Festival season hits London once more for a summer of rock gods, hipster heroes and emerging talents from across the city.
This first weekend shows the diversity of London’s festivals from the achingly excellent I’ll Be Your Mirror in the grandeur of Alexandra Palace to cutting edge immediacy Land of Kings at venues across Dalston.
The mainstays of the festival scene, Field Day and Meltdown, have once again surpassed expectations with exceptional line ups including Animal Collective and Yoko Oko, proving London’s leftfield angle remains the dominant force.
There are also new venues to look forward to as Hard Rock Calling moves to the soon to be reopened Queens Elizabeth Park.
Whatever you fancy it is bound to be covered, so best extend that overdraft. There’s a summer of fun to be had.
I’ll be Your Mirror @ Alexandra Palace 4 May and 2 November
The original weekend has been split after Grizzy Bear were unable to play in May. But rather than cancel, ATP have extended the excitement throughout the year.
Headliners: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Key London acts: Jah Shaka, er…that’s it really.
Hot tips: The Locust, Prince Rama, Mick Harvey performing Serge Gainsbourg
Tickets: £59 ww.atpfestival.com
Land Of Kings @ Dalston — various venues 5 May
Two days of underground music and art take over Dalston to kick-start London’s festival season
Headliners: Fanfarlo, Bo Ningen, Chrome Hoof
Key London acts: The Wave Pictures, Hannah Holland
Hot tips: Halls, Sweet Baboo, Darkstar
Tickets: £30 www.landofkings.co.uk
Field Day @ Victoria Park 25 May
The jewel in London’s festival crown returns with the most ground-breaking line up yet, if you know everyone who is playing then you’re just too cool.
Headliners: Animal Collective, Bat For Lashes
Key London acts: King Krule, Clean Bandit, Rainy Milo
Hot tips: Jagwar Mar, Feathers, Chanjarit Singh
Tickets: £54 www.fielddayfestivals.com
Bushstock @ various venues — Shepherds Bush 1 June
West London proves it is still a hub of alterative joy as Bushstock returns for its third year.
Headliners: Willy Mason, Ethan Johns, Serafina Steer
Key London acts: Annie Eve, Theme Park, Duologue
Hot tips: Rosie Carney, Pixel Fix, Fyfe
Tickets: £27.50 www.bushstock.co.uk
Camden Rocks @ various venues – Camden 1 June
The indie kids run scared as the amps are scuzzed up as cutting-edge alternative rock claim’s ownership of NW1 for the fifth year running.
Headliners: Therapy?, Rise to Remain, Turbowolf
Key London acts: Zico Chain, Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux, The JB Conspiracy
Hot tips: Scholars, Itch, The Microdance
Tickets: £22 www.camdenrocksfestival.com
Meltdown @ Southbank Centre 14-23 June
Yoko Ono curates the annual festival of outsider music and leftfield artists with her unique taste and attitude.
Headliners: Siouxsie Sioux, Peaches, Iggy Pop, Yoko Ono
Key London acts: Savages, Marianne Faithful, Bo Ningen
Hot tips: Cibo Matto, Deerhoof, Immortal Technique
Tickets: various prices www.meltdown.southbankcentre.com
Hard Rock Calling @ Queens Elizabeth Olympic Park 29-30 June
London’s premier rock festival moves from Hyde Park to the renamed Olympic Park to let the headliners wield their axes past a later curfew.
Headliners: Bruce Springsteen, Kasabian
Key London acts: Klaxons, Tribes,
Top tips: Negramaro, Kodaline, Alabama Shakes
Tickets: from £51.75 www.hardrockcalling.co.uk
British Summer Time Festival @ Hyde Park July 5-13
London’s newest festival takes over Hyde Park to combine family friendly entertainment and Rock n Roll excess, plus the small matter of the Stones’ return after 45 years.
Headliners: Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones
Key London acts: The Horrors, The Vaccines, Palma Violets
Hot tips: Public Service Broadcasting, Splashh, Loom
Tickets: From £65 www.bst-hydepark.com
Summer Series @ Somerset House July 11-21
The divine setting of Somerset House hosts a wonderful array of summer acts to while away the long hazy evenings.
Headliners: Basement Jaxx, Richard Hawley, Goldfrapp
Key London acts: Alex Clare, Lianne La Havas, Jessie Ware
Hot tips: Tom Odell, First Aid Kit
Tickets: £30.50 www.somersethouse.org
Camden Crawl @ Various venues – Camden October
London’s original multi-venue indie-band-a-rama returns to its Autumn home after a decade-long spring jolly. No details are available yet but we predict that skinny boys with guitars will play a major role (that’s you Palma Violets and Loom).
Coming up London’s pop dance and RnB festivals, London’s commuter belt festivals and London’s outdoor gigs.
Photograph by David Newbury