The penultimate part of our 2009 Festival Guide deals with some of the summer's behemoths: Roskilde, Lollapalooza, Reading and Leeds, Bonnaroo and Glastonbury.
Unfortunately, the nature of these events means they can sell-out without announcing what bands'll be playing, leaving us poor spods with scraps to share, but there's plenty of rumour to go around and a festival preview week wouldn't be the same without at least a cursory glance at what the big boys were doing.
Thursday June 11th – Sunday June 14th
Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tennessee, US
Line-up highlights so far: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Wilco, Al Green, Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, The Mars Volta, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Bon Iver, Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabate, of Montreal, Animal Collective, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Grizzly Bear, King Sunny Ade, Okkervil River, Crystal Castles, Vieux Farka Toure, Yeasayer, Chairlift (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Scoured the net – nothing that wasn’t announced in that list up there, which arrived recently. Odd – so far Bonnaroo has one of the best mixes between big names and new quality of any of the jumbo fests, but then maybe that’s just because no-one else has announced anything yet.
What to expect: Lots of drugs, if the festival’s community boards are anything to go by. Enough to service 90,000 people anyway. Sounds likely, as is usual I guess, that there’ll be more than the fair share of crooks in that 90k, too. Bonnaroo is America's answer to Glastonbury, for a generation who grew up hearing tales of Woodstock. Whereas we have the British weather to contend with, Bonnaroo is pretty much always in the nineties and features various sprinklers and fountains to keep you cool. TLeave your wellies at home and walk barefoot from the Which stage to the What stage to That stage and This stage. Please note: he festival ends with a colossal jam band session for several hours - or at least it feels like it - and the aforementioned drugs seem to make everyone love it!
Wednesday June 24th – Sunday June 28th
Worthy Farm, Pilton, England
Line-up highlights so far: Blur, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Animal Collective, Gong, Lily Allen, Franz Ferdinand (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Neil Young was the big rumour but yesterday's confirmation for the Isle of Wight Festival has cast doubt upon that. Meanwhile, Fleet Foxes, Madness, Doves, Keane, The Ting Tings and Kaiser Chiefs all either been strongly tipped or are 99% confirmed. Having already sold the event out, the festival’s organisers can afford to be lax with their announcements, so expect a dribble of self-confirmations through MySpace pages as June approaches. We can has Jean Michel Jarre?
What to expect: It's the mother, father and great-grand parent of festivals and it looks set to be gargantuan this year with more legends and returning heroes than even the most addled memory can remember. Bulk buy some wellies now as there are never any left in the UK the week before, leave room for a square pie and expect to suddenly find a henna tattoo a must-have item. It’s sold out already, but a limited amount of cancelled tickets will go back on sale at 9am on Sunday April 5th. The rest of this section seems fairly redundant – most reading this will be more aware of Glastonbury’s heritage than they are their own and, anyway, the sheer size of the site means it’s unwise to plot too rigid an itinerary.
Thursday July 2nd – Sunday July 5th
Line-up highlights so far: Amadou & Mariam, Baddies, Fever Ray, Fleet Foxes, Madness, The Mars Volta, Oasis, The Soft Pack, Marnie Stern, Slipknot (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Faith No More are the subject of strong speculation as Patton’s appeared in other guises numerous times at the festival. There isn’t much more of anything other than wishful thinking knocking around, though a regular announcement of around 100 acts is due in April.
What to expect: The grand old Danish festival has been going since 1971 and over the course of its history has attracted such names as The Clash, Bob Marley, U2, The Kinks and Radiohead. Boasting its own cinema, newspaper, train station and lake, pretty much all the bands are encouraged to play hour-long, ‘headlining’ sets which leads to a more laid-back atmosphere among the 85,000 or so attendants. Every year there’s a naked run, with the first male and female winners receiving weekend tickets as a prize. If you’re thinking of employing usual, early-bird-gets-the-worm tactics in order to get a good pitch for your tent, good luck to you – it’s not unusual for festival goers to arrive up to a week early, prompted by large areas of dodgy terrain within the 80 hectare campsite.
Friday August 7th – Sunday August 9th
Grant Park, Chicago, US
Line-up highlights so far: Nothing yet confirmed (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: The reformed Jane’s Addiction could grace their own festival after confirming they’ll support Nine Inch Nails on their ‘farewell tour’. Depeche Mode, not appearing at any UK festivals this year, have a gap in their schedule from August 3rd (when they’ll be in New York) and August 10th (Seattle) that may well be filled by a slot at Lollapalooza and Delta Spirit, Atmosphere, The Raveonettes and Kaiser Chiefs have already self-confirmed. The likes of Green Day and Blink 182 – all looking to tour new records – have got folk whispering too.
What to expect: Heat, so take a refillable water bottle and sun cream. It can be anywhere up to a 15 minute trek between stages too, so plan your route with that in mind.
Reading and Leeds Festivals
Friday August 28th – Sunday August 30th
Little John’s Farm, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds, England
Line-up highlights so far: Nothing confirmed yet (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: The first additions to the line-up will be announced “moments before” tickets go on sale at 7pm on Monday March 30th. Kings of Leon and Yeah Yeah Yeahs look strong possibilities as they’ve been confirmed for T in the Park and there’s usually a lot of crossover between the three events. Arctic Monkeys, Brody Dalle’s Spinnerette and the Blink 182 reunion jamboree may well roll into town, while someone over at the eFestivals forums has mooted the possibility of a reformed Spinal Tap filling the ‘comedy rock slot’ taken last year by Tenacious D. Obviously it’s all speculation at this stage, though an unusual amount hope revolves around the seemingly absurd idea that Radiohead might headline one of the nights, even Radiohead have been rumoured. Surely a vanquishing of the generic skiffle-rock toss splattered across the bill in recent years has to be at least as high a priority?
What to expect: The usual mix of frothy GCSE students, fire-wielding rioters, drunk lads with West Ham t-shirts and shaved heads, old punks, metallers, fence-jumping bother boys, around 15-20 good bands, shit, expensive food, overzealous, Glaswegian campsite security, gazebo-thieves, rock day, inappropriately placed rap acts, sunstroke delirium, late-night hijinks, bridge-jumping, trips to Caversham Tesco, cashpoint queues, waterpoint queues, ska-punk, poppers and skiffle-rock toss.