The 2014 festival season is about to begin, and what you do with the May bank holiday could set the tone for your summer. So what does ‘festival’ mean to you? An excuse to dress up and party? A way of communing with the land? Or is it all about the music? Whatever your bias, we’ve found something that’s bound to start you dancing on the right foot.Pic: Crysco Photography
Beacon Cragg, Porthleven, Cornwall
The Cornish surfers’ Masked Ball has become the essential start to the season for discerning hedonists across the UK.
This year’s clifftop event features Groove Armada DJs, Shit Robot, DJ Format, Horse Meat Disco and John Askew, plus many more. Curated and themed arenas include lavish grand ballroom, Jelly Jazz’s Soul Circus Tent and a Snow Dome hosted by Sir Vinyl with Trojan Sound System, plus a new upper terrace stage presenting festival stalwarts Dreadzone and The Cuban Brothers. They’re relying on their well-dressed punters to contribute to even more glitz and glam than previously, and promise “some awesome surprises” across “the best 12 hours of 2014”.
They’ve improved the site and security and lowered capacity for a more civilised party experience. An optional ‘Sunday Service’ will be led by Bestival founder Rob Da Bank and feature anarchic bingo and a Prince tribute band.
Adult-only standard camping tickets are £48.50 inc booking fee. Sunday Service top-up tickets cost £16.50 inc.
Pic: Hope Wisechild
Beltane Wild Village Fayre
Emerson College, Forest Row, Sussex
If you’re more interested in campfire chats with old friends under the stars, Into The Wild may be offering your ideal Beltane gathering. The team set up by a co-founder of Wild Heart with people from Buddhafield, Spirit Horse, Shambala, Tigers Nest and Big Green Gathering is promising a wild village full of magic and enchantment in the Ashdown forest. This weekend of eloquence and beauty in a safe, drink and drugs-free environment for just 150 people will feature music, Shamanic drumming, singing and dancing, ceremonies, games and storytelling, cabaret, poetry, talks and discussions.
Performers will include usual suspects Bob Hillary & the massive Mellow, plus Hornman and more. Also on offer are wild craft and foraging workshops, art, yoga, meditation, tantra and martial arts sessions. Optional tipi, yurt or college room accommodation is available. Expect to encounter energising raw food, saunas, herbalism, craft stalls and lovely people.
Adult-only £75 standard camping tickets include workshop entry.
Live At Leeds
Saturday 3 May
Various Leeds venues, Yorkshire
Perhaps beer and cutting-edge new music is more your speed. Live at Leeds offers bargain Saturday access to all participating venues including the Town Hall, the Leeds Met and the patio of the Faversham.Pic: Nicky Rowbottom
Many new acts playing Sound City and Great Escape will put in an appearance, and the dizzying Saturday bill features, among others: ¡Forward, Russia!, Fat White Family, Ezra Furman, Rae Morris, Albert Hammond Jr, Clean Bandit, Courtney Barnett, Drenge, Fuck Buttons, Johnny Flynn, King Charles, Los Campesinos!, Pulled Apart By Horses, Royal Blood, The Hold Steady, Wolf Alice, Yuck, Marika Hackman, Teleman, The Amazing Snakeheads and The Wytches.
Discrete ‘Live At Leeds presents’ shows on Friday and Sunday feature Blood Red Shoes, Melt Yourself Down, Snarky Puppy and Kodaline, and a free ‘Unconference’ on the Friday at Leeds College Of Music welcomes Jen Long plus label, festival and band representatives, and has a new interactive workshop space.
Saturday Wristbands, for over-14s, cost £25 (+booking fee where charged) from online vendors and local outlets. The Unconference requires online registration.