“Fuck Glastonbury tomorrow, I just want to stay here – it’s so beautiful and peaceful,” gushes Little Boots. Having arrived mere minutes ago via boat, Victoria Hesketh might be new in town (arf) but she’s already got Hove Festival‘s number. It’s amazing.
Here’s five key reasons why the week long bash, also featuring sets from CasioKids, Fleet Foxes, Franz Ferdinand, Golden Silvers, Lykke Li, Metronomy, Micachu and The Prodigy, is worth making the trip across the ocean for next year.
1. The site
First off, it’s set on a ridiculously beautiful island off the coast of Norway – Tromøy, near Arendal. Instant win. It’s surrounded by trees and water, and – like Little Boots – many of the artists choose to arrive by boat rather than road.
Secondly, it’s really small in comparison to most UK festivals, so no queuing for hours before you’ve even seen a field. Walking from one side of the site to the other takes ten minutes tops, and the festival is organised in such a way that there’s barely a clash over the course of NME’s four days (June 23-36) on-site this year, with M83 vs Fujiya and Miyagi the only one of real note.
Lykke Li at Hove, by Hildegunn Larsen
2. The attention to detail
A lot of thought has clearly gone into making Hove as much of an experience as possible, rather than a few days of bands and booze. Where else do you get a dedicated tattoo artist backstage? Or barbecued fresh fish (Franz Ferdinand apparently caught 15 on their boat trip) followed by strawberries and cream in artist catering?
Fleet Foxes, by Erik Five Gunnerud
The eclectic programming also means there’s something for everyone on any given day, rather than your usual ‘Metal Day’, ‘Rock Day’ or whatever. And whoever decided to put The Prodigy on in the Amphitheatre (the best festival stage we’ve ever seen: it’s in the middle of the forest at the bottom of a tiny valley) this year is a genius.
Hove accommodation: a bit smarter than ATP
3. Their environmental policies
Of course, every festival wants to be seen as being eco-friendly, otherwise all the trust fund hippies won’t be canvassing their parents to buy them a ticket. But Hove goes further than putting out a few recycling bins and slapping a green sticker on its poster: it’s a completely carbon neutral festival, and the only event in the world that’s signed up for United Nations Environment Programme’s Climate Neutral Network.
The view from the air
4. The weather
Despite what hardened Glasto veterans might tell you, inclement conditions can, well, rain on your festival parade and spoil the party somewhat. At Hove, there was nothing but glorious sunshine – and even if the worst had happened, there’s still plenty of covered areas and acres of woodland on-site to take shelter in.
5. The locals
Norwegians are polite. Norwegians are friendly. Norwegians are pretty. We’ll say no more, apart from that these flagrant generalisations on paper prove themselves to be self-evident truths over the course of our time at Hove. And because you can’t understand what they’re saying, you won’t ever hear anybody claiming “that Human song by The Killers is a bit of tune”.