Summer 2012 – Brace yourselves for the festival season

It’s that time of year again. ‘Festival Frenzy’ I’m gonna name it.

It’s that time of year again. ‘Festival Frenzy’ I’m gonna name it. The time of year where the question on everybody’s lips is: what festival are you going to this year?

The rise of the festival has been meteoric in the past decade. When I attended my first in 2008, there seemed to only be a choice between corporate-friendly V Festival, indie kids’ choice Reading and Leeds and the evergreen Glastonbury. I (maybe foolishly) chose V Festival, a festival so full of chavs and bereft of passion that my first festival experience was almost a wash-out (there was a lot of rain). However, I was hooked. From that year on I have attended at least two festivals per summer, becoming what one may call a veteran. I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country, hopped over to the Isle of Wight and even ventured abroad in search of a weekend in a field with some music.

And so we arrive in 2012. The decision has never been harder, so I’m going to try to give you a few tips to point you in the right direction.


A great way to kick off the summer, based in the heart of Manchester, Parklife is a must for fans of electronic and house music. Showcasing an embarrassment of djing riches, this festival is a bargain at less than £70 for a weekend.  Ones to watch: Justice, Madeon, Araabmusik and De La Soul.


Although not usually my thing, Download has caught my eye this year for one reason, BLACK SABBATH. Ozzy and his crew have reunited for what will surely be one of the most chaotic performances of the summer. As the band have said they are probably not going to do a full tour, this is likely to be your only chance to see them. Do it! Ones to watch: Black Sabbath, Biffy Clyro, The Prodigy

Reading and Leeds

A big name on the summer festival calendar Reading and Leeds Festival rarely disappoints and it has come up trumps again this year. For me, the best viewing is to be found away from the headliners with the festival having landed the recently reformed At The Drive-In for what may be their only summer UK appearance. The Maccabees have released one of the albums of 2012 so far but annoyingly clash with The Cure, who would you choose? Ones to watch: Blood Red Shoes, The Horrors, SBTRKT, Pulled Apart By Horses.

Optimus Alive

Any festival where Radiohead are playing is a winner in my eyes, and having announced a UK tour in October the band are giving the British festival season a miss. You will have to travel to sunny Portugal to catch them therefore (never a bad thing). With the Stone Roses also performing, it could be time to widen your horizons and check Optimus Alive out for yourselves. Ones to watch: The Kills, Metronomy, The Antlers.


Fancy-dress party come festival, Bestival ends the festival season in style. Curated by Radio 1 DJ Rob Da Bank, the festival is always an eclectic mix of dance music and live bands with something for everyone. The XX are sure to be crowd pullers this year especially with album number two supposedly on its way. Ones to watch: Four Tet B2B Caribou, Spiritualized, Justice, 2manydjs.