How to work and volunteer at festivals and who to contact

How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Leeds Festival Hotbox Events CAT volunteersWorking at a music festival is great fun, you get to meet loads of new people and watch some of your favourite bands at the same time. What could be better!

If you’re thinking about working at a festival this summer, there’s a variety of different organisations you can contact and submit your details to. The options really vary which is great as it means you can choose who to apply to depending on what you fancy doing, if you’d prefer to work longer hours but get paid or work less hours and volunteer your time, if you’re after free food, want to work by yourself or in a team…

To help you decide how to get into working at festivals have a read of the PAAM festival software guide below which includes many of the best companies and organisations to work and volunteer with at UK Festivals and Events.

Hotbox Events

How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Leeds Festival Kelly, Steph and Jo on a buggyHotbox Events recruits and manages event stewards and at some of the UK’s best festivals. If you volunteer at festivals with Hotbox Events as a festival volunteer you’ll be asked to work three eight hour shifts spread over the time that the festival is open to the public. In return for your work you’ll receive a free festival ticket, camping in a secure crew campsite dedicated to the Hotbox team – close to crew toilets and showers! Because you only work three shifts, you’ll have plenty of time left to enjoy the festival too! Hotbox Events also has a paid event staff team on-site at each festival they work with – between 20 and 50 event staff, so if you’re looking to volunteer or for paid event jobs Hotbox Events is a great place to start!

Festivals you can work at: Download Festival, V Festival, Latitude Festival, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival.

DC Site Services (DCSS)

How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Glastonbury Festival DC Site Services Clicker Event StaffDC Site Services provides a range of staff to a large range of events and festivals throughout the whole summer. Jobs available include anything from supervising fire towers to managing traffic in the car parks.

Shift lengths vary but are typically 8-10 hours in length. DCSS is one of the very few stewarding companies that pays its staff and provides meal vouchers for the staff café.

All staff also have access to crew camping, staff toilets and staff showers.

Festivals you can work at (including): Glastonbury, Latitude, Golf Live, Big Chill, Reading, Leeds, Download, Taste Food Festivals, T in The Park, NASS, Rockness, Sonisphere, Red Bull Air Race, Proms in the Park…

Workers Beer Company (WBC)

Workers Beer Company is the company behind many of the bars at the UK’s major summer events and festivals. Interestingly, they are also a non for profit organisation and have helped raise over £5,000,000 for good causes since they started in 1986. As a volunteer you’ll typically work a six hour shift everyday in return for free entry, free beer and meal vouchers.

Festivals you can work at (including): Glastonbury, Hop Farm, Latitude, Reading, Leeds, BBC Proms in The Park, Womad…

Nu Kleen Services

How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Glastonbury Festival boy up pole

Nu Kleen provides cleaning staff and services such as toilet cleaning and litter picking to some of the UK’s largest music festivals.

Nu Kleen don’t just provide staff for music festivals but also events such as trade shows, pub, restaurant and club based events, sporting events and seminars. Additional to their events arm Nu Kleen provides commercial office cleaning – this was actually where they started!

So if you’re looking at cleaning as a career or would just like to earn some money and get into some festivals for free this summer Nu Kleen is a great place to start!


BrisFest (Bristol Festival) recruits hundreds of volunteers each year to help with managing the festival. The volunteers get involved with all sorts including building the festival site, working as stewards looking after the public when the event is on and clearing the festival site after the event has finished.

Every volunteer receives a free ticket to the festival, a free t-shirt and access to the festivals VIP areas.

BrisFest also offers the opportunity to join their Core Team which meets regularly throughout the year; planning and organising everything from artists and décor to roadways and cabins! If its experience you’re after BrisFest also offers internships and work placements.

Festivals you can work at: BrisFest (Bristol Festival).


Oxfam’s stewarding arm provides over 5,000 stewards each year to festivals all over the UK. The festivals donate to Oxfam in return for the stewarding services and through this relationship every year Oxfam stewarding raises around a million pounds to help those living in poverty around the world. Oxfam provides its stewards with hot food, warm showers and crew camping.

Festivals you can work at (including): Rockness, Download, Glastonbury, Latitude, WOMAD, Camp Bestival, Big Chill, Reading, Leeds…

Festival Republic – Environmental Health Monitors (EHOs)

Festival Republic’s EHO volunteers monitor the sanitation on Festival Republic’s festival sites. The EHO posts are particularly suitable for students studying for qualifications in Environmental Studies or Environmental Health. Volunteers are responsible for inspecting campsites, guest and production areas for a build-up of litter, inspecting toilet blocks to make sure that toilet roll, signage and lighting is functional, inspecting hand-washing facilities and water points. Volunteers work three eight hour shifts or four six hour shifts during the festival. More info and details of how to apply can be found on the festival websites (rather than the main Festival Republic website).

Festivals you can volunteer at: Latitude, Reading, Leeds, Big Chill.

Festival Republic – Green Messengers

How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Leeds Festival Hotbox Events arena volunteersFestival Republic’s Green Messengers do exactly that – promote the green message to festival goers at Festival Republic’s festivals! The Green Messengers responsibilities include handing out bin bags to festival goers on arrival, informing the campers about the recycling initiatives – in particular asking people to take their gear home with them. The Green Messengers also manage the recycling bins throughout the festival sites – making sure the right stuff goes in the right bin! Volunteers give twenty four hours of their time during the festival for free entry, access to staff camping, showers and toilets!

Again more info and details of how to apply to be a Green Messenger can be found on the festival websites (rather than the main Festival Republic website).

Festivals you can volunteer at: Latitude, Reading, Leeds, Big Chill.

Seed Staff

Seed Staff recruits university students and young people looking to gain experience in the event industry. Working with event experts Seed Staff provides training and support for its staff, thus offering both enjoyable and valuable event experience.

The positions offered by Seed Staff include crowd and traffic safety, artist liaison, production staff, stage crew, hospitality and promotional staff. Seed Staff’s event positions are both paid and voluntary depending on the role and event. You can find further information via the Seed Staff website.

Festivals you can work at include: Beachbreak Live, Relentless Boardmasters, Lounge on the Farm, LolliBop, Festival No. 6, Relentless NASS, Hevy Music Festival, Hop Farm Festival, Snowbombing, Magic Loungeabout, Relentless Freeze…

Peppermint Bars and Citrus Event Staffing

Peppermint Bars provide both the bars and bar staff for events of all sizes from one day music concerts and boutique festivals to full-on weekend long camping festivals. Bar staff are paid and recruited via Citrus Event Staffing. Citrus Event Staffing not only provides bar staff but entertainers including stilt walkers, fire eaters, jugglers, burlesque dancers, face painters, acrobats, stewards, promotional staff and more!

Festivals you can work at (including): Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Field Day, Polo in the Park, Beach Break Live, Glade Festival, Rockness Festival, Camp Bestival, T4 on the Beach, Henley Regatta…

Midland Fire Protection Services

Midland Fire Protection Services provide fire protection and safety services for all sorts of outdoor events including many of the UK’s largest music festivals. Midland provides a wealth of services including consultancy and training to onsite standby and helicopter cover! Additional to their events arm Midland Fire works with the film and TV industries providing film set, studio and location cover, in shot and action vehicles, training and first aid.

Festivals you can work at (including): Party in the Park, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, V Festival, WOMAD Festival…


How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Latitude Festival Quest, Mark and a CAT volunteerActionAid works to tackle the effects of poverty across the globe. With more than two thousand civil society partners worldwide ActionAid works with and supports the poorest and most vulnerable people; fighting for and gaining their rights to food, shelter, work, basic healthcare and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. You can volunteer with ActionAid to take the ‘Bollocks to Poverty’ message to festival and event goers; getting them interested in what ActionAid does.

Festivals you can volunteer at (include): Beach Break Live Festival, Underage Festival…

Orange Festival Foods

Orange Festival Foods is a family run business that supplies catering services for event staff working at music festivals. Orange Festival Foods supplies everything from the chefs and serving staff to the kitchens, marquees, tables and chairs!

Orange Festival Foods offers both paid staff and voluntary positions in the crew kitchens. The hours vary depending on the role and festival but all of Orange’s staff and volunteers receive free food whilst they are working and a free ticket to the festival.

Festivals you can work at include: Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival and Leeds Festival.

Event Medical Services (EMS)

Event Medical Services (EMS) provides medical staff and support services to a wealth of music festivals and music events in the UK. EMS’ services include first aid, ambulance supply and staffing, trained medics, doctors and nurses, response vehicles and staffing, onsite treatment centres and first aid point supply and staffing. Additional to EMS’ festival arm the company provides medical staff and services to sporting events including track and field and extreme sports, exhibitions, motorsport, film and TV and air shows.

Specialized Security

Specialized Security supplies security stewarding staff and crowd management services to a diverse array of UK festivals and events. Specialized Security are well known for providing security staff across festivals from campsites to the main stage pit areas. Through Specialized Security’s training arm (Specialized Training) the company provides both SIA and sector specific training. Additional to their festival arm Specialized Security train and provide staff for exhibitions, conferences, sporting events, the retail sector, community and door supervision.

Festivals you can work at (include): Glastonbury Festival, Reading Festival and The Royal Highland Show…

Cash and Traffic Management (CTM)

Cash and Traffic Management (CTM) provides and manages traffic admission stewards at numerous UK festivals and events. CTM’s traffic services include traffic planning, car parking, plus dealing with road closures and park and ride services. CTM’s admission control services are focused around programme sales, box office management, ticket sales and ticket checking and wristbanding.

Festivals you can work at (include): Glastonbury Festival, Glade Festival, Burghley Horse Trials, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival and Latitude Festival…

Gainsborough Security

How to work at music festivals and who to contact - Leeds Festival Hotbox Events volunteers in Security ControlGainsborough Security is an ACS, SIA approved contractor which supplies security and stewarding services to festivals and events all over the UK and Ireland and has been doing so for more than twenty years. Additional to their festival arm Gainsborough provides staff and services to the Earls Court, Olympia and ExCel London venues, offers front of house and reception security, valet parking and traffic management, door supervisors, promotional staff, CCTV monitoring and control room staff.

Festivals you can work at (include): Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, The Big Chill Festival, Leeds Festival, Electric Picnic…

Festival Medical Services (FMS)

Festival Medical Services (FMS) is a charitable trust that provides trained medical and administrative personnel including doctors, nurses, paramedics and first responders to some of the UK’s largest festivals and events.

Festivals you can volunteer at (include): Glastonbury Festival, Reading Festival, The Royal Bath and West Show, Glastonbury Extravaganza, The Pilton Party…

Posted on by Mark Hatchard Posted in Festival Hints and Tips, Festival Work and Jobs | 61 Comments

2015 Festival Line-ups and Rumours – which bands and artists will be at this summer’s festivals?

Thankfully the spring is now in sight! This means it’s time to start looking forward to the best of the UK’s spring and summer music festivals. First off, let’s have a quick look at who will be playing, and who might be playing. Here is what the rumour mill is grinding out.

2015 Glastonbury Festival, Wed 24th to Sun 28th June 2015

2015 Festival Line-ups and Rumours – which bands and artists will be at this summer's festivals - The crowd watching Slash at Glastonbury festival's Pyramid Stage

The crowd watching Slash at Glastonbury festival’s Pyramid Stage

The smart money for one of the headlining acts on this year’s Pyramid Stage should go on Coldplay. The British rock band released the album ‘Ghost Stories’ last year and is expected to put out a new album in the summer under the title ‘A Head Full Of Dreams’. This would be Coldplay’s sixth appearance at Glastonbury and the group’s third on the Pyramid. Front man Chris Martin has hinted that the next album could mark the beginning of a hiatus for the band, and what better way to go out than the top spot at the world’s biggest greenfield music festival?

Already confirmed by the Worthy Farm organisers are Seattle rockers Foo Fighters and American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is rumoured to be considering putting in an appearance.

Tickets for Glastonbury, which runs from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th June 2015, have already sold out (although there are likely to be a few returns available later in the spring). The only other act so far to have been confirmed is Lionel Richie who will be playing the Sunday teatime legends slot.

If you’d be up for a bit of work and getting paid to go to Glastonbury Festival (yes that’s right, paid to go!) you can find out more about working at the festival over at the DC Site Services website!

2015 Reading and Leeds Festival, Fri 28th to Sun 30th August 2015

2015 Festival Line-ups and Rumours – which bands and artists will be at this summer's festivals - The Courteeners playing on the NME stage at the Reading Restival

The Courteeners playing on the NME stage at the Reading Restival

Headlining this year’s Reading Festival on the Friday will be Mumford & Sons. The British folk rockers will be joined on the Main Stage by Bastille, All Time Low and Panic! At The Disco. On Saturday it is the turn of Metallica to rock the crowd. The American metalheads will share the bill with acts including Bring Me The Horizon, Royal Blood and Pierce The Veil. Sunday’s performance will be kicked off by English rockers The Libertines. Joining them will be Kendrick Lamar, Jamie T and The Maccabees.

Among the names to be confirmed for Richfield Avenue on the NME / BBC Radio 1 Stage are Limp Bizkit, Rebel Sound and Deadmau5. Headlining the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage on the Friday will be Wilkinson Live.

Saturday’s headliner is still to be announced, but Sunday will welcome Boy Better Know to the stage. Loads more acts are still to be announced and will go up on the festival’s official website as soon as they are confirmed. The festival will take place over the bank holiday weekend from the 28th to the 30th August 2015.

The Leeds Festival takes place over the same bank holiday weekend as Reading Festival, but at Bramham Park in Leeds, with the same acts, swapped over.

Don’t forget if you fancy volunteering at the Reading or Leeds Festival head over to the Hotbox Events website and get into the festivals for free!

2015 Isle of Wight Festival, Thu 11th to Sun 14th June 2015

This year’s festivities will take place at Seaclose Park from the 11th to 14th June 2015. Already confirmed as headliners on Sunday are British-American rock legends Fleetwood Mac. On Friday the main stage will play host to English electro pioneers The Prodigy and US rock duo The Black Keys. Also on stage over the weekend will be Groove Armada, Pharrell Williams, Paulo Nutini, Billy Idol, Counting Crows, Chicks On Speed and Paul Oakenfold to name just a handful. There are plenty more names to be confirmed for one of the best of the UK’s summer music festivals.

BBC Radio 1’s 2015 Big Weekend, Sat 23rd to Sun 24th May 2015

Announced for the UK’s biggest free live music event this year is country/pop performer Taylor Swift who will appear on the main stage on Sunday. Each year the event chooses a new location and in 2015 the festival will be held on the weekend of the 23rd to 24th May in Earlham Park, Norwich. Also announced is local act Context. Many more home-grown and international bands, artists and DJs will be announced as the event draws nearer.

2015 Camp Bestival, Thu 30th July to Sun 2nd August

Billed as one of the best UK family friendly festivals, Camp Bestival will be welcoming guests to the grounds of Lulworth Castle from Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd August. Cambridge electronic foursome Clean Bandit will headline on the Friday with indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs taking the stage on Saturday. Confirmed for the closing spot on the Sunday are electronic pioneers Underworld. Also among those confirmed to perform on the picturesque Dorset coastline are Professor Green, Soul II Soul, Bob Geldof, Level 42, Kate Tempest, Alison Moyet and the Cuban Brothers.

2015 Latitude Festival, Fri 18th to Sun 20th July 2015

2015 Festival Line-ups and Rumours – which bands and artists will be at this summer's festivals - The Latitude Festival Waterfront Stage

The Latitude Festival Waterfront Stage

This year the Henham Park Estate music festival celebrates its tenth birthday. Headlining the Obelisk Arena on the Friday will be Alt-J. The ‘folk-steppers’ will be joined by Caribou, Wild Beasts and Femi Kuti and the Positive Force. On Saturday Portishead will share the main stage with acts including James Blake, Laura Marling and Jose Gonzalez. On Sunday it is the turn of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to headline along with Manic Street Preachers, Seasick Steve and Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens.

Headlining the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage over the weekend will be Jon Hopkins, The Vaccines and SBTRKT. Check out the iArena for a showcase of upcoming names including The 2 Bears, Clark, Adult Jazz, Kiasmos and Jack Garratt.

A raft of other music, comedy acts and special guests will also be performing from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th July 2015.

If you fancy free entry into the 2015 Latitude Festival head over to the Hotbox Events website where you can find further information about volunteering at the festival!

2015 T in the Park Festival, Fri 10th and Sun 12th July 2015

Now in its 22nd year the T in the Park festival has relocated to Perthshire’s Strathallan Castle. Nearly 100,000 revellers are expected to attend the music festival between Friday 10th and Sunday 12th July 2015. Confirmed for the main stage are English rockers The Libertines. It is rumoured that they will be joined by The Prodigy and Mumford & Sons. UK indie pop rockers Bastille could also very well put in a performance this year.

2015 V Festival (Chelmsford and Staffordshire), Sat 22nd to Sun 23rd August 2015

Both events take place over the weekend of 22nd to 23rd August 2015. Appearing on Saturday at Weston Park and on Sunday at Hylands Park will be stellar names including Calvin Harris, Stereophonics, The Script, Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith, George Ezra, The Kooks and Clean Bandit. On Saturday at Hylands Park and on Sunday at Weston Park the headliners include Kasabian, Sam Smith, Olly Murs, Hozier, Courteeners, Nero and the Welsh legend that is Tom Jones. Many more acts are to be announced in the coming weeks over the four stages, but already among those confirmed for The Dance Tent are Oliver Heldens, Goldie, Hannah Wants and Alex Adair.

2015 Download Festival, Fri 12th to Sun 14th June 2015

The UK metalfest returns to Donington Park from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2015. Officially confirmed for the main stage on Friday are Slipknot, Judas Priest and Five Finger Death Punch. Booked for Saturday are big names including Faith No More, Muse, Parkway Drive and A Day To Remember. Also rocking the crowds on the other stages on Saturday will be Marilyn Manson, Black Veil Brides and Body Count featuring Ice-T. On Sunday the main stage hosts Kiss, Motley Crue, Billy Idol and Slash. Revellers can also mosh to Enter Shikari, Lamb of God and Eagles of Death Metal. More than 120 bands will perform over the weekend across the festival arena.

2015 Festival No.6, Thu 3rd to Sun 6th September 2015

Headliners in the picturesque Welsh village of Portmeirion have been confirmed as funk diva Grace Jones and indie legends Belle & Sebastian. A third headliner is yet to be announced, but a strong line-up of young and emerging talents including Rae Morris, Ghostpoet, Kate Tempest and The Bohicas will be topping the bill between 3rd and 6th September 2015. Confirmed DJs include The 2 Bears, DJ Harvey, Gerd Janson, Bicep and Motor City Drum Ensemble. More headliners, acts, arts and culture will be announced over the coming weeks.

2015 Wireless Festival, Fri 3rd to Sun 5th July 2015

This year’s dancefest will take place in London’s Finsbury Park between the 3rd and 5th July 2015. Announced for the headline spot on Friday is Canadian songwriter and rapper Drake. Wireless promoter Steve Homer of Live Nation said: “This year we have an incredible line-up for New Look Wireless. We can’t wait to bring Drake back to the main stage, along with some of the best artists that span the world of Hip-hop, dance, R&B and UK Garage. This is our 10th birthday and we’re really going to make it one to remember.” Saturday sees Avicci and Kendrick Lamar kicking it on the main stage and on Sunday David Guetta and Nicky Minaj will have the place dancing.

2015 Lovebox Festival, Fri 17th and Sat 18th July 2015

Lovebox is returning to London’s Victoria Park on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th July 2015. The festival was started in 2002 by Groove Armada, and although the line-up for this year’s two-dayer is still to be confirmed the rumours are that the very best of home grown and international dance talent will be taking to the stages. Last year acts included MIA, Chase & Status, Soul II Soul and the irrepressible Craig Charles on the decks. The first acts will be confirmed on 10th March.

2015 Global Gathering Festival, Not taking place in 2015

Unfortunately one of the UK’s most successful electronic dance music events will be taking a hiatus this year after 13 years of rocking the dancefloor. The organisers have assured partygoers that the break is to ensure that all future events are of the high calibre that fans have come to expect.

2015 Green Man Festival, Thu 20th to Sun 23rd August 2015

Green Man has proudly announced that electronic Brit band Hot Chip and American singer-songwriter St.Vincent will be headlining this year’s festival. The event takes place between the 20th and 23rd August 2015 in at Glanisk Park, Brecon, Wales. Other acts taking to the Mountain Stage this year include The Staves, Mew and Shovels & Rope, The Fall, Courtney Barnett, Charles Bradley, Calexico, Goat and Father John Misty. Speaking to Wales Online about the event, Green Man Festival Director Fiona Stewart said: “We are delighted to announce the first round of artists for Green Man 2015. St Vincent is a gifted performer and [to] have her headline following her album of the year success in the Guardian is brilliant, and with Hot Chip launching a new album, and Father John Misty re-launching his single on February the 9th excitement will be off the scale by August.”

2015 Womad Festival, Thu 23rd to Sun 26th July 2015

This year’s Womad extravaganza will take place between Thursday 23rd and Sunday 26th July at Charlton Park in Wiltshire. The organisers promised a stellar line up and have certainly delivered. Headlining is the legendary De La Soul. The hip-hop trio will share the stage with other huge names from around the globe including Tinariwen, Bellowhead, Aurelio, ESKA, Osaka Monaurail, Molotov Jukebox and Acholi Machon.

2015 BoomTown Festival, Thu 13th to Sun 16th August 2015

Boom Town will open its gates between Thursday 13th and Sunday 16th August 2015. The first wave of headliners has been announced and includes Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Soja, Flogging Molly, Gogol Bordello and Squarepusher. Chapter 7 is set to be massive and other big names promising to draw the crowds to the town centre include A Guy Called Gerald, Jungle Brothers and Goldie Lookin’ Chain. As well as a fabulous musical line-up Boom Town features nine individual districts to explore including Chinatown, Wild West and Kidztown.

2015 Shambala Festival, Thu 27th to Sun 30th August 2015

Shambala Festival takes place this year between the 27th and 30th August at the Secret Country Estate in Northamptonshire. The line-up is as eclectic as always and confirmed music acts include Adrian Sherwood, A Guy Called Gerald, Andy C, The Apples and Babyhead. This year’s carnival theme is still to be officially announced, but we can tell you it will either be Cosmic Chaos, Dreams or Into The Wild. With over 200 diverse musical acts across 12 live stages, world-class cabaret, an amazing array of workshops, stand-up comedy, inspirational talks and debates, jaw dropping circus and acrobatics, interactive theatre and nationally acclaimed poetry all housed in beautifully decorated venues, the bank holiday weekend promises to be very special.

2015 2000trees Festival, Thu 9th to Sat 11th July 2015

Set in the rolling Cotswold Hills, 2000trees is all about the music. This year, between the 9th and 11th July, more than 80 of the absolute best new and underground acts from the worlds of rock and indie, plus some more established acts, will take to the stage. The extraordinary line-up already includes Deaf Havana, Pulled Apart By Horses, Kerbdog, Arcane Roots, Solemn Sun and The Computers.

2015 Wilderness Festival, Thu 6th to Sun 9th August 2015

This year the Main Stage welcomes the incomparable Bjork as a headline act. The multi-talented Icelandic artist will share the bill with Moloko’s Roisin Murphy, singer-songwriter Ben Howard and funk power-house George Clinton as well as a raft of other big names. Taking place between the 6th and 9th August 2015 at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire the event promises to be a fabulous festival of musicianship, theatre, talks, panel debates, late-night parties, outdoor pursuits and food experiences.

2015 Creamfields Festival, Fri 28th to Sun 30th August 2015

The Liverpool music festival promises to be the biggest and best ever. The cream of the crop will be taking to the stage over the August bank holiday. On Friday the Cheshire countryside will be jumping to Rebel Sound, Sub Focus, Armin Van Buuren, Jamie Jones and Danny Avila to name but a few. Last year Creamfields walked away with the Best Dance Event gong at the Festival Awards and Saturday’s line up ensures the festival will be a frontrunner this year. The acts booked to appear include huge names such as Avicci, The Chemical Brothers, Pete Tong and Don Diablo. On Sunday the event’s 22 arenas will host DJs including Fatboy Slim, who will be presenting the Smile High Club, Tiesto, Afrojack, Eric Prydz and Paul Van Dyk plus a host of other huge dance names.

Posted on by Tom Clegg Posted in Festival Guides and Previews | Leave a comment

Best 2014-2015 UK Winter Music Festivals to Banish the Blues

Music festivals are meant for summer? Pah! We are here to prove that just because the tent is back under the stairs and the tie-dye shirt back in the wardrobe, there is still plenty going on to distract you from the winter blues. Here’s our line up of the best 2014-2015 winter music festivals.

The Big Reunion, Skegness, 21st-23rd and 28th-30th November 2014

Best 2014-2015 UK Winter Festivals to Banish the Blues - The Big Reunion

The Big Reunion

Taking place over the last two weekends of November, The Big Reunion is the biggest indoor music festival in the UK. The dance extravaganza will once again be held at the Butlins resort in Skegness, Lincolnshire.

Friday’s headliners are the multi-award winning writers, producers and musical mixers Chase & Status. The Chase & Status DJ Set & Rage promises to be one of the highlights of the event, and fans can expect to hear classics such as Pieces, Count On Me and Flashing Lights as well as a raft of new mixes. The main stage will also feature other major dance acts including Tinie Tempah, The Wideboys, Koven, Micky Slim, Matrix & Futurebound and Rhymestar.

Taking to the Reds Stage will be class performers including Sigma, Jaguar Skills, MistaJam, B.Traits, Majestic and John Gillan. Be sure not to miss Ms Dynamite, Jess Glynne, Bipolar Sunshine, Meridian Dan, DJ Cable and others on the Centre Stage. The Jaks Stage will be playing host to well known acts including Artful Dodger, DJ Luck & MC Neat, Rawkus Noise and Hannah Jacques.

This year’s fancy dress theme is ‘Animals’, and revellers are encouraged to be as inventive as possible for the Saturday night costume party. Anything from the animal kingdom goes from wild jungle beasts to cuddly household pets.

Those put off by travelling to the festival in the Friday night traffic might want to consider getting there a day early and kicking off the weekend festivities on the Thursday night. The Pre-Party will feature special guests Pendulum DJ Set & Verse! As well as an ever growing list of some of the country’s top DJs.

Because The Big Reunion is an indoor festival ticket holders are guaranteed a place to crash and somewhere to wash. Other facilities include several fast food restaurants, bars, a supermarket, cash machines and a number of entertainment options including a cinema and a ten-pin bowling alley.

For those missing the days of summer, don’t forget to pack a bikini or a pair of Speedos and check out the Saturday pool party with its state of the art sound system! One of our favourite events at this year’s festival is the Silent Disco. A pair of wireless headphones is given to each partygoer through which two DJs will be pumping their tunes. Just flick a switch to access each and dance your socks off to the one you prefer. Don’t forget to slip the headphones off every now and then to have a giggle and try to guess who’s dancing to old school garage and who is enjoying a bit of Abba.

Bugged Out Weekender, Bognor Regis, 16th-18th January 2015

Best 2014-2015 UK Winter Festivals to Banish the Blues - Bugged Out Weekender

Bugged Out Weekender

Why not dispel the post-Christmas blues with a weekend blow out at the Bugged Out Weekender? Now in its fourth year the music extravaganza, held at the flagship Butlins resort at Bognor Regis, promises a jaw-dropping line up of top DJs. Headlining this year are the fabulous Chemical Brothers who will be joined by Bugged Out favourites Daniel Avery, Erol Alkan and Tiga, as well as first timers including Streets front-man Mike Skinner, Ame, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Four Tet.

As well as three nights of partying, guests are invited to grab their swimmers and dive into Saturday’s pool party. There is also a DJ competition, musical bingo and pub quiz. Onsite accommodation is included in the ticket price, so somewhere to crash is never far from the action. There are a number of restaurants available including Turners, established by Michelin-starred chef Brian Turner. The menu includes great British staples with a twist such as mouth watering steak and sumptuous salmon fillet. The chocolate and orange tart is a treat. The Beach Combers Inn is the place to head to for a tasty fry-up and The Diner serves hotdogs, burgers, ribs and salads to be washed down with a milkshake in a 1950s setting. There’s even a rock n roll jukebox!

NME said: “As far as weekend activities on this earth go, there’s little to be had that’s more glorious”. So if its three days of cutting edge techno, house and bass you’re looking for to banish the winter blues, Bugged Out has it in spades.

Spitalfields Music, London, 5th-16th December 2014

Best 2014-2015 UK Winter Festivals to Banish the Blues - A Tale of Two Seasons

A Tale of Two Seasons

Once again the organisers of the Spitalfields Music winter festival are offering a reprieve from the bustle of Christmas shopping and office parties by laying on an eclectic mix of music in London’s East End. The music ranges across a spectrum of periods and styles. Those looking for a more traditional run up to Christmas will enjoy the festival’s opening number, A Tale of Two Seasons. This is a classical showcase featuring the talents of Sally Bruce-Payne and La Serenissima. The Royal Academy of Music’s Adrian Chandler will be presenting an opera show with countertenor Lawrence Zazzo.

Also marking the opening of the festival will be The Sixteen performing a programme of traditional and modern interpretations and arrangements of English Christmas carols as well as less familiar works by British composers. These include Peter Warlock’s Bethlehem Down and John Ireland’s carol The Holy Boy. The Telegraph described last year’s performance as: “…ecstatic radiance… a perfect evening.”

Other highlights include Norwegian guitarist Stian Westerhus who will be joined by Britten Sinfonia for a reinterpretation of his celebrated album. The Spitalfield’s winter festival is the perfect way to put some festive pep back into the run up to Christmas.

Celtic Connections, Glasgow, 15th January – 1st February 2015

Best 2014-2015 UK Winter Festivals to Banish the Blues - Van Morrison

Van Morrison

For the last two decades Celtic Connections has been pulling in music fans from around the globe. The biggest winter festival of its kind is a kaleidoscope of folk, roots and world music. More than 300 events will take place across the city of Glasgow with highlights including the legend that is Van Morrison, seminal English folk rockers Fairport Convention and Grammy Award-winning songstress Angelique Kidjo, who will be joined by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Not to be missed is the Celtic Connections Opening Concert Nae Regrets – Martyn Bennett’s GRIT. Violinist and composer Greg Lawson has arranged Bennett’s final masterpiece for an 80-strong orchestra of vocalists and folk, jazz and classical musicians.

Throughout the festival a series of Late Night Sessions will be hosted by Findlay Napier at The Concert Hall. These promise to be more relaxing than the bustle of the main circuit with a great line up of musicians. It even has a late bar! There are literally too many great performers to list descending on Glasgow this coming January and any venue capable of holding more than a dozen people is bound to have something going on.

Posted on by Tom Clegg Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips | Leave a comment

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips!

As promised, instead of lumping our Leeds and Reading Festival guides into one, like everyone else, our PAAM Volunteer Software blog endeavours to give you some useful tips on camping, getting there and away, food and drink and the quality of the loos at Leeds Festival, coming to Bramham Park over the 22nd to 24th August.

Getting in and out of Leeds Festival

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Eminem on the main stage by Daniel Boud

Eminem on the main stage by Daniel Boud

Yeah, we know you’re sick of hearing it, but ‘Go green’ is the message for anyone travelling to a festival this summer. The Leeds organisers have once again partnered up with National Express to ensure that festival goers coming from all over the UK can get from door to door cheaply, safely, comfortably and with a limited impact on the environment. Another option is of course the trusty train, and there will be plenty of shuttle buses running to and from Leeds City Railway Station and Leeds Coach Station.

Those who just can’t leave the car at home but want to reduce their carbon emissions might like to consider getting involved with the BlaBlaCar sharing scheme. Filling the car up with people helps the environment, cuts down on congestion, significantly reduces the cost of travel and increases the chance of fun!

Motorists are advised to travel at off-peak times, be prepared for the inevitable delays and have a sensible strategy for driving home. Late nights and drinking will take their toll, and it goes without saying nobody should get behind the wheel if they are tired or intoxicated. Although parking is separate from the camping areas, all campsites can be easily accessed from all car parks at the Leeds festival site.

Camping at Leeds Festival

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Major Lazer in Radio 1 NME Tent by Todd Owyoung

Major Lazer in Radio 1 NME Tent by Todd Owyoung

There are seven camp sites at Leeds, each identified by a different colour. It’s a good idea to colour coordinate with friends before arriving so you all get directed to the same place. Leeds’ campsites are busy, noisy places in general, but anyone looking for a slightly quieter spot to pitch their tent is advised to get directions to the Brown camp site.

There is also a campervan area open to all weekend ticket holders, and a disabled campervan area close to the disabled camp site. Anyone intending to arrive in a campervan will need to apply for a permit ahead of the festival, and all occupants will need to be able to produce a valid ticket for the weekend. There is no sleeping in any of the car parks, and campervans will not be allowed onto the camping areas – so don’t bother trying!

Campsite Assistance Team (CATS) at Leeds Festival

The CAT volunteers are a group of lovely volunteers, organised by Hotbox Events and PAAM! The volunteers are dedicated to making your festival experience just magical. Easily identified by their bright turquoise tabards, these little life savers are on permanent patrol to help out with everything from directions, to performance times, issues with the facilities and noisy neighbours, and will even lend a hand with putting up that pesky tent. CAT volunteers can also be found near the fire towers in case of an emergency.

Posh camping and other accommodation at Leeds Festival

Don’t fancy dragging a tent all the way to Leeds and then swearing at it as it refuses to cooperate with your faultless tent-erecting skills? Why not book a spot in the Pink Moon Camping Oasis. Pre-erected Podpads, tipis and tents take the hassle out of all that flysheet and pole nonsense. The Podpads come in a variety of quirky, brightly coloured designs and add a tad of extra class to the Leeds experience, as if one was needed. The Pink Moon site provides 24-hour security and maintained hot male and female showers. Yes, only hot males are allowed in the former.

Toilets at Leeds Festival

Toilet blocks are located around the campsites and in the main Arena. It is comforting to know that all toilets at Leeds are non-flammable and are constantly monitored for sanitation issues. All also have hand washing facilities. Such civilisation!

Showers at Leeds Festival

The showers are located in the Village. As with any music festival, there are likely to be busy periods when visitors should expect to queue for their ablutions.

Food and drink at Leeds Festival

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - While She Sleeps on the main stage by Danny North

While She Sleeps on the main stage by Danny North

Food stalls will be dishing up delicious fare throughout the arena and the campsites. A complete list of the food traders and their fixed prices will be published on the Leeds festival website. The prices are strictly set, and visitors are encouraged to flag up those flouting the rules to officials.

The festival supermarket will provide daily essentials including snacks, sausages, bacon, eggs, cigarettes, toiletries, beer, cider and general groceries. It also provides cashback for those paying with cards (for a transaction fee, of course).

There are several bars onsite, all of which take cash only. Visitors need to be aware that there will be strict ID checks on anyone who appears under 21. Drinking water points are located throughout the Arena and the campsites. They are constantly monitored and tested for purity. Visitors are however reminded that these are drinking water points, not hair washing, clothes washing or dishwashing points!

Fires at Leeds Festival

Be extra careful with flames. Small campfires are permitted but need to be monitored closely and lit away from tents. Pack a good torch and leave the candles at home. Candles and tents don’t get on with each other…or rather, they get on with each other a little too well.

Fire marshals are identifiable by their red tabards and will be on constant look out for inappropriately large conflagrations, which will be extinguished immediately and without a smile. Portable barbecues are fantastic for cooking up sausages or chicken wings, but can be deadly when used in an enclosed space because of the carbon monoxide gas they produce. Do all cooking under the sky, not your porch, please.

Wristbands at Leeds Festival

This may sound obvious, but check you have your ticket with you before leaving home. Leeds runs a strict Challenge 21 policy. This means that anyone who looks younger than 21 will have to produce recognised ID to prove they are over 18 before they are allowed to buy cigarettes or alcohol. Over 18s wristbands can be picked up at the Over 18s tent.

And talking of wristbands, make sure you treat yours with respect. If it is lost, there is the distinct possibility of an early bus home. Contact a festival official as soon as you realise yours is damaged or gone.

Common sense at Leeds Festival

It goes without saying that music festivals get crowded. Neighbours are just a few feet and a thin layer of canvas away, so be as considerate as possible. Leave the music speakers at home – there are plenty of live bands a short stroll away.

Leeds promises to be as fantastic as ever this year, so just a little bit of common sense is worth employing to make sure that your experience goes as planned. Don’t bring anything to the festival that you cannot afford to return home without, and leave at home anything that is even vaguely questionable. Illegal drugs are still illegal, weapons will not be tolerated and anything that explodes (with the exception of party poppers) will be confiscated.

Leeds also has a no glass policy, and officials will not allow excessive amounts of alcohol through the gates.

What the organisers do want you to bring is energy, enthusiasm and the sun, if possible!

Have an amazing Leeds Festival! See you there!

Posted on by Tom Clegg Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips, Festival Survival and Essentials | Leave a comment

2014 Reading Festival Guide, Hints and Tips!

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Chase and Status on the main stage by Marc Sethi

Chase and Status on the main stage by Marc Sethi

Blink 182 have warned Reading and Leeds to ‘prepare for the fury’. We agree, but instead of telling you that the fury will also be provided by legends like Queens of the Stone Age, Paramore and Arctic Monkeys, we have split the two events into two handy all-you-need to-know guides to give some helpful advice on important stuff like camping, festival facilities, food and drink and getting there and away.

Keep either our Reading Festival or Leeds Festival Volunteer Management Software blog to hand you you’ll be right as rain!

So this one is all about the 2014 Reading Festival, which takes place at Richfield Avenue on the 20th to 24th August.

Getting in and out of Reading Festival

As with most other major festivals, Reading is making a concerted effort to encourage visitors to be as green as possible when travelling to and from the event.

We all know that cars are bad news for the environment, so why not kick off the festivities early by joining fellow revellers on a train or bus?

Reading station is a 20-minute stroll from the festival site, or there are shuttle buses available for a quid – that’s not going to cut into your cider budget too much now is it?

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Main stage crowd by Marc Sethi

Main stage crowd by Marc Sethi

National Express is once again providing services from all over the country direct to the festival’s Red campsite. Coaches really are a no brainer: a professional driver is doing the hard work, so there’s no shouting at the satnav or wrestling with maps. Yay! Coaches are also cheap, green and a godsend for those needing a kip before or after a couple of nights’ hard partying.

However, if the car really is your only option (boo to you!), why not spread the cost with other festival goers by logging on to the BlaBlaCar ridesharing website? Taking three extra passengers will cover the cost of your journey, plus there’s a priority car park and even the chance to win VIP backstage tickets!

Those arriving at the King’s Meadow car park can hop on one of the free shuttle boats taking visitors to the Green pedestrian gate. A free boat trip – you don’t get that at many festivals! Drivers are also being urged to TURN OFF their satnav when they get into Reading and follow the signs.

Spending some time reading the information that comes with your ticket and checking out the Reading Festival website so you know exactly where you’re supposed to be when you arrive will save a great deal of time and frustration. Nobody wants to begin the festival in a bad mood, least of all the car park staff, although that is kind of inevitable.

Camping at Reading Festival

Reading Festival has seven coloured camping zones available to those holding weekend tickets. If you’re intending to bring a campervan, caravan or trailer, however, you’ll need to buy a campervan ticket and permit for the White campsite in advance. A special wristband will be given to those displaying a valid permit at the gate. It goes without saying that everyone planning to stay in the campervan area will need a valid festival ticket too. Check out the website for more details.

Campsite Assistance Team (CATS) at Reading Festival

2014 Leeds Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Crowd silhouettes with Chase and Status on the main stage by Marc Sethi

Crowd silhouettes with Chase and Status on the main stage by Marc Sethi

These festival angels, supplied by Hotbox Events and PAAM (yay us!), are well worth getting to know, as they’ll be on hand in all campsites around the clock.

These volunteers are charged with making your life easier by giving information and directions, looking after the facilities, dealing with annoying neighbours and keeping an eye on your stuff.

Tents can be buggers to put up, so don’t be embarrassed about asking for a hand with the pegs and poles, especially if you’re on your tod, heaven forbid!

The festival organisers will also post a detailed downloadable map of the festival site on the Reading website, just in case you’re too proud to ask for directions.

Posh camping and other accommodation at Reading Festival

‘Glampin’ options are available for those not so keen on wrestling with a tent. Pink Moon Camping provides an Oasis of pre-erected tents, serviced toilets, showers and round-the-clock security for festival visitors looking for a slightly more upmarket Reading experience.

Podpads is also setting up a range of alternative accommodation this year. The tents, huts and tipis are built from a variety of different materials, but are always spacious and outrageously colourful.

Family Camping at Reading Festival

Although Reading does not have a dedicated family campsite, parents wanting a bit of downtime with the kids away from the fray should grab a spot in the more peaceful White campsite. Make sure to book a parking pass for the White car park in advance, as it’s a bit of a trek from the town centre. The facilities include free hot showers, a mini-supermarket, a real ale bar, food stalls and space for the little ones to run around, so totally worth it.

Toilets at Reading Festival

There are plenty of toilet facilities dotted around the festival site. However, it’s worth noting that the festival organisers will NOT be providing toilet paper this year – what?! The idea is to cut down on waste – okay, we’ll let them off.

No need to panic if you forget to pack the loo-roll however, as traders will be selling it at predictably sky high prices, as will the three onsite supermarkets…and there’s a big Tesco nearby.

Showers at Reading Festival

There are free hot showers at Baker Lane and in the Yellow and White campsites. They are open from 6am to 8pm and are regularly cleaned. However, this is a music festival, so expect to queue during busy periods. Those who fancy a bit more pampering can make use of the Rivermead Centre’s showers, swimming pool and cafe for a small charge.

Food and drink at Reading Festival

Hundreds of food traders will be setting up their stalls at this year’s festival, serving up culinary delights from around the globe including noodles, pizzas, salads, hippy goodness, ostrich burgers etc. Organisers will be compiling a comprehensive food price-list to which all traders will have to adhere, so no worries about getting ripped off (any more than is usual on a festival site).

The Arena has several bars, which will operate a cash only policy. This year, the Main Stage bars will not be serving spirits in order to speed up service. No alcohol is allowed into the Arena, and no glass is permitted anywhere on the festival site. A Challenge-21 policy will be in force, so if you’re lucky enough to look under 21, you’ll have to provide proof of age to purchase alcohol or tobacco.

Camping gear recycling at Reading Festival

An ugly side of big summer festivals like Reading is the sheer amount of stuff left behind by visitors who don’t want to face the hassle of packing everything up and taking it home. Sadly, most of what is left will go to landfill or an incinerator. However, a little bit of effort is good for everyone.

Those who really don’t want tents, clothes, wellies, sleeping bags and other camping gear can drop it off at dedicated collection points. Donated gear will then find its way to charitable organisations and community groups. And that’s a good thing. So do it, please!

Fires at Reading Festival

Small contained campfires will be permitted in the camping grounds until 8pm on Sunday. We don’t need to tell you that fire is dangerous. Even a small spark can quickly reduce a tent and its contents to a smouldering pile of disappointment, so be sensible, and keep all flames away from anything flammable and under constant supervision. There are dedicated fire fighters on site to deal with anything that gets out of control, and any fires deemed unsafe will be extinguished immediately.

Use your common sense at Reading Festival

The Reading organisers will be doing their utmost to make sure this year’s festival will be as enjoyable as ever. Visitor safety is therefore paramount, and illegal or antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated.

So use your noodle. Don’t bring anything you can’t afford to lose and definitely don’t bring anything silly. This includes excessive amounts of alcohol and cigarettes, illegal drugs (including so-called ‘legal highs’) fireworks, glass bottles, professional recording and camera equipment, Chinese lanterns, lasers, weapons etc.

Above all, have an amazing Reading Festival! See you there!

Posted on by Tom Clegg Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips, Festival Survival and Essentials | Leave a comment

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips!

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips!

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Festival goers in front of the Latitude Main Stage by Danny North

Festival goers in front of the Latitude Main Stage by Danny North

According to the Independent “Latitude remains Queen of arts festivals”, and we’re hard-pressed to disagree. Featuring music, comedy, movies and literature to name but a few, there’ll be a category for everyone at Henham Park, Southwold, this year.

The music line-up for July 17th to 20th includes legends such as Damon Albarn, James, The Black Keys, Chrissie Hynde and Tame Impala, while comedy geniuses Simon Amstell, Dara O Briain and Jack Dee are set to split sides.

The full line-up is constantly being updated on the Latitude website, so instead of simply listing the acts, we thought we’d use this Volunteer Management Software blog to offer some helpful hints for getting the best out of the 2014 Latitude Festival!

Getting to and from Latitude Festival

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Hotbox Events volunteers enjoying the festival

Hotbox Events volunteers enjoying the festival

Just like the guys over at Glastonbury (SO last month), the Latitude Festival organisers are keener than ever to encourage visitors to limit their carbon footprints this year.

A major way to do this is to leave the car at home and jump on a coach. As well as being 10 times more carbon efficient, travelling to the festival by coach means less stress and added fun.

You could also jump on the train (transfer buses will be laid on from Diss station, but NOT from Ipswich) and start the festival a few hours early that way. It’s also worth remembering that a few late nights are knackering, so driving home is unlikely to be a barrel of laughs.

For those who must bring their car, here are a few top tips to make the journey a little less stressful. Do not travel at peak times – unless you’re partial to a lengthy game of ‘I spy’ when all you can see is the car in front and a hedge. When close to the festival, ignore the sat nav and concentrate on the temporary signs that have been erected. The organisers also recommend keeping up to date with traffic news via

If you have a spare couple of seats, shift the cider over and share the cost of the journey with other festival-goers by visiting ridesharing website As well as cutting the cost of the petrol, motorists are guaranteed an exclusive spot in the BlaBlaCar Priority Car Park, and the chance to win a VIP back-stage passes!

Where to camp (with or without the kids) at Latitude Festival

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Bloc Party with Lasers by Danny North

Bloc Party with Lasers by Danny North

Latitude prides itself on being one of the most family friendly of the big UK summer festivals. Family Camping is available to those who have kids under 16 – because after that they don’t need parents at all, right? This family area provides dedicated showers, toilets, water points and washing-up facilities.

There is even a Little Latitude Tuck Shop supplying festival essentials and an area for families with campervans. And, most amazingly, adults can get a bit of a lie in, as the kids are invited to take part in morning activities before the main entertainment kicks off. Mobile first aid units will also be on patrol to help with any scarped knees and nosebleeds that may arise.

Non family campers will be directed to the Green, Blue, Red and Yellow zones. As a rule of thumb the closer you are to the arena the nosier the campsite (duh!). So Yellow is the younger campsite, with things quietening down as you move through to Red and then Green. As festival campsites go none of the Latitude campsites are mega noisy so you’ll probably be quite happy wherever you land!

There is more than enough space for the numbers expected to attend Latitude this year, and the gate staff are on hand to advise on the less crowded areas. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the Village, as it is here that the cash points, food stalls, showers, lockers, the Village Shop, welfare and first aid tents are situated. Yes, this is a fancy festival indeed!

Motorhomes, campervans and caravans at Latitude Festival

Those who find tents a bit fiddly might be coming to Latitude in a mobile home. It’s important that the correct permit is purchased well in advance, and it must be displayed clearly on arrival at the festival gates. Please don’t think you can sleep in the car park – you can’t. It also goes without saying that everyone intending to stay in a mobile home must have a valid festival ticket. No stowaways please!

Alternative accommodation at Latitude Festival

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Bloc Party drummer by Danny North

Bloc Party drummer by Danny North

Got a little cash to burn? Why not splash out on a Podpad, a Pink Moon Tent, Tipi or Yurtel? Yeah, we’ve only heard of Tipis and maybe Yurtles too, so let us explain: Podpads are a pre-pitched alternative to the traditional tent that provide mattresses and power sockets. The quirky little things are situated in their own bespoke private area with showers and toilets.

Pink Moon Camping is also a dedicated campsite with pre-erected tents and tipis. Packages include mattresses and sleeping bags, and the site has its own hot private showers, serviced toilets, Wi-Fi and even a hair-care pamper parlour!

The ultimate in Latitude festival luxury however is the Yurtel camping experience. Guests staying in this private field have their own restaurant, chill-out bar and spa. Imagine that! There are also hotel packages available, but that’s just ruining the festival spirit altogether, so you’re on your own with that one.

Toilets at Latitude Festival

In recent years, what used to be one of the most depressing experiences at a music festival has improved astronomically. Toilet blocks will be erected throughout the Latitude camping areas and the main arena. Organisers have promised that each toilet will be cleaned from top to bottom at least every one-and-a-half hours. Pretty impressive!

The blocks will be segregated into male and female, and there will be urinals provided for both gentlemen and ladies – if you’re a bit perplexed about how the latter works, Google Shepee and all will become clear. If that isn’t enough, all toilet paper (which is usually plentiful), will be made from recycled paper, the chemicals used in the loos are completely environmentally friendly, and there are hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities at every toilet block.

Food and drink at Latitude Festival

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - The Kids Area at Latitude by Danny North

The Kids Area at Latitude by Danny North

It’s a good idea to get acquainted with what is and what is not allowed though the Latitude gates. Although alcohol is allowed into the camping area, if an official decides you’ve brought an excess amount, it will be confiscated.

Absolutely no alcohol will be allowed into the arena, so be prepared to part with your cash when out and about. There are several bars, but if you look under 21 (you lucky sod), be sure to bring ID.

Glass is strictly forbidden everywhere, and although food for personal consumption is allowed in both the campsites and the arena, there will also be plenty of buy-now options available, including pizza, burgers, tapas, Mexican, BBQ…and the boring healthy options. The Village shop, located sensibly in the Village, will also be well stocked with all the essentials to keep visitors alive over the weekend.

A good rule of thumb for what will not be allowed through the gates is to ask yourself whether you would let a three year old play with it. There is a detailed list on the Latitude website, but it’s really just common-sense.

Valuables at Latitude Festival

Although the organisers do their utmost to keep ne’re do wells out of the festival, career criminals are well aware that well off folk let their guard down at festivals like Latitude. Here are a few top tips to avoid becoming a victim:

Valuables – leave them at home. Only bring what you need and what you can afford to lose. There are lockers and storage facilities in the Village for those who want to keep their valuables extra safe. It goes without saying that a tent is not the most secure accommodation, and a lock on your tent unfortunately suggests that you have something worth stealing. If it’s in your tent, it’s pretty much fair game.

Mobile phones may be necessary for keeping in touch with friends in the crowd, but avoid waving them around. It’s irritating, and the wrong person might notice that you own the latest model. There are various free apps available for download that will allow you to track a lost or stolen phone, but in a field of thousands, you’ll likely have a tad of trouble pinning your thief down. Obviously if something does get stolen, report it to security immediately.

CATs, HATs and Pixies at Latitude Festival

Thanks to Hotbox Events and PAAM, (toot, toot!), there will be over eight hundred volunteers helping out at Latitude Festival including:

2014 Latitude Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - 'In the woods' at Latitude by Pooneh Ghana

‘In the woods’ at Latitude by Pooneh Ghana

The Campsite Assistant Teams (CATs) on hand 24-hours-a-day to help festival goers get the most out of the event. The CAT volunteer stewards are there to help you find a camping space, put up your tent, give you directions and information, tell your noisy neighbour to shut up, keep an eye out for any trouble, faulty facilities, fire hazards and more. They’re basically your festival bestie! They’ll be based at the fire towers and on patrol around the campsites.

Helpful Arena Teams (HATs) are volunteer stewards based in the arena just bursting to give out all sorts of information, including line-up changes, directions and performance times!

Pixies are volunteer stewards based ‘In the Woods’ at Latitude. They’re there to help when you’re looking a bit lost, to keep an eye on the art works ‘In the Woods’, monitor the crowds and generally act like…helpful little pixies!

General advice for Latitude Festival

Look after yourself and look out for others; use hand sanitizer; wear sunscreen; bring a pair of sturdy shoes; and don’t venture off-site (there are no pavements on the roads surrounding the festival). Bring insect repellent, and give your ears a break from the music from time to time.

Above all though, just have a fantastic time!

See you at Latitude!

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips, Festival Survival and Essentials | 2 Comments

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips!

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - A fantastic view across the Glastonbury site

View across the Glastonbury site

It can’t really be that time again, can it? It seems like the mud has only just dried on our boots since the Stones put on their mind-blowing set at last year’s Glastonbury Festival. But yes, we’ve checked the calendar and Glastonbury 2014 is just around the corner.

This year the world’s biggest green-field music festival promises to be as amazing as ever with bands including Metallica, Manic Street Preachers, Massive Attack and MGMT – and that’s just a few of the Ms!

So in this year’s PAAM Volunteer Software Glastonbury Festival blog we’ve decided to put our efforts towards a more overall guide to the great musical extravaganza that is Glastonbury!

Green Glastonbury Travel

For the past decade, Glastonbury organisers have been championing a reduction in visitors’ carbon footprints. As usual, anyone choosing to arrive by public transport will automatically become a Glastonbury Festival Green Traveller, meaning discounts on merchandise and meals as well as the chance to walk away with a prize!

Let the train take the Glastonbury strain

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - A strange man on a strange car

A strange man on a strange car

First Great Western will be laying on extra services and extended trains to Castle Cary station during the festival. Check out the website for details

Glastonbury ticket holders will then be able to jump on a free shuttle bus that will take them from the station to Pedestrian Gate A.

Or get on a coach

Once again Glastonbury has partnered with National Express to allow festival-goers to travel from more than 70 locations around the country right to the festival gates.

Did you know that travelling by coach produces around five times less CO2 than driving a car? Now you do! Check out the website for more details

Glastonbury Pedal power

By far the greenest way to get to Worthy Farm is by bike. Glastonbury has partnered with two organisations, Pow Wow and Tor 2000, in order to get visitors emitting nothing but the air in their lungs this year. Pow Wow is providing guided tours from Bristol to Glastonbury through the fabulous Mendip hills. Learn more at

Tor 2000 also wants to see more visitors in the saddle this year. Anyone cycling to Glastonbury will have the option of staying in the cyclist-only camping area, and both organisations will take the strain by providing a pick-up and drop-off service for luggage. Phew!

Heading to Glastonbury by car

For those who just can’t bear to leave the gas-guzzler at home, it’s well worth doing some planning beforehand. Prepare for traffic delays and keep the radio set to the latest travel news. Although the organisers would like people to abandon the car altogether in favour of greener transport, think about car share options and make your impact on the environment (and the traffic jams) a little less damaging.

Where to camp at Glastonbury

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Rob with the view from Pennards Hill

Rob and the view from Pennards Hill

Most festival-goers opt for life under canvas at Glastonbury. Although ticket holders are permitted to camp in any of the designated festival fields, it’s worth thinking about what sort of festival experience you’re looking for.

Those wanting to party into the early hours may wish to head for the popular Pennard Hill Ground, but if a bit of shut-eye is preferable, consider somewhere on the more peaceful periphery such as Hitchin Hill Ground or Limekilns.

Last year Glastonbury introduced pre-erected accommodation at Worthy View, just a few minutes’ walk from the action. Although sold out for 2014, it’s worth keeping an eye on the festival website for last-minute cancellations. There’s nothing quite like lazy roughing it!

Families are advised to erect their tents at the Family Camping Fields at Cockmill Meadow, which is close to the Kidz Field, or at Wicket Ground on the northwest of the site. It’s important to remember however that the family sites fill up quickly and there is no booking system, so get the kids there early to claim your patch.

Disabled camping is available at Spring Ground, to the west of the site, for those who are registered disabled.

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Recovering in the Glade

Crystal and Bethan recovering in the Glade

Those seeking a more unique Glastonbury experience may like to think about a pre-erected Tipi. These are located in the Tipi Village, near the Stone Circle. Tipis offer a very cosy, albeit back-to-basics, elemental camping experience, and visitors will need to bring mats and bedding as well as any other creature comforts. Unfortunately, the Tipi Field is sold out for this year, but any cancellations will go up on the festival website.

A slightly more elegant, and comfortable, Glastonbury experience comes in the form of the campervan or caravan. There is a slew of rules involving this posher option however, so a visit to the FAQ page on the official Glastonbury website is a must before heading off in a mobile home.

Unofficial campsites should be avoided. The Glastonbury organisers have no control over camping areas not under their jurisdiction and have warned visitors to be wary about parting with cash for these unauthorised operations.

Facilities at Glastonbury Festival

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Men at the urinals

Men at the urinals

Although Glastonbury wouldn’t be Glastonbury without mud, smelly tents and the occasional unwelcome surprise in a portable loo (think pop-up pirate), each year the facilities get better and better, and this year going to the loo will be easier than ever. Hurrah!

Visitors will be able to choose from long drops, compost loos, portable toilets, WaterAid latrines, flushing toilets (!), urinals and Sheepees. Yes Sheepees: female urinals lovingly attended to and decorated by WaterAid volunteers, who are even on hand to explain to the perplexed lady newcomer how their “penis” works.

All toilet facilities have hand-washing or hand-sanitising facilities, which the organisers urge visitors to use in order to avoid catching any nasties. Unfortunately the water supply at Glastonbury is simply incapable of providing all stinky campers with a shower, and therefore packing biodegradable wet wipes is a must for anyone who wants to make new friends over the weekend.

Foodies will be pleased to know that there will be more than 150 stalls providing delicacies from every corner of the globe, and those looking to pick up random craft goods will find it a challenge to see everything that is on offer, from wood carvings to ethnic trinkets and other treasures.

2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - The Stone Circle in the Sacred Space

The Stone Circle in the Sacred Space

Getting cash is also becoming easier. NatWest has five ATMs, which take all major credit and debit cards and charge no transaction fee, situated near the Farm House.

Expect to queue for your poor planning though. There are other cash machines dotted around the site, but we believe all will have a transaction charge.

And finally, for those who cannot possibly last a weekend without their iPhone; WiFi and charging points will be available at a number of EE charging centres around the Glastonbury Festival site.

Don’t forget lots of annoying boasty status updates for all your friends at home…yeah, we didn’t think you would.

General Glastonbury Festival advice

You’ve spent a lot of money on a ticket, taken some time off work and travelled all the way to Worthy Farm for possibly the best music festival in the world. The idea is to have fun, so here are just a few tips to help make it all an exquisite experience, rather than a dreadful disappointment.


2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Sam drinking from wine glass outside Brothers Bar

Sam drinking outside the Brothers Bar

Plenty of booze is available onsite, usually at London prices. If you bring your own, remember you will probably lose any more than is deemed appropriate for personal consumption to an official at the gate. All glass containers will also be taken away, and ID is essential if you want to buy a beer, but look under 21. Always drink plenty of water, and please don’t abuse other festival-goers if you do overdo it; they saved up for their tickets too!


Are illegal. Enough said. Fireworks, laser pens, flares, professional film equipment, guns, knives, RPGs etc are also a no no. But you knew that.


NEVER take your BBQ into your tent! Other than perhaps having to watch your festival home go up in a whoosh of flames, carbon monoxide poising is a very real danger. Keep it outside and well away from the canvass.

Chinese Lanterns

Are beautiful, but because of the risk of fire and due to them being harmful to livestock, organisers have asked people not to bring them. They will not be allowed past the gate if spotted.


2014 Glastonbury Festival Guide, Hints and Tips - Elwynne Green dancing at the Other Stage

Elwynne dancing at the Other Stage

Rock bands are loud. Dance music is loud. Remember to wear ear-plugs and give your ears a break by not standing next to the PA stacks for the whole festival. And please leave your own sound systems at home – they’re irritating, and this is Glastonbury Music Festival after all!

What to bring to Glastonbury

The rule of thumb is only what you need, and only what you can take home again.

Obviously a tent, sleeping bag and clothes for wet, dry, hot and cold weather are essential – gotta love the British summer.

Stuff to keep you clean without access to a shower; any medication you might need (and lots of sun cream!); a camera; a torch; ID and of course, your festival ticket.

If you’d like a few more tips about what to take to Glastonbury Festival you could do a lot worse than checking out our Festival Survival Guide which includes a long but handy list of festival things!

Giving a bit of thought to what you need before filling up a rucksack is well worth the effort. And remember you are going to have to carry it all!

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips, Festival Survival and Essentials | Leave a comment

Best Free UK Music Festivals of 2014 Guide, Hints, Tips and Previews

It’s once again time to turn our thoughts to tents, fields, live music and interesting looking food, as the summer festival season looms. For some, this will mean some serious tightening of the purse strings for a ticket to Glastonbury (purchased already of course), Reading/Leeds or the Isle of Wight Festival. However, for those with purse strings already stretched to their limit, there is thankfully an absolute plethora of festivals around the country that don’t charge a bean to get in. In this PAAM Volunteer Management Software blog, we bring you just a few of the best free music extravaganzas taking place in the UK this summer. Just don’t expect Bono to show up!

Live In Barnsley, Barnsley, 21st June 2014

Best Free UK Music Festivals of 2014 Guide, Hints, Tips and Previews - Live in Barnsley

Live in Barnsley, Barnsley

Now in its second year, Live In Barnsley 2014 promises to be even bigger and better than its remarkably successful inaugural event. In 2013, some 3,000 revellers turned the otherwise unglamorous South Yorkshire town into a fabulous free festival, incorporating various live music venues across the town centre.

The indoor music festival has already confirmed an impressive number of up-and-coming bands, including The Broken Flowers, The Rising, Invisible Grease and Anaconda Vice.

All of the venues are within easy walking distance of each other, and visitors are invited to pop in and out to experience as much of the talent as possible.

This year, a new stage run by Barnsley College students is also going up at the Retro Bar – that’s bound to be messy – and The Civic will be the new home of classical music and jazz bands.

Africa Oyé, Sefton Park, Liverpool, 21st-22nd June 2014

Best Free UK Music Festivals of 2014 Guide, Hints, Tips and Previews - Africa Oye

Africa Oye, Sefton Park, Liverpool

Africa Oyé is the UK’s largest free African music festival. The big news this year is that BRIT and Mobo award-winner Finlay Quaye (you remember him right?) is to take up the responsibility of headlining. Best known for hits Sunday Shining and Even After All, the reggae man came to global fame in the ’90s, but what he’s been up to since is anyone’s guess.

The organisers behind Oyé say the festival is much more than a celebration of Africa’s diversity of music, but also a celebration of multiculturalism, harmony and tolerance.

More than 40 stalls will be set up to provide culture-seeking visitors with the finest food and drink, arts, crafts and fashion from across the continent.

Other acts confirmed include HAJAmadagascar & The Groovy People (can’t beat that for a band name), and Jupiter & Okwess International.

The Godiva Festival, Coventry, 4th-6th July 2014

Coventry’s Godiva Festival is one of the biggest free family festivals in the UK. Last year, a record-breaking 125,000 visitors came to the city over the three days, and organisers are confident that even more will attend in 2014.

And that is highly likely, as on Saturday the headliners will be none other than indie legends The Happy Mondays! Front-man Shaun Ryder said on the festival website: “We’re all really excited and looking forward to playing the festival for the first time; outdoor events always have a good vibe and atmosphere about them.”

Joining Shaun and the boys on the Main Stage will be other big names including Buzzcocks, We Are Scientists, Selector, and Funeral For A Friend, while playing in the Rhythm Tent on Saturday will be The Specials’ lead guitarist Roddy Radiation with his new band The Skabilly Rebels.

Willow Festival, Peterborough, 11th-13th July 2014

This year, Peterborough’s Willow Festival will be free to enter for live music lovers. The organisers are concentrating on promoting emerging acts, unsigned bands and new performers, and have promised that everything will most definitely be live.

Last year around 82,000 people turned up to share in the fun and watch 160 performances, and this year even more festis are expected. The line-up of acts for 2014 is due to be announced shortly, but a glance at the number and quality of the acts performing last year suggests fans are not likely to be disappointed. Other entertainment on offer includes art and craft demonstrations, a food village, a kids’ fair, an exotic market and an extreme ride fairground. Scream if you want to go faster!

Monmouth Festival, Monmouth, South Wales, 25th July 2014 – 2nd August 2014

Following on with what is considered to be one of the biggest and best free music festivals, not only in the UK but Europe, Monmouth Festival is a celebration of every music style imaginable. Over nine days, visitors are invited to soak up world music, punk, jazz, folk, blues, pop, classical and rock in the beautiful historic Welsh market town of the same name.

As well as a choice of venues featuring fabulous live music throughout the town every night of the festival, the organisers have confirmed a Carnival for Sunday 27th. There will also be a Dance Night on Thursday 31st with local DJs and a main live act.

Monmouth is now entering its 32nd year, and although the final line up is still to be confirmed, bands formerly to have graced the Main Stage include The Secret Police, Poco Latino, Hells Bells and The Mighty Pledge – yeah, we’ve never heard of them either!

Woodstock Live, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, 23rd-24th August 2014

Taking its name from the legendary 1969 free music festival held in the USA, Woodstock Live in the heart of the Cotswolds will be returning to the Town Square at the end of August. Around 20 bands and artists are due to take to the stage, which is conveniently surrounded by bars, restaurants and cafes. Yipee!

This gives the historic Town Square a particularly European (as opposed to English) feel, inviting visitors to settle back with a glass of wine and soak up the live, and largely eclectic, sounds. The music will run from 1pm to 10pm on both days, so there’ll also be plenty of time for early risers to explore this gorgeous part of Oxfordshire.

BunkFest, Wallingford, 29th–31st August 2014

Best Free UK Music Festivals of 2014 Guide, Hints, Tips and Previews - BunkFest

BunkFest, Wallingford

Wallingford BunkFest is a free festival on the bank of the River Thames with something for all the family.

The event, now entering its 13th year, started life as a small marquee erected in a pub car park, but has since blossomed into a jolly old affair that provides a rich range of entertainment across the town.

The Main Stage line-up for Friday includes video synchronised with live music from Baka Beyond; on Saturday bands including 3 Daft Monkeys and Papa Truck will be taking to the stage; and on Sunday, entertainment will come from the likes of Tarras and Jackie Oates.

Other events over the three days include storytelling for children, a Saturday Street Fair, buskers, musical boat trips and a range of workshops and classes, although, (disclaimer) some of these may not be free.

Worcester Music Festival, Worcester, 29–31 August 2014

Run entirely by volunteers and with all the bands performing for free, Worcester Music Festival is the perfect place to go and see up-and-coming acts without having to pay a penny. Last year, around 300 performances took place in historic buildings, pubs, cafes and clubs across the city, and many of the musicians also host classes and workshops to help visitors to get more involved.

Last year’s workshops included world drumming, hip-hop and even gothic belly-dancing – nothing if not eclectic. More than 1,000 artists from around the globe have applied to play at this year’s festival, and organisers are still whittling down the finished line-up.

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips | Leave a comment

The Best 2014 Beer Festivals in the UK and abroad

The Best 2014 Beer Festivals in the UK and abroad - Beer glasses on the grass in the sunWe Brits certainly love our ale, evident by the sheer number of beer festivals held around the UK every year. In fact, there’s probably some kind of celebration of the good old British pint going on somewhere near you this very weekend. The range of beers, literally on tap, at these events is simply staggering, from the mega-brands we all know and love to the experimental microbrewery offerings. There’s something for everyone out there – apart from those who don’t like beer of course – so in this month’s PAAM volunteer management software blog we’re bringing you just a small skinful of the best beverage bonanzas taking place at home and abroad this year!

The Fifth Annual Big Bournemouth Beer Festival, BIC Purbeck Hall, 18-24 April 2014

Held over the Easter bank holiday weekend, the Bournemouth Beer Festival is once again returning to the BIC Purbeck Hall this year. Visitors will have the chance to sample more than 200 beers from all corners of the British Isles, and stomp their feet to an eclectic live music line-up that includes folk band Quinn’s Quinney on the Friday, ukulele maestros Mother Ukers on Saturday afternoon and 10 piece Latin reggae act Pachango on Saturday evening. ‘Sup-up Sunday’ doesn’t require a ticket, just a thirst for some of the UK’s best real ales, novelty and seasonal beers, ciders and perries.

Reading Beer and Cider Festival, King’s Meadow, 1-4 May 2014

More than 500 real ales and 200 ciders will be tickling the taste buds of visitors to the Reading Beer and Cider Festival this year. As well as a range of foreign beverages and Great British wines, guests are invited to sample fabulous food while listening to live music, playing festival games or trying their luck in the quintessential pub quiz. Sunday is Family Day when access to the entertainment, but not the beer, is free for under 18s.

Cambridge Beer Festival, Jesus Green, 19-24 May 2014

Now in its 41st year, the Cambridge Beer Festival is the longest running regional celebration of ale in the country. The organisers are currently whittling down a long list of breweries and beers to make sure that the best local and national ales are available to all. Also on display will be a comprehensive range of ciders, perries, meads and wines for those with no head for beer (get it?). The festival is famous for its legendary Cheese Counter, where, as well as an astonishing range of cheeses, locally produced bread, pork pies, ham and other savoury delights will be on offer. Yum!

Great British Beer Festival, London Olympia 12-16 August 2014

Last year, 50,000 visitors flocked to “the biggest pub in the world”, the Great British Beer Festival at London Olympia, to sip more than 800 different real ales, ciders, perries and beers. This year the very best of British brewing will be returning to the venue, where visitors will be treated to tutored tastings, traditional pub games, live music, delicious stomach-lining pub food and barrels of entertainment. Organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, the festival also hosts the Champion Beer of Britain competition. The list of beers on offer is enormous, meaning there will be something here for even the choosiest ale aficionado.

London Craft Beer Festival, The Oval Space, Bethnal Green, 14-16 August 2014

The Best 2014 Beer Festivals in the UK and abroad - London Craft Beer Festival

Smaller by the simple rules of proportion than the Great British Beer Festival, the London Craft Beer Festival deliberately focuses on less traditional, newer brewers. Although most are based in London, the event also invites a few choice international brewers with a reputation for their beer making abilities.

This year more than 100 beers will be on show alongside the best of barbeque from capital’s finest butchers and a wide range of street food.

Visitors can sip their pints merrily to live music and DJs, and all tickets include a branded glass, a beer from each brewer and a programme providing helpful tasting notes.

Mondial de la Bière, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 11-15 June 2014

The Best 2014 Beer Festivals in the UK and abroad - Mondial de la Bière Montreal Beer Festival

Celebrated for being the largest beer festival in North America, the Mondial de la Bière will be serving up more than 500 different ales, beers, meads and ciders this year.

Visitors will also have the chance to sample a variety of exotic treats at the beer festival including kangaroo, bison, wild boar and deer, as well as the more familiar options of fudge, cheese and breads.

Beer fans will want to seek out profs from the Montreal beer school, who will be putting on workshops and answering questions on everything to do with producing the perfect pint.

Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany, 20 September – 5 October 2014

The Best 2014 Beer Festivals in the UK and abroad - Oktoberfest Munich Beer Festival

Probably the biggest celebration dedicated to beer on the planet, Oktoberfest was originally established to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Sax-Hildburghausen on 12 October 1810.

The 16-day event draws around six million drinkers each year to Munich, with beer provided by the city’s Big Six breweries: Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Spaten, Paulaner, Augustiner and Hacker-Pschoor.

All of that lovely frothy stuff can be soaked up with a range of traditional Bavarian cuisine, including sauerkraut and sausage. Wunderbar!

Cape Town Festival of Beer, Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Green Point, 28-30 November 2014

The Southern hemisphere’s biggest, and arguably best, beer festival takes place over the last weekend in November and features more than 200 beers, both locally and internationally brewed. The entertainment on offer at Cape Town Festival of Beer includes live music, live rugby, a host of food stalls and guided beer tours given by some of the country’s top ale experts. Keep an eye out for what the festival organisers claim is the world’s biggest game of beer pong, as well as the brilliantly colourful costumes worn by some of the servers.

Thai Beer Festival, Central World shopping centre, Bangkok, November to January 2014/15

Like all the best festivals in Thailand, the Thai Beer Festival starts when it starts and finishes when it finishes. The months from November to January are considered the best weather-wise in the country; the rains have ended and the hot season has yet to reek its havoc. So, at some point during this period, tourists and locals will flock to the capital’s beer gardens to drink the native delights of Leo, Singha and Chang while noshing on all manner of tasty Thai treats. Beware the Chang however, as even the guys who brew the stuff aren’t sure of the alcohol content from bottle to bottle. Somewhere between 5-7 per cent is a good estimate, but this dodgy approximation is why travelers who overdo it on the elephant-branded beer often experience a ‘Chang-over’!

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips | Leave a comment

The Best 2014 UK Food and Drink Festivals Guide and Previews

Festivals celebrating tasty food and delicious drinks have been sprouting up across the UK over the past few years. More than 100 food-focussed events are scheduled to take place across the UK in 2014, and although filling bellies is the main priority, these family-centred festivals also feature a wide range of entertainment to keep the kids amused and all manner of live music to soak up while you pig out. In our new PAAM volunteer management software blog, we bring you a mere drop in the beer froth of Britain’s best foodie festivals.

Kendal Festival of Food, 29th to 30th March 2014

The Best 2014 UK Food and Drink Festivals Guide and Previews - Kendal Festival of Food

Kendal Festival of Food

Kicking off this year’s menu of tasty treats is the Kendal Festival of Food. Taking place over the weekend of the 29-30 March in the heart of the Lake District, this foodie frenzy will play host to more than 80 producer stalls showcasing sumptuous food from the north of England. Guest stars will include CBBC’s ‘food adventurer’, writer and presenter Stefan Gates, who will host two live shows on the Saturday in the Elephant Yard. Sunday will feature the Meringue Girls who, as you might deduce from the name, will be teaching audiences the secrets behind the perfect meringue.

As well as their finest food, Kendal will be putting on a good spread of fun for all the family in the form of music, street entertainment, art, workshops and of course cookery demonstrations from fresh new talent and world-class chefs. This year also sees the return of the Brewery Vat’s Bar Beer Festival, where visitors can wash down the yummies with a wide range of locally produced ales and ciders.

The Great British Food Festival, 3rd to 5th May 2014

Taking place at the beautiful Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, the three-day Great British Food Festival will allow visitors to browse more than 100 stalls piled high with sumptuous local fare. This celebration of the best of British will also host workshops for all ages, including junior cookery classes, chef demos and artisan talks, cake-offs and the hugely popular Men v Food Challenges, where huge hungry fellas exert themselves in a range of food scoffing trials.

Devizes Food & Drink Festival, 17th 25th May 2014

The Best 2014 UK Food and Drink Festivals Guide and Previews - Devizes Food and Drink Festival

Devizes Food and Drink Festival

Centered on the historic Market Place and Corn Exchange, the Devizes Food & Drink Festival marks its 10th anniversary this year. The Grand Market Fair will take place on 17th May, when organisers promise there will be something for everyone thanks to their amazing line-up of exhibitors and dishes from around the globe.

Already confirmed for the Cookery Masterclass Demonstrations are Italian culinary expert Valentina Harris and Daily Telegraph food columnist Xanthe Clay, with more famous names still to be announced. The week-long celebration of all things delish will also encompass The Famous Foodie Quiz, Tea Tasting Around the World, An Evening of Food & Wine in the historic Cheese Hall, Bangers, Mash & a Pint, a 10th anniversary Gala Cocktail Evening and a Children’s Sports and Healthy Eating Fun Day.

The South of England Food & Drink Festival, 25th May 2014

Set in the rustic charm of the Robins Building, the Hay Bale Bar and the South of England Showground in Ardingly, this year’s South of England Food & Drink Festival will showcase…yep, you guessed it! Visitors are invited to peruse the stalls of artisan products, growers and farmers and sample a superb range of quick and simple dishes from the Street Food vendors. As well as tickling the taste buds, the event will feature live demonstrations from chefs and suppliers in the aptly named Masterclass Marquee.

Also on tap will be beer and wine tasting events as well as a cocktail mixology class, so sit back and enjoy a tasty beverage in the Hay Bale Bar while listening to live folk, jazz and swing music performed by the best of the local talent. Kids are also invited to learn about healthy ethical eating through a range of playful cooking lessons in the Children’s Zone.

Flavours of Summer 2014, 7th to 8th June 2014

Now in its third year, Flavours of Summer will once again take place in the picturesque surroundings of Henham Park’s walled garden on 7th and 8th June. The weekend promises the perfect day out for anyone keen on great food and drink sourced from local producers. Dozens of stalls and stands will be serving up hearty feasts while a host of top chefs show off their skills at the Cookery Theatre.

The organisers have also put together a superb line-up of performers to keep the whole family entertained. Younger visitors will be able to sample goodies and try their hands at creating their own specialities with professional chefs and food experts at the Little Cookies’ Cookery Theatre.

Taste of London, 19th 22nd June 2014

The Best 2014 UK Food and Drink Festivals Guide and Previews - Taste of London

Taste of London

Last year was the 10th anniversary for this Regents Park food and drink extravaganza, but it doesn’t look like anyone at Taste of London 2014 is planning on slacking off. This year the festival will celebrate the menus of more than 40 restaurants from around the capital, and some of the country’s best artisan brands will also be in attendance for four days of eating, drinking and general merrymaking.

Dotted around the Regents Park site will be music stages, art and craft stalls and all manner of outdoor entertainment. As well as recipes from the great British table and beyond, Taste will also be celebrating the best wines and beers from across the globe. Although the final line-up is still to be confirmed, 2014 is sure to feature big-name chefs from some of London’s most famous eating establishments.

Upton Food and Beer Festival, 27th to 29th June 2014

The Upton FAB Festival (we see what they did there!) is a brand new event that marries two wonderful things: great food and real ale. The three-day festival, which will take place in the stunning town of Upton on Severn, celebrates the best produce from the surrounding counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Not just a paradise for foodies and families, FAB has been specially timed to compliment the world famous Upton Jazz Festival, which takes place over the same weekend.

Among the top local chefs showing off their skills will be Rayeesa Asghar Sandys, who will demonstrate how to prepare authentic home cooked Indian cuisine; Darren Bale, an award-winning cook who specialises in local and seasonal ingredients; and Tom Court, who knows everything there is to know about fish! Also on offer over the weekend will be more than 100 ales and 50 ciders and perries, all of which are brewed within the three counties. Bottoms up!

2014 Essex Festival of Food and Drink, 19th 20th July 2014

Disturbing the peaceful surroundings of Cressing Temple Barns for another year, the Essex Festival of Food and Drink is one of Britain’s largest. This year it’ll see more than 120 exhibitors erecting their stalls in this historic location, and no doubt the odd D-list celebrity and their accompanying camera crew. As well as workshops, cookery theatres, chef demonstrations, baking competitions and kids cooking classes, visitors are invited to grab a glass of their favourite tipple and enjoy live music in the fabulous food court.

The line-up of food-related celebrity guests includes Ruby Tandoh, the much-loved finalist of the 2013 Great British Bake Off, who will be judging the not-to-be missed Great Essex Baking competition. Tony Singh from the BBC’s The Incredible Spicemen is also due to show off his skills gleaned from 22 years in the restaurant business, while last year’s National Chef of the Year, Haydon Groves, will be preparing some of the dishes that won him the prestigious accolade.

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips | Leave a comment

Guide and Previews of New and Returning UK Festivals for 2014

It’s been tough couple of years for UK music festivals, with financial concerns forcing a number of upcoming and smaller players to mothball events for a year or two or cancel them completely. But fear not, as although the UK may still be suffering under austerity measures, frozen wages and cutbacks, there are still some hardy festival organisers who refuse to give up the good fight. In this PAMM volunteer management software blog we bring you a rundown of some of the festivals having their first outing this year, plus a couple that are making a welcome return to the scene. Thankfully there are still some people out there who believe music lovers should be rewarded with quality outdoor extravaganzas whatever the financial landscape.

New UK festivals for 2014

Acoustic Isle, Various locations, Isle of Wight, 13-23 March 2014

Acoustic Isle is a brand new 11-day music marathon set to take place from 13 to 23 March this year on the Isle of Wight. Aimed at giving festival goers an out of season musical treat, the event will see hundreds of performers unleash their talents on intimate venues across the island including restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Acoustic Isle offers the ideal opportunity to explore the musical heritage of the island before the big crowds gather for the world famous rock behemoths that are the Isle of Wight Festival (June) and Bestival (September).

Visit Isle of Wight CEO David Thornton said: “The Isle of Wight is a hotbed of musical talent and we believe that hosting a music event at this time of year will give people considering an out of season break the extra encouragement they may need to choose us rather than Devon, Cornwall or Dorset”.

L2G Festival, Alder Coppice, Northway, West Midlands, 5 April 2014

Guide and Previews of New and Returning UK Festivals for 2014 - L2G Music Festival

L2G Music Festival

Taking place on Saturday 5 April at Alder Coppice, Northway, in the West Midlands, the L2G Festival makes its debut this year in support of the Love2Give charity. The event promises a mix of headline acts, brand new artists and acoustic sets. Already confirmed for the Main Stage are modestly big names such as Circle of Reason, Reap, From The Sticks, The Rimes, A Poetic Yesterday and Danyl Johnson. Artists taking to the Second Stage include Tiger Lily, Rogue Ambition, Morning Riot and The Self-Titled, while Rhiannon, Loose Lips, Sally Pepper and Gareth Icke are expected to appear on the Acoustic Stage.

The organisers have also promised funfair rides, market stalls and lashings of beer. Tickets are an unbelievably reasonable £15 for adults and £10 for the under 16s and over 60s. And if you feel like splashing out, VIP tickets are also available for £25. The festival starts at noon and runs on until 11.30pm.

Once Upon A Time In The West (Out West Festival), Secret Location, South West Heartlands, 18 & 19 July 2014


Guide and Previews of New and Returning UK Festivals for 2014 - Once Upon A Time In The West Festival

Once Upon A Time In The West Festival

Once Upon A Time In The West, also known as Out West Festival, is being bought to us this summer by some seasoned hands on the UK festival circuit circuit. The team running things have all previously worked with massive music events including Glastonbury, Bath Fringe, Endorse It In Dorset, Bearded Theory and Walcot Nation, so we’re expecting good things (no pressure guys!).

Although the final line-up is still to be confirmed, acts that have already signed on the dotted line include Subgiant Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs, The Roughneck Riot, The Doghouse Boat Boys, New Groove Formation and The Boot Hill All Stars.

The main focus will be great music in gorgeous surroundings, but as the idea for Once Upon A Time In The West was conceived during several meetings over dinner and wine, the organisers agreed that the event should also put some emphasis on quality food and beverages. So expect the best of national and international talent mixed with fabulous locally sourced West Country yummies. The party will take place over the weekend of 18 & 19 July. Tickets cost £45.

Leicester Music Festival, Welford Road Stadium, Leicester, 25 & 26 July 2014

Guide and Previews of New and Returning UK Festivals for 2014 - Leicester Music Festival

Leicester Music Festival

As mentioned in our previous blog, the Leicester Tigers’ Welford Stadium will be transformed into a brand new summer music festival for two days at the end of July. The brainchild of two local businessmen, Leicester Music Festival promises to bring big names and even bigger crowds to the arena on 25 and 26 July.

Already confirmed as headliners are urban pop chart-topper Professor Green, R&B veteran Billy Ocean and the legendary Soul II Soul. Around 22,000 music lovers are expected to fill the stadium to lap up the acts from noon until late into the evening. Early bird tickets are available from £41.25.

UK festivals returning in 2014

Coastival, Various locations, Scarborough, 14-16 February 2014

Guide and Previews of New and Returning UK Festivals for 2014 - Coastival Festival

Coastival Festival

This year, Scarborough’s Coastival makes a welcome return after a two-year hiatus. The three-day event kicks off on Valentine’s Day with entertainment for all the family including live bands, theatre, dance, comedy and a whole heap of other activities.

Headlining at the Spa Grand Hall on the Friday evening will be the Brand New Heavies. The British acid jazz band, which has been pumping out a mix of jazz, funk and soul for two decades, will be supported on the night by Nubiyan Twist, a jazz inspired 10-piece outfit that fuses the music of Brazil, West Africa and the Caribbean.

Saturday will see the implementation of the jazz theme with performances from top names like Kate Peters and the Heavy Horns, while Sunday is dedicated to folk and hip-hop, with Demon Barbers currently looking like the standout act. Also not to be missed is the magnificent central spectacle of 750 performers using giant puppets, lanterns and live music to illustrate the epic journey of Orpheus The Mariner in a procession through the streets of Scarborough. Events are separately priced.

Wizard Festival, New Deer Showground, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 26 & 27 August 2014

Organisers of Wizard Festival, the Northeast’s biggest music festival, have confirmed that the big bands will be returning to Aberdeenshire this year. Previous events have seen massive acts such as Happy Mondays, James and Supergrass grace the Main Stage at the New Deer Showground, and this year looks set to be no less epic, with Cast, The Stranglers and The Magic Numbers already confirmed.

Festival organiser Roy Thain is quoted by 57north as saying: “2014 is a big year for Scotland with lots going on like the year of homecoming and the Commonwealth Games, and we certainly want the festival to play a part in the celebrations”. In the past, the event has played host to thousands of fans who travelled from all corners of Europe to soak up the great music, top DJs, fabulous food and family entertainment. Weekend tickets cost £75, Saturday tickets £50 and kids under 12 go free.

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews | Leave a comment

2014 Festival Rumours – which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer?

Although festival organisers like nothing better than to keep us guessing which big names they have lined up for the summer’s extravaganzas, thankfully bands are a little less practiced at keeping their mouths shut. Rumours have already made it across social media sites with big names being touted including Fleetwood Mac to headline Glastonbury, Arctic Monkeys at T in the Park and Aerosmith rocking it at Donington. So settle back with a cup of something warm, ignore the winter weather outside and look forward with our event staff festival rumours guide to sunny summer days filled with magical music.

How will Glastonbury 2014 top The Rolling Stones?

2014 Festival Rumours - which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer - Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Last year was undeniably one of the best in its history for Glastonbury as the Rolling Stones and perfect weather welcomed visitors to Worthy Farm. Rumours are rife as to which giants of the music scene will be headlining at the world’s biggest festival in 2014. Although he is giving nothing away, organiser Michael Eavis was quoted in Glamour Magazine saying: “Next year’s headliners are more or less in place. They’re three bands who haven’t played Glastonbury, and that’s important.”

Speculation has been intensifying that the big name on the Pyramid Stage will be British-American supergroup Fleetwood Mac. The band has never played Glastonbury, so it’s about time. Mick Fleetwood failed to scotch rumours or confirm them when he said of Fleetwood Mac headlining in the future: “I hope so, I would love that. We were asked to do Glastonbury this year and hopefully they’ll ask us again.”

Other bands topping the bookies list for headlining next summer include Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, Elbow, Prince (who has also inexplicably never played the festival), Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd and David Bowie.

Glastonbury also on Manic Street Preachers and Metallica wish list

2014 Festival Rumours - which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer - Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers

The Manic Street Preachers have hinted they would like to return to Glastonbury and play songs from the album The Holy Bible to celebrate the record’s 20th anniversary. Bassist Nicky Wire said: “We kind of wrestle with the idea of doing a gig playing the whole of it, but I’m not so sure. I’d like to do it at Glastonbury actually, I really would.”

The Manics first played Glastonbury in 1994 and last played the Pyramid Stage in 2007 when James Dean Bradfield made an emotional tribute to missing rhythm guitarist Richie Edwards telling the crowd: “One of us was hammered before the gig, during the gig and after the gig. That man was Mr Richey James (Edwards). This one is for him.”

Lars Ulrich has again expressed an interest in facing the crowds at Glastonbury. The Metallica front-man told MTV News that: “We’ve been fortunate enough to play every other festival on this planet numerous times, so Glastonbury is the only one that’s eluding us. There’s such a vibe and it’s maybe the most quintessentially English festival.” Although he conceded: “Every year there’s probably less chance of us doing it than the previous year, but it just looks like it would be a fun night out.” Metallica said they hoped to be playing a number of European festivals next year.

Lily Allen self-announces next year’s Glastonbury appearance

2014 Festival Rumours - which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer - Lilly Allen

Lilly Allen

Outspoken singer/songwriter Lily Allen revealed to Nick Grimshaw on his Radio 1 Breakfast Show that she will be playing Glastonbury 2014. The Smile singer told Nick: “That’s the first big thing I’m going to be doing. I’ll be doing 16 weeks of festivals over the summer and then tour. It’s the best festival, I think – that, and Fuji Rock in Japan.”

Tickets for the UK’s biggest summer music festival sold out in record time, beating one hour and 40 minutes set in 2012. Although it is not unusual for stars to ‘out’ themselves as performing at Worthy Farm ahead of any official announcement, fans will have to wait until April for solid confirmation. Glastonbury 2014 will take place between 25 and 29 June.

Arctic Monkeys confirmed as T in the Park 2014 headliners

2014 Festival Rumours - which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer - The Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys

Festival favourites Arctic Monkeys are the first headline act to be announced for this year’s T in the Park. Festival director, Geoff Ellis said on the festival website: “After this year’s fantastic 20th year celebrations, we asked our audience who they’d like to see at next year’s festival and Arctic Monkeys came top of the poll, so we’re really pleased to be able to confirm them for T in the Park.”

T in the Park will take place between 11th and 13th July at Balado, Kinross, Scotland. “We are delighted to be playing T in the Park and look forward to a great night with our Scottish fans” the band said. This is the fourth time they will play the festival.

Arctics also fronting Finsbury Park Festival

Those who cannot make it to Scotland can see the Sheffield rock giants at Finsbury Park in May. The Arctic’s have confirmed they will headline on Friday 23 May and Saturday 24 May to a 50,000 capacity audience. The band will be joined by a support line-up of guests including Miles Kane, Tame Impala and Royal Blood.

Professor Green to headline brand new summer festival

2014 Festival Rumours - which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer - Professor Green

Professor Green

East London rapper, Professor Green, will headline a new festival set to take place in Leicester on 25 and 26 July. The Leicester Music Festival 2014 will be held at Welford Road Stadium where organisers hope to see 20,000 revellers getting down to some hard-core partying over the two days. Other bands rumoured to have been booked include Soul II Soul and Billy Ocean.

Organiser Manoj Keshavji told the Leicester Mercury: “We won’t just have big headline acts, they will be huge – enormous. We are more than over-the-moon that Professor Green will be performing and he is just a taste of what is to come. People will be amazed with who we have. Leicester has never seen anything like this – this is totally unique.”

Neil Young to headline British Summertime Festival

The 68-year-old rocker will be joined by his band Crazy Horse to belt out favourites including Like a Hurricane and Heart of Gold. The concert takes place on 12 July in Hyde Park. Other acts performing on the day include Tom Odell and The National.

Aerosmith to rock Donington Download Festival 2014

2014 Festival Rumours - which bands and artists will be at the festivals this summer - Aerosmith


Rock gods Aerosmith have confirmed that they will be joining acts including Avenged Sevenfold, Fallout Boy and Rob Zombie as headliners on Sunday at Donington Park for Download Festival 2014. Steve Tyler will be blasting out classics including Love in an Elevator, Dude (Looks Like a Lady) and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing on the Main Stage on Sunday 15 June.

Guitarist Joe Perry is quoted on Kerang Radio’s website as enthusing: “It’s been too long since we’ve been to England and we’re sincerely f**ing charged to be coming back! See you there.”

Download takes place between 13and 15 June at Donington Park, Derby, Leicestershire.

Linkin Park confirmed to return to Download

Nu metal rockers Linkin Park will also be returning to Download Festival in June 2014 to play songs from the debut album Hybrid Theory. The record was released in 2000 and sold nearly five million copies making it the biggest seller in 2001. Hit singles included One Step Closer, In the End, Papercut and Keep Crawling.

Blink 182 confirmed as first Reading and Leeds headliners

This will be Tom, Travis and Mark’s fourth Reading and Leeds outing. The American rockers first took their mayhem to the Main Stage in 1999. As well as crowd pleasers including Dammit and All the Small Things, the band has promised to debut songs from their seventh studio album. Also confirmed on the Reading website are Jake Bugg, Disclosure Metronomy and Of Mice and Men.

Will the Arctics and Black Sabbath be joining Blink 182 on the Main Stage?

Betting frontrunners for headline spots at Reading and Leeds 2014 are The Arctic Monkeys and Black Sabbath. Managing director Melvin Ben revealed recently that: “We have headliners in mind and booked actually. Two of the three are done, the last one we are giving due consideration to. Both of the headliners have played before…both American and English”, and a Tweet was put out by the festival music manager that he had: “Just booked one of the best British bands of the last decade!” Both Black Sabbath and Arctic Monkeys have been confirmed for several other European festivals.

Iron Maiden and Metallica to be joined by third headliner at Sonisphere

Sonisphere 2014 will celebrate 40 years of concerts at Knebworth House and promoters have confirmed that, for the first time ever in the UK, Iron Maiden and Metallica will be performing on the same stage.

Sadly some summer festivals will not be returning in 2014

Cockermouth Rock Festival, fondly referred to by revellers as CockRock, will not be returning in 2014. The event has taken place for the past nine consecutive years and has seen visitor numbers grow from 1,000 to a 5,000 capacity. In late 2013 organisers posted a statement on Facebook: “It’s with great sadness and a very heavy heart that we must now announce that CockRock will not run in 2014. At this moment in time we cannot say if we will return again in the future, we hope this is not the end but at the moment the future for CockRock is very uncertain.” The statement went on: “We would like to ask you all to focus on the positives, the wonderful memories and the things that CockRock has achieved over the years.”

And CockRock is not the only Cumbrian festival to be placed on hold. Both Whitehaven and Solfest Festivals will be taking a break in 2014. However, organisers at both have said they will return in 2015. Whitehaven Festival has been running for 15 years and counts acts including Status Quo, The Charlatans and Madness as previous guests.

Solfest announced on its website that it will be back but that organisers had: “Taken the decision not to hold a Solfest festival in the summer of 2014. This allows us a much needed break after ten long years, and also gives us the chance to concentrate our efforts on Solfest 2015.”

“When we return, we intend to remain one of the most loved and best valued family friendly festivals in the country. We would like to thank all our supporters for their hard work and commitment over the last ten years.”

Outcast rumoured to be in Glastonbury Festival talks

OutKast are planning to make a long awaited return to the music scene. Hey Ya! duo Antwan “Big Boi” Patten and Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin, are hitting the summer festival circuit in 2014. OutKast have been on hiatus since 2007, but there are reports that the boys are close to confirming they will be appearing at California’s Coachella. They could then cross the pond, and if they do, Glastonbury is most likely to be at the top of their UK wish list.

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews, Festival Hints and Tips | Leave a comment

2013 festival roundup and review, best and worst festivals, festival performances and festival acts

It actually seems like we were a little bit spoilt this year. British summer music festivals aren’t supposed to go without a hitch, but 2013 lacked any real washouts, both in terms of the weather and performances, and there were relatively few real diva strops and piss pelting incidents to report. What’s going on? Bestival didn’t flood, the Stones didn’t sulk and Primal Scream didn’t verbally abuse the crowds.

Always endeavouring to bring you the most comprehensive festival news and reviews on the web however, this PAAM festival software blog will bring you a small slice of the many highs and the few lows of the 2013 festival fun.

Glastonbury Festival back with a bang

2013 festival roundup and review, best and worst festivals, festival performances and festival acts - Rolling Stones at 2013 Glastonbury Festival by Jason Bryant

Rolling Stones at 2013 Glastonbury Festival by Jason Bryant

So, to kick off, the obvious high this year was the return of Glastonbury Festival. The 2012 Olympics meant that the organisers of Britain’s biggest festival could take a well earned break last year and blame it on a shortage of policemen and portable loos.

Headlining in 2013 were the Rolling Stones; if it wasn’t shoved down our throats by organisers and the press every five minutes, it would have been hard to believe these aging rock gods had never performed at Glastonbury before.

Thankfully, all the rumours about Sir Mick’s spat with the BBC over television rights had absolutely no impact on the performance, which was as stellar as could be expected. A two-hour set of 20 songs was kicked off with ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, Mick pranced and prowled in a green-sequined jacket like only Mick can, and even Charlie Watts (who previously said in no uncertain terms that festivals aren’t his thing) appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself. The Pyramid stage was modified with three catwalks, allowing Mick to thrust his snake-hips and pout his fish-lips to all angles of the adoring crowd.

Rumours were rife that various guest stars would be making an appearance, but other than former Stone’s guitarist Mick Taylor, who turned up for a magical Midnight Rambler rendition, it was a night for the band. And who needs Adele or Springsteen when you’ve got Jagger and the boys at full tilt?

The encore of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ rounded off one of the most memorable Glastonbury sets ever. Big boss Eavis couldn’t have said it better: “the high spot of 43 years of Glastonbury… they finally did it, and it was fantastic. My God, did they deliver!”

Others that definitely didn’t disappoint at Glastonbury

Other highlights of Glastonbury 2013 included The Arctic Monkeys, who recovered from a lack-lustre 2007 appearance to well and truly earn their Glastonbury stripes this year. Bobbie Gillespie’s neon-pink suit was also a clear crowd pleaser, and although Primal Scream were much better behaved than they were in 2005 (when Gillespie allegedly made Nazi salutes during ‘Swastika Eyes’), the feisty frontman did manage a: “Take acid! Take speed! Take ecstasy!” yell that proved the Primals still know how to court controversy.

Mixed reviews of Kraftwerk comeback

2013 festival roundup and review, best and worst festivals, festival performances and festival acts - Kraftwerk at 2013 Latitude Festival by Danny North

Kraftwerk at 2013 Latitude Festival by Danny North

Both the audience and critic reviews of Kraftwerk’s performance at Latitude Festival were a bit of a mixed bag; some call it disappointing while others maintain it was ‘masterful’. Easily the most anticipated act on the Latitude Festival line-up, the performance should have been an outright success.

The 3D laser show was somewhat lost in the open air of the festival, with only those positioned dead centre and standing above 6’2″ getting anything more than neck ache and frustration from it. It was also pretty eerie looking back into a crowd with everyone routed to the spot and wearing 3D glasses.

Perhaps the melancholic refrains of the godfathers of electro were lost on younger members of the audience, as their seemed to be a real age divide between those who loved and hated the gig. Although Kraftwerk are still superb and their influence on the world of music undeniable, perhaps four aging men standing austerely at their keyboards is just not what you need at a festival.

It pains us to say it, but there are younger, more vibrant acts aching to inject what Kraftwerk has taught them into the energy of a crowd. There was nothing wrong with what the boys did, it just didn’t electrify, and if Kraftwerk aren’t sticking a few volts of electricity into the crowd, then are they doing their job properly? On a high note however, Bobby Womack, who’s soulful genius was exhibited earlier in the day, held up his end for the older artists

Fatboy Slim cooks up a storm at Bestival

Bestival 2013 had a fabulous year thanks to an interesting mix of new acts and festival vets. Representing the latter, Fatboy Slim certainly didn’t disappoint as he took to the Main Stage to celebrate the festival’s 10th year (and his 50th!). A hour-and-a-half of blistering beats and hectic house was complemented by fireworks, lasers and a nostalgic big screen montage of Bestivals past. Joining Norman Cook on the piano for a special orchestral and choir rendition of ‘Praise You’ was festival founder Rob da Bank, who helped close the set with a megamix of club classic ‘Rockafella Skank’ and the Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Nuff said!

The amount of trash being left behind was obviously…rubbish

2013 festival roundup and review, best and worst festivals, festival performances and festival acts - festival rubbish discarded tents and equipment

Festival rubbish discarded tents and equipment

Summer festivals are never the tidiest, or cleanest, of places. People hardly ever rock up for the spa-like showers or the quality of the toilets, but the sheer amount of junk being left behind seems to be getting worse. The clean-up after Glastonbury took six-weeks this year, as hundreds of litter pickers walked around the site filling endless rubbish bags, and tractors trawled the fields with metallic strips picking up tent pegs, beer cans and no doubt a whole lot of loose change (silver lining!).

It was just a tad disappointing to see that thousands of tents had been left standing because it was apparently too much trouble to roll them up and pack them away for next year, or donate to one of the many local groups and charities who work with the festivals. We know stuffing muddy tarp into a reverse Tardis is the last thing you want to do on the Monday morning, but it really is just lazy not to even try.

Stone Roses adored at the Isle of Wight Festival

The Stones Roses have a checkered festival past, and the reformation of bands as volatile as these is not always a recipe for success. However, at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival the boys were on sparkling form.

Ian Brown delivered on the vocals and John Squire proved that he can still produce stinging guitar riffs. And the rhythms being chopped out by Reni and Mani had the crowd going wild two-and-a-half decades on from the release of the first album.

But most importantly, the Manc quartet swallowed their pride and played the songs everybody wanted to hear. The set list was from the band’s self-titled first album and Second Coming, rather than an hour of solo material that, let’s face it, no-one really cares about (sorry Ian).

Eminem and Beyonce get testy about the telly

2013 festival roundup and review, best and worst festivals, festival performances and festival acts - Eminem at 2013 Leeds Festival by Andrew Whitton

Eminem at 2013 Leeds Festival by Andrew Whitton

Undeniably the most anticipated act at the Reading Festival and Leeds Festival this year was rap bad boy Eminem. Unfortunately for fans unable to make Reading on the Saturday who had planned to stay in and watch his performance on the box however, an announcement on Twitter well and truly dashed their hopes.

Organisers confirmed the rapper had asked for his set not to be broadcast, prompting Twitter to erupt with the outrage. However, the ire didn’t end there, as many who paid to see Slim in the flesh were furious that he appeared to mime throughout the 90-minute set.

However, to keep some balance, although he may well have been using a backing track, many Tweets maintained Mr Mathers definitely wasn’t miming. Melvin Benn also assuredly refuted claims that Eminem was miming in a typically frank interview with the NME!

Beyonce was also criticised a week earlier for refusing to allow her V Festival set to be broadcast.

Have your say about 2013 festivals

We have listed just a few of the highs and lows at this year’s summer music festivals, but you too can have your say via the UK Festival Awards.

Numerous categories are up for grabs, including Headline Performance of the Year, Best Breakthrough Artist, Anthem of the Summer, and, of course, Best Toilets. Online voting is now open, so make sure the results reflect your experience. The awards ceremony will take place at London’s Roundhouse on Monday 2 December.

Posted on by Crystal Wilde Posted in Festival Guides and Previews | Leave a comment