by Matthew Freemantle
Montreux Jazz Festival – mid to late july
When it was founded 40 years ago, the Montreux Jazz festival was exactly that – a jazz festival and not much else. But these days there is far more variety and, as a result, it has established itself as something of a music aficionado’s dream come true. Van Morrisson, Norah Jones, Prince, Al Jarreau, Ismael Lo, Tori Amos, John Legend, Wilco and Seal all performed this year.
Roskilde – early July
Roskilde has become one of Europe’s biggest festivals in recent years, which only makes the fact that all its proceeds go to charity that much more impressive. So too is the line-up. This year had Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers at the top of the bill, with Bjork, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, My Chemical Romance and literally hundreds of Danish and international acts in support.
V Festival – mid August
If you’ve missed all the festivals throughout June and July, the V Festival in mid August offers you the chance to catch most of the biggest names out there in one fell swoop. Like most of old Dick Branson’s creations, V Festival is simply bigger and better than almost everything else. This year’s headliners include The Killers, The Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, Kasabian, The Kooks, Pink, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, The Fray, Lily Allen, Damien Rice, Jet and old favourites The Goo Goo Dolls.
The Big Daddy
Glastonbury – mid July
Dreadlocked hippies smoking joints the size of baseball bats, weeping teenagers on acid convinced they’re made out of copper and tents drowned in muddy puddles aside, Glastonbury is the undisputed king of the British music festival and it always produces the goods. This year the Arctic Monkeys stole the show with a cover of fellow headliner Shirley Bassey’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’, while Iggy & The Stooges writhed shirtless on a neighbouring stage and Kate Moss sang a song with boyfriend Pete Doherty’s band Babyshambles. The Who, Paul Weller, Connie Bailie Rae, Editors, James Morrison and the Manic Street Preachers worked their magic elsewhere.
Sonar – mid June
South African electro is fast becoming the country’s most coveted musical export. Felix Laband whet the international appetite and there is a list of pretenders waiting to follow his example. For new electro fanatics there is a home away from home: Barcelona. Nowhere is electro music better celebrated than at the annual Sonar Festival, which this year had Devo, Mogwai, Junion Boys, Simian Mobile Disco, The Beastie Boys and Black Galaxy on the bill.