Henley Festival 2018 brings Grace Jones, Rita Ora, Nile Rodgers & Chic plus more

As the UK’s only black-tie boutique festival, Henley Festival is glamour personified, offering Michelin starred food, award winning comedians, Turner Prize nominated artists and the biggest names in popular, world, jazz and classical music. Many festival goers arrive by boat, and the green lawns of the festival are transformed into a Great Gatsby vision, as black tie clad revellers spill across the festival site, champagne in hand, while fireworks explode overhead.

2018 Lineup

RITA ORA
GRACE JONES
NILE RODGERS & CHIC

CURTIS STIGERS AND THE RONNIE SCOTTS BIG BAND PRESENT ‘SINATRA AT THE SANDS’
ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA

JAZZ & SWING

RAY GELATO AND THE GIANTS | MISS KIDDY AND THE CADS

STAKS BAND | KING PLEASURE AND THE BISCUIT BOYS | PURDY

WORLD & FOLK

COAL PORTERS | SON YAMBU | JALI FILLY CISSOKHO'S COUTE DIOMBOULOU BAND | LE BISTROTET | BIKINI BEACH BAND | SOLASTA TRIO MAZ O'CONNOR | TROVADOR | MEGAN HENWOOD | AGAINST THE GRAIN

COMEDY 
PAUL MERTON | LEE NELSON | LUCY PORTER | MARK WATSON 
DOMINIC HOLLAND | JON CULSHAW & BILL DARE | RHYS JAMES
PIERRE NOVELLIE | ALFIE BROWN | ANDREW MAXWELL | THUNDERBARDS SUZI RUFFELL | FLO & JOAN | ADAM BLOOM | CHRIS STOKES | ADAM ROWE ANDY FIELD | ADAM HESS | THE CARD NINJA TINA C | VELMA CELL

BBC MUSIC INTRODUCING
ALEX GREEN | WOLF NOTE | LORNE | CECIL | PEARL TN

VISUAL ARTS
DAVID MACH | CHARLIE WAITE | ROSAMOND LLOYD

FOOD

MICHELIN STARRED CHEF
ANGELA HARTNETT MBE
CROOKED BILLETT | SPICE MERCHANT | COOKING COOKS
JIMMY GARCIA’S BBQ CLUB | THE AUDACIOUS SQUID
BLACK CAB COFFEE & COCKTAILS | THE TERRACE RESTAURANT
HOTEL DU VIN | CONO SUR | PIZZA EXPRESS
JESSICO PROSECCO | SNOB LOBSTER & CHAMPAGNE
MOËT CHAMPAGNE BAR & POP UPS

CHARITIES 

CHARLIE WALLER MEMORIAL TRUST
THE TEENAGE WILDERNESS TRUST

 
Established 36 years ago as a classical music charity event, Henley Festival continues to be run on a not for profit basis supporting charitable projects at both a national and local level. This year proceeds from the festival will go to two charities. Dedicated to supporting young people with depression, and encouraging discussions around mental health, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust was set up in memory of a young man who took his own life whilst suffering from depression. The Teenage Wilderness Trust supports students who find it difficult to engage with mainstream education by offering reengagement courses using bush craft, wilderness learning techniques and practical life skills to encourage students to get back into learning. 
 
THE FLOATING STAGE  
Following the release of her long awaited album in Spring 2018, Rita Ora will open Henley Festival 2018 on the Wednesday night. The global pop star, with four No.1 hit songs to her name, including Radioactive and I Will Never Let You Down, will get the UK’s most glamourous festival off to an explosive start with her 2017 hit singles Kiss Me, Your Song and Anywhere.  


 

A lifelong provocateur Grace Jones will light up Henley Festival with her energetic headline set that is guaranteed to include a string of costume changes and dance-club hits including her acclaimed reinvention of Piaf’s classic “La Vie En Rose”. One of the world’s most iconic women, singers, songwriters, supermodels, actresses and infamous Bond Girl, Grace Jones’ daring and original headline set will be one of the highlights of the festival.  
 
Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multi-Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. As the co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping pop hits like "Le Freak," sparked the advent of hip-hop with "Good Times,” and won CHIC eleven Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations. More recently he has worked with Daft Punk, Avicii, Disclosure, and Sam Smith.


 
Saturday night at Henley Festival will see Curtis Stigers and The Ronnie Scott’s Big Band present ‘Sinatra At The Sands.’ Internationally acclaimed American jazz vocalist Curtis Stigers will channel the hip, swinging chemistry of Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra for a brilliant night which will fly the Henley audience to the moon.
 
Henley Festival will close in true style on the Sunday night with one of the UK’s foremost opera companies the English National Opera performing with soloists, full orchestra and chorus and under the baton of ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins. Their repertoire is taken from many of the greatest operas including Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madam Butterfly, Turandot and La Traviata as well as a little Gilbert & Sullivan to top the night off.  
 
A STELLAR COMEDY LINE-UP
The 2018 comedy line-up is set to be bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Paul Merton, Lee Nelson, Lucy Porter, Mark Watson and Dominic Holland among the biggest names of the 25 comedians performing at this year’s Festival. The comedy line up will also include a very special evening of unscripted, unrehearsed and spontaneous comedy from Dead Ringers’ impressionists Jon Culshaw and legendary comedy producer Bill Dare in their sell-out show The Great British Take Off. In addition, up and coming comics including Suzi Ruffell, Pierre Novellie, Rhys James, Flo & Joan, Alfie Brown and Adam Rowe will also be keeping audiences entertained as well as jaw-achingly funny cabaret from Tina C and Vellma Celli.
 
JAZZ AT HENLEY FESTIVAL
Henley Festival’s very own Jazz Club in the stunning Spiegel Tent offers dining and live jazz music before and after the main headline act. Credited for helping kick off the Swing revival in the early '80s Ray Gelato and the Giants will open Henley’s Jazz Club on Wednesday night. On the Thursday Pop Noir songstress Purdy will be performing, local to Henley, Purdy has supported Lana Del Ray and Jools Holland. Friday Night will see the high-energy Soul/R'n'B band The Staks Band comprised of virtuoso players working with some of the music world’s biggest artists, the band have a lineage that defies easy description. Saturday night will see performances from King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys whose dazzling musicianship and riveting stage performances will get the crowd jiving stomping and swinging, finally on Sunday Miss Kiddy and the Cads, will provide sensational live jazz, swinging beats, toe-tapping finesse and a lot of laughter to transport you straight to 1945s swing town, bringing Henley Festival’s Jazz Club to a high octane close.
 
BBC MUSIC INTRODUCING
BBC Music Introducing was created in 2007 to support unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians. Henley Festival is hugely excited to be working with BBC Music Introducing discovering breaking acts from the region, all of whom have featured across the BBC network before. 
 
Pearl, TN is a British country band with bittersweet songs of love and regret featuring Harriet James on vocals that are pure as a mountain stream. Inspired by American country artists including Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings this is one country band you don’t want to miss. Lorne is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Berkshire who released his debut EP Maze on 24th November 2017. With a sound that is a cross between Bon Iver, Brandon Flowers and Damien Rice, his gentle melodic pop and soft rock is a beauty to behold. Alex Green is a songwriter from Reading, previously the front man of the band Attention Thieves. He takes inspiration from artists within such genres as folk, country, blues and rock. Cecil is an alternate indie pop artist from Berkshire. Her debut E.P was released in April 2017 and received support from BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 2 and several other radio stations. Her debut album is due out this summer and with her music being compared to somewhere between Lana Del Rey and Kate Bush she is definitely a one to watch in 2018! WolfNote is a new acoustic folk and roots quartet from Berkshire comprising multi-instrumentalist Mike with his gammy leg, violinist and vocalist Ceri with her dodgy back, guitarist and vocalist Gill, also falling to bits and cellist and vocalist Bex, a crazy cat lady.
 
WORLD MUSIC IN THE BEDOUIN TENT 
Enter The Bedouin Tent for a taste of global world music as well as home spun British folk at its best. World Music comes from Senegalese band The Coute Diomboulou Band led by Cissokh use traditional instruments including the kora, tamma and djembe  expect an extraordinary mix of mbalax and afrobeat grounded in African traditions. Son Yambu play authentic Cuban son, the intoxicating fusion of Spanish and African rhythms that gave rise to salsa. They give this irresistible music a contemporary edge, bringing their audiences a truly, sensational, authentic Latin music experience. The Bikini Beach Band begins with one man – Jesus C. Escovedo – guitarist, revolutionary, ladies' man and 1956 All-Mexico Surfing Champion (for real). Expect rockin surf sound and chilled 1950s Mexican beach vibes. Trovador is a flamenco fusion trio with influences from Brazilian and classical music based in UK, providing a performance full of rhythm, passion and grace. Powerful and uplifting music from the virtuoso duo of guitarist Matt Sullivan and percussionist Jo May; Against the Grain will dazzle you with their stunning musical skills and exciting performances. Stirring the styles of West Africa, South America and Spain, Jo and Matt create an original blend of musical flavours.
 
FOLK MUSIC IN THE BEDOUIN TENT 
Henley will be presenting up and coming folk music names in the Bedouin Tent including “alt-bluegrass” act The Coal Porters who demonstrate the foot stomping power of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitar and doghouse bass when matched with four-part harmonies. Winner of the 2009 BBC Young Folk Awards, Megan Henwood began writing songs in her early teens including her poignant song about relationship/abuse “White Lies”, from her debut album “Making Waves”. Firmly established in the roots scene, Maz O'Connor is a folk force to be reckoned with, the simplicity of her music recalls the starkly beautiful Cumbrian landscape of her childhood.  Solasta are an outstanding folk ensemble known for their inventive arrangements, unique sound and exhilarating live performances. Comprised of award winning fiddler Elisabeth Flett, cellist Hannah Thomas, and guitarist Jamie Leeming, their dynamic interpretations of Celtic based material are rooted firmly in tradition. Art Deco Band Le Bistrotet was formed as the result of recordings made for the soundtrack of the Oscar winning movie, The Theory of Everything, expect classic Vaudeville and European café-bar music.
 
FOODIE FESTIVAL 
For the 2018 festival, Michelin starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will be taking the reins of Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke menu exclusively for Henley, at the Riverside Restaurant. Angela Hartnett’s astonishingly creative, flawlessly executed dishes focus on purity of flavour and reverence for ingredients. Angela Hartnett commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be working closely with the Henley Festival for the first time and to serve the food that I love at such a great and iconic event.” A festival for food lovers, Henley caters for all tastes offering a huge number of restaurants and pop ups from street food to fine dining. Restaurant’s popping up at the festival will include Crooked Billet, The Spice Merchant, and Brasserie @ Jazz Club in the Speigltent, alongside street food from BBQ club, Snob Lobster, Jessecco Prosecco, Pizza Express and Audacious Crispy Squid, and champagne and cocktails from Moët Champagne Bar, Black Cab Coffee & Cocktails, Hotel du Vin and many more.
 
VISUAL ARTS
Henley Festival is one of the very few festivals to showcase art work from some of Britain’s most talented artists photographers and galleries. Henley is hugely excited to announce that this year, the festival will be showcasing work from the Turner Prize nominated artist and Royal Acamadician David Mach, Britain’s father of landscape photographer and founder of the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards, Charlie Waite, award winning sculptures Rosamond Lloyd and will also be collaborating with the contemporary art curator and aboriginal art collector Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi. More artists, galleries and curators will be announced later in the year. 
 
FAMILY SUNDAY 
And while the festival is an adult only event, Sunday daytime sees the festival turned into a huge playground for families and kids of all ages, with activities and entertainers, who captivate and enchant. 2018’s Family Sunday offers balloon making, glitter tattoos, music lessons, comedy for kids, toddler disco, choir performances as well as fantastic entertainment from TV favourites Mr Bloom,  Mr Danger and Fun & Gamz.
 
FIREWORKS 
Henley Festival is topped off each night by a jaw dropping overhead firework display. In 2018 the fireworks display will be designed by Titanium Fireworks, the team who have put on some of the UK’s biggest firework shows in the last decade including the 2012 London Olympics, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the London New Year’s Eve Fireworks display and Hogmany in Edinburgh, as well as pyrotechnics for some of the biggest names in music including Adele, Will Smith, Coldplay and Take That. Henley Festival is currently the only music Festival which Titanium work with.

Nile Rodgers to bring Fold Festival to London

Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist Nile Rodgers brings his FOLD festival to the UK for three days in June. Curated and produced by Nile, Fold Festival is a music celebration spanning every popular genre and will be headlined by CHIC on each evening. The inaugural event took place at the scenic Martha Clara Vineyards in Long Island in August 2015 and the next instalment of FOLD will take place in the historic Fulham Palace in London this June.

FOLD festival is a unique event that will feature Rodgers and his multi-platinum band CHIC sharing the stage with music legends and contemporary trailblazers who have personally been invited by Nile to perform. Nile’s musical career has spanned 4 decades in which he has constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music and his contact book reads like a who’s who of the most important musical innovators to the last 4 decades.

Chic mastermind and festival curator Nile Rodgers says:

‘I started FOLD Festival 4 years ago in Montreaux, Switzerland to pay tribute to the musicians that make me who I am: A collaborative ensemble composer, who knows how to throw party!’

The first night throws a spotlight on a truly incredible era of pop, with a stellar line-up of trailblazers responsible for some of the most creative and flamboyant songs in modern music. One of music’s outstanding voices, Alison Moyet will bring her critically acclaimed music to Fulham Palace to perform alongside Chic. The Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey will be playing the classic Thompson Twins hits. It will be the first time Tom and Nile have been on stage together since Live Aid in 1985 when Madonna sang backing vocals.

Saturday sees the celebrations embrace modern day pop, undeniably influenced by Rodgers acclaimed recent work for Daft Punk and Disclosure amongst others. John Newman perfectly encapsulates the modern day soul man, dominating the charts, airwaves and music collections of fans across the country and his unrelenting live show is set to be a true highlight of FOLD 2016. Having teamed up with Nile Rodgers on last year’s great single ‘Boomerang’, international pop star Emin will also be performing and makes a perfect addition to the bill. Reflecting not just the current stars but the future ones too, emerging newcomer Grace will take the stage, bringing the voice behind the phenomenal “You Don’t Own Me” to the hallowed grounds of FOLD 2016.

Sunday features the very best of funk, soul and everything in-between. Standing as an untouchable emblem of classic soul, Angie Stone will bring her unmatched vocal prowess to the stage delivering a set of acclaimed classics that show why Prince, Stevie Wonder and D’Angelo all sit as famous fans. Along with another masterclass in magic from CHIC, these names will be joined by acid-jazz pioneers Incognito, bringing an eclectic set of pulsating anthems to an evening like no other. 

Flow Festival Helsinki 2015 Review

“Listen to your mother, kids. Aim low. Aim so low no one will even care if you succeed.” Marge Simpson was just down on her pretzels, but I was more or less headed to Helsinki expecting nothing and open to the very real possibility of having an above-average weekend.

As good an excuse as any to visit a summery Lapland, Flow Festival boasts a smattering of the hottest international acts performing at a disused power station dipping toes in the Baltic Sea. CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers is a highlight. The denizens of disco have mastered the art of the organised hand clap; it’s good, clean fun for legitimately old-school hits ‘Everybody Dance’ & 'I want your love'. Nile intros Daft Punk track ‘Get Lucky’ with a few words about his own cancer, explaining how he threw himself into making more new music because “If I die, I wanna die living!” Cue bass. This reviewer finds herself ushered on stage with a clutch of other revellers to finish the set grooving to ‘Good Times’. It’s a gimmick the band is known for but hey, for fifteen seconds of fame I play along.

There’s a no-drinks policy at the front of the main stage & it’s a winning strategy to eliminate a heap of tension. Still, the dancing is thirsty work & the Bulleit cocktail bar has its work cut out come nightfall. We quickly decide this is the best drink option going but at €12 a pop, it’s a one-time treat. Happy Joe's is Helsinki’s cider of choice, in abundance at Flow. Add cans of Lapin Kulta beer & the very retro Hartwall Original Long Drink & you’ve got yourselves a proper Scandi party.

Flow puts on a mean spread – when stomachs rumble, it’s real corn soft tacos, bright beef phở & Pok Pok Farang, crispy palm sugar caramel pork on limey green mango salad. It’s so good we go back for seconds. There’s more veggie & vegan options than meats, too. Did I mention you’ll be broke after this weekend? Major Lazer shuts down the Friday main stage sampling Yeah Yeah Yeahs along with everything else. It’s flippant & exciting, though I’m put off when the ladies in the crowd are counselled to take their shirts off & throw them in the air. New single ‘Powerful’ is just that; everyone leaves on a high.

Saturday brings even bigger, brighter skies. Anyone doing this city festival thing right is busy picnicking, lazing at the beach or otherwise celebrating Helsinki’s historic sights & the fact it’s again cracked 20 degrees. Belle + Sebastian give new track ‘Perfect Couples’ a run, joking over a false start: "It's because we're near the magnetic pole." I’m convinced most of Flow is Finnish, young & attractive. "Is anybody old enough to remember that one?" Singer Stuart Murdoch has also noticed the teens. 

O Samuli A is making the titular ‘other sound’ over on that stage & it's impossible to get within 70 foot of Reino Nordin lighting up the fantastical Bright Balloon. Marsen Jules sounds a little churchy, dark too. Like, literally. I'm not wholly sure there's even anyone on the decks.

I'll jinx it now, but everyone at Flow is out for a good time. People are calm, casual. Years & Years pack out the Blue Tent. I’m not expecting Olly Alexander’s dungaree & Harley Davidson tee combo, or his cover of Blu Cantrell’s ‘Breathe’, but the whole vibe is perfectly chill & the set is one of Flow’s best. Catchy ‘King’ comes last, Alexander dancing as he sings with a rainbow flag borrowed from the crowd.

I’m star struck by Baltimore’s Future Islands, or really lead singer Samuel T. Herring. His vocals are reminisce of Pantera at moments but interpret that as feeling & any apprehension melts away. There’s a glittery drum kit & all the guys are in patterned shirts. Herring booty-shakes like Beyoncé, beats his chest like Tarzan & sweats like, well, like a man. In front of a slower song Herring explains, "We're not s'posed to do this at a festival but we don't give a fuck." You can imagine the cheers. When finally ‘Seasons’ plays to hard applause, his roar is returned. He skips across the stage, invisible bowling ball in hand. "Thank you so much Flow, you guys are fuckin' beautiful.” We must be.

We’re in denial about Sunday. Unlike camping festivals where you're itching for a shower, actual sleep & a decent pour of coffee to head the day, it's hard to tire of sleeping late, brunching out & a spot of vintage shopping or water sports before rolling along to spot some of the world's best musical talent. We've hit peak Helsinki when Todd Terje & The Olsens grace the Black Tent with their easy 70s spy-theme dulcets. There are shirts off everywhere for their efforts, people dancing hard in the evening heat. Delorean Dynamite is unmissable, then it's like their just jamming along with a wailing sax & big samba sounds.

The most impressive kind of mass-clap is one that starts itself, uninitiated by the band; a pure & unadulterated response of sound to sound. These guys get it, a second time when the crowd tries for an encore after Inspector Norse & a final bow. Beck draws one of Flow’s biggest crowds. "Somebody threw a banana peel on stage!" Indeed. I’m not a fan but it’s hard to fault the classics and ‘Where It's At’ is one of the 90s’ better earworms. Florence + the Machine’s namesake is a fan, a vision in white peasant blouse & heavy cream flares. She’s barefoot too, throwing loose locks here and there while beating her drum (tambourine) in Ship to Wreck. She twirls everywhere & I'm sure she's going to fall, but her balance is the greater force & somehow she avoids disaster.

I haven't seen Florence since 2010 after she missed Benicàssim with vocal strain. She gives it absolutely everything at all times. For ‘Raise It Up’ she shouts, "Put your girlfriend on your shoulders, put your boyfriend on your shoulders. We want everybody to get as high as they can!" ‘Shake It Out’ gives me goosebumps & I have them again when Alt-J close the weekend. Marmite of the music world, I never got the appeal before seeing these guys live. There’s huge love for the boys from Leeds, even if nobody understands what they’re singing.

Blissing out to the country/rock/folk/blues/jazz/grime/electro weirdness of it all, it’s clear people are enjoying in very different ways. There's a real range of reactions but everyone joins to applaud what is undeniably interesting music made with heart. The Finns aren't too cool to care about their hearing either. We saw earplugs on sale from day one & should really have sprung for a couple.

Flow is undoubtedly the blondest, tallest, tastiest festival yet in a seriously fun setting. Start saving now for the next one.

 

Bestival 2014 Full Review

There is nothing like the utter glee of throwing off the shackles of work and life for one final splurge of hedonism at the festival season’s last hurrah – Bestival. Seasoned Besti-goers have sat back and watched the Glastovians, Creamfielders, V-lovers and Reading-heads toddle off for weekends of muddy silliness, and smirked a wry smile at the thousands of Moss-alikes in their tedious wellies-with-knicker-shorts combos. Now, the waiting game is over and Bestivites the country, nay world over, are flocking to the Isle of Wight for four uninterrupted days of pure high summer mayhem in the beautiful setting of Robin Hill, by hook or by crook (well, by ferry, hovercraft or swimming really…) they are chasing their bit of paradise.

Thursday saw campsites being opened early due to the large number of eager beavers waiting at the gates, and better parking organisation around the Yellow parking area meant that everything ran super smoothly getting in. With an array of campsites to choose from there’s a home-turf for everyone, and tribes are picking their areas, giggling with memories of campground legends from years past. The sun is already out as tents pop up, and the arena is beginning to buzz. Heading up to Peace Hill, sun-soakers are taking in a lively performance from Juke and The All Drunk Orchestra, with glittery hippy types up and dancing like loons immediately. 

Many Bestivites count snacking on delicious butter-slathered corn-on-the-cob a rite of passage up on Peace Hill, but there’s also stunning Lobster and chips brought in from local Vetnor, fabulously flavoured ice creams (honey and ginger anyone?) and the very acceptable Bestivale available for the discerning gourmand. If you’re looking for a mental challenge, there are talks at Bestiversity all weekend, and the Science tent has many interesting experiments to try out with the help of some extremely knowledgeable scientists. Heading for a wander up the hill, Tiny Town is a giddy little exercise in hiding in kids playhouses to scare the living daylights out of each other, and the wooden Maze is surprisingly complicated, good for a race around and it’s always comical to bump into someone dressed as a Panda or Palm Tree, at speed.

Despite the woods and Bollywood/Port area being closed for Thursday, there are lights and sounds everywhere, with a million things going on. Caravanserai is a little wonderland through a magic door, you can sit in the sawn-halves of gaudily decorated proper caravans to drink your cocktails, have a boogie on the Carousel dancefloor or cuddle up with your mates in the Wurlitzer seats for a while. Next door is The Feast Collective, a new addition to the Bestival family. The big tent hosts a myriad of incredible food outlets to satisfy any craving – handmade maki rolls, raclette oozing over… everything, baked camembert, hearty goulash, Indian street food, great British pies, American loaded hotdogs and even incredible soft-shell crab burgers. The quality of food around the Bestival site always amazes, but this is truly a step into the weird and wonderful. To compliment all this, there are heaps more benches and tables out than in previous years and the music coming from the newly housed Polka Stage in the Travelling Barn is excellent. If none of that is quite enough, watching the sun shimmer on the record-breaking and truly incredible gigantic Disco Ball installation, or getting an eyeful of ‘Christina’ at The Grand Palace of Entertainment, or maybe some first night music like the odd brilliance of The Correspondents, or classic Beck to tip you over the edge into your Bestival adventure. 

Friday sees the opening of Bollywood and The Port, the dance/electronic capital of Bestival. The Port is a huge ocean liner type installation where DJ’s play from the roof along with dancers, firebreathers, a couple of giant mermaids and arial acrobats suspended from a crane above the crowd, it’s like everything that could be hilariously weird to the terminally trippy has come together in one heart-pounding bass heavy place. The Sunday Best shop and cocktail lounge is selling jam jars full of icy mojitos, Bollywood is violently bright and brilliant, with people draped over the box seats underneath shimmering coin-laden umbrellas and the Helter Skelter/Wall of Death/toboggan run combo downfield is a big kids dream. 

Heading into the deep dark woods there’s a noticeable increase in the number of giant net hammocks hiding amongst the trees, where naptime is a genuinely acceptable event for grown ups in the middle of the day. Glittering lights, waterfalls, playparks,  hidden pools and a massive synthesiser installation to play with are just some of the things you can see in The Ambient Forest, before you burst into a clearing at The Amphitheatre. Spoken word artist/rapper Kate Tempest’s pre-show interview is witty, intelligent and truly captivating, hearing her talk about her work and life is a real insight to a genuinely talented individual. Back at the Main Stage, secret act Lethal Bizzle is hyping up the crowd with an attempt at a mosh pit and The Harlem Shake. Up next Laura Mvula’s beautiful vocals soar across the arena but there’s not much of a crowd, whilst over at The Bandstand, Motif are playing to a sun-baked audience and getting jazzy.

Back at The Amphitheatre, Scroobius Pip’s Satin Lizard Lounge is kicking off with spoken word artists Harry Baker (with a hilarious rendition of Ed Sheeran’s A-team based on desserts), the nervous ball of energy that is Tim Clare (we loved ‘Noah’s Ark and Grill’) and the raw, honest words of Kate Tempest.The evening sees the main stage light up for Disclosure, and a guest appearances from Eliza Doolittle for ‘Me & You’ and Sam Smith for ‘Latch’, gets the arena bouncing, but headliner Outkast come across a bit flat in some places. Hits ‘Ms Jackson’ and ‘Hey Ya’ have everyone up and screaming but more rap-based songs don’t quite hit the mark. Heading over to The Big Top, newly reinvented La Roux (with her band who are performing at a big UK festival for the first time) draws a huge crowd for her soaring vocals, and both new and old tracks go down a storm, particularly ‘Bulletproof’ – one of those perfect hazy Bestival night moments that everyone will remember.

Fancy dress Saturday is sort of a misnomer at Bestival now, everyone dresses up all weekend anyway, but Desert Island Disco is the theme and everyone seems to have embraced the sparkles, sequins, rainbow and afro combination with wild abandon. Though the theme isn’t as clear as previous years and there aren’t as many ‘big’ costumes as we’ve seen before, everyone is joining in, and there’s a pleasingly distinct minority of the sort of people who buy “Festival Fashion” that seem to come in droves at other festivals. An early start and crazy booking for Welsh Reggae-Metal band Skindred, who usually hit up festivals like Download at Donington Park and have a distinctly black-tshirt wearing fanbase. They absolutely tear it up on the main stage, gaining many new fans with current album tracks such as ‘Ninja’ and anthem ‘Warning’ – getting the crowd to join in for some t-shirt whirling for their ‘Newport Helicopter’. Despite a sparse and lazily sunbathing crowd, pop princess Sophie Ellis Bextor surprise all with a solid set featuring hits and covers, notably Moloko’s ‘Sing It Back’, as well as ditching her red-ridinghood dress halfway through for a theme appropriate saucy grass skirt costume. Joking “If the giant disco ball were to fall on me and kill me, it would of course be… Murder on the Dancefloor” she ends the set with a giggle. Bestival stalwarts and kings of comedy The Cuban Brothers are always the funniest thing you’re going to see all weekend and this is no exception. Lewdness, rudeness, downright dirtiness, nothing is out of bounds for Miguel and co. but the music and the dancing holds up, Archerio, Kengo and Dominico one up each other with B-boy and breaking moves whilst Miguel takes his keks off and gets busted by security whilst quipping that he used to “do too much nose-whiskey” and telling everyone to “touch each other in the correct manner”. Kengo/Kenny (“the bastard”!) comes out in a white jumpsuit to do a touching rendition of Whitnney’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and the finale of three Cubans doing a press-up tower with Dom barrel-flipping over the top is truly impressive.

Over in The Big Top, a very special event is the final show of Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip, before they head off to pursue their own individual projects. Personally introduced by Bestival curator Rob Da Bank himself, the duo come busting in with ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’ Dan and Pip show why their three album collaboration has been so successful, as the crowd go mental. Pip laments “The first time that we played was here in this tent. We weren’t even allowed on the stage, we were in a DJ booth on the front and it was really late”. ‘Sick Tonight’ is powerful and has everyone singing along despite the speed of Pip’s verse and the pair joke “Can they jump and clap? Yeah! This is Bestival it ain’t no fucking Reading or Leeds crowd!”. ‘Get Better’ is a fan favourite and their first ever song ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ (with a little addition of ‘Thou shalt not question Rob Da Bank’) is perfectly executed. Sharing a hug and final photo on stage, Dan and Pip go out with a bang. It’s the end of an era and Bestivites who’ve been with them from the beginning are right there with them.

After a recharge up at The Solace Tent, and an open-mouthed stare at the sheer size of Bestival from the hill-top, it’s down to the main stage for the ambient and soulful London Grammar, followed by headliner Foals, whose sound gets a bit lost in the noise of the surrounding tents. The grassy area outside The Polka Club is ambushed by the tartan clad New York Brass Band playing a rousing rendition of ‘Happy’ and The Big Top is packed from the inside of the tent right out to the food outlets surrounding for Basement Jaxx. Many are questioning the decision to put Foals on the main stage and Jaxx in the tent, as the sound is severely dampened from the outside, and from the view that Foals did not hold a particularly dense headline crowd earlier compared to the thousands who are trying to get into the Big Top. ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Red Alert’ almost lift the roof off the tent and security try in vain to get those who’ve shinned the poles for a better view, to get down.

The final day at Bestival has come, and Sunday’s vast lineup of music, poetry and activities is no less full or impressive than the last few days. Clean Bandit take to the main stage for an amazing sunshine filled electronic set with the crowning jewel ‘Rather Be’ belting out across the arena and proving to be the perfectly apt lyrics for the Bestival crowd who are hugging each other close; “We’re a thousand miles from comfort, we have travelled land and sea, but as long as you are with me, there’s no place I’d rather be”. Due to the cancellation of Busta Rhymes, the main stage crowd is instead treated to another member of the Bestival family, DJ Yoda – whose hilarious AV show and samples from movies and TV are played on the giant stage screen, along with a flashing line of text proclaiming “I am not Busta Rhymes’.

 

Major Lazer play a raft of current mixed up current hits such as Oliver Helden’s ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ and Keisza’s ‘Hideaway’ whilst club dancers thrash about on the stage and Diplo pretty much steals stage gimmicks from everyone (Skindred’s Newport helicopter as seen earlier in the day, neon ticker tape canons, even the Zorbing ball a la The Flaming Lips and a frankly embarrassing attempt at a circle pit…). In the Big Top one of the most incredible shows of the weekend – Chvrches completely makes up for the aural assault of Major Lazer, with swooningly beautiful vocals and the kind of electronic wizardry that makes you feel like your heart is trying to get out of your mouth. The tent wasn’t full, but the people who made it in there can count themselves lucky to have caught an absolutely stunning set from the Scottish band.

Sunday headliner Chic Featuring Nile Rodgers was beset by a band tragedy – guitar tech and long time friend Terry Brauer having died just before the show began, and Nile broke into tears a number of times during the set. Despite this, it was the great disco showdown that we had been promised by Bestival, Nile’s incredible discography speaks for itself and the sheer quality of Chic shone through. Hits a plenty had everyone pulling out their best Saturday Night Fever style moves and winding up Bestival in the best way possible, pure unadulterated party. The closing ceremony saw the giant disco-ball hoisted into the air via crane, glittering in the spotlights, and a barrage of incredible fireworks lighting up the arena over Peace Hill, and anyone who grabbed a pair of shimmery glasses from the physics area of the Science tent got an extra special psychedelic show on top of it all.

Of course, nothing’s ever really the end at Bestival… The woods are calling with secret parties and DJ sets, The Port is aflame and going strong, The Grand Palace of Entertainment is still as indecent as ever, and ‘Almost Famous’ is being screened in The Amphitheatre… we’re going wherever the night takes us, for one last time this year…


Photos by James Bridle

Bestival break record for world’s largest disco ball

It’s been the centrepiece of the Magic Meadow throughout Bestival’s four-day Desert Island Disco jamboree, and now we are utterly ecstatic to declare that our frankly magnificent disco ball has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title! Topping the tape at 10.33 metres, the dazzling disco beauty is as high as a three storey building, is covered in 2,500 mirrored tiles that would stretch out for a kilometre if you laid them end to end, and is filled with 350 cubic metres of air; equivalent to one thousand beach balls!

Verified by Mark McKinley from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS the Disco Ball was measured by surveyor Ollie Salter at midday on Sunday (7th September), before clinching the record when it was raised and spun, with a suitably disco-tastic light show, at the start of Chic featuring Nile Rodgers’ epic finale set on Sunday evening. And now we’re very proud say that Bestival holds the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Largest Disco Ball.

Rob da Bank said: “We love a challenge at Bestival, so when Nile Rodgers asked us to do something spectacular we knew it had to be beyond amazing. We don’t do things by halves, we get immersive and take them head on, so we’re very proud to have cracked the world record. Our Desert Island Disco has been utterly incredible, and to top it all off with the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Largest Disco Ball is the best feeling ever!”

Official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator Mark McKinley said “I’ve had a professional surveyor measure the disco ball, I have verified the measurement and can reveal it is 10.33 metres in diameter.”

Disco legend Nile Rodgers originally laid down the gauntlet and asked Bestival to create the world record breaking disco beauty to accompany his hit-packed and exclusive Desert Island Disco set. Relishing the challenge Josie and Rob da Bank sought to pull together a crack team to build the Disco Ball with cool creatives NEWSUBSTANCE and their top man Mungo at the helm. Aiming to top the previous record of 9.98 metres, Bestival’s creative crew have surpassed themselves and bagged a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title!

Talking directly from Bestival’s Desert Island Disco today our mad scientist from NEWSUBSTANCE Mungo Denisoncommented “It’s taken the team three months of blood, sweat and mirror tiles to design and fabricate this gigantic beast; it’s been a fantastic journey.”

Chic & Nile Rodgers close out Bestival 2014

The final night of Bestival is drawing in, a glittery crowd is itching to get it's disco on at the main stage area, and a floor sparkling with strewn sequins‎ shimmers in the neon of the bars. The world record breaking giant disco-ball has been hoisted into the air via crane on the Magic Meadow and spotlights sent fragments of‎ light all over the site.
 
Chic and Nile Rogers ‎take to the stage in a dazzling array of white leather and gold, and Nile almost immediately breaks into tears and tells us "I just found out, we got a phonecall at the hotel room that my old guitar roadie Terry, died a few minutes ago". At this sad news, the Bestival crowd begins to chant Terry's name and cheer on Rogers.
 
Gaining composure, Nile and the band start strong with 'Everybody Dance' but a few more speakers would be useful behind the sound tent as it's quite quiet for those further back on the hill.‎ The little extras start early as loveheart graphics fill the giant screen and red streamers are shot from a stage cannon, and Nile laments, "I just want to let you guys know… a little bit about why we're here to play for you… a few years ago I was diagnosed with very very aggressive cancer and they thought I might not be here… thank you for giving me the energy", but moves on to lighter subjects with quip "So when you hear us play a song by Madonna, I don't want you to get weird, cause I played that shit in the first place… Mojo… I wrote all that shit"‎ and invites Bestival to sing along, "If you don't know the words, sing any old bullshit it sounds fine up here".
 
A huge medley of songs Rogers has written or had a hand in creating gets everyone up and dancing with proper disco moves, 'I'm Comin Out' and 'We Are Family' have the entire arena singing and going wild. Many are surprised at the sheer number of songs they know by Nile and the huge dance party is getting rowdier, despite the tired eyes and sore feet on day four of Bestival.
 
Madonna hit 'Like A Virgin' incites some very amusing camp dancing all over, and Duran Duran favourite (and namesake of the B.I.G.) 'Notorious' ‎go down a storm, but Nile breaks down in tears again for departed friend Terry, and the crowd hold phone screens and lighters aloft in support. Daft Punk summer hit 'Get Lucky' is the song of the night, moving into 'Let's Dance', the hits keep on coming, as giant multicoloured beach balls are released into the crowd.
 
'Freak Out' sees the first explosion of stage fireworks and 'Good Times' is a jam session in which fans are hauled up on stage to join the party as glitter rains from the rafters. With the incredible voices and solid musical ability of Chic, as well as Nile's creative talent across the years, this makes for an amazing and memorable show, a perfect close to Bestival's Desert Island Disco. As Chic and Nile exit the stage, all eyes turn to the hillside where the massive closing ceremony fireworks light up the night sky in a magical goodbye to yet another stellar year here at Robin Hill. Rob Da Bank and co. just seem to know the meaning of party and more importantly, pull it off bigger and better every single time. Waiting a whole year is going to be hard…

V Festival 2014 Review – Weston Park

Day 1

2014 saw a strong lineup for V festival. Previous years have seen the lineup cater towards a more commercial demographic, but this year included an impressive array of veteran artists, and new up and coming talent that would please the ears of the many festival-goers that would be in attendance.

The main stage opened on the Saturday with musical legend Nile Rogers and his band Chic. Most recently, Rogers has gained exposure for his work with French dance duo Daft Punk, but what most people are unaware of, is that he is behind some of the greatest hits ever released over the past 30 years. Unmistakably tracks such as “Everybody Dance” and “Good Times” were crafted at the hands of the American singer-songwriter, along with his sensational band. It was a pleasure to watch him play with such passion for the performance: a true musician.

Newton Faulkner’s set brought a nice change of pace to the afternoon as his began his set on the main stage, enticing the audience with his enchanting voice and his impressive guitar skills. The dreadlocked singer-songwriter would not usually be seen on the main stage at a large festival such as V, but nonetheless, he proved that the spot was well deserved. His UK top ten hit “Dream Catch Me” was certainly a crowd favorite among many others in a perfectly crafted set.

Rizzle Kicks, the cheeky chaps from Brighton genuinely appeared to be having the time of their lives as they bounced across the stage to a huge crowd at the MTV Stage. The duo looked euphoric to be in the privileged position that they’re in, as the audience collectively danced to their hit “Do The Hump.”

Paolo Nutini kept the crowd suitably entertained before the main headline act of the evening. His grizzly voice warmed the afternoon air with such tunes like “New Shoes” and “Pencil Full of Lead.”

The Sun had set across Weston Park as the crowd eagerly awaited the entrance of the headline act for the evening. Brandon Flowers lead The Killers onto the stage in a rather fetching glittery purple blazer that wouldn’t look out of place in a Gary Newman video.

The band made no delay in breaking into “Somebody Told Me” which resulted in the crowd bouncing up and down in full force. With such a strong back catalogue, more hits soon followed suit, most notably “Mr. Brightside” which surely has to go down as one of the most universally loved tracks of all time. The band was on fine form, and they delivered a set that was most certainly worthy of the headline slot they were given.

Day 2

Day two arrived as many bleary-eyed faces emerged from their canvas living quarters. Despite the inevitable hangovers, the energy was still high as the last of the adrenaline worked its way through the veins of the revelers.

My afternoon began with a fantastic performance from the immensely talented Tom Odell. I first spotted Tom during his performance on Live with Jools Holland, so I was eager to see his set in a festival environment. I was sold. The combination of his incredibly powerful voice and effortless piano playing almost seemed to send the crowd into a hypnotic trance as the notes waved out across the horizon. His masterfully crafted melodies reminded me of a hybrid of David Bowie and Tom Waits: not a bad comparison to make! The highlight of his set was “Another Love” which most certainly drew the lighters from the audiences’ pockets.

I stuck around at the main stage to catch Leeds-based rockers Kaiser Chiefs, a personal favorite of mine. Front man Ricky Wilson sure knows how to keep an audience entertained with his energy and enthusiasm, running up and down the stage like an over-excited school kid to the unmistakable sound of their hits such as “I Predict A Riot” and new single “Coming Home.”

I ventured over to the MTV Stage to witness pop legend Blondie in action. Her performance was superb to say the least, entertaining the older members of the crowd with classics such as “Atomic.” It’s great to see an artist of Blondie’s caliber still wowing audiences with her performances. It surely is a testament to her determination and hard work.

I made my way back to the main stage to catch another British star take to the main stage. Acoustic wizard, Ed Sheeran never fails to impress me with his live performances. A strong set filled with old and new material from his most recent album, “X” kept the large audience entertained, whilst anticipating the headline act.

The audience could hardly contain their excitement over the anticipation of the last headline act of the weekend; the incredible Justin Timberlake. As he casually made his way onto the stage, to an almighty roar from the audience, he oozed class and confidence as the band kicked in and he began his set, filled with hit, after hit, after hit. Each note he sang was inch-perfect and his dance moves were a sight to behold.

In the same fashion as the previous night, the crowd made no reservations in signing their hearts out to hits such as “Senorita” and “Sexy Back” which resulted in an almost overwhelmed-looking JT as the thousands of voices screamed back at him in unison.

Overall, V Festival was an incredibly entertaining weekend. Every act that I was fortunate to see was on sublime form, and that (coupled with the hangover) made for some serious post-festival blues!

V Festival 2014 Review – Chelmsford

This years V Festival saw 120,000 revelers over the twin site event who were in luck for some supreme delights. In its 19th year there was a whole host of different acts on offer for festivalgoers. From disco to indie to dance to good old-fashioned Rock n Roll. there was certainly something for everyone.

Dublin band Kodaline kicked off Saturday at V Festival Chelmsford with summer sing-alongs.  Setting the tone for the day with uplifting songs the crowd were in full verse by the time they belted out their well known hit ‘High Hopes’.

It’s been a long time since one man and his piano sparked such an engaged crowd as Tom Odell managed. Even though the onlookers did not seem old enough to have experienced such angst ridden relationships; Odell had them jumping along to ‘Another Love’, whilst the blues hipster passionately pounded the keys.

With all the classics, Kaiser Chiefs reminded the crowd why they were all there., to have a bloody good time. Ricky Wilson put in a performance to answer all the critics, running up and down the stage more times than anyone could count, he was back in full form, even surprising the backstage crew when he went slightly too far. Ricky’s passion could not be mistaken; he puts everything into the performance. Evidently someone is prompting him that this is to sell records as between the mosh pit inducing hits he enlightens the audience that they are the Kaiser Chiefs and that the new album ‘ Education, Education, Education and War‘ is out now. Clearly agitated from the sound of Bastille’s drums in his ear, Ricky mischievously jokes with the stagehands before lifting everyone with the ‘Angry Mob’ and ‘Oh My God’.

Meanwhile there was no mistaking the summer vibes of the Wailers on the MTV Stage, how can you resist singing along to tunes such as ‘Jammin’, ‘ One Love’, ‘Could You Be Loved’. Everyone left beaming from side to side.

Back on main stage was the penultimate act before what everyone had been waiting for.  Ed Sheeran, one man and his guitar, brought the vibe to serve as the perfect warm up act for JT.

The stage was set, the crowd were pumping, the most anticipated set of V was ready to kick off. JT certainly brought sexy back  looking suave as ever in Tom Ford suit and backed by The Tennessee Kids, could be mistaken as arrogant but no he actually looked overwhelmed at ‘how far back you all go’. Hit after hit,  in a perfectly polished fashion that you would expect from this superstar, the night was Timberlake’s.

Even festivalgoers who would not admit to being Timberlake fans were swept into it, everyone singing every song. The acoustic rendition of What Goes Around (Comes Back Around) was a highlight of the night.  Justin served what appears to now be the theme of this weekends V Festival taking a selfie with a fan.  He wowed the fans at every moment, didn’t put a step wrong and was pitch perfect. The crowd obligingly taking their part in Senorita, finishing the night with ‘SexyBack’ and ‘Mirrors’ everyone wanted to leave with you, Justin.

Sunday started with threatening skies, you couldn’t blame fans for hiding in the comedy tent. Newton Faulkner brought out the sunshine and the crowds on the gloomy Sunday. Followed by San Francisco band Train, with hits ‘Hey Soul Sister’, ‘Marry Me’, ‘If Its Love’ they even managed to get Bananaman crowd surfing.  Pat Monahan gets the award of the weekend for the most selfies taken, it would appear that everyone in the front row has a piece of photo memorabilia.

Closing the set with ‘Drops of Jupiter’ the crowd was well and truly warmed up for the party that was about to ensue Nile Rodgers and Chic.

The most lovable performance of the weekend goes to veterans Nile Rodgers and Chic. Who knew how many hits Nile Rodgers had written. He is a true legend, inspiring character, telling the crowd how he battled cancer by going out and living life. Using music the way it was intended, uplifting everyones spirits and bringing the funk to V. It was true carnival atmosphere. Too many hits to believe one man wrote them all; ‘I Want Your Love’, ‘I’m Coming Out’, ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Lets Dance’, ‘Get Lucky’, the list is endless. No one was standing still, jiving along, doing the salsa as the legend requested. Fifty lucky punters were brought on stage for the last song and all the rules were broken. Nile Rodgers left everyone exhilarated wanting more.

Rizzle Kicks brought the largest crowd to the MTV stage, all ages, connected for ‘The Lost Generation’. Two hip-hop boys who genuinely looked like they were having a blast in the middle of this corporate festival. What a sight to see 15,000 people ‘Doing the Hump’.

Lily Allen looking svelte as ever bounded onto stage in a silver leather catsuit. Lily baffled a large number of the crowd with a stage full of milk bottles, as if people needed to be reminded she is now a mother. Allen did feel the need to quash rumours of a split with her husband, and passionately sang ‘As Long As I Got You’.  This performance felt like it was a big ‘Fuck You’ to all the critics along the way, comparing her song ‘LDN’ to a William Blake poem, this was lost on the festivalgoers.

Paolo Nutini followed in Allen’s footsteps intriguing the audience by appearing in a different world. Whilst slurring when speaking, "feeling a little bit drink" he was mysteriously in tune when singing. With hits ‘Jenny Don’t Be Hasty’ and ‘New Shoes’ providing the perfect warm up for The Killers.

Embrace vs The Killers. The clash of the weekend. Embrace were back after an 8 year break from the festival. Whilst having one of the worst clashes of the weekend, with The Killers, the McNamara brothers attracted a 300 strong crowd . With festival favorites ‘Come Back To What You Know’ and  'One Big Family’ Embrace have certainly hit the ground running on this comeback. Fans lucky enough to have got tickets to their now infamous Secret Festival are in for a treat. Danny was very proud of his "little brother Rich" encouraging everyone to dance, with Danny himself joining the fans in an out of character dance along.

Meanwhilst completing the all American headline, Brandon Flowers of The Killers stormed onto stage in a glittery purple suit. Ever crowd pleasing, ‘Somebody Told Me’ was the first of a multitude of triumphant songs. After a few beats  everyone was set for 90 minutes of singing, word for word, all the tunes.  The classics from Hot Fuss, pulled the most promising reaction, with a handful of covers driving the audience to a new level of excitement. Jimmy Carr, comedian, introduced the band for a well received encore. The Killers closed the festival with ‘Mr Brightside’ and the obligatory fireworks.

V Festival certainly had something for everyone this year, VIP bar, posh toilets, celebrity packed Louder Lounge, hammocks, comedy, funfair, skydivers and of course a plethora of music acts. As the sun goes down on another year, the organizers set the bar high for next years 20th anniversary.

Chic feat Nile Rodgers, London Grammar and more for Unknown Croatia

This summer's Unknown Festival has revealed a another batch of artists joining the bill.  Unknown will be the first Croatian visit for Chic feat Nile Rodgers.  The Summer Festival Guide has the rest of the latest lineup news for this years event below:
 
Rising above the competition, Unknown offers the most eclectic programme of live and electronic acts in Croatia. Talent from across the musical spectrum will perform unforgettable shows across the festival's intimate forest and waterside stages including London GrammarClean BanditDisclosureChvrchesWild BeastsTEEDErol  Alkan and Moderat. Unknown's idyllic beach stage will also provide the perfect scene for the incredible and timeless sounds of Chic Ft. Nile Rogers, who make their Croatian live debut.
 

Brand new to 2014, Unknown will be returning with a series of island parties hosted by the likes of Young Turks and Numbers. Taking place on secluded private islands and accessible only via a short boat ride, these amazing additions will offer revellers the chance to party with their favourite artists, in a truly unique setting. Elsewhere there'll be exciting new collaborations with top club promoters Bugged OutSecretsundazeZutekh and Drop The Mustard, not to mention boat parties hosted by Resident Advisor and Hot Chip. Also new for 2014, Unknown will be opening the main stage for an entire extra day, allowing for even more surprises set to surpass the success of last year's sell out debut. 

Fifty new artists added to Sonar Barcelona 2014 lineup!

The world renown Barcelona International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art otherwise known as Sonar add fifty new artists to its already amazing lineup.

These are the artists joining the Sónar 2014 line-up: CHIC feat. Nile Rodgers, Röyksopp & Robyn, DESPACIO (James Murphy + 2manydjs), Lykke Li, Neneh Cherry, James Murphy, 2manydjs, Boys Noize, Trentemøller, Loco Dice, Todd Terje, Kid Koala's Vinyl Vaudeville, Audion, Spoek Mathambo, DJ Snake, Four Tet DJ set, BFlecha, Dâm-Funk, Future Brown, Brodinski, Forest Swords, WhoMadeWho, 2020Vision presents Debukas, Paul Woolford and Ralph Lawson, FM Belfast, Kaytranada, Matthew Dear, Camo & Krooked, Machine Variation, Daniel Miller, Henry Saiz, Daito Manabe, Unsound presents Robert Piotrowicz and Oren Ambarchi with Sinfonietta Cracovia, Chris Madak aka Bee Mask, Hucci, Tarek Atoui, Roll The Dice, Sibot, Professor Angel Sound, Sinjin Hawke, Astroboyz, Koreless, T.Williams, Throwing Snow, Emufucka, Louis Baker, Trancemicsoul, Suzanne Kraft, De La Montagne, Leo Aldrey, Harald Björk, Rudi Zygadlo, Jolly Mare, and Love Cult. 

Check here the complete list of artists confirmed so far 

Sónar 2014 has finalised its main line-up with 50 new artists, headed by the legendary Chic, with Nile Rodgers at the helm. The festival will also present performances by several Nordic artists with their finger very much on the pulse, including Neneh CherryLykke Li (both presenting new albums at Sónar), the Röyksopp + Robyn duoTodd Terje and Trentemøller, as well as immersive digital experiences byAudion and Daito Manabe and visionary artists such as Dâm-FunkKid KoalaForest SwordsHenry Saiz and Oren Ambarchi, who will be performing with Sinfonietta Cracovia in a joint collaboration between Sónar and Unsound Festival in Poland. 

An unprecedented music listening experience: six hours playing vinyl, all three days of Sónar by Day 

One of this year’s highlights is DESPACIO powered by McIntosh, a new concept of a listening experience that brings together James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem / DFA) and 2manydjs to focus their finely honed skills on partygoers’ experience through a meticulously chosen selection of music and spectacular-quality high-fidelity sound. On all three days of Sónar by Day, James Murphy and 2manydjs will be playing vinyl records from their own collections for six hours (from 3.30 pm to 9.30 pm) in a specially designed space featuring a circle of seven speaker stacks as part of a one-of-a-kind 50,000 W sound system. Since space is limited, admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 

A live history of dance music 

Chic and Nile Rogers need no introduction. Universally acclaimed as one of the greatest dance bands of all time, with such immortal hits as “Le Freak” and “Good Times”, their popularity recently went through the roof when their leader, Nile Rodgers, worked on Daft Punk’s new album—not to mention their interplanetary success with “Get Lucky” and collaborations with Disclosure and Tensnake. Their legendary Sonar 2006 concert was one of that year’s highlights and this year’s performance has all the signs of being equally stunning. 

Nordic excellence 

After the huge success of Sonar Reykjavik and Sonar Stockholm in February, the Nordic scene will continue its onward roll in Barcelona with the likes of Swedish Neneh Cherry (who’s back with a new show and new album, produced by Four Tet, in collaboration with RocketNumberNine), Lykke Li (also presenting a new album) and Robyn, who’s teamed up with Norwegian duo Röyksopp and also appears on a track on Neneh Cherry’s album. Sonar will also be rolling out the red carpet for the Norwegian king of space disco Todd Terje (with a new LP coming out in April) and popular Danish musician Trentemøller, who’ll be performing songs from his recent album “Lost” with a complete band of musicians on stage. 

Immersive experiences and avant-garde sound 

Always eager to keep up with the latest technological innovations in audiovisual creation and performance, Sonar will be presenting shows that are total immersive experiences, fashioned out of complex languages embracing art, sound and technology. One striking example will be Audion’s performance, and highly acclaimed Japanese creative technologist Daito Manabe will give a live interactive concert combining video mapping and contemporary dance. In addition, US artist Matthew Dear will present his techno project with a powerful show designed by the creators of ISAM (Amon Tobin) in which an A-shaped mechanism responds to live audio impulses created by the artist. 

Avant-garde languages are always at the fore at Sonar and this year is no exception. Forest Swords will be revealing their perfect fusion of atavistic dub, ancestral folk and filmic guitar lines in the spirit of Ennio Morricone. Taking risks and searching for new concepts are the aims of the new partnership between Sonar and Unsound Festival in Poland, which will take the shape of two concerts for music connoisseurs: Oren Ambarchi and Sinfonietta Cracovia’s clash between synthetic and classic; and intense, microscopic electronica by Robert Piotrowicz, who regularly works with Kevin Drumm and Ambarchi himself. 

Groove in their DNA 

Funk and hip hop are in the DNA of three iconoclastic artists who will be at Sonar by Day: Kid Koala returns with a new show, Vinyl Vaudeville 2.0, which features turntable mischief and revamps classic genres of black music (funk, blues, jazz) in a contemporary cabaret format; Dâm-Funk will be bringing vintage synthesisers and drum machines to thrill partygoers with their sizzling retro-futurist boogie-funk; and Spoek Mathambo will be at the helm of Fantasma, a supergroup of South African musicians who fuse the country’s house and psychedelic traditions into a powerful, vibrant sound. 

Names from the Spanish scene 

Sonar by Day welcomes two of the leading lights on the current Spanish scene. Madrid-based Henry Saizwill premiere a new live show in which he will play songs from his latest album on the Natura Sonoris label with a wide range of acoustic instruments. And Galician Belén Vidal, aka BFlecha, will do the same with some of the many gems on “Beta”, an album that forges a new path for synth pop and electronic R&B sung in Spanish.