"When you think of music festivals, the chances are Glastonbury, T in the Park and Leeds are the names that come to mind. But there are plenty more to choose from."
When you think of music festivals, the chances are Glastonbury, T in the Park and Leeds are the names that come to mind. But there are plenty more to choose from.
The peaceful surroundings of the Lake District aren't the first place you'd expect to find a music weekender, but Kendal Calling is now in its fourth year and continues to grow in popularity. From 31 July to 2 August people will descend on Lowther Deer Park to see The Streets, The Zutons and Ash alongside local talents. With numbers limited to 6,000, the event has grown from a small gathering of music lovers, and hopes to retain its community spirit.
In contrast, Rebellion, Blackpool's own independent punk festival, is the biggest of its kind in the world and headliners for 2009 are Killing Joke and Flogging Molly. Not exactly the fluffy, serene feel of the Lake District, but it actually claims to have its own family atmosphere, with many fans returning year on year to the four-day extravaganza from 6 to 9 August.
If you're more interested in reminiscing than hearing the latest new band, Glasgow plays host to Retrofest from 28 to 30 August. This bills itself as the biggest 80s festival in Europe. If the mere thought of it hasn't sent you running for cover, then you might be interested to hear the rather comprehensive line-up, from Gloria Gaynor, Rick Astley and Sister Sledge to Right Said Fred (no, really), Showaddywaddy and Bad Manners. What more can we say? If it's your bag, feel free to revel in the 80s tie-dye bonanza. If it's not, it might be an idea to avoid Glasgow that weekend...
The festival season continues after the August bank holiday weekend. If you're politically-minded and fancy something a bit different, Liverpool plays host to the Working Class Music Festival from 12 to 16 September. Celebrating the stories and the struggles of working people by bringing together radical singers and songwriters, it is deliberately scheduled for the same week as the city's Trades Union Congress conference. More of a gentle 'freedom of speech' gathering than a strident event, feedback from previous years is good.
If you prefer the music to do the talking, then head east to the Scarborough Jazz Festival which, now in its sixth year, continues to enjoy national acclaim. The 2009 line-up boasts performances from the former Children's Poet Laureate Michael Rosen and his Homemade Orchestra, Killer Shrimp, Liane Carroll and Andy Panayi's Greek Gods Suite. From 18 to 20 September at the town's Spa venue.