Category Archives: Festival Previews

What to expect at the summer’s festivals.

Travel | #SendMeAway to Eastern Europe’s music festivals

imageAs the former editor of This Festival Feeling, and an avid festival goer – my mind never strays far from the topic. I’ve now spent over a year backpacking around Asia and Australia, but haven’t yet been to a festival! It seems shocking behaviour for the girl who managed to attend seven festivals in the year before I came backpacking and several more in the years previous to that. I just love festivals, from the amazing music and locations to the creativity and stunning art pieces, to unusual theatre performances and fantastic characters you meet along the way. It’s like entering another world where you can be anyone you want to be and everyone is just as welcoming, happy and beautiful as the people you meet when travelling. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been too upset at missing festivals so far, because the travelling experience is much like living in a festival every single day, but I have to say, after a year I am getting a bit antsy. It’s this time of year, once Christmas is out of the way, my mind always turns straight to festival season and which ones I’m going to be attending. This year is no different, I know that there are many amazing Australian festivals going on while I’m working in the outback which is annoying timing – I’ve missed the annual Falls Festivals and will be missing Rainbow Serpent in a few weeks. But instead of moping, I’m looking at which ones I will be able to do. Just a week or two after I arrive in Melbourne the St Kilda Festival will be happening which sounds like a fantastic celebration of music, arts and culture – plus it’s free!imageimageThe team at Icelolly.com have asked me to write about my dream holiday destinations of 2016 to be on with a chance of winning £1000 towards the holiday and an Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera which would be the most incredible prize. These cameras are amazing and I’ve loved the idea of getting one for a while – not always practical for a backpacker who is living on a budget – and the £1000 towards further travel would be an incredible bonus. After reaching my one year anniversary of travelling and making the decision not to return home but to keep travelling and exploring the world around me, I started to think about my next year on the road and where I will end up. Of course all plans are always open to change as a backpacker, we are known for our habit of changing everything at the drop of a hat, but that’s one of the luxuries we gain when giving up everything to travel. I love the freedom that comes with this lifestyle. At the moment I have a vague plan that I will be returning home to England in May when my first year Australian visa runs out, it will be perfectly timed so I can spend my 26th birthday with my friends and family at home and I can’t wait to see everyone. After spending a couple of months at home catching up with everyone and heading to a few festivals, I will hopefully have a bit of money put aside for a little jaunt round Europe to visit some amazing friends I’ve met since travelling and see their home countries. Places like Paris, Berlin, parts of Holland and Denmark could all be on the list and I’ll be backpacking the whole way. I’m hoping all this works out and I have enough money to really make this happen.imageimageI know my whole life sounds like a holiday but it really will be nice by then to have a break from Australia and to get back to European culture for a little while. One thing I will really love is heading to a few festivals because the UK and Europe really has that amazingly creative and quirky style when it comes to festivals that I really love. After going to Hideout Festival in Croatia a few years ago and having the most amazing time, I was keen to explore some other great festivals in Europe but never had the time/money to do it. If I won the £1000 I would use it to visit two top festivals on my list: EXIT Festival in Serbia leading to the new Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro, followed by Sziget in Budapest, Hungary. Nestled in Eastern Europe, they are countries I’ve wanted to explore for a while and around the festivals I would use the time to see as much as possible. The multi-award winning EXIT Festival took the title of Best Major European Music Festival at the EU Festival Awards in 2013 and it’s easy to see why, held annually at the Petrovaradin Fortress I would argue it has one of the most incredible locations for this huge range of acts to perform. People from around 60 countries around the world flock to the festival grounds each year to watch the magic unfold and that’s what I love, the diversity of the people you will meet along the way. I love that EXIT has a unique purpose behind it after starting as a student movement fighting for peace and democracy in Serbia – that is what festivals are all about.imageimageBy taking part in the EXIT Adventure, you get the opportunity to attend two award-winning festivals across two countries in 10 days. I would get to party in this incredible fortress in Novi Sad followed by the stunning Jaz Beach in Montenegro – last year over 300,000 people attended. The festivals have previously hosted acts including The Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, Emile Sande, Andy C, Skrillex, Soul Clap, Bondax and many more – all acts I would love to see live! And the best thing about all of these, is that there would be plenty of time to arrive at the festival beforehand so I would be able to explore the fortress and the catacombs that lay beneath, to find out about the amazing history and the ghosts that lay down there. History lines the streets of this part of Northern Serbia where one building still holds a cannonball jutting from its walls where if was fired back in 1849. For the beach bum in me it would be wrong not to enjoy one of Europe’s best Danube beaches before heading to Fisherman’s Island for some fish goulash, the local delicacy. And with four daily markets across the city, I wouldn’t be able to resist a browse before heading to Laze Telečkog for some local live music. After a busy week exploring Serbia, Jaz Beach will be the perfect place to relax, this underdeveloped area will be great for unwinding and enjoying a whole other set of acts performing in the same place huge acts like the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Madonna and Lenny Kravitz have previously played.imageimageThen it would be on to a destination that has been on my bucket list for a long time – Budapest, Hungary. With Sziget Festival seen as the Hungarian jewel in Europe’s festival crown, it is an event that is often compared to Burning Man – one of my ultimate dreams to attend. Getting to combine one of the countries I most want to visit with a festival is a fantastic opportunity to see the city in two very different lights – first of all a cultural and historical context followed by seeing how they really party. With countless stunning buildings to visit and view from Parliament to the Basilica, I can tell that just walking the streets with be an experience in itself but with plenty of walking tours on offer it will be a great way of learning more about the history that lies right in front of you. There’s so many amazing museums to explore and I have to admit, I love a museum, especially the quirky ones that teach you about a history you never knew existed. I love a good trip to the spa and after three festivals I think I’ll be in need to some TLC so I’ll be heading to Szechenyi Baths and Pool for a visit and a chance to relax. All these amazing activities will take place around the iconic Sziget Festival which will take place on an island in the middle of the Danube river featuring a huge range of acts from hard rock to dance, this year’s line-up so far includes Bastille, Bloc Party, Bring Me The Horizon, Chvrches, John Newman and Kodaline. The line-up is amazing but for me the real draw would be the activities on offer and the huge range of art from The Hands of Unity to the Magic Field, the landscape is transformed by these beautiful structures.imageTo say I’m excited talking about a trip like this is an understatement – writing this has made me miss festivals more than ever and I can just imagine the amazing experience that would come with this trip. From the people you would meet and the things you would see, to the culture you would experience along the way. It would be the Eastern European trip of a lifetime and the winner would get an opportunity to capture every single moment with an amazing camera to share it with everyone who came along for the ride. The beautiful thing about blogging is that every single one of you who reads these posts would be there with me experiencing everything along the way, so let’s hope I get lucky and win so we can make this trip a reality! I have to nominate another three bloggers to write about their dream trip so I choose: Chelsea of Loving Life in Wellies, Steph of Big World Small Pockets and Nick and Amy of What the Pho Podcast – enjoy guys!

Where would your dream trip take you? Are any European music festivals on your bucket list?

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Preview: Sundown Festival – Set To Be A Mind Melter!

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With the bank holiday weekend blasting off this Friday, festival-goers might be forgiven for thinking this was the weekend to rave their socks off, but with Sundown Festival just around the corner, all of Norfolk’s finest are just warming up. This year’s line-up is huge and if there’s anyone in Norwich without a ticket, they are seriously missing out. There is no excuse for living in the city and not making it along, it’s probably one of the easiest festivals to get to, with camping available and hotels just up the road – there’s a perfect festival experience waiting for everyone!

The festival kicks off a day early for campers, and what an incentive to dig out the camping chairs and the tent pegs that are all bent out of shape. By arriving at the festival on the Friday, you are securing your entry to the Big Top Opening Party that is completely exclusive to campers – giving revellers a perfect opportunity to kick off the raving a day early and hit the dance floor from 5pm to 11pm. Perfect for anyone who just couldn’t hack being back at work after the bank holiday and for those who just can’t wait to party.

The real party kicks off on the Saturday when festival-goers will flock from all over to catch headliners Chase and Status and Tinie Tempah over on the Main Stage, plus appearances from Katy B, Zane Lowe, Pusha T, Foxes, All About She, Sasha Keable and Virus Syndicate. I’m absolutely buzzing to see Chase and Status, the last time I caught them live was in Norwich and they killed it then, I have no doubt it will be a repeat performance! It’s also going to be amazing to see Katy B live after her fantastic vocal performance at V Festival last summer; she always manages to get the crowd dancing. And after Foxes’ incredible performance on the Main Stage at Secret Garden Party a month ago, I can’t express my excitement to catch her live again. It’s going to be a mad one over at the Main Stage, but don’t let that distract you from the huge Defected takeover on Stage 2 where you can catch the huge DJ talents of MK, Shadow Child, Second City, Cristoph, Copyright, Breach and Sam Divine. Cristoph returns to Norwich after playing one of the hottest new club nights in the city, Yaya, in its new home at Gonzo’s Tea Room earlier this summer. And all dance music lovers will be in their element with this huge line-up, it will be hard to leave this stage.

Sunday’s Main Stage billing is an explosion of chart toppers and singing sensations with the stunning Ellie Goulding topping the line-up alongside the huge soulful voice of John Newman. But the party doesn’t stop there with Clean Bandit, Ella Eyre, Neon Jungle, Jess Glynne, Becky Hill, M.O., Intensi T and Hatty Keane following close behind. A proud day for pop favourites and I’ve no doubt the whole crowd will be singing along to every anthem. For those who need something a little harder, following swiftly in the footsteps of Defected is a takeover that is sure to send beats out into the stratosphere as Ram Records take over Stage 2. Label boss Andy C will be heading the billing along with the talents of Wilkinson, Calyx & Teebee, Loadstar, Delta Heavy, Frankee, Mind Vortex, MCS GQ, 2SHY and Adapt. Whew, that’s sure to be a hard and heavy session and no doubt will melt a few minds along the way.

Not got your tickets yet? They’re disappearing fast, so grab yours quick from the website. Sundown Festival takes place over August 29-31 – the perfect way to finish off a summer of festivals.

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Preview: Head Underground For Top Talent At Eastern Electrics

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Promising the party of the summer, and a chance to see some of the UK’s best underground acts live, Eastern Electrics Festival 2014 has got me more than just a little bit excited. All of that is well and good, but what I’m most excited about is that it gives me a fantastic excuse to head back to where I went to university to party like its 2011 all over again! Hatfield House is a stunning location and perfect for a festival, I’m excited to see it used for such a fantastic event and with the trains pulling up just outside the grounds; it couldn’t be any easier to get to.

After a wave of festivals packed with huge headline acts and well-known names, it will be a breath of fresh air to get back to basics and find some real, raw UK talent. Much as we love the huge and more mainstream acts, we all have to admit that it can get a little repetitive looking through the line-ups for the summer’s events. With those pounding bass lines, predictable lyrics and the same old voices, it can get a little boring. But Eastern Electrics is here to change all that by exposing us to music at the deepest of levels, we’re going all the way underground to pick up the freshest and newest talents on the block at the UK’s premier underground electronic music event. Billed as an unforgettable all-day party, the festival is made up of seven stages spread across the grounds of this stately home and featuring the very finest from the UK underground and beyond. These unique stages will welcome with open arms the talents of Steve Lawler, Laura Jones, Dyed Soundorom and Mano le Tough who join Art Department, Ellen Allien, Kerri Chandler, Route 94, Tania Vulcano and tINI and many more for a day packed with talent.

After seeing the stage breakdowns for the day, I can already tell it’s going to be hard for me to stray from the main stage where the likes of Art Department, Kerri Chandler, Laura Jones and Monika Kruse are set to play. But I certainly can’t miss Mulletover playing their last ever show in the Switchyard with the talents of Ellen Allien, Geddes and James Priestley on show. Dense and Pika, Route 94 and Tom Shorterz are sure to draw a crowd over on the Rinse stage, and if Route 94’s set at Secret Garden Party was anything to go by its sure to be a smasher! Art of Dark in the Igloovision and the EE Pub are packed with acts I haven’t yet come across and I can’t wait to check out their sound before heading to Red Bull Studios Live to catch some more Waze and Odyssey – have seen them loads this summer already and I’m still not bored!

What I love about festivals is that it is never just about the music, they always come with a healthy dose of fun and craziness and that is certainly not in short supply at Eastern Electrics. Bringing together 10,000 revellers with their raving shoes firmly on, it’s just as important to have some downtime between the stages and there are plenty of adventures waiting in the grounds of Hatfield House. If you need a break from seeing over 30 international acclaimed artists perform live, why not dive into pillow fights, paint fights, make-up, photo booths and much more. There is plenty to keep you entertained and even the venues will come to life, The Star of EE Pub is the on-site watering hole, while the Switchyard is built entirely out of shipping containers and promises a wild, raw rave experience. Back with -of-the-art visuals and production is the Igloovision dome, promising whole new festival experience, and for the VIPs a truly extraordinary experience awaits – expect the unexpected.

The fun doesn’t stop at the festival – there are loads of after parties going on throughout the night across London and even in Hatfield itself. Grab your last minute tickets for both the festival and the after parties from the website – see you there!

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Preview: More Magical Fun At Secret Garden Party

602722_10151517326792617_53247432_n (1)After only experiencing the magic of Secret Garden Party for the first time last summer, it is safe to say I’m hooked and can’t wait to return in a few weeks. It’s impossible to really do the festival justice in words, but I’ll do my best and start by saying, remember when Alice fell down the rabbithole and into Wonderland? Well at Secret Garden Party, things are even crazier, more magical and guaranteed to capture the imagination like never before. A festival where the emphasis is not placed on filling the line-up with pop acts, Secret Garden Party pushes boundaries by bringing together amazing huge acts like last year’s Bastille and Faithless with much smaller up-and-coming and unusual acts. This year’s announcement of Public Enemy has more than got me excited for the main stage, sitting on those rolling hills and looking over the lake was one of my favourite memories from last summer and I’m sure these guys will provide the perfect soundtrack for this weekend of fun.999169_10151517327222617_854700998_nThe already fantastic line-up is packed with acts I just can’t wait to see with Fat Freddy’s Drop and David Rodigan ready to chill us out on those sunny afternoons, and plenty of brilliant dance acts lined-up for The Drop at night – I can’t wait to catch Sub Focus, Gorgon City and Kidnap Kid. I’m sure there’s loads more to come and I for one am pretty excited to see who will be playing the secret sets this summer after catching Nero and Chase and Status playing the Colosillyum – both incredible and on such an amazing stage. Over on the Where The Wild Things Are Stage, it will be great to see Jagwar Ma and Wolf Alice performing, this stunning stage is perfect for catching all those smaller acts and discovering some real talents. One thing Secret Garden Party is perfect for is stumbling across quirky and brilliant little acts playing at tiny hidden stages in the woods, and that is something every Gardener should make it their business to do during those four days.1004900_10151517326817617_331065953_n (2)The buck doesn’t stop with music at Secret Garden Party, there’s so much entertainment I just don’t know where to begin, but I know last summer some serious highlights were the Paint Fight, swing dancing, the Dance Off, pig racing and the Wacky Racers competition. I can’t wait to rock up to all of these again, but know that there is so much more I have yet to discover and The Human Zoo is definitely at the top of my list with two wild homosapiens are held in captivity – I told you it was odd! And of course there is The Jackdaw Pub which I think will be right up my street with plenty of card tricks and secret poker matches against the Diamond Dogs – be scared guys, I’ve been practising my poker face! Guerilla Science should keep me entertained with some crazy experiements guaranteed to blow my mind and I’m looking forward to checking out the The Never Never Land Amphitheatre for a bit of culture. Whatever you do, don’t miss the fireworks. As if you could! It’s a huge and stunning display of pyrotechnics, music, fire, moving stages and much more that lights up the night sky and will leave you amazed. Don’t try and witness this through a camera screen, watch and be astonished by the beauty. They’re even better than the displays at Disneyworld in Florida!1003716_10151517327542617_1475098634_nOf course, it’s impossible to go the whole weekend without some serious sustenance to see you through and I can tell you this is high on the list of piorities for the festival organisers, who book an amazing array of food and drink stalls. Last year I tried everything from ostrich burgers and lamb tagine to sushi and stone-baked pizzas made by an award-winning chef. There is plenty to cater for every taste and I’m sure even the fussiest palates will be happy with the flavours on sale, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available. With the cleanest campsites and toilets I have ever found at a festival, Secret Garden Party is never a hardship and is always a delight to fully immerse yourself in for the whole weekend. Even those with the biggest fears of camping in the great outdoors will be impressed by the stunning location, with gorgeous lakes for you to swim in and fantastic outside showers for you to freshen up. Last summer’s beautiful weather meant all of these were well-used, so let’s pray for more of the same in a few weeks! Tickets are all sold out, but those who have got tickets should keep posted to the website and social media channels for further line-up announcements.

Have you got tickets to Secret Garden Party this summer? What are you looking forward to the most? Or for those who went last year – what was your favourite part?

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* Originally published on This Festival Feeling – check out the original here.

Preview: I’m ready to have my MIND BLOWN by BoomTown Fair

998783_10151575326382617_248476865_nImagine a world of complete freedom. A world where everything is topsy turvy and nothing quite makes sense. Like that dream world between sleep and wakefulness – it never quite seems real but suddenly you can touch it, hear it, smell it and touch it. BoomTown Fair is like your imagination, your wildest dreams and craziest nightmares have all exploded before your very eyes to create the most bizarre fantasy world, right in the middle of Winchester.

It’s a place that is simply impossibly to do justice to in words if the ones reading haven’t been there, but I’m going to do my best to try after only experiencing BoomTown Fair for the first time myself last summer. I don’t think I have ever been so utterly blown away by anything and have described it ever since as Disneyland for adults – but even that doesn’t accurately explain the incredible effort the team behind it all go to. The sets are majestic and the whole town comes alive in a variety of incredible ways – this is not just a music festival, this is whole experience and that is what I most looking forward to this summer.993683_10151575327612617_1598547716_nThe experience of BoomTown Fair completely immerses you from the second you walk through the gate and begin the trek across the festival grounds themselves to find your camping spot. After camping on a 45 degree slope last summer, I am intent (haha geddit?) on making sure I get a good spot this summer, but even that position gave us an incredible view over Downtown and particularly the Arcadia Spectacular – which will continue to be a real highlight for me. This astonishing construction has to be seen in action to be believed – the music, the bass, the fire, the action – it all just blows your mind and I have never experienced anything like it. I can’t wait to get back in there.

Elsewhere, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Tribe of Frog forest party has grown for 2014 after experiencing the psy-trance beauty of it last year. The stunning light show on the tree canopy had us all transfixed by its beauty last summer and I’ve no doubt the magic of the woods will be back in force this year. Last year’s brand new Lion’s Den stage was my favourite place to be and I’m sure once again it will be hosting some of the finest acts that will have us all dancing long into the night again. In particular I am so excited to see headliners Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers – both incredible performers and sure to be the perfect addition to those summer days. But the one addition that really made my summer complete had to be the one and only Mr Boombastic himself – Shaggy! I can’t wait for him to bust out It Wasn’t Me and hear the crowd singing along – if you ask me, he belongs at BoomTown Fair.1233979_10151575328442617_1069348507_nLast summer I spent hours just walking around the festival discovering new amazing places and stumbling across fantastic hidden entertainment and that is something I am seriously looking forward to this summer. BoomTown Fair is a festival you can truly get lost in for four days and that is what it is all about, leaving who you are at the gate and discovering a whole new you. The roller disco is definitely on my to-do list, along with the paint fight and without a shadow of a doubt I plan to throw myself into the madness of the Outrageous Carnival where I’m sure there will be some incredible costumes and more great music.

Other brilliant acts I’m looking forward to catching include The Skatalites, Tha Cat Empire, Babylon Circus, Eats Everything, Ms Dynamite, Treacherous Orchestra and especially The Secret Swing Society after their amazing performance last summer – those guys were so good, make sure you see them! While walking around the festival, I’ll be looking out for those amazing party vehicles and the tiny little holes in the wall where the real weirdos are hiding with their fantastic little shows. Last year I saw a group giving bizarre haircuts to people with grass for hair and I still can’t get over being beckoned into a dark room where the oddest little puppet show started up – just when you think things can’t get any stranger – they will! The only advice I can give to a first-time BoomTowner is to prepare to have your mind BLOWN!1004920_10201803721885873_11532542_nLast year I was firmly a Trenchtown girl, I could be found drinking in as much dub, reggae and jungle as I could find, but this year I’m not yet sure where my allegiances will lie, perhaps I will join the Barrio Loco party district. It all rests on the costumes and on the music for me, but I know I’ll be having a lot of fun exploring every district – see you there!

 My preview for BoomTown Fair as appeared on This Festival Feeling.

Preview: Kicking Off A Summer Of Raving At We Are FSTVL

we areFor those who would like to read my preview story for This Festival Feeling on We Are FSTVL (which I am reporting on this weekend for my birthday). Here is a copy of my preview along with a link to the full version.

Is it just me or is anyone else struggling to remember the last time they saw the sun shine? It may have been a mild winter, but it has been a dark one for us festival-lovers. We’ve all been knuckling down, working those extra hours and praying for summer sun and smelly tents – what have we been working for? To pay for that first festival ticket – that first taste of freedom and madness that will set the tone for the next six months.

For some of us – the luckiest ones who managed to snag tickets – that first taste of festival fun will come in the form of We Are FSTVL this weekend. I couldn’t be more ecstatic at the thought of going to a festival so early in the summer but also being able to ease myself in to a non-camping one. After not having put up my tent in over six months – I wasn’t quite ready to break that streak yet.

My friend and I have been chomping at the bit to go to We Are FSTVL since before the line-up was even announced. After hearing last year’s incredible electronic offering, we knew it would be right up our street and after last summer at Hideout Festival, we needed a hefty dose of bass to get us all warmed up. The huge sell-out success of last year’s event was more than I needed to tell me that I just had to be in the huge crowds packing out this year’s event, and the fact that it is just a day before my birthday seems even more of a perfect excuse! Friends who went to the festival last year said they were more than impressed at how big it was despite still being such a youngster in the festival world, and with the event doubling on the number of days this summer and growing the infrastructure of the festival itself – I’m sure those returning will be in for a treat when they see how it has grown in just one year.

I’m not sure there are enough words in the English language to explain how incredibly excited I am for this line-up, but I’ll give it a go. The Saturday will see a huge nine stages for us revellers to wander amongst, I know when I arrive I’ll be instantly battling myself and praying that my favourite DJs have enough time between their sets for me to run between stages. Over on the main We Are FSTVL stage I’m just dying to see Disclosure and Maya Jane Coles playing alongside Hot Since 82 and Maribou State, but let’s hope there’s no clash with Knife Party over on the We Are ELCTRNC stage because I have been waiting for an opportunity to see these guys live for years!

I can never turn down any stage curated by MK after seeing his set on one of the Hideout Festival boat parties last summer. He’s an amazing DJ and I’m sure he’d have only the best lined up to join him which we can see instantly from the likes of Ninetoes, Route 94 and Shadow Child. The Hospitality stage is the one I am most excited for because if I manage to get myself over there, know I could stay there happily all night long listening to huge summer sounds of Fred V & Grafix’s latest release Forest Fires which is on repeat in my car at the moment. But even when they finish up there’s more from Camo & Krooked, High Contrast, Shy FX, Danny Byrd and Friction among many others. Wow. What a huge line-up! The other stages are equally packed with huge DJ talents and I just know my head will be spinning as I try to keep up with each set.

Sunday will just blow my mind as the one-and-only Fatboy Slim headlines with Annie Mac and Duke Dumont – just brilliant. After seeing Fatboy Slim the first night of his Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour in the UK, I know how incredible he is and it was one of my dreams to see him headline a festival and blow up the main stage. Over at the Cocoon stage I’ll have to catch some Sven Vath to give me flashbacks to when I saw him at Glade Festival two years ago – again an amazing set. A RAM Records girl through and through, I’m so excited to see Andy C leading the charge with special sets from Sub Focus and Noisia, and with Calyx & Teebee, Loadstar and Mind Votex also lined up – there’s a chance I’ll never get away from the stage. Over on the Desperados WHSE stage, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs are not to be missed and I know I’ll be spending a lot of time at the Toolroom Knights Ibiza stage, soaking up the Ibiza sounds and reminiscing about Hideout Festival with the likes of Mark Knight, Tensnake, Tough Love and Pete Griffiths.

Phew – just writing all of this has blown my mind, I can’t imagine what it will be like in reality but I’m expecting big things and hopefully lots of glorious sunshine to help me start off my summer tan. Here’s to the first festival of the summer!