The summer of sophomore year in high school in England is known as festival season –– girls put on tonnes of make-up and flower headbands, boys buy condoms in futile dreams of losing their virginity to a “festival fling”, twenty-or-so of them get together, buy a bunch of cheap shitty beer (or Strongbow cider, if you’re feeling really classy), and head off for weekends of music, mud and mindlessness.
While most of my memories of those weekends consist of wishing it’d stopped raining for at least one of the four festival days, some of them are bright, beautiful memories of shows –– Phoenix at Reading Festival in 2013, for example.
Most of the festival crowd had gone off to see either Green Day (I’m sorry, Billie Joe Armstrong, but in 2013 you were already much past your prime) or Knife Party, so the Phoenix set brought along only a modest crowd of about 1000 people (Reading’s general festival population is around 300,000). Being 5’, I got passed around from shoulders to shoulders until I got to the front of the crowd, high-fived Thomas Mars and crowd-surfed my way to the back, where my friends were performing some sort of an interpretive dance routine.
Since then, I’ve gone to a few festivals and had similar, lovely experiences, mostly because I realised that Reading (the British amalgamation of Coachella and Bonnaroo) was not what I was looking for. If anything I’ve described above rings true for you, or if you’re just sick of seeing Native American headdresses on drunk white girls, look no further.
Here are some of this summer’s festivals I’d love to go to:
Where: Austin, TX
When: April 29 – May 1
Who’s playing: Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Animal Collective, Courtney Barnett, Flying Lotus, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Allah-Las, Parquet Courts and a bunch of other cool people
How much: $185 + $86 if you wanna camp on site
Where: Louisville, KY
When: July 15 – 17
Who’s playing: Avett Brothers, Death Cab for Cutie, Alabama Shakes, Glass Animals, Dr. Dog, Shakey Graves, Femi Kuti, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alex G, etc.
How much: $170 (no camping though)
Shaky Knees Festival
Where: Atlanta, GA
When: May 13 – 15
Who’s playing: Jane’s Addiction, The Kills, Savages, Wolf Alice, Alex G, My Morning Jacket, Shakey Graves, The Head and the Heart, Atlas Genius, Parquet Courts, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, etc.
How much: $215 for 3 days and no camping
Nelsonville Music Festival
Where: Nelsonville, OH
When: June 2 – 5
Who’s playing: Courtney Barnett, Gary Clark Jr, The Tallest Man On Earth, Mac Demarco, Angel Olsen, Badbadnotgood, Twin Peaks
How much: $125 + $30 camping
and an across-the-pond shoutout to a festival with just a fucking fantastic lineup
Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: June 1 – 5
Who’s playing: Alex G, Animal Collective, Beach House, Beirut, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Cass McCombs, Chairlift, Deerhunter, Destroyer, Dinosaur Jr., Freddie Gibbs, Hudson Mohawke, The Last Shadow Puppets, LCD Soundsystem (!), Neon Indian, Parquet Courts, Radiohead (!!!), Sheer Mag, Sigur Ros, Tame Impala, Ty Segall, Vince Staples, Wild Nothing
How much: Weekend tickets are reselling at about $400, plus hostels, plus flights… a girl can dream