By Ryan Drew
After it being announced that 5 English festivals were voted as ‘Outstanding’ (http://www.agreenerfestival.com/) I felt that we should reflect on 3 of the most unique and what it is about these summer spectacles that makes them a key point in thousands of people’s calendars.
Situated in a beautiful rural setting near Usk, Monmouthshire, The Croissant Neuf Summer party was definitely a highlight of 2011.
Looking back, it is easy to see why they secured the award as the winner of the ‘Greener festivals award 2011’. Everything from the Big Top stage which was powered by solar panels, to the organic snacks which were available at the stagger Inn, and not forgetting the recycling team. The event was made as a family orientated weekend out, for children to come and join in the summer festival experience, whilst allowing parents to come and relax with everything from an Indian head massages to Tai Chi.
Notable performances from the weekend go to ‘The Beat’, an incredible group from Birmingham, whose message of love and unity made the Sunday night one to remember. As well as this, acoustic sensation Ed Sheeran had the crowd going wild with his incredible performance, using just his voice, guitar and loop pedals to create an amazing atmosphere.
Taking a new approach to their normally nostalgic feel, The Isle of Wight fest, has definitely stepped up as one of the major summer festivals.
Bringing in an unbelievable line up that would rival many of the big summer dates.
Back with their new album ‘Come around Sundown’ The Kings of Leon were out to show that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. With an unsettled atmosphere around the main stage, people wondered if the kings were just here to promote their new album and were to lay off some old favourites. Taking to the stage they instantly blew the audience away with ‘Four Kicks’ and from then on the party had started.
Other key performances came from the recently re-formed ‘Pulp’ and Irish heart throbs ‘ The script’ both of whom had an incredible turn out and made The Isle of Wight festival one to remember.
Set on the breathtaking Salmo River Ranch, Shambala is hands down the best electronic music festival of the summer. Bringing in big named acts for 4 days of mayhem!
As well as being one of the biggest electronic music spectacles, Shambala brought together everything from crazy golf to a luxury cinema. Therefore it is easy to see why early bird tickets sold out in record time this year.
It is best to note that the entire 4 days were powered by wind, sun and vegetable oils, which was even more impressive when looking at the ‘RFID Domes’ incredible 360 degree visual rig.
Big named performances came from Dubstep mastermind ‘Flux Pavilion’ who had the crowd going completely mental to the new ‘Circus records’ tracks. Whilst Electronic duo ‘Zeds Dead’ sent the ‘Pagoda stage’ into a complete spin, with their heavy baselines and clever samples.
Looking over these festivals it is apparent, that to make your summer weekend away ‘outstanding’, you need diversity, in both performances and activities, and it will be interesting to see who in 2012 will step up to the challenge…