Folks, it’s time
to get down and dirty. The festival season is finally upon us! For
music lovers this summer is a god send… particularly for those of us
living in the big smoke where there seems to be an outdoor event on
every other weekend. And there’s something for everyone… from classical
to reggae, pop to jazz, dance to operatic. And I’m excited…

Season kicked off in style at the end of May with Homelands, a mesh of
house music, drum and bass and Pete Doherty in “…a field somewhere in
Hampshire…” and is pregnant with promise and good times until it’s
culmination in an exhausting number of events in the final weekend of

As this site is largely aimed at Londoners I
thought it best to make a distinction between events in London and
those around the country…


We begin with a relative newcomer, the Nokia Isle of Wight Festival held last weekend June 10th – 12th
and headlined by Faithless, Morrissey and REM and by all accounts it
rocked. The same weekend saw the annual rock-fest that is The Download
Festival at Donnington Park. This year the festival was extended to
three days and boasted the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Slipknot
and Feeder. Trailing the bunch in June is Glastonbury, the mother of
all festivals. Whatever your tastes, Glastonbury is sure to suit. The
line up this year will see The Killers, White Stripes, Coldplay and
Basement Jaxx (In a late replacement for Kylie) taking to the stage
amongst others. New to the festival for 2005 is the intriguing sounding
‘silent dance tent’ – a marquee filled with thousands of people dancing
with headphones! If you have a ticket like me, expect a fun filled
couple of days…


July sees in T in the Park (9th – 10th).
The mighty Snoop Dogg, Foo Fighters and Green Day will all be putting
in an appearance at Scotland’s legendary festival. If only it wasn’t so
far away! The following weekend and it’s down to Surrey for Guilfest,
expect a slightly older crowd rocking to the likes of Paul Weller,
Status Quo and The Pogues. Mid July brings another new festival harking
back to the illegal raves of the early nineties. In it’s second year
Glade Festival (15th – 17th) is located on a
secret country estate near Newbury and is a must for electronic music
fans. Headlining are Sasha and Richie Hawtin. The final weekend in July
plays host to 3 very different festivals. Take your pick from folk
music at The Cambridge Folk Festival (28th – 31st), dance at Global Gathering (29th – 30th) or world music at Womad (29th – 31st).


Throughout August the Eden project in Cornwall will be playing host to a number of outdoor gigs from the 1st – 27th with Keane kicking off the festivities on the 1st. The Big Chill takes place over the second weekend in August (5th – 7th)
with the legendary Norman Jay putting in his annual appearance, expect
a thoroughly chilled out couple of days! The following weekend and it’s
over to Leicester for the Summer Sundae Weekender now in it’s fifth
year. Hugely popular and cheap, Idlewild, Lemon Jelly and The Magic
Numbers are all headlining.

For all nu-folk fans The Green Man festival (19th – 21st) in Powys, Wales should be worth a look in and for the rest of us with more commercial tastes, V 2005 (20th – 21st)
will satisfy the sourest palette with big crowd pleasers in the form of
Oasis, Joss Stone and Maroon 5 among others. Seeing out August is
Creamfields (27th) and the Reading Festival (26th – 28th).
The latter, seemingly a pilgrimage for spotty teenagers and rock fans
alike. The season finishes in September with Bestival (9th – 11th) on the Isle of Wight

And so to London…


summer of 2005 began on a warm Saturday afternoon last weekend dancing
in Brockwell Park at Park Live ’05. Whipping the crowd into a frenzy
were Tony Humphries, Danny Rampling and the incredible Jocelyn Brown.
However if you missed that, fear not, there’s plenty more London has to

Throughout June (7th – 24th)
the nice people at Hampton Court are staging a series of gigs, ranging
from Classical to pop and finishing with fireworks in the palace’s
spectacular grounds. Take a blanket and a picnic and prepare yourself
for much ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’!

The next major gig in our grand capital is the Wireless festival (24th – 30th).
Four of the seven days that week will see various bands taking to the
stage in Hyde Park. If you didn’t manage to get tickets to Glastonbury
this year, here is your no-brainer alternative…


As the weather gets hotter (hopefully) so does the quota of festivals in London. Late into the mix is Bob Geldof’s Live8 (2nd)
to coincide with the G8 Summit and raise awareness for the ‘Make
Poverty History’ campaign, Hyde Park will stage a monumentous gig led
by Sir Elton John, Madonna, U2 and Robbie to name but a few. The same
weekend and it’s B-Live (1st – 3rd) on Clapham
Common. Sponsored by Bacardi, the 3 day event begins with a distinct
Latin flavour on Friday, House, courtesy of Oakie and the fantastic
Audio Bully’s on Saturday and Jazz on Sunday with Jamiroquai. Go north
of the river and Kenwood House is hosting a month of live concerts (2nd – 6th Aug). Again it’s a blanket and picnic affair with some great fireworks.

From one Stately home to another – In it’s third year, the Somerset House Series (5th – 12th)
is going from strength to strength. Situated on The Strand and
headlined by Queens of The Stone Age, Bloc Party and Super Furry
Animals among others this one’s definitely worth checking out. 
The 16th sees Mayor Ken Livingston’s free anti-racism
festival Rise (formally Respect). Expect world music and plenty of
beats. The same weekend and it’s the beginning of the Ealing Summer
Festival. A month long collection of Jazz and cultural events and it’s
all free!

Moving from Clapham Common to Victoria Park this year
is Groove Armada’s Lovebox on a Summer’s day. Music will be provided by
Groove Armada themselves along with Joey Negro and Mylo.

We begin in August with a great little free festival in Regent’s park called Fruitstock 6th – 7th)
run by the Innocent Smoothie people. It’s very laid back but if last
year was anything to go by it should be great. Make sure you get
yourself down to the funk tent for some seriously cool tunes. The final
weekend in August is a biggie. There’s just so much to choose from,
here’s the low-down… South West Four (27th), again on
Clapham Common, will see 10,000 like-minded people getting their groove
on to the likes of Erick Morillo, Sasha and X-Press 2. Next day, same
place, possibly madder it’s Get Loaded in the Park (28th) with Happy Mondays and The Farm headlining. Over at the King’s Cross Freight Depot it’s the Cross Central Festival (27th – 28th).
A dance festival sans mud, sounds good to me! With an eclectic mix of
performers, including Grace Jones, Cross Central will appeal to
slightly leftfield tastes. And finally the great British summer comes
to a close with The Notting hill Carnival

(28th – 29th).
If you haven’t been before I highly recommend a trip to the carnival.
Despite the over-crowding, the music is great, it’s free, cultural, fun
and a damn good way to end the summer.