I’ve been pretty lucky to go to a fair few festivals in my time – from local bands in local fields, to mega metropolis Glastonbury. You can even check out my ten festival commandments here. Festivals are so damn popular at the moment, every Tom, Dick and Harry (I’m sure there’s a reason they’re all men…) is putting one on, and thinking they can make a quick buck. But a well-produced, successful festival is difficult to create. I thought I’d share some of my favourites to guide you when you’re deciding which field to rave in next year.
V98 was the first festival I ever had the good fortune to attend – I went with my Mum, Brother and Uncle when I was a young and impressionable 11 years old. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t remember the entirety of the day, and I certainly wasn’t there to get off my face on warm cider. But I do remember seeing the Verve and I watched in awe as Green Day set fire to their drum kit and stripped off.
I’ve heard that V Festival these days is a bit of a different proposition, known more for its high celeb turnout and raging pop music headliners. One I don’t think I’d head back to unless the lineup was KILLER.
Leeds Festival will forever hold a special place in my heart. I used to live really close by, so I went religiously every summer (even one year when I was grounded and not allowed to camp, I still got taken there and picked up every day, haha). It is the best rock festival out there and is just a hell of a lot of fun. It’s big, but not overwhelming and there’s always enough on to keep me entertained.
Leeds Festival is also one of the best backstage experiences I’ve ever had. I worked for the PR team there for a couple of years and assisted on a Kerrang! cover shoot for Biffy Clyro, who by the by are the nicest men in rock. I also met the pure goddess that is Brody Dalle and therefore I can die happy.
Leeds Festival is ALSO the first festival Andrew and I went to when we were first courting and we just had the bestest time. Leeds, I <3 U.
Ahh Glastonbury, seen by so many as the pinnacle of British festival going and the ONLY place to be seen in June. Oh how I wish I loved you more! A few years ago, Andrew and I decided to go along with some friends – my first Glasto and his second. We got our tickets, filled the car with camping gear and made the epic drive down South.
And that’s about where the fun ended! OK, so maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely did not meet my expectations. For starters, the line up was pretty rubbish that year and we also made some poor choices (Chemical Brothers instead of Coldplay? NO). It rained, it took forever to get anywhere because of the mud, it cost a fortune, people got too drunk and we lost each other and going to the toilet in the campsite meant at least a 20 minute walk through a quagmire to queue like cattle.
I’d love to go back to Glastonbury to see whether second time’s a charm, but it quite frankly pisses me off that they don’t release the line up until way after the tickets have sold out. Am I the only one who wants to go to a festival because of the music??
I came across Kendal Calling when the PR company I worked for ran their PR. They sorted me out with tickets and I went just with Andrew for his 30th birthday. It is such an amazing festival! The line up is never going to compete with Glasto or Leeds – think more washed up 90s bands than current stadium fillers – but it is charming in its own way.
It’s a great place to hear new music, and it’s small enough that if you’re not enjoying what you’re hearing, you can stroll to the next stage and find something else. The site is beautiful (Lowther Deer Park), there is great food and drink and a happy, friendly vibe that totally captured me. I’d highly recommend picking up a ticket for next year – but get in there early, because it’s gaining popularity and tickets are selling out faster every year!
British Summer Time at Hyde Park
I’ve only been to BST once, and once was enough! Another festival that makes it into the downright ugly category I’m afraid. We travelled down to London to see The Libertines and all was going well until they actually started playing. I mean, I know they’re not the best live band on the planet, but the sound quality was absolutely shocking. I could hear the people’s conversation next to me better than I could hear the band. What is that about?
I think if you decide to head off to BST (and don’t get me wrong, I would have gone to see Green Day this year in a shot if I’d been able to!) then just make sure you experiment with where exactly to stand so you can actually hear the music. Just saying.
So that’s my festival history in a nutshell. But if you want to see more good, bad and ugly music festivals, then why not check out Go Girl’s interactive summer music festivals across the UK map to find out which ones are near you? And while you’re there, grab yourself a Go Girl car insurance quote so you don’t have to haul your tent onto the Mega Bus. Oh so glam.
What’s your favourite festival?
This post is sponsored, but all thoughts on UK music festivals are my own!
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