After what feels like one of the longest, coldest winters in living memory, the days are finally getting longer, brighter and warmer – signs that can only mean one thing to a Venue reader; festival season is approaching.
Glastonbury, the long-reigning king of British festivals, has obviously got no intention of letting its crown slip after last year’s Olympic-induced hiatus. Securing The Rolling Stones for their one and only UK festival appearance is a bit like when Real Madrid bought Cristiano Ronaldo for £80 million – it’s clear they mean business. But with weekend tickets long gone, we thought we’d have a look at festivals that might still appeal to the student punter.
Reading and Leeds Festivals, so long Britain’s premier rock weekend, are this year attempting to break out from that pigeonhole. The comparatively left-field bookings of Eminem and Skrillex, coupled with the newly unveiled Dance Stage have left the diehard fan-base grumbling however, and it remains to be seen whether the multi-genre rebranding will succeed. With tickets selling at upwards of £210, it’s an expensive gamble.
So long maligned as a festival incapable of pulling together a truly great line-up, Latitude has stepped up to the plate in a big way this year. Snagging Kraftwerk to top the bill is a huge coup for a festival of its size, while Foals and Bloc Party are hardly lightweight headliners either. At £190 it’s only slightly cheaper than Reading and Leeds, but with an arguably stronger line-up and fewer crowds it’s certainly worth a spin.
On the other end of the spectrum, T in the Park is looking like a bit of a car crash. While there are handfuls of interesting acts scattered across the bill (MS MR, Haim, DIIV), they are hopelessly overwhelmed by a flood of disastrous bookings, Snoop Dogg and The Script being the most offensive perpetrators. With a weekend ticket coming in at just a tad under £200, it might be worth giving this one a miss this year.
The Isle of Wight’s Bestival is, as ever, a tempting prospect – but with a fairly ordinary line-up (with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Disclosure appearing to be the only real highlights) the £190 price tag and considerable travel difficulties might be enough to put you off.
Festival No.6 was a one of the surprise packages of last year’s calendar, and with the billing featuring James Blake, Manic Street Preachers and Everything Everything they could be set to repeat the trick. The location is definitely a factor here – set amidst the wonderful scenery of Portmeirion, Wales, and with tickets going for a reasonable £170, this could be the festival that takes the plaudits this year.