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Festival Guide Pt 1: the bashes, the bands & the balls-ups

Ah, festival season. The smell of cider and factor 30 is in the air…

CALM will be spreading the good message at some of the summer’s best bashes. We’ve already been to Field Day and collated a whole bunch of amazing Torch Songs into a glorious banger-packed Spotify Playlist, and we’ve got Lovebox, Citadel, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness and Shuffle coming up.

So, festival-goer, we know you’re going to squeeze in a visit to CALM this summer. But who else should be in your schedule? For Part 1 of our Festivals Guide, we caught up with some of those in the know to get their festival picks and hear their funniest festival balls-ups…

Who: Mary Anne Hobbs, DJ at BBC 6 Music
Which festivals are you looking forward to this summer?
The Festival I’m most excited about is Manchester International Festival – June 29th – July 15th. I’ve curated a series called ‘Dark Matter’… 8 immersive shows from pioneering national, international and Manchester-based artists. I’m working with the lighting designer Stuart Bailes who will re-imagine the venue spaces Gorilla and The Ritz in light. Artists playing are all bringing new work – SUNN O))), Clark, Colin Stetston, Holly Herndon, Paleman, The Haxan Cloak, Levelz and Kojey Radical.
Worst festival balls-up?
The weather was apocalyptic. The Second Stage had been shut down… and the Comedy Tent had blown away! Nirvana were headlining at Reading Festival in 1992, and I was reviewing the show for NME. I remember being so cold I could barely hold a pen. I found the hotel with the Fax machine I’d been told to use to send the review to the Editor of NME. But the night porter was so appalled at the state I was in – shivering, filthy dirty and soaked to the skin – he wouldn’t let me into the hotel. I still remember the abject indignity of having to beg him to send the Fax… he charged me 20 quid!

Who: Phil Taggart, DJ/Broadcaster at BBC Radio 1 & VEVO
Which festivals are you looking forward to this summer?
It’s not exactly groundbreaking but after being too sick to go to Glastonbury last year I’d say that’s high up on my agenda, it’s also the first year I am playing so I am stoked for that. It’s the last year of Secret Garden Party which is gonna be pretty emotional but don’t forget the surf and music festival Boardmasters. Imagine surfing all morning after raving all night, ultimate head clearer.
Which artists will you be catching?
For Boardmasters it’s all about the psyche legends Flaming Lips and Stormzy. For Glastonbury, Radiohead and Boy Better Know amongst a 1000 other things. And at Secret Garden Party I’m not gonna even look at the lineup I just wanna drift round the site and see whatever intrigues me.
Worst festival balls-up?
When I was 19 myself and my best friend got tickets for the Oxegen festival in Ireland on the day at the bus depot. We genuinely had nothing except the clothes on our back and decided to go for the full weekend. We really had to rely on the kindness of strangers for shelter, food, clothes, alcohol the whole works. People are a lot more friendly at a festival.

Who: Matt Wilkinson, Beats 1
Which festivals are you looking forward to this summer?
Glastonbury is still the best festival on the planet, no question. There’s also a great small festival in France called Midi which has consistently great line-ups and a wicked setting. And in Cornwall Port Eliot continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Which artists will you be catching?
I’m excited to see how The Lemon Twigs and HMLTD go down this summer – they’re two of the most exhilarating live bands to come along in years. Then there’s Frank Ocean, Anderson Paak, Badbadnotgood, Childhood and Pond…all killing it right now. In terms of heritage acts it’s all about Eminem and Tom Petty for me.
Worst festival balls-up?
Has to go to my dear friend Laura, who somehow managed to fall into/get stuck in the tank bit of one of those massive green toilets at Glastonbury. Twice.

Who: George & Tristan, Hand In Hive Records & Artist Management
Which festivals are you looking forward to this summer?
End Of The Road is a real favourite – the line-up this year is particularly strong, the site is pretty magical, the food and drink is excellent and there’s an amazing silent disco.
Which artists will you be catching?
It’s tough to narrow it down to a few names but we’re particularly excited to see Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for the first time, Alvvays hopefully playing new stuff, the triumphant return from Slowdive, new-country legend Daniel Romano, Real Estate, Japanese Breakfast, Julie Byrne, Nadia Reid, and Julia Jacklin. The list goes on and on…
Worst festival balls-up?
Tristan got drunkenly married to our good friend Paul at Glastonbury a few years ago – the ceremony and ‘vicar’ were all pretty legitimate, so technically we think they may still be married…

Who: Dave Rowlinson, Deputy Editor of London in Stereo
Which festivals are you looking forward to this summer?
City-based or surrounded by green fields, I absolutely love festival season. It feels like a life outside of real life – a time when you can just let go a bit and genuinely relax. I’ve had a blast at Trondheim Calling, Great Escape, Porto Primavera and Field Day this year, and really looking forward to old favourites like the always magical End of The Road. There are must-see acts in London at Lovebox (please don’t cancel, Frank) and Wireless, and I hope to tick off some unvisited treats like Way Out West and Iceland Airwaves.
Which artists will you be catching?
I saw Chance The Rapper at Brixton Academy last year and it was one of the most joyful, uplifting and celebratory shows I’ve ever witnessed. ‘He needs to headline a festival’, I said on the way out – and, hey, he is! Wireless in Finsbury Park. Chance, then bowling at Rowan’s. Absolute dream night. Feel emotional just thinking about it.
Worst festival balls-up?
Staying up until gone 5am at Iceland ATP, dropping phone in a pint, waking up catastrophically late for our 10am flight, literally sprinting two miles uphill to the only coach to the airport for the only flight home, miraculously catching coach and Jess (LiS editor) sitting next to me vomming over her jumper because there was no toilet on the coach. A very bad time that probably only lasted about 30 minutes but still haunts me. No lessons have been learned.

Keep an eye out for CALM at festivals this summer, and be sure to let us know what your Torch Song is via #WhatsYourTorchSong so that we can add it to our Torch Songs: Festival Picks 2017 playlist.

There will be a whole lot more talk of balls-ups (and balls in general, actually) in the forthcoming issue of CALMzine – more info on that shortly. 

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