A summer of music ahead with festival for any and all tastes
PUBLISHED: 18:21 04 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:21 04 June 2014
From corporate festivals with as many sponsors’ logos as band t-shirts to home-grown, leftfield boutique gatherings with mud, camping and loos you’d rather not think about. From metal to folk, pop and rock to country and world music, the region has a festival for you. SIMON PARKIN highlights his picks of 2014’s music gatherings.
Forest Gigs High Lodge, Thetford Forest, June 12-14, July 11-13 Tickets: £42.35-£39.60 Info/booking: 03000 680400, www.forestry.gov.uk/music Headliners: Rebecca Ferguson, Suede, The Pogues, Boyzone, Katherine Jenkins, Deacon Blue What to expect: The chance to see big names in front of a smallish crowd in a tree-lined setting. An annual money-spinner for the Forestry Commission, this series of concerts is held in a clearing in Thetford Forest. This year the line-up is again the usual mixed bag with pop X-factor runner-up Rebecca Ferguson and a revived Boyzone providing the pop, Suede offering Brit pop nostalgia and The Pogues are making their first appearance in the region in well over a decade. There is something for the older audience from Katherine Jenkins; while Deacon Blue enjoy a loyal following. Download Donington Park, Derbyshire, June 13-15 Tickets: £185 (weekend/camping), £160 (weekend), £75 (day) Info/booking: www.downloadfestival.co.uk Headliners: Avenged Sevenfold (Fri), Linkin Park (Sat), Aerosmith (Sun), Rob Zombie, Fall Out Boy, Alter Bridge, The Offspring, Status Quo, Steel Panther, Trivium What to expect: Monsters of rock turning it up to 11. The 12th Download another three days of heavy rock music featuring around 150 acts over five stages at Donington Park, the spiritual home of British rock. This year’s line-up is a diverse mix with headliners Avenged Sevenfold and Linkin Park coming from the modern school of metal, while Aerosmith are very much classic rock. It’ll be interesting to see what reception Status Quo get. East Coast Live Chantry Park, Ipswich, June 28-29 Tickets: £67.75-£39.65 Info/booking: www.uklive.co.uk/east-coast/ Headliners: Jessie J, Jason Derulo, Rizzle Kicks, The Saturdays, McBusted, Backstreet Boys, Scouting for Girls, The Vamps, Katy B, Union J, Rixton What to expect: A pop extravaganza. Some of the biggest names are coming to Ipswich’s Chantry Park including chart-topper Jessie J, Rizzle Kicks, top UK girl group The Saturdays, X Factor stars Union J, The Vamps and Jason Derulo and some special guests yet to be announced. Then on the Sunday there’s a slightly more nostalgic feel with McBusted and Backstreet Boys.
Maverick Festival Easton Farm, Woodbridge, Suffolk, July 4-6 Tickets: £75 (weekend/camping), £49 (no camping), £35 day ticket (Sat only), £10 (10-15 years, weekend), under-10s free. Info/booking: 01473 258070, www.maverickfestival.co.uk Headliners: The Wynntown Marshals, Brook Williams, Peter Bruntnell, David Hood, Ward Thomas, and Mary Gauthier, Reverend Peyton and his big Damn Band What to expect: An American alt-country hoedown featuring over 40 artists, across five stages indoors and out at a picturesque Suffolk farm. It created six years ago as a celebration of Americana and roots music from both sides of the Atlantic and has built up a good reputation, even spreading its wings with spin-off nights in Norwich. The line-up won’t mean much unless you’re into country or roots, but it has won plaudits. As well as music, there is comedy, dance, film and workshops.
WOW Festival Woolsey Bridge Farm, Burston, Diss, July 4-6 Tickets: £55 weekend (pre-book camping ticket), £35-£25 day tickets (£15 Fri night), £15 under-16s (£7 Fri night), under-5s free Info/booking: 01379 740181, www.wow-arts.co.uk Headliners: Gentleman’s Dub Club, Electric Swing Circus, Them Harvey Boys, Thy Last Drop, Sefo Kanuteh, Frett, Horse Party, Twisted Routes What to expect: WOW is a very family friendly festival with music including acoustic, roots, ska, bluegrass and everything in between, mixed up with a bit of swing. It’s affordable, relaxed, intimate, bijou, family-friendly and adamantly sponsor-free. It draws headliners from across the world but otherwise focuses on talent from this region. High energy party band Gentleman’s Dub Club headline Saturday night this year, with a 20 anniversary performance by local favourites Them Harvey Boys on the Friday and electro swing band Electric Swing Circus on Sunday.
Sonisphere Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, July 4-6 Tickets: £205 (weekend/camping), £170 (weekend), day tickets £55 (Fri), £75 (Sat/Sun) Info/booking: www.sonisphere.co.uk Headliners: The Prodigy (Fri), Iron Maiden (Sat), Metallica (Sun), Limp Bizkit, The Sisters of Mercy, Alice in Chains, Dream Theater, Devil You Know, Yashin, HIM What to expect: The metal masses. This Download rival returns to Knebworth, which in the past has hosted legendary shows by everyone from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple, Oasis to Robbie Williams. After Glastonbury Metallica are back on more familiar turf with a special By Request performance that will have fans choosing the songs. Once dance music faves The Prodigy long ago won over the metal hordes while Iron Maiden are problem the most reliable headliners out there.
Drum Camp Festival Bungay, Suffolk, July 10-13 Tickets: £180 (full ticket), £140 (weekend only), £80 young people (11-15), £50 children (4-10) Info/booking: www.karamba.co.uk Headliners: Zong Zing Allstars, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Seckou Keita, Kakatsitsi Drummers, Bronzehead, Filomena Ianni, Lies Beijerinck What to expect: Now in its 19th year this established education-based world music festival, on a site located between Bungay and Halesworth, is hugely well respected. Each night it turns into magical with stage performances, drumming and dancing around the fire, open acoustic stage and social zone featuring global beats DJs. The concert programmes have become legendary and this year boast talent from Congo, Ghana, India, the US, Italy, Zimbabwe, Senegal and many more.
Ely Folk Festival Outdoor Centre, Ely, Cambridgeshire, July 11-13 Tickets: £84 (weekend/camping), £74 (weekend), £20 (Fri), £36 (Sat), £32 (Sun) Info/booking: 07500 527334, www.elyfolk.co.uk Headliners: Eddi Reader, Jim Moray, The Gerry Colvin Band, Breabach, Steve Knightley, Baka Beyond, Martyn Joseph, The Gren Bartley Band What to expect: Top quality folk playing, Morris-dancing displays, a real ale bar and pastoral crooning galore. Having celebrated its 25th anniversary a few of years ago, Ely Folk continues to be an easy laid back charm and, being smaller than many, is on a delightfully informal scale, mixing the vibe of a village fete with a mix of folk and roots music.
Latitude Henham Park, Suffolk, July 17-20 Tickets: £195 (weekend camping standard), £84 (day tickets) Info/booking: 0870 0603775, www.latitudefestival.co.uk Headliners: The Black Keys, Damon Albarn, Two Door Cinema Club, Editors, Royksopp, Mogwai, Lykke Li, Bombay Bicycle Club, Tame Impala, Daryl Hall and John Oates What to expect: Now in its ninth year, Latitude started as a mini-Glastonbury and has established itself as one of the UK’s best festivals attracting 35,000. The main music headliners — The Black Keys, Damon Albarn, Two Door Cinema Club seem tailor-made, especially after the electronic experiments of Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk. But even if they’re not to your taste, there are as ever plenty of treasures to be found down the bill, including Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club, Tame Impala, plus old favourite Billy Bragg and yacht-rock pioneers Daryl Hall and John Oates. The 6Music Stage includes sets from Mogwai, Lykke Li, Clean bandit, Anna Calvi and the collaboration between Royksopp and Robyn. But that’s only part of the story, of course. There’s a huge array of big names from comedy, cabaret, theatre, poetry, film and literature.
Secret Garden Party Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, July 24-27 Tickets: Priced on a tier system but £175 weekend, £130 for a teen ticket, under-12s free but still need a ticket. Info/booking: secretgardenparty.com Headliners: Public Enemy, Hercules And Love Affair, Little Dragon, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Morcheeba, Submotion Orchestra, Sub Focus What to expect: Despite the tranquil setting don’t expect this notoriously good-time gathering to be a relaxing weekend. Set in a 220 acre landscaped garden, bordering a river and lake, this a garden-party-gone-crazy and a hedonist’s delight. The music line-up is huge and geared towards having a good time. As well as music there’s loads of activities for kids and adults alike, and it is more of a party experience offering mud wrestling, skinny dipping, twilight maypole dancing, silent disco dancing, raft-building, body painting, counselling from the bad advice bears and reduced price tickets for those willing to “creatively participate”. Its staunchly independent festival without sponsorship and offers an eclectic musical mix so don’t expect the usual main stage and burger vans.
Norfolk Country Festival Pentney Indoor Bowls Club, Pentney, King’s Lynn, July 24-27 Tickets: £70 (weekend), £20 (day ticket), £12 (evening ticket). Info/booking: 01362 820947, ncmf.co.uk Headliners: Steve Cherelle, The Westons, Travis Collins Band, Boomer McLennan Band, The Classics, Alan Gregory, Box Car Kelly & The Railroaders, Henry Smith Band, Ray Peters Band, Texas Tornados What to expect: Cowboys from the wild east. This long-standing weekend country music gathering is an unheralded success story of the music festival calendar, drawing lovers of American country sounds from far and wide. Big changes this year though as it has moved from the Norfolk Showground to Pentney Indoor Bowls Club near King’s Lynn due to increasing costs. Expect the same mix of country vibes, dancefloors to suit line, partner and freestyle dancing and non-stop music, including late night sessions with Jonny Rondo. There is also a saloon bar — probably no swinging doors though.
Cambridge Folk Festival Cherry Hinton Hall, near Cambridge, July 31-August 3 Tickets: £144 (weekend), £42.50 children (weekend), under-4s free, £53.50-£63.50 (day tickets) Info/booking: 01223 357851, www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk Headliners: Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Richard Thompson, Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, Seth Lakeman, Newton Faulkner, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Oysterband What to expect: Cambridge Folk Festival has grown into one of Europe’s biggest and longest running folk fests. The first was in 1964 when a then largely unknown Paul Simon was a late addition to the bill. It has enlarged to include high profile American country artists, gospel, blues and world music, though in recent years the bill had arguably become too diverse to its detriment. This year’s bill looks like something of a return to its more folky heritage, helped by old favourites Richard Thompson and Oysterband, plus rare appearances from Van Morrison and Sinéad O’Connor and some summer world vibes from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. As ever, there are many treasures lower down the bill.
Stanton Calling Stanton, Ware, Hertfordshire, August 1-4 Tickets: £129 (weekend/camping), £10 (ages 4-12), under-13s free Info/booking: www.standon-calling.com Headliners: Frank Turner, Maxïmo Park, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, Clean Bandit, Peace, The Cuban Brothers, Norman Jay, Gilles Peterson What to expect: Essentially a big 3,000 capacity party in back garden of aristocrat organiser Alex Trenchard. This is more charming than you might think when that garden is the grounds of a 16th century manor house. This boutique festival is the chance to see some of the most hotly tipped underground bandsand some cracking DJs in an intimate setting, plus headline set from Public Enemy, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls and Maxïmo Park. The weird and wacky non-music entertainment includes Mexican wrestling.
Eastern Electrics 2014 Hatfield House, Herfordshire, August 2 Tickets: £49.50 Info/booking: www.easternelectricsfestival.co.uk Headliners: Art Department, Kerri Chandler, Laura Jones, Maxxi Soundsystem, Boddika, Daniel Avery What to expect: A block rocking, genre defying, venue changing electronic dance music festival. Now in its sixth year, the Eastern Electrics brand has grown from one of the UK’s premier underground warehouse raves in 2007 to a fully fledged music festival, first hosted in 2012. It was at Knebworth last year, this year its down the road Hatfield House.
Rhythms of the World Hitchin Priory, Hertfordshire, August 2-3 Tickets: TBC Info/booking: www.rotw.org.uk Headliners: TBC What to expect: After a record-breaking turnout in 2012, this long-running two-day event did not go ahead in 2013 due to the impact of the previous year’s wet and muddy conditions. The volunteer-run world music gathering that began life as an Oxfam fundraiser is back this year however. The line-up and tickets details are still to be announced but previously its ranged from upcoming indie and hip hop talent to reggae stalwarts a BBC Introducing stage of bands from the region plus acts hailing from as far afield as India, Congo, China and Singapore. Expand your music horizons.
Cambridge Rock Festival Haggis Farm Polo Club, Cambridge, August 7-10 Tickets: £105 (weekend), day tickets from £25 Info/booking: www.cambridgerockfestival.co.uk Headliners: FM, Wishbone Ash, Snake Charmer, Larry Miller, John Lande, Chantel McGregor, Serious Blues, Ultimate Eagles What to expect: Lots of fans of classic rock, particularly of the more obscure kind. This relatively new festival is something of a rock alternative to the esteemed folk festival, albeit on a much smaller scale in terms of profile. However, there will be three main stages (plus a new acoustic stage), over 100 bands over the four days, including a special 30th anniversary set from FM, and, probably just as importantly, 70 real ales on sale.
Reepham Festival Rookery Meadow, Reepham, August 9-10 Tickets: £20 (weekend), £35-£17 camping Info/booking: 01603 508050, www.reephamfestival.co.uk Headliners: Mainly Madness, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston, Bad Touch, Buster James, Lecia Louise, Parallel Lines, Hayley Moyses’ Bluegrass Forum, A13 Allstars What to expect: An intimate laidback musical experience in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. Now in its fifth year, this community festival has been expanded to two days. It stages a mix of established names, top tribute bands and upcoming young performers. The diverse music programme on two stages ranges wildly and wonderfully from acoustic to alternative, blues, classical, Celtic, folk, jazz, pop and rock.
Folk East Glemham Hall Estate, between Framlingham and Aldeburgh, Suffolk, August 15-17 Tickets: £96 (weekend/camping), £60 (youth weekend), £38 (day tickets), £22 (youth ticket) Info/booking: folkeast.co.uk Headliners: Bellowhead, False Lights, Blowzabella, Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party, The Will Pound Band, Lisa Knapp, Michael Chapman, The Rails What to expect: An intimate three-day festival, this year taking place in the grounds of Glemham Hall, with a true mix of traditional, contemporary, world and new folk roots, world and acoustic music encompassing both mainstream and local acts with lots of opportunity for participation. Headliners this year are the always excellent Bellowhead (Fri) and the debut of False Lights, the new band from Sam Carter and Jim Moray (Sun).
V Festival Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, August 16-17 Tickets: £189 (weekend/camping), £165 (weekend tickets), £89 (day tickets) Info/booking: www.vfestival.com Headliners: Justin Timberlake (Sat), The Killers (Sun), Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini, Lily Allen, Elbow, Katy B, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Kaiser Chiefs, Blondie, Manic Street Preachers, Janelle Monae, George Ezra, Aloe Blacc, Rizzle Kicks, Miles Kane, The Human League What to expect: The original duo site festival is the best organised — too much so for some, who feel it’s a soulless exercise in over commercialisation. However, if you’re looking for a relatively stress-free weekend with the minimum of mud, fuss and crusty types, this is the place for you. There’s even a ‘luxury camp site’. This year’s line-up features Justin Timberlake doing his thing, plus The Killers, the return of Ed Sheeran to the region and man of the moment Paolo Nutini. Loads of other big names, upcoming talent and old favourites like Blondie in their 30th anniversary year. Interesting though, for the first time in years, it hasn’t already sold out.
Sundown Festival Norfolk Showground, August 29-31 Tickets: £110 (family weekend/camping), £99 (weekend/camping), £65 (weekend), £36.50 (day tickets) Info/booking: 0871 2241112, www.sundownfestival.co.uk Headliners: Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, Chase & Status, John Newman, Clean Bandit, Pusha T, Jess Glynne, Zane Lowe, Katy B, Neon Jungle, Ella Eyre, Foxes, MK, Breach, Sam Divine, Andy C What to expect: Hordes of teenagers. The fourth Sundown returns now over three days at Norfolk Showground. The organisers have again managed to attract an impressive line-up of chart talent including headline sets from Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding and Chase & Status, who seem to have become favourites of the event making their fourth appearance. The bill is almost a who’s who of young UK urban artists and with many more names to be added as we get closer, the excitement is building (at least if you’re aged under-25, that is).
Rock‘n’Roll Weekender Seacroft, Hemsby, Norfolk, October 3-6 Tickets: £123 (economy chalet based on two people sharing) Info/booking: 01522 752453, www.hemsbyrocknroll.co.uk Headliners: Billy Adams, Bobby Hendricks, Nick Willett, Jimmy Lee Maslon, Barrence Whitfield What to expect: The annual gathering – now celebrating its 50th incarnation – of rockabilly types who model themselves on Elvis and James Dean and women dressed as 1950s pin-ups. Now held in the suitably authentic 50s surroundings of the Seacroft holiday camp, it attracts rock’n’rollers from across the world. As well as the music, there will also be jive dancing, classic cars and record and clothing markets. Grease up that quiff, and pull on those classic turned-up Levis.