4th – 6th July
The UK’s two biggest cities play host to some of the world’s biggest acts on the weekend of 4th-6th July at this year’s Wireless. Now in its 10th year, Wireless has established itself as one of the main events of the UK music calendar with its consistently strong bookings. The line up reads like a who’s who of hip-hop, rnb and pop: headlined by the godlike Kanye West, emotive superstar Drake and slick showman Bruno Mars.
The festival takes places in both London and Birmingham, with both sites sharing the same line up across different days. The quality continues right down the bill: there’s Pharrell Williams; Rudimental; Ellie Goulding; Basement Jaxx; a rare opportunity to see reformed hip hop legends Outkast, and much more on top of that.
3 day passes cost £210 whilst single day tickets are available at £70 – a price less than you would pay to see many of these acts alone on an arena tour. Varying levels of VIP tickets are also available. All line up, ticket and general information can be found at http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/ Patrick Hinton
4th – 6th July
After the Vince Power’s event of the same name was cancelled in 2013, a new team of promoters have taken over the Hop Farm Festival for 2014, and this coming summer seems set to be the Kent-based extravaganza’s best year yet.
Having seen appearances from icons such as Bob Dylan, Prince and Morrissey in previous years, headlining performances for this edition are already planned from Ray Davies of The Kinks and The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, with a third special guest of similar stature yet to be announced. Elsewhere, the festival will feature a strong supporting lineup, with legends such as Echo & The Bunnymen, Squeezed and Billy Ocean sharing a bill with modern favourites including Maximo Park and Caro Emerald.
Fans of Comedy will also welcome the additions of a comedy tent, which will play host to the likes of Rich Hall, Jo Brand and Seann Walsh across the weekend alongside other big names from the stand up circuit. Meanwhile, classic acts such as Chas & Dave will share a stage with up and coming acts like The Royal Southern Brotherhood in The Jazz & Blues Lounge.
With many more acts to be announced across multiple stages, and taking place against a back drop of the idyllic Kent countryside, Hop Farm Festival promises something for everyone. Since its inception in 2008, the event has quickly established itself as one of the UK’s premier mid-size festivals, and the 2014 edition is set to continue this trend. This is one weekender not to be missed! Dan Whiteley
4th – 6th July
After a two year absence, Sonisphere is aiming to come back with a bang with festival favourites The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica all headlining Knebworth this year. Metallica have decided to allow fans to vote on which songs will make it onto the setlist, making for a unique set that may never be repeated.
Along with Metallica, two of the other big four of thrash will be playing in Knebworth this year; Slayer and Anthrax. Other acts to look out for this weekend include: Mastodon, Protest the Hero, Carnifex and everyone’s go-to nu metal band Limp Bizkit.
This year High Definition Festival takes residence in Tunbridge Wells, boasting a stellar line up. The bill is topped by none other than international superstar and Space Ibiza resident Carl Cox. Aus music host a stage featuring the likes of student favourites Dusky, Bicep and Huxley. Deep house masters The Martinez Brothers are performing a full 6 hour set. Some of the biggest names in bass and grime appear with Zinc, Artwork and Ms Dynamite. Ticket tiers start at the incredibly reasonable £20 and peak at £59.50. Don’t miss out. Patrick Hinton
17th – 20th July
Despite what some festivals claim, hiring the local home grown comedian, holding a late-night showing of ‘The Other Guys’ (don’t look it up, it’s shit) and setting up a weekend-long silent disco does NOT constitute ‘more than a music festival’. Latitude, on the other hand, does it properly. Where else can you can see the RSC (Shakespeare innit), watch the English National Ballet AND hear a poetry reading from Scroobius Pip all in one day? Capped off with headliners The Black Keys and you’ve got a magnificent trip to the East coast which won’t disappoint. It has multi-coloured sheep, for god’s sake. Get down there. Alex Daniel
18th – 20th July
Beatherder’s not your average festival. Described as “three days of beats and barminess”, it certainly delivers. By the way of beats, expect a rare live performance from Manchester legends Happy Mondays. If Bez isn’t your thing, why not check out the fine selection of house DJs. Ranging from the jackin’ Eats Everything to deep house warrior Hot Since 82, Beatherder have really upped their ante on the bookings front to match current trends. For something a bit more leftfield check out Bristol’s finest funkystep duo Koan Sound or festival favourite Mr Scruff.
And for the barminess? The now-legendary Toiltrees doesn’t disappoint. Expect to find yourself raving amongst hundreds of towering pine trees as the sun rises. Truly unforgettable. Last year’s venue addition the Fortress- think medieval castle on acid- makes what was a fantastic arena even better. There’s a Working Men’s Social Club, a Hotel California…the list goes on. And to top off a cracking lineup and mindblowing stages, Beatherder operates strictly outside the“corporate world of cock”. Expect fair prices and a refreshing absence of advertising guff. Giving Beatherder that special edge, it’s no wonder so many devoted fans never miss a year. Herd em up!
7th – 10th August
At £150 BoomTown, a “pop up city where anything is possible” seems like a steal. Near Winchester, BoomTown is a city that has been purposely built to amaze. What other festival do you know of that has a giant mechanical spider stage? A quick look on the website will show you how much effort is put into the aesthetic of the place, and also make you wonder why other festivals don’t try as hard. A definite for those tired of some of the more ‘normal’ festivals, expect to hear plenty of dub, reggae, jungle and house. Isaac Atwal
The charming Yorkshire countryside will surely provide a kind backdrop to an eclectic range of music and arts at Beacons Festival. Jon Hopkins’ Immunity was voted the Mancuion’s album of last year and his presence draws attention immediately. With Jackmaster and Darkside also present, the electronic genres are well represented. Daughter’s addition makes a stark contrast, but a welcomed one. Last year their heart-wrenching folk album If You Leave was well received and the genre seems appropriate to the setting. With local pale ales by the barrel, this has the makings of a sublime weekend, as scale and quality appear impeccably balanced. Alex Fenton
15th – 16th August
This summer marks the inception of Jabberwocky. The holy trinity of alternative music festivals, the event sees All Tomorrow’s Parties, Pitchfork and Primavera Sound joining forces to bring two days of music, art and film to the ExCel Centre in London. And considering the track record of each of the promoters, it’s hardly surprising that the line-up is amazing.
Lo-fi legends, Neutral Milk Hotel, headline on Saturday night. Having recently reformed after a fifteen year hiatus, the band are back on the road and will no doubt be providing a healthy dose of their Anne Frank-inspired cult classic, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
The festival also marks the welcome return of Caribou. While Dan Snaith has been focusing on his Daphni side-project over the past couple of years, his Caribou moniker is being resurrected for a run of festivals this summer. With his reputation for playing euphoric sets, not to mention the prospect of hearing new material, this should be one of the highlights of the weekend.
Also making a comeback is Panda Bear, the solo project of Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox. His set will presumably be used to air new tracks from his upcoming album, tentatively named Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, and if the title is anything to go by, we might be in for a darker sound than the sun-soaked psychedelia of his last two albums.
Kurt Vile is also making an appearance. Last year’s Wakin On a Pretty Daze, a collection of bleary-eyed odes to repose, was Vile’s best release to date. Known for his varied performances that combine feedback-laden guitar solos with solitary renditions of finger-picked folk songs, Vile’s set promises to be a standout moment.
And with psychedelic oddity Connan Mockasin, genre-bending producer Forest Swords and Nico Jaar side-project Darkside also on the bill, Jabberwocky’s inaugural year is shaping up to be to the highpoint of the summer. Michael Crick
READING & LEEDS
22nd – 24th August
Festival Republic’s annual summer attractions are once again on the horizon and will soon be welcoming revelers to bask in the sounds of Britain’s most treasured rock festivals. The simultaneous weekends boast headline appearances from alternative rock veterans Queens of the Stone Age in addition to returning performances from Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys on the back of their acclaimed Glastonbury set last summer. For connoisseurs, the event also looks set to deliver in bringing audiences closer to exciting new music such as the pulsating grooves of much-hyped duo Jungle and the visceral modern incarnation of Punk, Drenge. The wait begins. George Scrafton
END OF THE ROAD
29th – 31st August
Set in the sumptuous Larmer Tree Gardens located in North Dorset, EOTR possesses one of the most picturesque settings for a festival. This year’s line up certainly holds true to the vibrant blend of music that EOTR is known for. Headliners The Flaming Lips will be sure to dazzle with their gift for magical live performances whilst the quaint setting will provide the perfect place for Wild Beasts’ wistful art rock. At the other end of the scale, post hardcore outfit EAGULLS will be sure to scare away all the free roaming peacocks with their bludgeoning sound. Matthew Byrne
4th – 7th September
Bestival has been on a meteoric rise in recent years, increasing in size and reputation but losing none of its wonderful eccentricities. It’s almost too much wacky entertainment to handle in one weekend. I’d break out the classic “it’s not just about the music” line but I don’t need to – rare UK shows from Beck and Outkast are topping a juicy looking line-up. New features this year include BBC 6Music commandeering the Big Top, and for those who didn’t experience the HMS Bestival stage last year, well, you really should this year. Go on. I’ll be damned if there’s a better way to end the festival season. http://www.bestival.net/
Red Funnel also have an offer on currently for free ferry travel from Southampton for students, further info available at http://www.redfunnel.co.
12th – 14th September
Following in the great tradition of The Second Summer of Love of 1989, when British dance music enthusiasts spread the sound and spirit they’d encountered in the Ibiza club scene across raves and warehouse parties in the UK, renowned Ibiza open air club The Zoo Project has been bringing Balearic beats back home for two years now. From 12th – 14th September, Zoo Project Festival UK returns to the forests of Donington Park in Leicestershire, the venue it moved to at the last minute in 2013.
Zoo Project take their name seriously, so expect a colourful woodland menagerie of music and the odd acrobat in a panda suit. Last year’s event hosted big names from a wide variety of genres – from Bonobo to Grandmaster Flash – and 2014 will be no different.
The top of the bill is dominated by some of the very biggest names in dance music, including Groove Armada, Breach, Shy FX and Sasha. Look a little further down and you’ll find a selection of the finest underground House and Techno producers and DJs the world has to offer: Ben UFO, Tama Sumo, Special Request and Ten Walls (Live), to name just a handful. Acid House pioneer A Guy Called Gerald deserves a sentence all to himself.
Zoo are widening their appeal as well, offering fans of UK Garage, Hip Hop, Breakbeat, Downtempo and Drum ‘n’ Bass plenty to look forward to; have a look out for Nightmares on Wax, Mike Skinner or Jonny Dub, for example. As everyone knows though, genre distinctions only matter in the pages of magazines and YouTube comment threads. A forest in the Midlands is neither and thankfully Zoo seem to understand that. Mark Wood