We’ve asked some of our writers to preview a few of this year’s festivals that they’re most looking forward to; to offer some idea of what the event is about, and to pick out a few bands and artists that they’re most excited about seeing perform. In this installment, we take a look at the End of the Road affiliated No Direction Home; the newly revamped Field Day and its sibling event The Apple Cart Festival; the inaugural Nova Festival, and Somerset’s Sunrise Celebration.
No Direction Home – by Nick Cowan
No Direction Home is a brand new festival from the makers of the much-loved End Of The Road (sadly, nothing to do with Boyz II Men). Expect everything that EOTR is renowned for – great acts, atmosphere and general all-round pleasantness, and all taking place on 8th–10th June in Sherwood Forest. There’s plenty to (friar) tuck into with highlights such as the multifaceted Andrew Bird, the folktastic Dirty Three, Richard Hawley, The Low Anthem and Veronica Falls, but the real draw is the promise of stress free festival-going. Like its sister festival, No Direction Home is that precious thing: a manageable size that makes discovering music an achievable treat, rather than the arduous chore it can seem when drudging round some of the bigger festivals. On top of all that, there’s a bunch of non-music stuff to do, including literature and comedy areas, a cinema and a host of fine foods and ales to sip by the campfire. Roll on summer.
Nova Festival – by Jimmy Blake
‘There has never been a worse time to start your own music festival,’ warns the blogosphere – and it’s probably right. But neither the collapse of established festivals nor an impending summer of ‘God save the Queens’ have stopped the intrepid organisers of new festival Nova from doing just that. With the South Downs as a backdrop, Nova promises a diverse range of performance from film and theatre to comedy and poetry all without even a hint of over crowding. Combine all this with hot tubs, an on onsite pub and musical highlights like Jessie Ware, Ghostpoet and tUnE-yArDs and its no surprise that early bird tickets have already sold out. Grab your wellies, because Nova is ready prove everybody wrong.
Field Day – by Sam Cleeve
This year’s Field Day should see the festival undergo something of a fresh start. Despite coming under heavy criticism in previous years for herding punters into a space the size of your nan’s backyard (perhaps unfairly – room has been restricted by the £8m Heritage Lottery refurbishment of Victoria Park), this year they’ve been able to expand the site once again. The lineup is as strong as ever – whistling polymath Andrew Bird and Balkan kingpins Beirut head up proceedings, while you can expect your buzz-band quote to be filled by Grimes and Theme Park, and the electronic side of things to be taken care of by the likes of Rustie and SBTRKT. With further enticement in the form of Scandinavian wunderkinds When Saints Go Machine and Brooklyn comic book sage Jeffrey Lewis, there’s little reason to stay away.
The Apple Cart Festival – by Russell Warfield
With Field Day having carved itself a robust reputation for providing incredible music in the heart of London one Saturday a year, it’s no wonder that it’s started to bleed into the Sunday as well. Although the park will be the same (albeit with a few empty plastic cups picked up, I’m imagining), The Apple Cart Festival does a great job of distinguishing itself from its sister event, cultivating a far more family-friendly atmosphere, and a much less music-orientated focus. Putting as much focus on the cabaret and the comedy as they do the musicians – featuring names like Sean Locke and Phil Jupitus – Apple Cart shapes up to be a very Sunday-ish Sunday festival indeed. Not that they’re scrimping on the music front, though – legendary acts like Billy Bragg sit on the line up alongside last year’s gut-punch provider Josh T. Pearson. There’s a narrower, more acoustic focus to Apple Cart compared to Field Day, but there’s no less eye for quality. And there’s loads of magicians too.
Sunrise Celebration – by Sebastian O’Dowd
Another year passes and festival season is round the corner, which can only mean one thing: making my way down to Bruton in Somerset for Sunrise, known for its green eco-friendly identity. This eco-friendly vision of theirs is inspiring and the return of the Solar Dance Village which runs around the clock just goes to show how well they use this solar power. Kitted out with 6 arenas and 35 venues and stages, one would expect a hefty lineup indeed, and that’s exactly what you get. Mungo’s HIFI will feature Soom T and Mr Williamz, with their reggae riffs accompanied with deep dub, while Laid Blak from Bristol bring a diverse unique sound to the stage – also a must see. The ASBO disco is set up with style and a host of beats and tunes on tap to keep you up all night, and Goodgroove, who is very much one with the funk, also deserves a mention. With a dose of electronica such as The EGG and Gaudi it’s safe to say that if you are in pursuit of happiness and fun you may look no further: Sunrise is the place to be.