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      Best of the Fest

      Garden Festival
      Whether camping, glamping or day tripping there’s again this year a kaleidoscope of festivals out there for your listening and partying pleasure. The tough part, as always, comes in settling on which one to go to and then rallying up the troops! Your Glastonbury’s, Latitudes, Bestivals and End of the Roads are by now vintage classics, but we’ve chosen to look at some of the slightly more under-the-radar options available. These are the lineups and locations that had us salivating, and with any luck...we’ll see you there.

      The Alternative Option

      Truck Festival, Hill Farm, Steventon
      Truck Fest

      Truck Fest - Photo - Claire Williams Photography

      As more new festivals pop up every year (and more get canned) it becomes increasingly important to choose wisely. By all accounts Truck, now in its 16th year, is a winner. Near Oxford, Truck is a smaller, friendlier but not one of these showy 'boutique' affairs. At just two days - July 19 and 20 - the line up reflects a massive range but is mostly alternative; headliners range from Dan Le Sac to Spiritualized with most musical persuasions covered in between.

      Our tips? And So I Watch you From Afar, Thumpers and, of course, Bo Ningen.

      Other pros are a focus on local food providers, and a good showing of local ales. Oh, and unlike most festivals you are allowed to bring  your own alcohol into the festival site. All this at just over £74? We'll see you there. truckfestival.com


      Double the fun in Croatia:

      The Garden and Electric Elephant

      Everyone’s happy when festival meets holiday, and what better location than the sun drenched Croatian Coast - where you can have double the fun if you’re up for it. The Garden Festival is the brainchild of expat Brits who have created an 8-year strong cracking event - set in the gently hilly area of Tisno, overlooking a beautiful bay below, and complete with sandy beach and crystal clear waters.

      Musically, think a blend of live acts and DJs, including the likes of Metro Area, Crazy P, Auntie Flo, Floating Points, Wolf and Lamb, Young Sweeney and many more.

      Not heard of those? How about a beach bar, daily boat parties and an open air club called Barbarellas? The charming town of Tisno is nearby and the site is accessible to both Zadar and Split airports. The Garden Festival is happening July 3-10, and if you’re feeling adventurous (and can spare the time!) you’ll stay on for the Electric Elephant festival at the very same site.

      With comparisons to Ibiza (only cooler), Electric Elephant’s 6th glorious event will be happening from July 11-15 and headliners include Frankie Knuckles, Mr Scruff, Horse Meat Disco and a whole lot more.

      Tickets for both festivals together are going for a bargain £150 - or separate they are £105 and £110 respectively. Accommodation options range from tent pitches to onsite apartments - see www.thegardenfestival.eu and www.electricelephant.co.uk for full info.



      Music Nerds on Ice:

      ATP Iceland

      ATP Festival

      Sometimes a festival comes along that just makes you think: ‘Pinch me!’ This is one of those. The perfect consolation prize for anyone not lucky enough (or sucker enough, depending on your view) to get Glasto tickets we have just three words for you: ATP. Iceland. Nick Cave.

      Our favourite festival organisers will roll their show to the former NATO base in Keflavik, - 30 mins from the capital and even closer to the famed Blue Lagoon. The festival will hold just 4000 punters and, in addition to Mr. Cave, the line-up includes Deerhoof, The Oh Sees, The Notwist, Múm and a host of other bands that you’ve never heard of but will probably blow your mind.

      The festival will be held over the weekend of June 28 and 29 and a select number of tickets are available with B and B accommodation included. Festival only tickets cost 105 EUR (+ booking fee) a pop - for full info see www.atpfestival.com

      Astrophysics meets music:

      Live from Jodrell Bank


      Jodrell Bank is of course an astronomical research centre and home of the Lovell telescope - the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world we’ll have you know. The science-loving folk at Jodrell decided to invite the world of music to visit, and hosted a show from the Flaming Lips back in 2011 - the Transmission series was born.

      This year there are two weekends of suitably spacey music programmed for the summer, and with the introduction of a camping option it will give the whole affair a festival feel. The first weekend is the 6th and 7th of July - Friday seeing the spectacle of the Australian Pink Floyd Show supported by Hawkwind, and Saturday headlined by New Order supported by Johnny Marr. The second weekend will see Sigur Ros bring their beautifully eerie Iceland noise on Friday August 30, as supported by Daughter, and on Saturday August 31 the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, will play a special performance of classical mixed with sci-fi theme tunes. Tickets for either weekend, including camping, costs £99 (+ booking fee) and the price includes entry to the Observatory’s Discovery Centre! www.livefromjodrellbank.com

      The Wild West:

      Way Out West
      Way Out West

      Perhaps it’s the similarity to the name Gotham, but for some reason Gothenburg has always sounded to us like a pretty cool place. Sweden’s second city, it is known for being studenty, coastal and having lots of good coffee shops. And oh yeah - the Way Out West festival which just so happens to have a killer lineup this year. Taking in both the pop and alternatives side
      of things, headliners include The Knife, Goat, Kendrick Lamar, Foxygen, Tame Impala and lots more over three days held in a beautiful city centre park. It’s not a camping festival, but after the park fun ends the city keeps the party going with the after hour ‘stay out west’ part of the gig.

      Takes place August 8 - 10 and tickets cost just around £11. www.wayoutwest.se/en

      Take No Prisoners:

      Festival Number 6

      Festival Number 6

      Surely a contender for one of the most unusual settings, Festival Number 6 is held in the bizarre faux-Italian village located in the heart of North Wales, where the mountain meet the sea.


      Whoever thought of holding a festival here - the setting of the TV show prisoner - was onto a winner and by all accounts their first festival last year was something special to behold.


      A properly ‘boutique’ experience, punters can camp, hire a tipi or even stay in a castle.... it is Wales after all. Artists include Everything Everything, Tricky, Aluna George, Manic Street Preachers and loads more including a DJ line-up ranging from Daddy of Massive Attack to Will Sergeant . There’s also a hosts of talks, speakers including John Cooper Clarke, Caitlin Moran and Jan Morris.

      The festival happens over the weekend of 13-15 September 2013 and costs £180 with camping. Check out their particularly gorgeous site at www.festivalnumber6.com



      Mega Metal


      Our metal writer Nick Malone shares his top five bands from across the heavy festivals who you won’t want to miss.


      GHOST – Since releasing 2010’s ‘Opus Eponymous’, Papa Emeritus and his five nameless ghouls have shocked and awed audiences all over the world. Their bemasked occult rock stage show matched with catchy hooks and feel good rhythms make for brilliant fun. Playing at Download Festival as well as many abroad including Hellfest and Sonisphere Spain, Ghost are my number one band not to be missed this summer.

      VOLBEAT – Formed in 2001 and hailing from Denmark, Volbeat seamlessly blend heavy riffs in a fast rock ‘n roll style with a sixties melodic twist. Dubbed ‘Elvis Metal’, it makes for some of the catchiest sing-along heavy metal you’re going to hear, and there are few better ways to spend your festival afternoon than seeing them do their thing live. Catch them at Download Festival, and primarily in their headline slot at Hellfest in France.

      HUNTRESS – If you like heavy metal in its rawest form, enjoy a bit of thrash now and then, and have a tendency towards powerful female vocalists, then guess what? Huntress are your new favourite band! Touring relentlessly off the back of their debut offering, 2012’s ‘Spell Eater’, Jill Janus and the boys are definitely ones to watch, both in a muddy field with a few beers, and in terms of future developments. See them at Sweden Rock, Download festival, and at a host of dates on the Rockstar Mayhem festival tour across the US.

      KING DIAMOND – Easily one of the most recognisable and revered in heavy metal history, King Diamond; the man and the band, are a live experience like no other. Since recovering from triple bypass surgery and hitting the road again in 2012, King Diamond is looking and sounding better than ever. To witness him belting out his signature falsetto vocals be sure to get down to Bloodstock Open Air in August for his exclusive UK festival performance . I know I will be!

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