Ealing Jazz Festival 2014

Ealing and its jazz and blues festivals have been a summertime fixture over the years at beautiful Walpole Park. I’ve attended the last two Blues festivals (read Ealing Blues 2013) but this time round we rolled up for the final Jazz day. I wonder if the organisers have a pact with the weather gods? Each time I’ve been to…

Read More

Review: BST Hyde Park Barclaycard, Arcade Fire

The hottest day of the year turned into a beautiful evening, and at Hyde Park, Arcade Fire gave a truly inspired performance. No doubt the band were making sure that this, their last night of the successful Reflektor tour, would be one for us, and them, to remember. Win Butler was more engaging, and more humorous, than…

Read More

King of the Mountains: a music festival for the Tour de France

Yorkshire has never been shy of blowing its own trumpet. “God’s own county” (country?) and all that, as its citizens never tire of reminding us. So it was fairly inevitable that the first stage of the Tour de France happening on God’s own doorstep – Leeds to be more precise – would herald an extravaganza…

Read More

Review : Beards, dreads and mud, Bearded Theory Festival 2014

 Everything looks sparkly and fresh at Bearded Theory‘s new venue at Catton Hall. The grass is lush, green and springy. The main stage stands at one end of the remarkably flat new site, with a dance tent and the more intimate Tornado Town tent just far enough away to be out of earshot, while a secret stage lies hidden…

Read More

The best festivals for 2014 – an update

Here’s an update of some of my top festival recommends for 2014 and as of the time of posting, still have tickets available. These are all small to medium-sized gatherings (no hour-long trudges to the arena). All these festivals have plenty of well thought-out activities for children and a fairly broad age range of attendance, so whether…

Read More

Green and pleasant: festivals for 2014

Dust down the sleeping bags and camping stove, the start of festival season is only a couple of months away. These days, music festivals are working harder to attract a following, offering debating sessions and workshops, banquets and ballooning, hoping to carve out a unique and identifiable image from a sea of formulaic events. Here…

Read More

Festivals round up 2013. The greats and the RIPs

With such a gorgeous hot summer it’s been a good year for music festivals. Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis who finally bagged the Stones this year is calling it one of their best ever. But my interest is in smaller festivals, partly because I like being able to walk from tent to arena in under ten minutes, partly…

Read More

Review: End of the Road festival 2013

With David Byrne, Sigur Ros and Belle & Sebastian amongst others on the lineup, End of the Road festival set in lush Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset looks like a perfect musical finale to the summer. Far from feeling chilled and serene, I’m feeling a knot of tension. Which act should I see? … and while I’m…

Read More

Review: Lounge on the Farm festival, Sunday 2013

Lounge on the Farm in Kent has big acts for the headliners, and local Kent bands entertain the crowds during the afternoon. I can only assume that everyone was suffering from massive hangovers and too much partying to Jessie Ware, as on arriving at Lounge on the Farm at noon Sunday, it all seemed suspiciously…

Read More

Review: Ealing Blues Festival is now a sunny weekender

Imagine a festival that only costs £5 entrance, has a choice of stages, several food outlets, the obligatory clothes and jewellery stalls plus a clairvoyant or two, a decent-ish bar, spotless portaloos with no queues… ok no camping, but then you can’t have everything. This is what’s on offer each year at Ealing Blues Festival,…

Read More