Festival season is well under way, the temperature is reaching the 20's - by my expert knowledge (Google) that’s the early 70's in fahrenheit - and I'm ready to trudge through a field drinking a flat warm beer. Don't tell me that doesn't sound like the dream.
There’s a plethora of festivals around the UK celebrating all sorts of music, which means I have serious FoMo from May to September - I need to sample it all!
So I'm going to share a slice of some of the best dance offerings across the isles:
Dubbing itself ‘the mystical party hidden in the middle of the woods’ - I mean, I don’t know about you guys but I'm a big fan of at least three words in that description - Welsh festival Gottwood is one of the more unique, secret festivals around. It’s fairytale vibe draws in a cool crowd looking for a ‘back to basics’ feel. You’ll find some ‘house’hold (excuse the pun) names on the bill like Move-D and Soul Clap as well as a flood of underground talent. So if you are keen to spend three days in an adult playground, stick this feller on your list.
In its new home in South London’s Brockwell Park, this one day festival brings together some of the world’s greatest purveyors of house and techno. Spread across five stages, expect the likes of Guy Gerber, George Fitzgerald and Motor City Drum Ensemble. The only drawback is, with all that talent on the line-up, you’ll have to make some tough decisions on who to see and who to miss - but if that’s the only downside then you should already be bagging tickets!
I nearly didn't include this little one. A small bespoke festival, fairly unknown… heard of it? Nah, me neither… Sorry I know my British sarcasm is just next level. Glastonbury is the big dog of British festivals, the daddy, the dream, the holy grail - have I sold it to you yet? Maybe I should work for their marketing team. Founded by Michael Eavis, Glasto has been kicking about for decades and never fails to provide the goods when it comes to bookings. The line-up is just so insane, I can hardly get my head round it. Not forgetting the big names like Kanye and Pharrell, there’s some delicious electronic music from Fatboy Slim, Four Tet and Catz ‘n Dogz, to name (literally) just a few. This is not just a festival, it’s a magical wonderland that will surprise you at every turn - heed my advice, Glastonbury is a must… Now just bear with me while I go and cry because I'm not going.
Arcadia - THE stage
After it’s conception five years ago, Farr is fast becoming one of the most popular boutique festivals around. Unlike many other festivals growing with popularity and demand, Farr has kept the size at an intimate level - and in my humble opinion that’s the best way. Set in a deserted woodland in the heart of Hertfordshire, expect names like Erol Alkan, Waze & Odyssey and DJ Koze on the bill with a little help from party makers Trouble Vision and Tief, among others. If a party in the woods is bang up your street - and I mean who doesn't dig that? - then bag yourself some hot tickets.
This urban beauty of a festival takes place in London’s oldest park Victoria Park and always supplies the perfect balance of DJs and bands. Not into getting stuck in the mud or looking like a drowned rat? (Trust me it’s ALWAYS a possibility over here) Well this is more of a clean and fresh set up with immaculately dressed lovelies roaming around the fields. This years line-up is headed by none other than Snoop himself with players like Dusky, Boddika and Kerri Chandler doing it for the dance music. Lovebox is a pop and dance nucleus which treads the line between mainstream and boutique. Oh and did I mention it has a roller disco guys, a god damn roller disco, need I say more?
Heading to Hertfordshire again and the grounds of Hatfield House - the setting for this one day electronic fiesta. With European and American offerings, Eastern Electrics reels in some big names with even bigger sounds. A few of my favourites this year are Floorplan, Midland and Crazy P, who will surely provide the audience with some banging beats to dance to - and by dance, I mean fist pump and shuffle - you guys know who you are. If you’re a non stop party head, then join the fast and furious crowd for a day of shenanigans!
A newbie to the festival scene, but I have high hopes for this one. Originally a day and night party at the Faversham in Leeds, this weekender is taking place in a Brewery in the heart of the city. And it welcomes an incredible line-up. Seriously, I think this festival was created for me, I'm already freaking out about clashes! Key players include John Talabot, Bicep, Mos Def and Black Coffee - I basically just want to list the whole line-up because it’s so bloody good. Not only is this a celebration of music but of art and food and I for one can’t wait to touch down in Yorkshire for the festivities (and a burger or two).
The Garden Party
London dance music nights have a real thing for not telling punters where the events taking place when they buy tickets. I mean, on countless occasions I've been asked by my friends “where’s that night later?” “It’s in a secret East London location… again”. Well Field Maneuvers is no different, I mean god knows where it is. Although, as one of the smaller underground festivals, in every aspect it doesn't give too much away about itself - that I like. And the line-up I like even more, Optimo, Francis Inferno Orchestra and Blawan will be laying down some steady beats and grooves. I don’t know about you lot, but I'm already there… when I know where it is.
One of my favourite UK festivals, Bestival never disappoints. If you love to dress up and steal the limelight then this one is ALL you. The fancy dress theme adds a vibrancy and colour to the proceedings, with this year’s theme ‘Summer of love’ focusing on embracing the love and banishing the hate. Taking place on the Isle of Wight, right down south, it is a four day fiesta of arts, crafts, theatre, cinema and some great great music. Taking to the stage this year are Tale of us, Jackmaster and Ben UFO - and trust me that’s just a slither of the delights on this year’s bill. Have I sold it? Are you jumping on Skyscanner right now? You damn well should be.
Of course there are a few smokin’ festivals that have already passed, but be sure to check these ones out - definitely worth copping a Virgin Atlantic ticket, donning a red eye mask and taking that 12 hour flight on the chin:
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