Summer Festivals

Burning Man Festival – Nevada Desert, USA. 30th August – 6th September.

Burning Man is like Disneyland for adults, though trying to describe exactly what this Disneyland is like is like trying to describe colour to a blind person. For a start, not even the organisers know who, or what, is going to turn up. The only sure thing about it is that it takes place in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, where Burning Man becomes Nevada’s fourth largest city in the week it runs. Getting there is the first hurdle as all motor vehicles are banned from the site. Instead, travel is only permitted on ‘mutant’ vehicles – which last year included a fully motorised replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. There are no shops, no acts, no main stage and no money allowed. ‘There are no rules – this is your playground, you’re four years old again, having a fucking blast’. Nothing is for sale, bar water and ice. Instead, people arrive stocked with supplies ready to give to those who need them as and when they please. No artists are paid, or even booked. They must buy a ticket, like everyone else, and it’s up to them to bring and set up their own sound systems. No one knows who will definitely show, but past years have seen the likes of Mathew Johnson, Magda and Kode IV playing and camping in amongst the crowds. Whilst music is an essential part, Burning Man is so much more, central to which stands a giant wicker man. Rising high above the crowds, he is set alight on the penultimate night and hence gives us the name ‘Burning Man’.

Angus Drummond

Download Festival – Donington Park, England. 11th – 13th June.

This year Download festival will be celebrating its 30th birthday in style and sees comeback shows from two of the biggest names in the world of rock and metal: AC/DC and Aerosmith. Not only this, but the Christmas number one act (thankfully not Joe McElderry), Rage Against the Machine, will be headlining too, set to rock the main stage on the Saturday night. Heavier acts like As I Lay Dying, Five Finger Death Punch and the mighty Lamb of God have also secured slots, ensuring there is something for everyone. With four stages (probably five by the time you read this) and almost one hundred acts currently confirmed, the Download weekend looks set yet again to provide a weekend crammed full of more beer, metal and overpriced food than you could ever hope for.

Matthew Lambert

Exit Festival – Petrovaradin Fortress, Serbia. 8th – 11th July 2010

Set against the magical backdrop of an old Austro-Hungarian fortress perched 40metres above the River Danube, the location alone indicates that Exit Festival in Serbia is going to be something special and the line-up for 2010 certainly backs this up. Whilst offering the usual dance festival juggernauts (Boys Noize, Erol Alkan, Pendulum etc…), Exit 2010 also boasts artists as diverse as Missy Elliot, The Exploited and The Chemical Brothers. With six different stages to choose from, showcasing the best of house, electro, rock, hip-hop, punk, reggae and much, much more, Exit’s line-up is bound to please even the most die-hard of Glasto/Reading fans. In-keeping with its political underpinnings, Exit permits for 40 non-governmental organisations from South East Europe to set up shop there whilst the event is taking place, to give festival-goers a chance to see what they do; taking a greener turn in recent years with greater emphasis being placed on world ecology. The Exit camper is encouraged to take an active role in helping the environment. With all aspects of conscience being taken care of and the small bonus of watching some electrifying bands, DJs and artists, Exit truly is one of the best festivals around. Oh, and do you know what the best part of it is? It costs just £85…

Rosie Kynman

Lattitude – Southwold, England. 15th – 18th July

Tucked away in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, you could easily dismiss Latitude festival as a pint-sized Glastonbury. Yet, this bohemian jamboree has a distinct charm all of its own. Not only does this year’s line-up boast the much-anticipated return of Scottish sweethearts Belle & Sebastian, but Latitude will also play host to an array of acts including Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend, Crystal Castles and The xx. If this rather impressive assembly of musical treats is not enough to galvanise your mud-encased hunter wellies into a festival frenzy, perhaps the alternative delights Latitude has to offer on the literary and theatrical scene will. Writing workshops and poetry readings provide a soothing antidote to the previous night’s partying; whilst the dazzling cabaret acts, film screenings and comedy acts lend to the surreal atmosphere that surrounds this Suffolk bubble. At a time when festivals are ten-a-penny, the Latitude experience presents a unique opportunity to stumble across an open-air Shakespearean performance or a masked ball all within a square mile radius. What’s more, why not lose yourself completely in elaborate fancy dress? After all, life is a cabaret.

Daisy Mash

Bestival – Isle of Wight, England, 9-12th September

Rob Da Bank’s themed late summer carnival has been growing in reputation year on year, and 2010 brings the so-called ‘year of the fantastic’ to the Isle of Wight. Environmentally conscious and wonderfully bizarre, Bestival has swiftly established itself as one of the UK’s leading festivals, with over 50,000 music-lovers expected to attend this year. The 2010 event promises to be as ridiculous as some of the costumes that will be on display on fancy-dress Saturday, with Dizzee Rascal, Flaming Lips and the Prodigy headlining. But Bestival line-ups are more about depth and variety than world-conquering headline acts, and as such the bill is packed with some of the most forward thinking artists in indie and electronic music. 2010 also provides rare (and possibly final) opportunities to catch LCD Soundsystem, Gil Scott Heron and Roxy Music (Brian Ferry included). And as if that wasn’t enough, just picture the Saturday evening; thousands of superheroes, fairies, dragons, Vikings and goodness knows what else, bouncing up and down in front of Rolf Harris and his wobble-board. Majestic.

Patrick Coussens

Isle of Wight Festival – Isle of Wight, England. 11th – 13th June

If you find yourself mooching about after exams then head on down to the Isle of Wight Festival for what looks to be one of the festival highlights of the summer. Despite having only two stages, the festival’s line-up is impressively eclectic. Festival goers can sample the talents of Marina and the Diamonds and the sensational Florence and the Machine, all before the big dawg Jay-Z steps up and shows us why he is so blinkin’ rich. Saturday sees the variety continue with Blondie, Bombay Bicycle Club, Vampire Weekend and the ever tuneful Devendra Braveheart – all on show in the lead up to the band so many kids in skinny jeans would give their left Converse for, The Strokes. The treats are still not over with Sunday packing several huge yet aurally pleasant punches in the form of Pink, Editors, Friendly Fires and the ‘Golden’ boys of the 80s, Spandau Ballet. In addition, those in the know can revel in the delights of Ocean Colour Scene, before heading to the main stage to see the weekend out with sing-a-long supremo, Paul McCartney. So if you fancy a weekend surrounded by some truly great acts and a festival that isn’t just about the top 10, then come along. And after all, if Jimi Hendrix thought it was cool enough to play here in the 70s, then surely it’s good enough for you!

Ben Pound

Impact also Recommends:

Indietracks – Derbyshire
23rd 25th July
‘An Indiepop Festival’

Summer Sundae – Leicester
13th – 15th August.
‘A Musical Treat’

Secret Garden Party – Cambridgeshire
22nd – 25th July
‘A garden-party-gone-crazy’.
Sonar – Barcelona
17th-19th June
‘Advanced music and multimedia art’

Outlook – Croatia
2nd – 5th September.
‘Mega Dubstep’

London Electronic Dance Festival – London
27th – 28th August
‘Let’s Dance’


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