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Music Festivals in Nottingham

The Summer Party

Organised and run by our very own Students’ Union, Summer Party is an on-campus festival which takes place every year just after exams. It’s an opportunity for students let their hair down for one last time before graduating or going home for the summer.

On top of musical acts playing throughout the day there are DJ tents and a variety of stalls, all located on the Downs. Last year’s festival was headlined by Labrinth and Wheatus and featured the likes of Delilah and Dutty Moonshine. Labrinth’s performance stood out as a particular high of the day bringing his blend of grime, hip-hop and chart topping prowess to the adoring crowd.

Comparable with Example’s performance for the previous two years, Labrinth struck the mood of the audience perfectly. Wheatus’ performance was equally exciting, the band famed for ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ providing a set which demonstrated they had more to offer than just the one hit. Complete with a Weezer and UB40 cover, Wheatus were more than ready to have as much fun as possible with their live show.

Although it may not stand up to the likes of Glastonbury or Reading and Leeds, year on year Summer Party is commended for its atmosphere and opportunity for students to celebrate the end of the academic year. As University Summer Festivals grow bigger every year, Nottingham’s Summer Party still remains one of the premier events across the country.

Splendour

Both summer and some of the country’s biggest musical names arrived in Nottingham on 21st July for Splendour Festival in Wollaton Park. Splendour has always prided itself on providing leading musical entertainment for those of all persuasions, alongside exciting upcoming Nottingham talent. This year was no different: the lineup was topped by Dizzee Rascal, but also featured Razorlight, folk heavyweights Levellers, and Abba tribute band Bjorn Again; alongside local musicians such as Jake Bugg and Natalie Duncan.

There was little optimism about the festival in Nottingham in the week leading up to it; as torrential rain continued to plague the British summer, however out of nowhere the clouds cleared on the day of the Festival and there was ideal weather (topping 19OC) throughout the day. Wollaton Park is a beautiful spot in Nottingham whatever the occasion, however it was wonderful to see 20,000 people descend on the Greenland on a sunny day to enjoy superb music.

Thankfully the musicians didn’t disappoint either. Jake Bugg opened the day in spectacular fashion before Bjorn Again certainly got the crowd dancing. Razorlight, even with Johnny Borrell’s ego, reminded us that they did produce some wonderful music eight years ago. This was all then followed by this year’s headliner Dizzee Rascal, who did everything asked of him: play hit after hit after hit. Dizzee Rascal soaked up the crowd’s appreciation and the energy levels never dropped from beginning to end, providing the perfect performance for 20,000 exceptionally happy people on a wonderful day in a sunny Wollaton Park.

Dot to Dot

Now into its eighth year, Dot to Dot Festival has earned critical acclaim as one of the country’s premier metropolitan music festivals. Following a Saturday spent in Bristol, the festival, which now stretches across three cities over three days, arrived in Nottingham for the second leg of its pilgrimage north to Manchester.

As well as a host of emerging artists spanning indie rock, pop, folk and electronic, this year also boasted the Dot to Dot Fringe. This involved attractions from live film and open mic sessions, as well as vintage stalls and crafts across some of the city’s very best independent bars and cafés.

Despite an unhealthy dose of rain dampening the summer vibes and the customary sound problems that come with limited turn-around times: the festival, which spans six of Nottingham’s biggest venues, did not fail to deliver. Personal highlights included Wavves, who are representative of the grungier side of surf-pop, similar thematically and sonically to Yuck or fellow Californians Best Coast, but with a more forceful, arresting presence. Former single ‘Post Acid’ was a highlight in an unrelenting half-hour set crammed with two-minute pop gems. Australian psych-rockers Pond’s barnstorming Bodega set was one of the most raucous of the day, sparking bedlam to the point where even the band themselves were encouraging the crowd to cool off.

Ben James, Liam Coleman & Jack Dixon

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