As warm weather returns, music festivals heat up
The daffodils are blooming, the birds are chirping and daylight saving time takes effect this weekend. Ah, spring is officially here.
Along with putting the bleak days of winter behind us, it’s time to start planning summer fun. And for music lovers, at least one festival is in order. Lineups are still being released and tickets are selling out quickly for these open-air parties, some of which include on-site camping. So, if you’re into live gigs, plan a road trip with some like-minded friends and enjoy one of the U.K.’s best summertime adventures.
Here’s a look at some of the top events for summer ’09:
The Great Escape, Brighton, May 14-16
Billed as one of Britain’s top events for new music, The Great Escape will feature 300 artists in 34 venues around the seaside city. Acts include Noah and the Whale and Patrick Wolf. Ticket allows access to all venues so you can check out your favorites and skip others.
Price: starting at 45 pounds
Sunrise Celebration, Somerset, May 28-31
Set at an organic farm, Sunrise is a family-friendly event built on green principles, such as using renewable energy to power the shows. Along with musical acts spanning from reggae to electronica, the festival also features workshops on permaculture, healing therapies and a variety of hippie-approved fun and learning.
Price: starting at 99 pounds
Rockness, Dores, Scotland, June 12-14
With headliners including The Flaming Lips and The Prodigy, this small festival attracts some of the country’s best electronic acts.
Price: starting at 45 pounds
Download Festival, Donington Park, Leicestershire, June 12-14
If you’re itching to rock, look no further than this head-banging event. Along with heavy metal hitters such as Korn and Slipknot, this year’s lineup includes performances by ’80s rock icons Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Motley Crue.
Price: starting at 135 pounds
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, Wiltshire, June 21
A one-night festival for free spirits occurs at Stonehenge on the longest day of the year. Access to the stones is from about 8:30 p.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. Sunday. There’s usually impromptu entertainment from bands and drum circles, but no amplified music.
Glastonbury Festival, Pilton, Somerset , June 24-28
This is the festival of all festivals in the U.K. However, between the massive crowds and muddy venue, many criticize the event as over-hyped. Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Blur are headlining this year’s event, which is already sold out. Here’s to planning even further ahead for 2010.
Price: Starting at 185 pounds
O2 Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, London, July 4
The capital’s most famous green attracts thousands of music lovers for this one-day affair. This year’s lineup features Dizzee Rascal, The Streets and Paul Oakenfold.
Price: Starting at 40 pounds
Reading and Leeds Festivals, Reading and Leeds, Aug. 28-30
These sister festivals are probably second only to Glastonbury and offer some of the best current indie rock/pop heroes. The headliners and ticket prices are kept under wraps until later this month. These festivals are long-running events seen as the end of the summer circuit.
Price: TBA when tickets go on sale March 30