shelleyhanveywriter

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Posts Tagged ‘The National

2011 UK Music Festivals; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist?

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I think we’ve pretty much seen the majority of what the UK Music Festival scene has in store for us this year, but I’ve had cause to wonder; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist? Are record sales the main criterion; perhaps international or tabloid appeal, or could it be something else?

It has always been my opinion that those festivals which consistently perform well with ticket sales, are those which have a clear brand identity and generally, a niche market; Leeds and Reading Festivals, Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury and T In The Park being prime examples. I suppose it isn’t  rocket science really – if you cater to a specific section of the gig-going public, provide the artists and bands that  they want to see, at a price they can afford, how can you go wrong? But so many appear to do just that. Looking at some of the festival line-ups for 2011, I’ve felt largely underwhelmed and uninspired, with only a select few pricking my curiosity to find out more. Admittedly, music tastes are subjective and entirely personal to the ticket-holder, but when the ‘big five’ (V Festival, Glastonbury, Leeds Festival, Reading Festival and T In The Park) music festivals in the UK are charging relatively similar weekend prices, how can a couple of them defend their line-ups against their peers?

Of course, a music festival is about much more than just the music; the location has to be just right, as well as: accessibility, on-site facilities, entertainment, catering, toilets, general crowd atmosphere and the list goes on. Can a perfect ten in all of these criteria however, really make up for a poor line-up? Is a great festival weekend about who you’re with, not where you are; would you trade six good medium-stage acts for one great main stage act?

The UK Festival Awards 2010 announced the following winners late last year:

Best Small Festival in association with Doodson Entertainment – Kendal Calling

Best Medium Festival in association with Smirnoff Flavours – Green Man Festival

Best Major Festival in association with Tuborg – Bestival (see photo above)

Line-Up of the Year in association with XL Video – Rockness

Bestival is a boutique music festival, which takes place at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight. The four-day spectacular which promises to inspire ‘peace, love and dancing’, is curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank. This year, the festival takes place on the 8th – 11th September 2011 and is set across 15 stages, offering the likes of The Cure, Pendulum, Primal Scream, Kelis, Robyn, PJ Harvey, Noah and the Whale, The Unthanks and Groove Armada. It would be fair to say that the line-up is a mix of folk fusion and boutique chic and the festival site promises ‘an original boutique camping experience, cocktail bars, fancy dress and a hidden disco.’ I think the fact that the festival has always promoted itself as being particularly family friendly hasn’t hurt; children enjoy music too, it isn’t all about the beer tokens people! To find out more about Bestival, please visit the link below.

Green Man Festival takes place on the 19th-21st August 2011 (the same weekend as V Festival, but tailored to an entirely different audience) in the Brecon Beacons. The festival is aimed specifically at the folk and electronic indie- loving public and again, is very welcoming to families with children of all ages; indeed, under 12s get in free. Highlights on the line-up this year include: Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthem, Bellowhead, Explosions In The Sky, The Burns Unit and Villagers. I think that I would enjoy this particular festival; I love folk and electronic music and I love a beautiful scenic environment in which to camp and lounge. To find out more about Green Man Festival, please visit the link below.

Kendal Calling takes place on the 29th-31st July 2011 in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District. This is an independent festival, combining contemporary music and art with rural entertainment. I think it would be a fair assumption to say that this festival largely caters to a somewhat younger demographic than the former two; particularly with regards to the line-up, which this year includes: The Cribs, Blondie, Chase and Status, Echo and the Bunnymen, Levellers and Young Knives.  The festival also offers dance, comedy and new music stages. For more information on Kendal Calling…you know what to do.

Out of the ‘big five’ headlining acts this year, my favourite would have to be Glastonbury (22nd-26th June 2011): Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce. The brilliance of these choices lies in the fact that there will probably be something for everyone here. The acts are diverse enough to attract wider audiences, yet remain true to what a great headliner should be – an act that commands your attention, whether that be by dividing the audience right down the middle or uniting everyone with one memorable anthem that will go on to sum up the entire weekend.

Taking in to account the line-up in its entirety however, I would have to opt for Latitude Festival as my favourite(14th-17th July 2011). The mix of folk, electronica, comedy, poetry and the spoken word could have been tailored specifically with me in mind. I would pay to see the majority of the acts on the billing, including: The National, Bombay Bicycle Club, Caribou, The Duke and the King, Foals, Hurts, KT Tunstall and Rumer , as well as the fantastic stand-ups on offer including Alan Carr and Omad Djalili . Plus it also takes place on my birthday weekend!

Whichever UK festival you choose to visit this year, I wish you good weather and great memories 🙂

www.festivalawards.com / http://www.vfestival.com/ / http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/ / http://www.latitudefestival.co.uk/ / http://www.leedsfestival.com/ / http://www.readingfestival.com/ / http://www.tinthepark.com/ / http://www.greenman.net/ / http://www.bestival.net/ / http://kendalcalling.co.uk/ http://www.rockness.co.uk/

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The Sunday Times – Best Rock and Pop albums of 2010

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The Sunday Times – Rock and Pop albums of 2010

For any interested parties; The Sunday Times published its list of the best Rock and Pop albums of 2010, this week. In order to view the list online the publication has now introduced a subscription-only service; but fear not my fellow pre-yuletide cash-strapped friends, for I have secured the goods and bring them to you below:

Hailed by the weekly title as ‘the most original songwriter in Britain‘ , folk and festival favourite Laura Marling tops the list with her second album ‘I Speak Because I Can.’ Justifying her billing, critics said that:

…(Marling) made a second album on which classical myth and wartime love letters served as wellsprings for lyrics of unrivalled insight and ambition. Musically, the palette was broadened to take in Americana alongside a haunting pastoralia rooted in the ancient soil of England.

It is these very hallmarks of the folk genre which fuel my love for it; particularly the ever-growing nu-folk breed of artists from across the UK. Marling’s songwriting and vocal talents cannot be denied and I like to imagine that she learnt a thing or two in this regard from one-time partner and music collaborator Charlie Fink, of Noah And The Whale. I’m sure the learning process was also a reciprocal arrangement. So, congratulations to Laura on this fine achievement which hopefully, in some way might make up for missing out on the Mercury Prize this year.

My chosen selections from the list would include: The National, Ed Harcourt, Robyn, Field Music and Marconi Union.

The rest of the list goes as follows:

Robert Plant – ‘Band of Joy

Gorillaz – ‘Plastic Beach’

Arcade Fire – ‘The Suburbs

The National – ‘High Violet

Paul Weller – ‘Wake Up the Nation

Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

John Legend and The Roots – ‘Wake Up!’

Anais Mitchell – ‘Hadestown

Eels – ‘End Times

Robyn – ‘Body Talk Pts 1-3

Ed Harcourt – ‘Lustre

Yeasayer – ‘Odd Blood

Mavis Staples – ‘You Are Not Alone

Cee Lo Green – ‘The Lady Killer’

Phosphorescent – ‘Here’s to Taking It Easy’

Field Music – ‘Field Music

Marconi Union – ‘A Lost Connection

Take That – ‘Progress

Manic Street Preachers – ‘Postcards from a Young Man

Perhaps a few ideas for music lovers’ Christmas presents in that bunch?

shelleyhanveywriter x

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