Music

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at 2013’s Festivals

Good

Latitude: Latitude returns for its eighth year with possibly the best line-up in the festival’s history. It will be headlined by recently-reformed indie legends Bloc Party, electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and indie’s rapidly rising stars Foals. Back these three up with the likes of Modest Mouse, Beach House, Alt-J and Grizzly Bear, as well as a whole host of emerging artists, and you get a very special line-up indeed. With thrilling music, a huge comedy tent, stunning Suffolk scenery, and multi-coloured sheep, Latitude is set to be one of the festivals of this summer.

 

End of the Road: Buried somewhere down in the Dorset countryside is End of the Road – arguably the best emerging UK festival around. A haven of beautiful gardens and secret stages, EOTR is a paradise for indie-folk fans and this year it boasts its strongest bill to date. Belle & Sebastian, David Byrne & St. Vincent and Sigur Ros make up a mouth-watering selection of headliners, while other confirmed acts include Eels, Dinosaur Jr., Savages and Warpaint. Taking place over the first weekend of September, EOTR is famed for its unrelenting good weather; it’s therefore the ideal hangover cure if you’ve been battered by one of the bigger festivals earlier in the summer.

 

Bad –

Glastonbury: Yes, that’s correct, Glastonbury is bad. Why? For a festival seen as the mother of all festivals, where the acts are always a step ahead of all the others, this year can only be seen as a disappointment. We are faced with mediocre headliners (bar The Rolling Stones) and an assortment of artists that can all be found at Reading and Leeds and other decreasingly popular summer music events. The cherry on the top is the idea of putting Mumford and Sons as a third headliner, one that is altogether absurd. With a highly acclaimed first album, their second (Babel) received reviews that took cruelty to a new level – and yet here they are headlining our country’s biggest and most famous festival.

 

V Festival: The nation’s favourite commercial weekend showpiece returns for its 17th year. Starting out as an alternative indie event, the weekend has become an underage teeny bop carnival. This year’s line up hosts the world’s biggest female act Beyonce, a gigantic pull after her show-stopping performance at Glastonbury. But elsewhere on the bill, Kings of Leon return to play their 83rd V Festival and the rest is as if the acts were pulled out of a Radio 1 playlist hat. No surprise then that the overpriced tickets remain on sale.

 

Ugly –

Oxegen: In recent years, the reputation of Ireland’s Oxegen festival has been falling, but this year it has nose dived into terminal velocity. A festival, which has previously been headlined by The Who and The Cure, will now be headlined by David Guetta and Example. Additionally, there are a series of ‘no one’s favourite bands’, manifested in the likes of Rita Ora, Rizzle Kicks and Pitbull. The problems, however, do not end there. Unless you have recently got your GCSE results or enjoy (like, really enjoy) drinking blue WKD, you might want to sit this one out. The reputation of Oxegen’s clientele precedes it, with alleged stabbings and drug-related maladies abound. The combination of a shitty atmosphere and eminently avoidable music make passing over Oxegen an easy decision.

 

Reading & Leeds: Reading Festival has a noble history stretching back further than Glastonbury. However, two problems have developed over the last decade. The first comes from the explicitly commercial nature of an event that until recently billed itself the ‘Carling Weekend’ and sold its soul long ago. The second comes from the festival’s traditional timing of the August bank Holiday Weekend straight after GCSE results. It has therefore become an ugly rite of passage for teenagers to get away from home for the first time, drink too much cheap cider and set stuff on fire. Avoid like the plague.

Alex Neely, Jack Dixon, Dan Jones, Fran Ozanne, Adam Keyworth & Liam Coleman

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