Festival fun in London! Highlights include Jabberwocky, Camden Crawl and Wireless...
If you want a unique festival experience this year, London could be the place for you. Featuring a diverse range of events from the independent ethics of Jabberwocky to the mainstream attitude of Wireless, 2014 is not all about the States.
The UK is home to some incredible, highly respected music festivals such as Isle of Wight Festival, Leeds and Reading Festival and, of course, Glastonbury - but just what do we have in store from the nation's capital? London is unquestionably the UK's most vibrant city and, when it comes to music, there's really no denying that. The rest of the world may have SXSW, Coachella, Ultra and Exit (to name but a very small few), but London has a plethora of unique local events with line-ups and atmospheres that really prove their worth - and we're here to share them with you.
Jabberwocky (August 15th-16th)
All Tomorrow's Parties present this brand new festival for 2014, co-hosted by Pitchfork and Primavera Sound and set to take place at The Excel Centre this August. For its inaugural event, Jabberwocky will see headline acts from Neutral Milk Hotel, James Blake, Darkside and Caribou, not to mention support from Kurt Vile & The Violators, Hookworms and Electric Wizard. Like many of the best festivals, it's not all about the music as Jabberwocky will be hosting some film events and, as the name suggests, there'll be plenty of art to enjoy too. Tickets are priced at £38.50 per day.
Camden Crawl (June 20th-21st)
This year will also see the return of Camden Crawl, which last summer took place in Dublin with a subsequent London stint in the winter. This festival sees a wide range of bands and DJs spread their music all over North London at a variety of unique venues such as KOKO, Roundhouse, Lock Tavern, Electric Ballroom, Monarch, St. Michael's Church, Jazz Cafe and Purple Turtle. This year will see sets from Atari Teenage Riot, Dirty Beaches, Ghetts, Gnarwolves and Will Varley among many, many others - a pretty eclectic line-up for an extremely eclectic city.
LoveBox Festival (July 18th-19th)
A fairly well-established weekend event, Lovebox is now in its ninth year and still truly embodies the heart and soul of pop music. Taking place at Victoria Park in Hackney, Lovebox is a family friendly event that's always full of surprises. This year, festival organisers have teamed up with event producers Secret Productions so, as well as experiencing some fantastic music from the likes of Chase & Status, M.I.A. and Nas, you can also expect to be distracted by incredible art installations and a few circus-style performers. It takes place in July with tickets currently priced at £45 for the Friday and £55 for the Saturday plus fees.
Wireless Festival (July 4th-6th)
Wireless is by far London's biggest festival and, looking at this year's line-up, you can totally see the reason. Headliners include Kanye West, Drake and Bruno Mars, with special guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Rudimental and Outkast. The festival has become so well-established, that 2014 sees organisers play host to a Birmingham crowd in addition to their Finsbury Park, London event, so now even more people can enjoy it. Despite the name, we are extremely wired indeed to witness this festival, which returns to the capital in July.
Field Day (June 7th-8th)
Originally a single day festival, this event has expanded to fill the weekend with loads more amazing bands and artists. This year's headliners are Pixies and Metronomy, who are supporting the likes of Warpaint, Temples, The Horrors, Sky Ferreira and SBTRKT. To prepare you for all this, festival organiser Tom Baker (not 'Doctor Who' - at least, we don't think) broadcasts Field Day Radio every two weeks showcasing exclusive interviews, live plays and all the best music from this year's line-up, ahead of the actual event on in June at Victoria Park. As well as great music, you'll get fed well too with their popular Street Feast and Venn Street Market. Couldn't get much better really!
Camden Rocks (May 31st)
Camden is, of course, at the heart of rock music in London so naturally we return to the borough for yet another festival. Camden Rocks is a single day of epic guitar bands, this year headlined by The Subways and Reverend & the Makers. Taking place at many of the same venues of Camden Crawl, you'll pay only £25 per ticket for this outstanding rock event which will showcase, as per usual, a multitude of emerging artists such as Hacktivist and The Graveltones. Plus, it doesn't matter how like a guitar being played; if you're a fretboard fan, you'll find everything from blues to metal here.
iTunes Festival (September-October) + Summer Series at Somerset House (July 10th-20th)
Less of a traditional festival and more a series of gigs, iTunes Festival takes place at The Roundhouse over a period of one month in September featuring a massive range of artists from chart sensations and legends to independent and newly emerging bands. Details for 2014 are yet to be announced, but they did have their own mini festival at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas during SXSW last month which featured shows from Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar and Pitbull. In a similar vein, Somerset House holds their Summer Series musical event between July 10th and 20th. Artists confirmed for this year are Daughter, Kodaline, Bastille, Sam Smith and Chvrches.
Visions Festival (August 2nd)
On the other side of the festival spectrum, we have Visions Festival featuring a small but excellent range of international artists. There are first-rate emerging bands such as Eagulls, Young Fathers and Josef Salvat - all of whom have released, or will release, a debut album this year - and the more recognised Polica, Baths and Andrew W.K with his 'very special solo show'. A visionary line-up for Visions. Expect also a visually pleasing atmosphere with art from comic printers Breakdown Press, musical imagery from the Skull Paradise exhibition and Liam Sparkes Tattoo Art exhibition; and all that's not forgetting the amazing food stalls and other goods on sale throughout the day. At only £25 a ticket, you really can't go wrong!
Calling Festival (June 28th-29th)
Originally called Hard Rock Calling, this festival takes place at Clapham Common in June. So far, rock legends Aerosmith have been announced as the main headliner, alongside Joe Bonamassa, Thunder and Walking Papers, with a great many more to be announced later. Tickets are £69.50 for the Saturday - which is reasonable considering the price of going to see just one big band these days. We're pretty glad Calling Festival will be returning to London this summer, especially after rumours about its cancellation last year. Three names and as many venues later, it's still going strong whatever we're 'calling' it.
British Summer Time (July 4th, 6th, 12th)
Hosted by Barclaycard, 2014's British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park is definitely one of the most eagerly awaited festivals of the year in the UK and truly feels like it's going to be one of the most memorable. As we've known for a few months, it will see everyone's new favourite supergroup McBusted headline July 6th in what they described as the biggest show of their lives. Making things even more exciting, shock rocker Ozzy Osbourne brings his band Black Sabbath to BST for the final show of their extensive Reunion Tour on Friday 4th, whereby the festival will be re-christened Black Sabbath Time for the day. Another blast from the past is Saturday 12th headliners Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and not to mention July 6th's special guests Backstreet Boys. Soundgarden will also make an appearance, having only got back together a couple of years ago, while Faith No More is set to play their first show in two years!
Of course, that's not where it ends for London festivals this year. Elsewhere Festival launches this year on May 2nd and 3rd - a sister event of Nottingham's Everywhere festival taking place in Hackney with various DJs and dance artists - while LeeFest have broken their ticket sales record for 2014, and no wonder with the likes of Frightened Rabbit and Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip on the bill. This is a festival purely about fun with poetry, comedy, film and various other stuff going on over the July 11th-13th weekend. August's Bank Holiday Weekend brings us SW4 with Above & Beyond and deadmau5 headlining and we'll see a fantastic range of Nordic musicianship for November's Ja Ja Ja festival which made its debut at The Roundhouse last year.
Moving further South, not straying too far from the capital, is Brighton's answer to America's SXSW. The Great Escape prides itself on being 'Europe's leading festival for new music', each year featuring only the best of the world's innovative new musicians. This May, we'll see talent from the likes of Ella Eyre, Show N Prove, Asgeir, Amber Run, Chloe Howl and many more.