Banish thoughts of blizzards and cast your mind forward to sun-drenched fields, thousands of grinning faces and loud, loud music. As festival-lineup-announcement season begins in earnest, we take a look ahead to where’s worth jumping on a plane for this year…
1. Coachella, California, 15–17/22–24 April
Welcome to the jungle desert, we’ve got fun ’n’ games (and reformed megabands to spare)… Not content with getting Slash and Axl to bury the hatchet and get Guns ’n’ Roses back together, the first big festival of the year will also see hipster favourites LCD Soundsystem come out of retirement. (And if a triumphant headline set isn’t enough, swing by James Murphy’s Despacio tent where he and the 2ManyDJs brothers will be playing out a mad array of vinyl-only records on a bespoke in-the-round soundsystem all weekend long.) Elsewhere, you can flit from teen-pleasing EDM to whiskey-worn country, or just stand at the bar and play spot the celebrity in the wholly inappropriate headdress.
2. Primavera Sound, Barcelona, 1–5 June
As cities go, Barcelona balances the best bits with aplomb: art, history, culture, a sun-baked beach, some awe-inspiring architecture, too much magnificent food, and shopping good enough to take a second suitcase for. Primavera is like that, distilled into festival form – in a prime Med-side setting. Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem and Sigur Rós are the trendy triumvirate at the top of the posters; dig further and you’ll find everything from Brian Wilson doing Pet Sounds to Afro-Cuban supergroup Orchestra Baobab to (half) reformed Eighties dream-poppers A.R Kane. Oh, and it runs all night, for many nights, so you might want somewhere nice to crash out afterwards…
3. Governor’s Ball, New York, 3–5 June
Kanye has just finished ‘the best album of all time’, and if you want to see how such a boast plays out on stage, get thee to Randall Island Park in June. As well as Yeezy’s ego, don’t miss the Phantogram/Big Boi collabo, Big Grams, the Flying Lotus-approved bass wizard Thundercat and spiky songstress Torres among the bigger names like the Strokes, Beck, Robyn and the Killers. If you want to impress your mates, bag yourself a private stage-view cabana where snacks, beers, cocktails and massages are free.
4. Roskilde, Denmark, 25 June–2 July
Soak up some Copenhagen culture then hop on a bus to Denmark’s biggest gathering – a week’s worth of billboard bands (the returning LCD Soundsystem, the resurgent New Order and the Spotify-slaying MØ to name but three) alongside various community-focused pop-ups, some Scandi street art and, um, a historical cake buffet.
5. NOS Alive, Lisbon, 5,6,7 July
A festival bathed in sun, cooled by a sea-breeze and in reach of world-class surf breaks for some post-party head-clearing: NOS Alive is ideal for anyone wanting a side of summer holiday with their bands, beers and bacalhau com todos (traditional salt-cod stew). Radiohead, Chemical Brothers and Arcade Fire are on headliner duties; Hot Chip, Father John Misty, John Grant, Tame Impala and the Pixies are just some of the more-than-able supporting cast.
6. Longitude, Dublin, 15–17 July
Just five miles from the city centre, and surrounded by rolling Irish hills, Marlay Park hosts its fourth Longitude with hip-hop hero Kendrick Lamar, genre-mashing party-starters Major Lazer and alt-rock anthemists the National topping the bill. There’s no camping, so you’ve got no excuse for unwashed idling – instead, for a good night’s sleep, we recommend the bespoke beds at trendsetting townhouse the Dylan. To misquote Jamie xx (for he is also appearing), we know there’s gonna be great craic.
7. Summer Sonic, Tokyo/Osaka, 20–21 August
Tokyo has been a draw for decades, but a flurry of new developments and host duties for the next Olympic Games has seen it rank highly in this year’s must-visit lists. If its old-meets-newest-of-new charm, tranquil temples and world-beating food can’t convince you, a field full of feverish festival goers might. Radiohead (them again) have a cult following in Japan – as do Underworld – so seeing them both at Summer Sonic should be memorable. Fergie, probably not so much…
Feature image via Thomas Hawk on Flickr