The final instalment in our 2009 Festival Guide series takes a train out to the coast to cast an eye over Bloc, Loop, Latitude and the two UK ATPs.
Obviously most of the events featured in our five guides are still some way of, but we'd like you to think of these articles as a splintered index to what's going on this summer. They'll work best if you keep them updated yourselves - there's no way any one of us could keep tabs on the slew of confirmations to come as days, anticipation and line-ups grow.
Friday March 13th – Sunday March 15th
Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, England
Line-up highlights so far: Aphex Twin & Hecker, The Future Sound of London, Carl Craig, Jamie Lidell, Green Velvet, Afrika Bambaataa, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Skream, Benga, Metro Area, 4Hero, Egyptian Lover, I-F, Heartbreak, Altern8, Busy P, Bass Clef, Ital Tek, Modeselektor & Pfadfinderei, Beardyman, Tim Exile, Digital Mystikz, Kode 9, DJ Pinch, Appleblim, 2562, Jamie Vex’d, Peverelist, Joker b2b Blazey, Drums of Death, Martyn, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke, Cocadisco (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Can you chuck Darkstar, Zomby, Hot City, Floating Points and Flying Lotus into the mix too? I’m worried the line-up's not eye-burstingly brilliant enough. As long as it settles smoothly into its new home, Bloc could be the best three-day party you’ll have all year, basically. Get there.
What to expect: Butlins rave hugeness. Sunday has a fancy dress theme of Miami Vice Disco – “Think big hair, pastels, swimwear, high heels, shoulder pads, fake jewelry, shades, tasteless colours, leopard print, make-up, powergear, hypersleaze, conspicuous consumption and facial expressions which suggest that anyone you lock eyes with may want you - but they can’t have you.” See below for description of onsite facilities and distractions (swimming pool!!!) and be aware that organisers request you leave your own soundsystems at home, so as not to enrage the authorities into enforcing noise restrictions or damage the chances of the festival getting a license in the future. If you need it, Butlins’ entire site is covered by wi-fi.
ATP: The Fans Strike Back
Friday May 8th – Sunday May 10th
Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, England
Line-up highlights so far: Devo, Spiritualized, Beirut, The Jesus Lizard, M83, Young Marble Giants (performing Colossal Youth), HEALTH, Marnie Stern, Pink Mountaintops, Errors, Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard, Future of the Left, The Mae Shi, Grouper, Killing Joke, Harvey Milk (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: The idea of this event, for those unaware, is that the fans get to choose half the line-up, given the option to vote for up to ten bands after buying a ticket. The one rule is that the band can’t have played an ATP event in the UK before – so here’s a list of those immediately struck out of the running. Organisers have drawn up another list of bands that have been approached but aren’t available, so don’t waste their time with suggestions like these. For this event, rumours and hopes are very much the same thing – the most popular choice on the DiS message board seems to be the venerable Half Man Half Biscuit, but the Birkenhead quartet languish in 38th place in the latest chart published by ATP, Neurosis, Jesu, Justice, Andrew WK and Crystal Castles comprising its top five as of February 19th. From a purely personal viewpoint, it’d be good to see Jonathan Richman, Magazine, Wipers and Lindstrom edge their way towards its summit.
What to expect: One of the best bills of the year, pretty girls in dresses, surprise chalet parties, new friends, scenester carry-on + Butlins. ATP has the formula down, basically – you should go.
ATP: Curated by The Breeders
Friday May 15th – Sunday May 17th
Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, England
Line-up highlights so far: The Breeders, Throwing Muses, Bon Iver, Foals, Teenage Fanclub, Holy Fuck, Deerhunter, Gang of Four, Shellac, The Soft Pack, X, Tricky, Melt Banana, Madlib & J. Rocc (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: It’d be pretty great if a few more acts you can dance to were added to the bill – the dark, deep dubstep of Quest and Silkie or the dreamy, lop-sided likes of Darkstar, Ikonika, Hudson Mohawke, Floating Points et al would bring this event to the tip of perfection.
What to expect: The Breeders-curated ATP takes place at Minehead Butlins a week after the ‘Fans Strike Back’ event and will attract a largely similar set. Is there anything we missed in the ‘What to expect’ section up there? Yes – somehow we managed to overlook Splash Water World, with its wave pool, flumes and raft-ride. So all the pretty girls in dresses (minus dresses), Steve Albini, Madlib and skinny white boys, wet and chlorine-eyed in sub-tropical temperatures. What more could you want? Ten-pin bowling, football, basketball and rounders pitches, petanque, crazy golf, a sandy beach and junk food. Like we said, ATP has the formula down – book chalets now for the traditional Butlins experience plus awesome noise bands and the inevitable making of new friends.
Saturday July 11th – Sunday July 12th
Victoria Gardens, Brighton, England
Line-up highlights: Matthew Herbert Big Band, The Invisible, We Have Bands, Plugs, The Sian Alice Group, James Yuill, Tunng (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Event Director Jason Clarke promises “some other somewhat bigger acts to headline” but has yet to tie up the loose ends – he does hint, though, that “a couple of them are Swedish and have very DiS friendly albums coming out very shortly.” Make of that what you will, the reason we chose to profile Loop is because it remains committed to showcasing the talents that lie on the peripheries between rock and dance music – rock _as_ dance music, almost, with those avant- acts that use repetitive songs structures and (yes) loops to forge aural territories. To that end, Four Tet, Cut Copy, Caribou, Micachu, Errors, Holy Fuck and Daedelus all featured last year. Gentle Friendly, Banjo or Freakout, Arch M, Dan Deacon and Samiyam would all seem like apt acts to follow on in 2009.
What to expect: Loop continues to grow in its third year, with organisers promising an event “bigger, better and bolder than ever”. Live music will be divided up into four performance spaces and Loop Late ensures the jams will keep coming long into the night.
Thursday July 16th – Sunday July 19th
Henham Park, Southwold, England
Line-up highlights: Nothing yet confirmed (latest full details)
Rumours, hopes et cetera: Festival organisers have their headliners but they won’t announce them ‘til the end of this month. However, looking at the promoters’ current tour roster could provide some clues as to who will be performing (or it may not, of course). Still – DiS is going to speculatively throw out the names of Peter, Bjorn and John, Patrick Wolf, St Vincent, Camera Obscura, Antony & the Johnsons, White Lies, Holy Fuck, Chairlift and School of Seven Bells. This is probably all rot, but the quality of last year’s bill should be assurance enough that a large percentage of the acts there will be worth seeing. Latitude tends to go for proven acts – last year’s main stage, featuring Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, Interpol, Elbow, Grinderman and The Breeders, is testament to that – as well as dipping its toe into fresher indie waters to wet the line-up with those acts most in the industry consider ‘career’ acts – Wild Beasts, Foals, These New Puritans, Johnny Flynn, et cetera. Efestivals says of Montreal are ‘strongly rumoured’.
What to expect: The Lake Stage seems to be held in particularly high regard as it’s located central to the rest of the stages and closest to the water. I seem to remember that last year there was something called the Pimms Island Bar, set in the middle of that lake – I imagine that’d be pretty great.
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