Summer Festivals 2014: The best festivals for party animals
Featuring T in the Park, Kelburn Garden Party, Wickerman and the East End Social's Last Big Weekend
You’d go to Kelburn for the setting alone. An independent, boutique affair in the fairytale grounds (and luscious surrounding glen) of a 13th-century painted castle, it only makes sense that the musical offerings are cushioned by magic, cabaret, performance, circus, jam sessions and more. Electronic fans: gravitate towards the Tall Trees stage, offering live sets from Turtle and Atom Tree. Brass fans: prepare to discover a rather magical haven.
Kelburn Castle, near Largs, Fri 4–Sun 6 Jul.
The behemoth of all Scottish festivals, uniting music fans across the spectrum, from one-dayers to those who buy their tickets to stay in the campsite for the whole weekend. While this year’s all-hallowed headline slots go to Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris, Paulo Nutini and Arctic Monkeys, the Slam tent boasts its usual wealth of techno hard-hitters, including Len Faki, Pan-Pot, Dave Clarke, Joris Voorn and Sven Vath.
Balado, Kinross-shire, Fri 11–Sun 13 Jul.
T In The Park 2014 on MUZU.TV.
Now in its 13th year, this boutique festival really has grown from its low-key hippie roots to resemble Scotland’s answer to Glastonbury. As if to prove it, this year’s event is presided over by the electrifying dichotomy of both the locally crafted 30-foot Wickerman, ceremoniously set alight on the closing night, and rap superstar Dizzee Rascal. Oh, and this year they’re introducing a fancy dress theme; as if any encouragement were needed.
East Kirkcarswell, near Dundrennan, Fri 25 & Sat 26 Jul.
Glasgow’s largest and loudest outdoor event of the summer celebrates its second year with the first alfresco headline slot in Scotland for David Guetta – a producer who so resonates with the city (or, more specifically, its up-for-it crowd) that he named a track after it. Be part of the 25,000-strong mob on the Saturday to see what happens when that one drops, or sack it off in favour of the Killers on the Tuesday.
Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Sat 16 & Tue 19 Aug.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Chemikal Underground unleashed Arab Strap’s understated anthem to the world, the one which immortalised that first big weekend of the idiosyncratic Glasgow summer. How fitting that, nearly 20 years later, the label should be putting on an event with such a deliberate nod to not only one of their biggest success stories, but a track which celebrates a distinctively Glasgow night out.
The two-day weekender closes the inaugural East End Social – the summer-long programme of events tied together by its mission to bring music and art to the label’s East End home. But while they’re deliberately setting up the marquee (yes, this is a relatively intimate affair) in the Gorbals’ Richmond Park, the lineup quietly, confidently displays the international musical success of the entire city. Mogwai headline the Saturday night, and Hudson Mohawke ends the Sunday, atop a lineup curated by Optimo and Numbers. Enough said.
‘The obvious thing was to look to Mogwai,’ says Chemikal Underground head Stewart Henderson. ‘I have no problem in saying that the continued sustainability of our label has been almost exclusively down to them.’ But, typical to the project as a whole, he stresses that this weekend had to be a collaborative thing – and, again, it was a careful choice.
‘When we were going through the first flushes of everything, one of the constants in Glasgow was Sunday night. Sunday was Optimo. The idea of having a big fuck-off Optimo in Richmond Park harks back to that same year that we were emerging as a label. With both Numbers and Optimo’s background in putting on events, there’ll be two different complexions in terms of the lineup, but something that’s been forged by people of a similar mindset.’
Sat 30 & Sun 31 Aug, Richmond Park, Glasgow.