Colourmusic, Future of the Left, Fleet Foxes, Super Furry Animals, Kasabian - My Festival Year '09
Owain Paciuszko 23/03/2009
Doesn't time fly?! 2008 was my first year for festival experiences, which is rather shocking considering I'm a music fan and I'm 26 (well, I was 25 then... glory days...). I was suddenly reminded of my love for camping, the outdoors, mud and knew that as 2008 drew to a close I would be aiming to fill my festival diary come 2009. Unfortunately things such as 'work' and 'money' shall continue to limit my adventures, but here's my preview of the events that shall be making up 'My Festival Year 2009'.
Great Escape, Brighton - May 14th, 15th, 16th
Promising 300 acts over 34 venues would seem to suggest a lack of quality control, but the Great Escape's line-up puts many of the summer's big guns to shame and they seem to be throwing out new names even as the date draws nearer. The big draw for me is Texan Ben Kweller, his debut solo album Wasted & Ready is an indie-pop gem and as his career has progressed he's slowly crept his way into a similar alt-country cookie cutter as Ryan Adams; his most recent record Changing Horses was a big step up after the slightly wobbly self-titled (difficult) third album. And now, researching this article, I just found out that Colourmusic are playing; anybody who regularly reads this website may have noticed I hype them at every available opportunity, so undoubtedly I shall be going batshit insane when they perform! But there's also baroque-folk from Lightspeed Champion, Connan Mockasin who blew my mind at Swn in '08, almighty instrumental maestros Holy Fuck, Cardiff's current rock stalwarts Future of the Left, dark lounge from The Veils and big names like Kasabian and British Sea Power.
Square Festival, Aberystwyth - July 24th, 25th, 26th
Last year's debut festival by the Borth coastline went beautifully, it was blisteringly sunny, booze and barbeque soaked affair with the kind of laidback attitude that goes hand in hand with this tiny nook of Wales that I once called campus. Back for more of the same, the line-up is currently brewing over at Square Towers but this is such a uniquely located festival in such a wonderful part of these British Isles that it shall definitely be worth the trek.
Green Man, Brecon Beacons - August 21st, 22nd, 23rd
Another beautiful location this time tucked away amongst the hills of the Brecon Beacons, a short drive away from Abergavenny. Green Man has recently announced the first of its acts for this year and a huge grin eased onto my face as I read the word Wilco; the Chicago-based band have consistently produced some of the finest albums of the late-20th and early-21st century and I'm already concocting dream set-lists in my head; fingers crossed for I'm The Man That Loves You. Elsewhere in the tip-of-the-iceberg listing is Bon Iver who came out of nowhere to deliver 2008's biggest sleeper hit and then absolutely storm and charm the audience in equal measure at the End of the Road festival. You will also find the first ever Australian band to be signed by Warp, namely Pivot; former Boo Radley Martin Carr; and some wonderful folk acts in the varying shapes of Megson, Golden Animals and She Keeps Bees. I want to pitch my tent already!
Beachdown, Devil's Dyke, Brighton - August 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st
A truly eclectic roster of artists will be performing just up the road from my new gaff in Brighton at the intriguingly named Devil's Dyke. Top of the bill is fashion icon and former Bond-girl Grace Jones; chart-busting Northern popsters The Zutons; the Super Furry Animals who have recently returned with their finest album since 2003's Phantom Power and such incendiary acts as The Fall, Grandmaster Flash and Saint Etienne. The 'almost full' line-up also comes complete with a plethora of Brighton Bands such as ska act Los Albertos, folk-popster Chris Simmons and rock-outfit The Perils.
End of the Road, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset - September 11th, 12th, 13th
Set in amongst the staggeringly lovely Larmer Tree Gardens, replete with peacocks ambling around and parrots flying about, this is the perfect way to end a festival year. End of the Road has a nice mix of folk, quirk and experimental acts all wrapped up in a bundle of great food, interesting stalls and fun things to do, with creatively decorated grounds and delightful scenery; not to mention dancing at the Cider Bus until the early hours! The line-up is still expanding, but announced thus far are; Fleet Foxes who have erupted onto the scene with their debut album; the earth-shaking Explosions in the Sky; the wonkily charming ukelele of Dent May and cutesy pop-anthems of The Boy Least Likely To. End of the Road knows how to structure a line-up to keep things getting better and better and you can be sure they've got some amazing acts both known and unknown tucked up their sleeves.
Well, that's my festival year... though I'm looking forward to them all in equal measure I'm currently on a bit of a Colourmusic high and know that as each new band gets announced at each festival I'm going to get a bit giddier and probably squeak the word 'Yippee!' like some sort of Beano cartoon. Hopefully I'll see you at one, if not all, of these festivals... I'm usually the one drunk by the cider bus, wondering why he doesn't remember any of the great bands he was so excited to be seeing!