The British music festival experience is invariably imbued with mud, lukewarm beer, and at least three nights of uncomfortable camping. Listening to your favourite bands from midday to well past midnight is a dream, but once you’re home, you end up feeling like you need a week to recover from the festival weekend itself.
Siren Festival is the perfect antidote to this. Located in the picturesque town of Vasto on the eastern coast of Italy, the small festival promises stages nestled amongst ruins, atop the hillside, and on the rolling sandy beaches which line the coast. Festival-goers will stay in accommodation in the town, enjoying the local wine and cuisine. With no mud in sight, there is even more time to relax and enjoy the music, as well as the various film, poetry, spoken-word and art installation projects that make up Siren Festival.
Previous Siren line-ups have included Jon Hopkins, Editors, James Blake, and The National, and 2017’s offering does not cease to bring an eclectic mix of established and up-and-coming musicians from rock and indie scenes across the world to Vasto. Here are the bands DiS is most looking forward to hearing live.
To say the Allah-Las’ garage rock is sun-kissed is an understatement: it’s positively sun-drenched. The jangly guitar sound of these LA boys is a perfect summer soundtrack, and with their career spanning the best part of the last decade, their back-catalogue is full to bursting.
Obaro Ejimiwe’s gnarly voice is undeniably urban; we’re intrigued to see how the Londoner will work a sun-kissed European crowd who have spent the day lounging on the beach. With fourth album Dark Days And Canapés on its way in August, and most recent singles ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Trouble + Me’ marking out its path, there are lots more heartfelt soul/rap narratives to be spun here.
After their 2006 break-up and reformation ten years later, Siren has done well to nab these Glaswegian indie rockers. Arab Strap comeback shows at the end of last year saw an impressive seven-piece line-up including trumpets and drum machines. If that’s anything to go by, their appearance at Siren, with songs detailing all the grotty but delightfully frank parts of sex and relationships, will be a sonic treat.
Half the fun of visiting festivals abroad is having the opportunity to listen to bands that wouldn’t necessarily be booked for a UK festival. Siena-based trio Baustelle (which translates into English as ‘building site’) make synth-heavy pop with luscious Italian lyrics glistening over the top. They even have a track called ‘Eurofestival’ – more than fitting for the occasion.
Dubbed by the Guardian as “Tel Aviv’s most defiant star”, Noga Erez makes electronic pop music with a bold political message. Sexual assault and government-fuelled poverty are amongst the plethora of themes on last month’s Off The Radar. The Israeli will bring sharp snares, punchy synths and her own brand of protest music to Vasto.
Swedish-born Jens Lekman will close the festival with a set in an intimate church location on Sunday evening. Lekman’s upbeat witty pop, fused with calypso and disco on latest record Life Will See You Now will be a perfect ending to a festival soaked in a holiday atmosphere.
Siren Festival takes place in Vasto Italy, from the 28 to 31 July. For tickets and more information, please visit the festival's official website.