Sep 12, 2014

British Music Festivals That Are Infinitely Cooler Than U.S. Music Festivals

Maybe it's my infatuation with British culture. Maaaybe it's because I live in Southern California, so Coachella is the preverbial beaten dead horse. But I feel like music festivals in Britain are so much better.

Don't get me wrong — ACL is fantastic, and I've heard rave reviews of Lolla and Governors Ball, but whenever I see photos from across the pond, I get an overwhelming sense of "this is a magical music land!" and not "these people are all there to take selfies and wear flower crowns."

That being said, I know I'm not in the thick of these Brit fests (hopefully nexty year!), so I'm sure there's a whole slew of things people hate that happen at those festivals... but we're not here to talk about that.

If you're deciding to hit a festival, here are the major music weekends over in the UK.

Radio 1'S Big Weekend
If you're not familiar with Radio 1, it pity you. Besides being the home of two of my favorite DJ's, Nick "Grimmy" Grimshaw and Fearne Cotton (MAH GIRL), it's also the station responsible for giving us gems like these from their Live Lounge:



First things first: this is my dream job. Hosting a show and getting bands to do covers like this.

Can Sam Smith just stop already? He's making it hard for anyone else to compete with him. And this cover of "What Makes You Beautiful" by The 1975 — who I might actually be an offical groupie of at this point — makes the One Direction song tolerable for people who hate bubblegum pop.

This year, Radio 1's Big Weekend was held in Glasgow, and the headliners are enough to make a woman go mental:


Headlining was Coldplay, Tiesto and Katy Perry — but don't get it twisted, because they had major artists proceeding them: ONE DIRECTION (love), Ed, The 1975, Rita Ora, Kings of Leon, Bastille... Calvin Harris, and my girl Lily Allen.

By the way, if you haven't get Sheezus - one of my favorite albums this year. L8 COMMR is my top pick. I used it in my reel! And if you haven't had a chance to see her live, you'll be able to watch one of her shows online, tomorrow, September 13th. Lils really bring it out on stage... it's hard not to love her. I know she had some drama back in the day with the tabloids, but she's uber talented. (That's the end of my LA PSA.)

Back to Big Weekend: we should have seen the "In New Music We Trust" stage lineup. London Grammar, Clean Bandit, XO, Kasabian, The Kooks; Lorde. I wouldn't want to miss any of these acts. Phenomenal.

I know that Coachella and other U.S. fests are great because there's a wide array of music with hundreds of artists and bands, but it's rare that I see a lineup and start strategizing how to see every band that performs.

iTunes Festival
I'm shocked that iTunes Festival didn't make it's US debut until this year. Over in London, this is a month-long music festival. HELLO? One month for one festival. I would be exhausted, as I would be depraved of all sleep, and probably broke from taking off work and spending all my money tickets.

Held in Camden Town, the festival is this month — September. Each day, 2-3 artists or bands perform.


Here's a look at a few dates — this is an amazing lineup. David Guetta, Jessie J, Rudimental, PLACEBO — I'm getting flashbacks of high school just looking at the name. David Gray, Foy Vance and Lenny "Cinna" Kravitz.

Additionally, what's awesome about this festival is that you can watch it online, should you not be able to attend. (Might help with that bank account situation.) And because it's streaming through iTunes, you know it's going to be better than the bush league antics other stations have set up.

V Festival
V in V festival standards for Virgin Media, aka the mecca in terms of music and flying. This festival just went down in August and the one feature of this fest that separates it from most is that it's held in two different parks. So one bill plays one park on Saturday, when swaps with the other bill for Sunday.


The 18-year-old event has five stages, and Virgin Media has partnered with MTV on this one, giving them not only a stage but also the accessability to broadcast the lineup. This festival is known to be way more commercial than the others, but who cares! They can be. They've got Justin Timberlake and The Killers headlining.

Lily, Ed, Rudimental and Sam (the festival darlings) all performed as well.

Glanstonbury
I'd say Glastonbury is most on par with US festivals. Tons of tents and stages, so if you're not interested in seeing a band, you can head over for some DJ action. People camp out. It's a spectacle.

Originally a blues festival that launched the day after Jimi Hendrix died, this festival encompasses all kinds of music: EDM, pop, alternative, rap, etc. In addition to all of the music you can consume, the festival is chock full of art installations, too.

glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

Which ones did I miss? Let me know!

Thanks to my friends at Yahoo! Live for sponsoring this post. 

1 comment:

Drew Watts said...

Really interesting post!! I am sad that I couldn’t attend this British music fest. My brother has his own music band and currently he is looking to rent a space for an event in Florida for their live music show.

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