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The Festival Season Starts Here - But Which Bands Are You Most Excited About Seeing?

By Luke Lewis

Posted on 11 May 09

 
 

Even if it weren't for the fact that the new issue of the mag is a festival special (a free copy of which you can download here), we'd still be in full-on summer countdown mode. After all, the sun is out - and for many of us, the 'season' has already started. Tim Chester, for one, has just returned from ATP, mumbling deliriously about Fuck Buttons and looking like he's spent the weekend ingesting the contents of Bobby Gillespie's 'party jar'.



But in an age when even Tatler magazine publishes an 'essential' festival guide, what's striking is how far one's festival choices have become a marker of wider social categories. Going to the The Big Chill? Then you're a 40-year-old business analyst with a pocketful of low-quality ecstasy and a hankering for some "cracking dub reggae".

Beach Break Live more your bag? Then you're an old Harrovian called Felix with stinking white dreads who will spend the entire weekend playing air-bongos to Newton Faulkner and loudly informing visibly nauseated onlookers how, like, totally baked you are.



Heading to Latitude? You're doubtless an appalling middle-class milque-toast who'd rather sup on a turnip smoothie during a live recording of Poetry Please! than experience the sweat and grime of real rock'n'roll. Either that, or you're Geoff Hoon.

Such are the stereotypes, anyway. In truth, some of the 'boutique' fests on offer this year are even more ludicrously genteel than the yoghurt-weaving clichés would suggest. Lounge On The Farm in Kent – judged a must-see event by that noted barometer of high-voltage rock thrills, 'The Telegraph' – this year hopes to lure punters with such non-musical attractions as a farmers' market, reiki massage, bushcraft course, and a speakers' corner sponsored by Ecover. Although, having said that, the line-up is excellent (The Horrors, Edwyn Collins, Wild Beasts) - so I'll see you by the baby yoga tent.

Leaving aside the lunatic fringe, however, judging by all previous years there's bound to be a slew of genuinely jaw-dropping, transcendent festival performances this summer. It's always fun trying to guess which bands will provide these. My money is on Radiohead at Reading and Leeds - I've got a feeling that playing to a younger, rockier crowd will coax something urgent and visceral from them. Plus, they're bound to play a couple of new songs.

Oh, and there's no way that Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury is going to be anything other than heartstoppingly, upper-lip quiveringly amazing. If he plays 'Born To Run', the Pyramid Stage crowd might actually explode with chemically-enhanced joy. That's assuming the sound system volume is pushed above 'kitten-fart' levels - and judging by The Killers' barely-audible gust of a set the other year, that's by no means guaranteed.

But what do you think? Which festival(s) are you going to? Which bands are you most excited about seeing? And who do you think will provide the era-defining, communal, bellow-at-the-heavens, you-had-to-be-there festival moment of the summer? Apart from Simple Minds at Isle Of Wight, obvs.

Photo gallery – all the latest festival line-up additions revealed

Download a free digital version of NME's festival guide issue

 
 
 
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