We all know that Glastonbury will most likely be mega. Coachella has a sweet lineup as always, and Reading & Leeds will attract the big hitters once again. But which lesser-known festivals this summer will truly be unmissable? It's time to start saving those pennies, looking behind those sofas and reconsidering those visits to the pub: these five festivals are the places to be this summer.
Liverpool Sound City, 1st-3rd May
First, off, it's the SXSW of the UK (although Brighton's Great Escape festival might have something to say about that one). Liverpool's urban festival Sound City has grown and grown in size since its inception in 2008, and 2014's edition is their strongest offering yet. Featuring keynote speeches from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and The Velvet Underground's John Cale, the three-day festival has also attracted the cream of the crop of new and alternative music. Jungle, Courtney Barnett, Findlay, Fat White Family, Girls Names, Royal Blood, Thumpers and Wolf Alice are just a pick of the marathon lineup on show this year. A 3 Day Wristband is just £50 whilst a Conference & Live Festival Pass, which encompasses the keynote speeches as well as the festival lineup and much more, is a very reasonable £120.
Primavera Sound, 28th-31st May
Heading a little further afield, Primavera Festival always delivers a stellar lineup, and this year is no different. The dual event, held at sites in Porto and Barcelona, attracts an eclectic array of artists year on year across SEVEN DAYS. That's right, SEVEN DAYS OF FESTIVAL. This ain't for the light-hearted. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Jamie xx, Warpaint, Queens of the Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Television, Daniel Avery, Earl Sweatshirt...there's old, there's new, there's electro, there's indie, there's hip-hop...there's pretty much everything. Tickets started at just €99 and are currently priced at €199. Not one to be missed.
The Governor's Ball, 6th-8th June
We're getting a little brave (and a little skint) now. Going even further afield to those United States of that America, there's a little ol' festival called The Governor's Ball in New York City. A relatively young festival born in 2011, this year is once again the best yet. Outkast, Jack White and Vampire Weekend are the headliners, with The Strokes just below, but that's far from everything. *deep breath* TV On The Radio, Broken Bells, Damon Albarn, James Blake, Childish Gambino, Tyler, The Creator, Kurt Vile, RJD2 and Run the Jewels are just a glimpse of what this festival offers. It's $230 a ticket, which works out at around £130. I'd say that's pretty reasonable.
Bonnaroo, 12th-15th June
Staying in the US of A, the weekend after this little worldwide jaunt sees us arrive at Tennessee's Bonnaroo Festival, who probably have the wackiest lineup of the festival season. Seeing Elton John and Lionel Richie at the top of lineup could put a few off...but when those names are combined with the likes of Kanye West, Arctic Monkeys, Bobby Womack, Janelle Monae, CHVRCHES and Chance the Rapper, it makes for one of the most exciting festival lineups you'll see for some time. I wonder if Elton, Lionel and Kanye will be sharing a dressing room? You can grab a ticket for another very reasonable price of $250.
Unknown Festival, 8th-12th September
So after a busy summer taking in the UK, Europe and America, time to relax, isn't it? Well not for those at Unknown Festival. One of 3,493 festivals in Croatia, this one has all the typical characteristics of a foreign festival - sunny weather, beaches and boat parties - but offers a more eclectic lineup than anywhere else. Although it has strong electronic leanings, it's got a great mix of live music and DJs. CHVRCHES, Wild Beasts and Mount Kimbie are the standout live acts, whilst Erol Alkan, John Talabot, Simian Mobile Disco, The 2 Bears and are the DJing alternatives to one of the last festivals of the season. With several budget airlines flying over and tickets starting from £129, this young festival has already established itself among the elite.
So there we have it- the five best festival lineups of 2014. But remember that this is just a taster - these and loads more still have to reveal hundreds of new artists yet. Then there's the small matter of that little festival in Pilton...
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