite of passage for those new to London, still lured by the possibility that there’s a decent band waiting to burst from the dark of every Camden dive. In truth, it’s usually a decent pair of nights out with a smattering of very good acts – as ever with those events held across a number of different venues (40 in the Crawl’s case) it’s best to plot your route out carefully beforehand and perhaps sack off lesser priorities to see who you really want, as well as any unknown acts who might be playing before or after them.
The Great Escape
Thursday May 14th – Saturday May 16th
Line-up highlights so far: British Sea Power, The Black Lips, Kasabian, Holy Fuck, Metronomy, Future of the Left, Johnny Foreigner, Danananananaykroyd, The Joy Formidable, Passion Pit, Kasms, The Soft Pack, Let’s Wrestle, Micachu and the Shapes, Ox. Eagle. Lion. Man., The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Ipso Facto, Mika Miko, A Grave With No Name, The Big Pink, The Maccabees, White Denim, Chairlift, The Mae Shi, Abe Vigoda, The XX, Hot Silk Pockets, Ulterior, Rainbow Arabia, Trailer Trash Tracys (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Once again The Great Escape have put together a stellar bill, combining established live favourites like British Sea Power, The Black Lips and Holy Fuck with fresher propositions like Abe Vigoda, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Trailer Trash Tracys. So far, though, it’s looking slightly guitar-heavy – DiS would like to see some bass weigh in among the 300 eventually confirmed and, of course, for the sun to shine. Perhaps a little of something dark, industrial and witchy, too.
What to expect: First things first – early bird tickets, priced £39.50, are only unavailable until March 13th, so obviously it makes sense to pick up one of those as soon as is possible. Brighton’s a pretty great town for a festival like this – with plenty of venues (34) all within short walking distance, a large student population and an aquarium, it’s immensely entertaining for the day-time drunk. There’s a beach too, if you look hard enough, while it’s always nice to pop along to Horatio’s at the end of the pier to see ruddy-faced daytrippers bemused by the sudden transpiration of Let’s Wrestle or Foals in their beery midst.
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim
Thursday July 16th – Sunday July 19th
Benicàssim, Castellón, Spain
Line-up highlights so far: Oasis, Kings of Leon, Paul Weller, Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires, The Psychedelic Furs (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Little in the way of rumour, though there are calls over at the eFestivals forum for acts like Arcade Fire, The Knife and Devo to add a bit of originality to what is, at the moment, a very mainstream bill.
What to expect: Relentless heat, locals that will tolerate your presence if you massively overpay for their wares, go karts, water parks, booze and the sea. Brits abroad, then, but with less holiday reps and more bands. The takeover of this tiny port town should ideally be launched from the comfort of a hotel room, but if you fancy sleeping in a plastic oven through the warmest hours of the Iberian afternoon (music goes on til morning) be aware that Benicamp is a five minute walk to the arena, while CampFIB, though supposedly the better of the two and closer to Lidl (drink) and the nicest part of the beach, is a half hour trek. Like Primavera, inside the arena there’s a voucher system for food and drink, with DiS user LordLuciusBanter hazily recalling the €6 per litre of beer he had to pay back in 2006 – find that and more advice than we can fit here at this excellent thread.
Friday September 11th – Sunday September 13th
Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
Line-up highlights so far: Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, MGMT, Fleet Foxes, Klaxons, Bat for Lashes, Squarepusher, Future Sound of London, Friendly Fires, Fujiya and Miyagi, Metronomy, Passion Pit, 65daysofstatic, Diplo Presents Mad Decent Soundsystem feat. Boy 8 Bit and Buraka Som Sistema, A1 Bassline, Joe Gideon and the Shark, Pivot (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Six hours ago, festival organiser Rob da Bank announced he’d just confirmed his “favourite dj” at his Twitter page, possibly for the still spare Sunday headliner slot – though there are strong rumours that will be Morrissey after da Bank hinted that the third bill-topper would be “an ‘s’ beginning with ‘m’”. Twitter’s where the last round of additions – including Kraftwerk – were made, in the form of anagrams. No more gossip from there though, other than news that at 6:26am on Monday 2nd March Rob was “Wearing a pair of brown suede slippers to sainsburys as ive locked myself out.hope i dont get papped!yeah right more chance of getting run ov.” The Cure definitely aren’t playing, while a scour of the relevant forums suggests Erasure, The Prodigy and Depeche Mode are popular, if unlikely, choices.
What to expect: Every year Bestival has at its core a theme for festival goers to follow. I can never work out if that’s a good way to lower inhibitions or just horribly wacky, but this year the theme is ‘Outer Space’ and as such this year’s festival will include something called ‘Blastival’; “a fiery spectacle unfolding over three nights, the show blends astounding pyrotechnical pleasures with stunning street theatre [to] tell the tale of our hero Michael Santos, his magnificent machine Maximus and his dream to reach the stars.” We wonder what the locals will make of that – there are 140,000 people living on the Isle of Wight and will be 35,000 at Bestival, which makes it the most formidable takeover in our list.