Friday, 3 February 2012


We usually go to a couple of festivals rather than a beach holiday, and tickets are already going on sale so there's finally a weak, summery light shining at the end of this icy wind tunnel!

Green Man tickets are available now and, having been the year before last, I can say with confidence that it's a cracking weekend. Being a relatively small festival, they're pretty lax about bringing booze into the arena, and there's not the same scramble for tent space that you get at Glastonbury; it's also family-friendly without leaving you feeling like you're at a kid's club. The whole site is really well thought out, with lots of cool little areas and tiny make-shift stages. And obviously, they burn a giant wicker man on the Sunday night, which is definitely worth watching. Also, the toilets were really well looked after! Whilst the year we went was a little marred by the (torrential) rain, the scenery is incredible and, to be fair, there was some sunshine on the Sunday afternoon... before the heavens opened all over main stage headliner Joanna Newsom and her glittery harp.

Things to consider: aside from the weather implications of a festival in Wales, if you live any further north than Birmingham take a train! Living in Sheffield at the time, we made the terrible mistake of travelling to my Mum and Dad's in Manchester and catching a coach from there. Never again! It took us nine hours (NINE HOURS!) to get there, apparently visiting every small town and city along the route. Fortunately, living in the South West now means that it only takes an hour to get to Abergavenny, and they run shuttle buses from there. Hooray!

Apparently Charlotte Church is a fan too.

This year's line up (confirmed so far) includes Feist, The Walkmen, Yann Tierson and others, including Alt-J. I heard the song below on Steve Lamaq's show on 6Music a few months ago and it's good. So good that I almost forgot about it until just now. I don't like to make comparisons but, just to give you an idea, the harmonies sound like Bombay Bicycle Club, the driving drums and jerky bass sound like Interpol and there's just enough of the quirkiness of tUnEyArDs to keep it interesting. Just like the hair on those ever-ubiquitous VO5 adverts, it's simultaneously textured and messy and slick and I like it. I'd definitely go and see them.

And a bit of Feist for good measure. She is headlining. She is good also. 

This year's festival runs from the 17th - 19th August with adult tickets selling at £145 and students' at £125. There's also teen and child concessions available or, if you don't really want to pay anything, they're currently recruiting for volunteers and stewards to help out. Plus, if you want to make a proper week of it, they sell camping tickets beginning on Monday 13th for an extra £40.

With the sad absence of Glastonbury this year, another festival I hope will be filling the void is End Of The Road. Held in North Dorset, not far from Salisbury, it's taking place between 31st August and 2nd September and confirmed bands include Grizzly Bear, Beach House and The Antlers, so it's already looking like an ace line-up with 8 months still to go. I've never been, but I've been hoping to for the last couple of years (the list of bands playing last year was incredible) and it looks like a brilliant little festival, all at the fairly standard price of  £150 per ticket.

Another I've always fancied the look of is The Secret Garden Party and also the gloriously indie and delightfully twee (it's the kind of festival that could only succeed in the north) Indie Tracks. Now all I need is a bit of cash!

And if spending a long weekend in a tent isn't sounding very appealing, here's always a ton of free, inner-city festivals to look forward to. More on that later...

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