With the first two Bank Holidays of 2014 having already been and gone, festival season is creeping upon us. So without further ado, here's our guide to the best of what's happening both at home and across Europe.
The Great Escape
Later this week, Brighton plays host to The Great Escape, its annual sojourn where 32 participating venues play host to over 150 acts over three days and nights.
Drowned In Sound will be among the curators, with Phantogram, White Hinterland, Femme, Sun Glitters and Deathcrush all set to play the DiS Stage at Digital from 6:30pm on Friday 9th May. Full line-up details for The Great Escape and its sister Alternative Escape event can be found here.
Set in the grounds of Catton Hall on the Derbyshire and Staffordshire border, Bearded Theory has fast become one of the UK's most popular boutique festivals since its inaugural event in 2008. Having picked up an award for "Best Small Festival" last year, 2014's event will see the likes of The Wonder Stuff, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Stranglers, Peter Hook & The Light,UB40 and Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine's last ever festival performance among its line-up. Taking place from 22-25 May, full details can be found here.
Dot To Dot
Also taking place that same weekend is Dot To Dot, the multi-venued extravaganza taking place on alternative days in three different cities (23rd Manchester, 24th Bristol, 25th Nottingham). Boasting its biggest ever line-up this year, among the artists taking part are Peace, Courtney Barnett, Real Estate, Drenge and Wolf Alice. Full bill here.
Largely regarded as being Europe's finest festival, Primavera Sound returns to Barcelona for its 14th year. Set to run from Monday 26th May until Sunday 1st June, participating artists include The National, Arcade Fire, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies and the reformed Slowdive who will be playing their first festival show in over two decades. With its sister event set to take place the following weekend (5-7 June) in Porto, the mediterranean is surely the place to be when May gives way to June. Full line-up details for both events can be found here.
Donnington Park has been the mecca of heavy metal since first opening its doors to The Monsters Of Rock festival in 1980. Although initially established in 2003, Download has continued in the same vein. Featuring over 150 acts spread across 5 stages, this year sees Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Avenged Sevenfold, Status Quo, Bring Me The Horizon and The Offspring among its biggest names. Taking place from 13-15 June, the full line-up can be found here.
Eindhoven Psych Lab
The people behind Liverpool's International Festival of Psychedelia have come together with Eindhoven's Effenaar music venue to bring you Eindhoven Psych Lab. Spread across two days (6th & 7th June), it features a host of acts from around the world including Wooden Shjips, Spectrum, Night Beats, Hookworms and Teeth Of The Sea. More information here.
Also taking place that weekend is Manchester's Parklife Weekender. Taking place at Heaton Park on the outskirts of the city, this year's festival can boast the likes of Snoop Dogg, Foals, London Grammar, Public Enemy, Katy B and Warpaint among its impressive line-up. Full event details here.
After taking a sabbatical in 2013, Camden Crawl is back this year. Taking place on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st June, it features more than 200 artists playing in over 25 venues around the London borough of Camden, its line-up includes an array of talent old and new with Atari Teenage Riot, Laetitia Sadier, The Fauns, Haiku Salut and Of Montreal among those scheduled to appear.
Drowned In Sound will also be there on the Friday, hosting Girls Names, Paws, PINS and Traams at the Underworld from 7pm. Full line-up here.
The grand daddy of them and undoubted standard bearer of festival from all corners of the globe, the first wave of announcements for this year's Glastonbury Festival were met with a few sighs rather than exclamatory cheers. Nevertheless, even with the majority of the bill still to be revealed including Saturday's Pyramid Stage headliners, we think there's already enough there to be excited about with the likes of Arcade Fire (again!), Manic Street Preachers, Mogwai, Interpol, Lana Del Rey and Bryan Ferry among the dozens of acts worth seeing at Worthy Park in June. Set to run from 25-29 June, more details can be found here.
As festivals go, Denmark's Roskilde is probably the only event of its kind anywhere in the world created by the people for the people. With over 30,000 volunteers designing, crafting and organising the site not to mention putting the line-up together, it stands tall as mainland Europe's most prestigious musical gathering. As with previous years, 2014's line-up consists of some of the biggest names in music including Stevie Wonder, Arctic Monkeys, Damon Albarn and The Rolling Stones. The undercard is also exceptional with The Men, I Break Horses, The Horrors, Hookworms and Merchandise all part of an impressive bill. Set to run for a week from 29th June until 6th July, more information relating to the festival can be found here.
Another festival to take a year out last year was Sonisphere. Now back bigger than ever before, their line-up celebrating 40 years of festivals at its Knebworth home takes place from 4-6 July and brings together some of the world's biggest names in rock. Metallica, Iron Maiden, The Prodigy and Slayer are among the headline acts on a hugely impressive bill that also includes The Sisters Of Mercy, Therapy? and somewhat bizarrely Chas & Dave. Full line-up details here.
Lisbon's Optimus Alive is another growing favourite with British festival goers seeking an equal dose of sun and culture. Located in the Oeiras region of the city, the three day event runs from 10-12 July and boasts a pretty impressive line-up including Arctic Monkeys, Interpol, Temples, MGMT, Caribou and Au Revoir Simone. More information here.
Latitude has called itself "more than just a music festival" right from the outset and with a line-up also encompassing comedy, literature, performance art and cinema it remains one of the few where it's feasible to spend an entire weekend without watching a single musical act yet still feel fulfilled. Set in the quaint surroundings of Henham Park in Suffolk from 17-20 July, this year's line-up can boast Tame Impala, Kelis, Slowdive, Mogwai, Robyn and Royksopp among its number. More information here.
Nottingham's Splendour may still be in its infancy compared to some of its more established bedfellows but over the six years since 2008's inaugural event it's become one of the Midlands' most anticipated events. Held in Nottingham's Wollaton Park, names confirmed so far this year include Happy Mondays, To Odell, Foxes and The Boomtown Rats. The rest of the line-up can be found here.
Being the only festival set on the site of a railway centre, Indietracks can lay claim to being possibly the most unique event of its kind on the calendar. Taking place at Butterley's Midland Railway Centre in the Derbyshire countryside from 25-27 July, it regularly collects the best of indiepop both past and present. This year is no exception with Gruff Rhys, Joanna Gruesome, The Popguns, The Hidden Cameras and Dean Wareham all set to appear. Full line-up here.
Cambridge Folk Festival
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Cambridge Folk Festival can lay claim to being one of the longest running music festivals in the world. Set in the beautiful confines of Cherry Hinton Hall, this year's already sold out event runs from 31st July until 3rd August. Those lucky enough to have tickets can look forward to performances from Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, Seth Lakeman, Richard Thompson and Oysterband among many, many others. More details here.
Although still only a relative newcomer - this year's event will be its third - Beacons exudes a homely charm making it another of the UK's most appealing boutique festivals. Situated on Heslaker Farm in the North Yorkshire market town of Skipton, this year's line-up includes The Fall, Darkside, Eagulls, British Sea Power and 65daysofstatic alongside a host of other impressive names. Set to take place between the 7th and 10th August, more details on its location, line-up and tickets can be found here.
La Route Du Rock
Taking place biannually in Saint-Malo at the heart of Brittany, La Route Du Rock returns for its 24th year with another mouthwatering line-up set to entice punters over, across and under the channel. Situated around three venues and due to take place between the 13th and 16th August, revellers can expect to be wowed by performances from the likes of Slowdive, Portishead, Liars, Temples and the legendary Calvin Johnson, founder of K Records and Beat Happening. Full line-up here.
Having first opened its doors in 2003, Green Man has grown in stature to becoming one of the most highly respected gatherings on the circuit. Set in the village of Glanusk high upon the Brecon beacons, it can also boast one of the most picturesque settings on the calendar too. Comprised of ten different areas and arenas, not to mention being regarded as arguably the most family-friendly event of its kind, the 2014 line-up isn't short on quality either. Neutral Milk Hotel, First Aid Kit, Fat White Family, Sharon Van Etten, Simian Mobile Disco and Toy are just some of the names confirmed to play. The rest can be found here.
As rites of passage go, Leeds and Reading - dependent on logistics - have become habitual breeding grounds for adolescent introductions to the world of music festivals. Large in size and with a host of big names on the bill to match, the round Robin style event will see Arctic Monkeys, Queens Of The Stone Age, Paramore, Blink 182 and Vampire Weekend rotate between the two sites over the weekend of 21-24 August. More details here.
End Of The Road
End Of The Road might not be the easiest festival to get to but if this year's line-up is anything to go by, the rewards are there for all to see. Situated in Larmer Tree Gardens just outside the city of Salisbury, it's an idyllic location befitting of such an event and without getting too carried away, arguably hosts the most mouthwatering UK bill of the summer. The Horrors, Wild Beasts, The Flaming Lips, St Vincent, Yo La Tengo and alt-rock supergroup The Gene Clark No Other Band which features members of Beach House, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear are just some of the names confirmed to play. And the rest don't disappoint either. See here.
Rob Da Bank's Bestival is another event which has increased in size since its humble beginnings ten years ago. Based in Robin Hill Country on the Isle Of Wight, its reputation as a mini-Glastonbury enhanced by its numerous themed areas and late night extravaganzas, not to mention a consistently incredible line-up to rival any of its wealthier and more established peers. On this year's menu are Beck, Outkast, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Foals, Basement Jaxx and Wild Beasts with literally dozens of other artists, DJs and performers worthy of anyone's time vand attention. Scheduled to take place between the 4-7 September, everything else you need to know is right here.
Festival No. 6
Yet another newcomer in recent years is Festival No. 6. Set in Portmeirion, the fantasy village designed and built on the Welsh Coast by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis perhaps best known as the location for cult 1960's television drama 'The Prisoner'. Taking place over three days from 5-7 September, artists confirmed this year include Beck, London Grammar, Martha & The Vandellas, Los Campesinos! and Bonobo. Further information can be found here.
Completing the round-up is another brand new event, Reverence. Situated in the Portuguese village of Valada and brought to you by the people behind Cheree Records and Club AC30, Reverence celebrates the best of psychedelia, shoegaze and all its associated sub-genres. Taking place on the 12th and 13th September, it features performances from the likes of Hawkwind, The Telescopes, Swervedriver, The Wytches, Moon Duo and Ringo Deathstarr along with a host of other highly impressive names. Full line-up details here.
Which festivals are you going to this summer? Which are you looking forward to the most? Which ones have we missed out? Join the DiScuss on the DiS Forum.
Want more festival-related reading? Delve into our guides to this year's events and our extensive archive of coverage of fifteen years worth of fests.
Photo by Rich Linley.