If the TV pro­gramme Loca­tion, Loca­tion, Loca­tion were to fea­ture fes­ti­vals instead of hous­es, I imag­ine the fol­low­ing would be select­ed. These have a mag­ic loca­tion ingre­di­ent, being either gor­geous, rur­al, coastal or just unique. A fes­ti­val in a great loca­tion can inspire you in the way a good hol­i­day does.

Blue Dot (above)  22 – 24 July

A new inter­galac­tic fes­ti­val, which takes place under the mag­nif­i­cent and at, night, slight­ly spooky look­ing Jodrell Bank tele­scope, just off the M6 in Cheshire. For an event which focus­es on art, space, talks, as well as music, the Blue Dot team have put togeth­er an absolute­ly, er, stel­lar line­up. It nat­u­ral­ly sports a cos­mic vibe: DJ Shad­ow, Mer­cury Rev, Cari­bou, AIR (who were tremen­dous at Field Day), 65daysofstatic and Jean-Michel Jarre will be per­form­ing by the Lovell tele­scope. There are plen­ty of talks and sci­ence-based events going on too

Caught by the Riv­er Thames 6 – 7 August

For city dwellers sweat­ing away in offices in August, a ver­dant treat lies in store in the form of Caught by the Riv­er Thames, a city meets-coun­try event by Ful­ham Palace, across from Put­ney. Caught by the Riv­er Thames brings a pletho­ra of lit­er­ary events, talks, coun­try-lean­ing events, and a good dose of music. It will, as their team say, make you feel like you’ve stum­bled out of the city and into the coun­try­side with the very min­i­mum of effort. It’s the per­fect place to host a festival.


Join­ing Low and the Super Fur­ry Ani­mals will be an array of artists such as Beth Orton (she has a new album just out), Mulatu Astatke, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and the won­der­ful Gwen­no who I saw ear­li­er this year in Heb­den Bridge. Pic­tured above is Caught by the Riv­er bar at Port Eliot festival.

Port Eliot Fes­ti­val  28 – 31 July

Port Eliot fes­ti­val is a giant house par­ty, where you can explore the beau­ti­ful Cor­nish estate, and wan­der round the gar­dens, dip­ping into music, lit­er­a­ture, body and soul, cook­ing, dis­cus­sions and more. Kim Gor­don of Son­ic Youth fame will be appear­ing. Anoth­er high­light this year is the appear­ance of Bar­bara Hulan­ic­ki, of Biba fame. And on the sub­ject of the 1960s, there’s the oppor­tu­ni­ty to camp in a vin­tage 60s tent for your dura­tion, with vin­tage tent com­pa­ny Vin­tents (see my inter­view with the Vin­tents team).

Sea Change  26 – 27 August

This new­bie event is hap­pen­ing in beau­ti­ful Totnes, Devon over August Bank Hol­i­day week­end, curat­ed by Drift Record shop. The no-camp­ing event now has a camp­ing area at Dart­ing­ton Estate (at £10 per pitch) due to demand and there are airbnb prop­er­ties list­ed on the web­site too – locals will also be pitch­ing in and offer­ing rooms so it’s a real­ly com­mu­ni­ty event. British Sea Pow­er head­line Sat­ur­day night, Heav­en­ly Record­ings will be there, as well as The Drink and Wave Pictures.

Chag­stock  22 – 23 July

If you pre­fer your fes­ti­vals very small and friend­ly, Chag­stock in Devon may be the thing for you. Not the most beau­ti­ful of names, but the loca­tion is breath­tak­ing­ly unique. Chag­stock fes­ti­val is small and intends to remain that way, with 5,000 mak­ing their way to the Dart­moor loca­tion. Dono­van is appear­ing on Fri­day night, The Stran­glers on Sat­ur­day. The very local Dart­moor Brew­ery Ales sup­ply… well, need we say more!

Chagstock 2011


Fes­ti­val No 6  1 – 4th September

Fes­ti­val No 6 is onto its fifth year, tak­ing place in the Ital­ian vil­lage of Port­meiri­on in North Wales, over­look­ing the estu­ary. On the line­up are Super Fur­ry Ani­mals, per­form­ing before a home crowd. Also Hot Chip, Bro­ken Social Scene, Ger­man folk­tron­i­ca duo Milky Chance and Eag­ulls. Oh and the fab dancey Crazy P and Roisin Mur­phy. Fes­ti­val No 6 is great for those who like to wan­der about sam­pling a bit of the­atre, music, a Welsh gourmet foods mar­ket, drinks at the hotel bar ter­race over­look­ing the estu­ary, or danc­ing on the pon­toon in a clear­ing in the woods. The lit­tle Estu­ary Stage in a white tent (below) is a must on clear moon­lit nights.

F6 Con­struct­ed between 1925 and 1975 by mav­er­ick archi­tect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Port­meiri­on is a won­der­ful­ly bizarre and elab­o­rate inter­pre­ta­tion of an Ital­ian village.

Portmeirion scene

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