It was reported last week that Jim King – who runs the newest UK festival ‘British Summer Time’ in Hyde Park – announced all music events have “merged into one in terms of look and feel.” He continued to say that all big festivals have become similar as they compete for ticket sales through their line-up alone.
As an avid festival goer myself (the season is almost here!) I would disagree that all our festivals here in the UK have ‘merged.’ I have been lucky enough to go to Glastonbury, Isle of Wight and Reading, gaining a different experience at each one. Festivals are now not all about the music, they are trying to provide different things that’ll appeal to different audiences. It’s a hard thing to do when you have to keep both the young and old generation happy. The youngsters looking for their first festival experience to the committed oldies who go every single year without fail.
Here are my top four UK festivals and what they do so well to stand out from the crowd…
The unique thing about Glastonbury festival is that you don’t know the line-up when you jump in that long metaphorical queue and attempt to get the golden tickets. It’s left right up to the last minute, when you find out you are never disappointed and leading up to it there are always big names popping up in the rumour mill just adding to the anticipation – The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac are the favourites this year. I managed to bag a ticket this year and I still have no clue who’s going to be there! Glastonbury is as chilled out as it gets and it feels like you’re getting loads of different festivals in one place. Most people stick to the same area all weekend but here are the ones Michael Eavis has created for you: Main music stages including John Peel and the Pyramid, Theatre & Circus, The Bandstand, Shangri-La, Dance Village and the Kidz Field … the list is endless.
Festival rating: 10/10
I have only had an experience with Reading festival, but I assume Leeds pretty much offers the same kind of thing. Filled with college students who are out to celebrate passing their A-Levels (or commiserate) the festival has come on leaps and bounds since it first started. This year the acts already announced are huge, the likes of Biffy Clyro (finally with some new material), EMINEM, Foals, Jake Bugg, Fall out Boy and Alt-J will all be there. I’d say this is probably the best festival for teenagers who are eager to make it to the front of the stage to see their favourite band perform. It seems to be all about the music, when I went the main areas were deserted after the last act had performed, everyone had gone back to the campsite to continue the partying.
Festival rating: 6/10
Isle of Wight
This was my first festival experience and it certainly whetted my appetite for festivals in general introducing me to old and new music. That is what’s so special about Isle of Wight, though it’s not the biggest festival around it does get some of the best lives bands. This years headliners includes: The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, The Killers, The Maccabees, The Boomtown Rats and Bon Jovi – providing something for everyone. Last year was a wash out for the little festival so we pray for sunshine this time around! If you do decide to go to this fest be aware it is purely about the music, there is not much else on offer apart from the carnival area. Dodgem driving while drunk is a must!
Festival rating: 8/10
The one festival I have yet to experience! Everyone I know who has gone has told me just how amazing it is and I finally get to cast my opinion this year. I am convinced it is going to be just as good (maybe even better?) than Glastonbury with the line-up already looking amazing. Elton John and Snoop Dogg were the first headliners confirmed with Jessie Ware, Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian and Bastille all following suit. With other areas to visit such as the Bollywood Field, Stardust Field, Grassy Hill and Wishing Tree it certainly seems on par with Glastonbury. Winner of the Best Major festival award as well? I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed.
Festival rating: To be decided