We've sifted trough the hundreds of bashes taking place this summer to bring you a handy festival guide. Here, then, are 33 festivals that carry the NME stamp of approval.
Read on to watch live videos from headliners and find out why each one is worth digging out your wellies
Summer festivals are great, but a glut of sunny weekends of riffs and beats leads to a binge-starve-binge cycle. Come winter you’re left thinking that life is wack. But fear not! This year sees the advent of NME’s firework-lit Bonfire Night take on this festival malarkey. We’ve been to a few, we should know how to do it right. Leading our indie Armada to Pontins Camber Sands are Babyshambles and British Sea Power, with The Crookes, Citadels, Chew Lips, Goldhawks, and many more to come.
September is traditionally a crap month, what with everyone having to go back to school/uni/work after summer, so the fancy dress theme for this year’s Bestival (Fantasy) is designed to cheer everyone up. Past years have been beset by mud but everyone’s so perky that it only adds to the weirdness – plus, it’s medically impossible to be bummed out when Dizzee Rascal’s in town, or indeed when The Prodigy or LCD Soundsystem are onstage. There’s also one of Roxy Music’s only two British festival dates, and a UK-exclusive set from Fever Ray.
One of the most genuinely left-of-centre two-dayers to emerge recently, this new favourite might boast kraut pioneers Cluster and Brooklyn hype victims Telepathe but it’s the spread of music across the weekend that won Offset so many friends last year.
And it’s contined in 2010: These New Puritans and Rolo Tomassi can’t often boast to be some of the more conventional acts on a festival bill. Scuzz-punkers Male Bonding, goth-schlockers O.Children, wizard-metallers Invasion and terrifying and terrifyingly fantastic noise bastards Factory Floor keep things dark and sexy, while the hardcore stage is returning, there’s loads more bands still to be announced and they’ve scored a genuine, bona-fide coup in the shape of the ludicrously influential punk-funk outfit Liquid Liquid’s second ever UK show. And just a short distance outside London, it’s easy as pie transport-wise.
There’s something refreshing about a festival that doesn’t try to hide behind a fancy name, and the line-up is suitably straightforward. Weller, Calvin Harris, Plan B and Darwin Deez all feature, with many more to be announced, and Jersey Live is fast getting a reputation as one of the friendlier festivals around. Perhaps because you don’t get many posers on Jersey, and it’s all so beautiful that no-one needs drugs.
Even more of a mash-up than SW4, Creamfields is one of the most famous dance events in the world. If you go to Creamfields and can remember anything, then, as the saying goes, you didn’t get mangled enough. There are big names, such as Tiësto, Paul Van Dyk, David Guetta and rodent-bonced banger-merchant Deadmau5 involved, but the most important thing to remember is where your tent and mind are.
28South West Four
There’s no point in pretending this is going to attract anyone other than the most dedicated of wreckheads, what with Armin Van Buuren, Fat Boy Slim, John Digweed, Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold the biggest names. Skream & Benga, Caspa & Rod Azlan and Mary Anne Hobbs will be bringing the low end, which means it’s the perfect place to use this joke: What’s the weather like on dubstep island? Warm warm warm warm.
27Reading & Leeds
We don't need to tell you why to be excited about this, do we? Arcade Bloody Fire? Guns N' Bloody Roses? The Libertines? The lineup is absolutely heaving this year, and it's going to be more weekend than you can fit in your eyes and ears.
“Ohhh, it’s so corporate! Ohhh, Hollyoaks people! Ohhh, Big Brother!” Oh, do FUCK OFF. If anybody says this to you about V, please respond with the following: “That’s one of the most tedious, boring, lame things it’s possible for a human being to say. Presumably you also think ‘All politicians are liars’ and ‘the war was all about oil’ and think Rupert Murdoch is the only company CEO who may not be a very nice man. V is actually great because there’s loads of good headliners – Kings Of Leon, Kasabian, Jamie T, the Godlike Paul Weller, and a wealth of treats lower down the bill like La Roux, Florence + The Machine and Jamie T. Right? Good.”
Having started out as a very folk-centric event, Green Man has since broadened its remit into all things pleasingly psychedelic, with sets from Spiritualized, Super Furry Animals and Animal Collective gracing recent years. Its atmosphere is the perfect balance between family friendly and freaky fun, free of the picnic-blanket brigade but also without lager yobbery. Plus, the winningly Welsh setting of Glanusk Park is pretty much the most beautiful place it’s possible to watch music in the UK, and to increase the wonder, The Flaming Lips, Beirut, Fuck Buttons and These New Puritans are going to be making us all happy to be alive. And this isn’t some standard ‘isn’t music pretty great?’ happiness, this is some solid-gold ‘I never want to leave here, please scatter my ashes in the Brecon Beacons’ beatific joy as ‘Do You Realize??’ rings out.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Leicester’s premier ice-cream themed musical event, chart-topping grime mite Tinchy Stryder will be coming to town! If you’ve yet to be convinced of the Tinch's charms, though, Los Campesinos!, Mumford & Sons and Goldheart Assembly will be putting their indie cherries on top. Plus, there’s a wealth of bands whose names start with ‘F’: Sunderland’s lovable Futureheads, Selkirk’s lovelorn Frightened Rabbit and the mighty Fall. Is it a conspiracy? Better ask Matt Bellamy; all we know is, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of sweet-toothed fun.