The MUSE festival guide

Whether you’re a festival virgin or hardened rave junkie, Estella Adeyeri, Isaac Hewlings and Laura Hulley help you find the right festival this summer


Not sure what to do with your summer? Got a couple of hundred quid? Well find the wellington boots, your tent and head out to one of Nouse’s top picks.

1 The origins of Beach Break Live sounds like the stuff of student urban legend: student founders Celia Norowzian and Ian Forshew pooled their loans to create a new festival just for students, on the coast of Cornwall. Two years on from its humble beginnings, Beach Break Live has been featured on Dragon’s Den and expanded its capacity to 10,000.

The Main Stage features chart-toppers Dizzee Rascal, Noisettes, The Zutons, Ladyhawke and the Mystery Jets, and the main dance marquee will be hosting Chase & Status, Scratch Perverts, DJ Yoda and Caspa & Rusko.

‘The Quarry’ stage is a naturally occurring rock quarry with underground (literally) drum & bass, techno and electro acts, while the ‘Club Tropicana’ stage showcases upcoming talent, whilst the new ‘Chai Wallah’ tent has an eclectic range of genre-defying artists.

Other venues on site include a Moustache Bar and events such as the Mighty Cornish Games (including the ‘Granny Grand Prix’, ‘Who ate all the Cornish Delicacies?’ and more), a dance-off, a silent disco – all of this against the beautiful beach setting of the festival. Running from June 16th-19th with scores of bands and random events to keep you entertained, as well as a reasonable price tag of £84 for the four days, Beach Break could be the perfect alternative to the bigger festivals.

2 If you like your dance, and you like it hard, then Creamfields held in Daresbury, Chesire, is the festival you’ve been looking for. There is little chance of you finding such acts as Tiesto, Mylo, Paul Van Dyk, Pete Tong, Erol Alkan, Basement Jaxx, David Guetta, 2manydjs and Dizzee Rascal, all in the same place anywhere else in Britain this summer.

Ten years of classic dance heritage is packed into forty eight hours of wide eyed, dance fuelled mayhem.
For those on a budget, Creamfields is considerably cheaper than the ‘mainstream music’ festivals, with early bird weekend camping tickets going for just £100.

3 Global Gathering Located at Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon, Global is one for those who like their dance music, but don’t count 70’s Swedish electronica amongst their passions. The acts are world renowned, unpretentious, and distinctly enjoyable.

As ubiquitous as they are fun, the line up includes Fedde Le Grande, Paul Van Dyk and Drum & Bass gatecrashers, Pendulum. However, despite all these club-floor filler, there is the odd act for the music geek in you, such as the Dutch breakbeat turned breakcore Dj Noisia or electro sweetheart, Erol Alkan.

The live stage also looks pretty lively, with Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Frankmusic and The Whip all vying to keep you entertained, should the Djs give you a moment to spare.

Tickets cost £115, but that includes camping and parking. If you’re feeling flush, (a gentleman/woman entertains during a recession, I’m told) a VIP ticket is a princely £175 but gives you access to the delightful Ibiza Angels, who’s purpose in life are to massage you back to full vigour after a day and night’s worth of boogieing.

4 Taking place between the 12th & 14th June 2009, and held, somewhat surprisingly considering the name, on the Isle of Wight (don’t worry Jersey’s the one with the child abuse), the Isle of Wight Festival promises one of the most diverse line-ups of the British Festival scene.

Sadly it died post-Manson and Monterey in 1970 yet Christ-like it was revived post-milennium and has since played hosted to the Muse, Coldplay and David Bowie.

This year’s offering has no less prestigious a headliner, Mr. Neil Young Esq. But if you like all these new fangled bands I suppose Stereophonics, Razorlight (read shite), and probably the greatest band of the 80’s, the Pixies are playing.

For all you baggy trousered ‘ravers’ they’ve booked the Prodigy, Basement Jaxx and Pendulum. For the skinny jeaned among you, get moody and mopey in the summer sun to Maxïmo Park and White Lies.

Off the beaten track of the main stage there’s a treasure trove of audio delights to be had. If by any chance you’re having a hen party mid-June head to the Friday line-up at the Big Top – they’ve only gone and got Banana bleedin’ rama to play!

Alesha Dixon off ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ is also playing so expect large amounts of screaming 30 something women. In stark contrast to the pink and fluffy Friday line-up, the last day at the Big Top is the big seller for me.

And so you’ve got it all – indie, rave, goth, pop, punk, and folk – all in one festival. Tickets are priced at £120 for an adult camper.

Further Afield

EXIT: This festival, taking place near Novi Sad in Serbia, may not initially sound like the most inspiring of events. Admittedly, Serbia is probably known to most people as the home of Milosevic and chums, but don’t write it off just yet. Exit was born out of local resentment towards the aforementioned crook’s designs for militant nationalism, and so is well rooted in the anti-establishment sentiment that we associate with the ever-famous Woodstock. It lies in the shadow of the deeply un-communist bloc architecture of Petrovaradin Fortress, which probably beats a few fields in Somerset.

In terms of music, this year sees the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen alongside Korn and The Prodigy. Exit tends towards either the ‘mainstream’, or to the dance-oriented. In fact, one the undoubted feathers in Exit’s cap must be the fact that the dance stage attracts anyone from international uber-cool like James Zabiela (2007) or Eric Prydz to house godfathers, Green Velvet of ‘Lala Land’ fame.

The ticket price is pretty reasonable at £72 for 4 days, with a camping pass costing an extra £15. Given the almost certain sunshine, this price represents a great deal.

SZIGET:pronounced ‘see-get’, this Hungarian music festival runs from the 12th–17th of August, can cater for up to 80,000 festival goers and sees some massive acts including, Placebo, Lily Allen, Bloc Party, Fatboy Slim, Primal Scream, and many more.
The largest venues are the Main Stage, World Music Stage and a new tent

showcasing electronic music, while other tents have everything from hard rock to Romani music. There are many other arts events, such as nightly performances by the Catalan Street Circus and art exhibitions.
Whilst playing host to international acts and fans from across the globe, this festival also holds a great opportunity to experience the Hungarian culture in those ‘between band’ moments. There is a stage devoted specifically to Hungarian acts, and the new ‘Hungaricum Village’ with traditional cuisine, craftwork and artwork on offer. Sziget can’t be faulted for value for money – a camping ticket secures access to the site from the 10th–17th of

August for just €180 (roughly £160). Additional expenses aren’t as dear as their British counterparts either – you can grab yourself a pint for just €1.50 at Sziget. So why settle for another rainy British festival?

HELLFEST: Of late, metal on British shores been poorly served by the festival circuit. The Download festival has usurped Monsters of Rock at Donington, metal’s spiritual home, and replaced the greats with such headliners as Lostprophets and The Offspring – hardly the rock juggernauts of yore.

Thus it is essential for metalheads to make a seasonal migration to Europe to enjoy the best festivals. Set in the South of Paris, between 19th-21st June, Hellfest is the most accessible and righteous metal festival on the continent. The headliners are a special mix: Friday sees both Black Sabbath and Mötley Crüe play, Saturday Marilyn Manson and Machine Head, and on Sunday Manowar.

Official Secrets Act Q&A

Official Secrets Act are an indie-pop outfit from North London in the vein of Bloc Party and the Futureheads. They are becoming increasingly renowned for their clever lyrics and co-ordinated dress sense, and remain a favourite of the nation’s musical press. Led by frontman Thomas Charge Burke, they are playing Beach Break Live, Glastonbury and Rockness this summer. The band, currently touring with Art Brut around Europe, tells MUSE about their festival experiences.

What are your favourite memories of playing at a festival?

We just played Stortford festival this weekend. It was a small independent festival run by local people to promote the local music scene, very DIY and very cool, and they asked us to come down and headline the main stage on the saturday night after we’d done Live at Leeds that afternoon. So we finished our Live @ Leeds performance in the main room at the cockpit, jumped into the Van, battered down the motorway to Stortford, leaving a trail of glitter and dreams behind us, drank a pint of real ale under the waning evening sun, then walked on stage to hundreds of mental kids moshing their hearts out and singing along, while Mario our tour manager tried in vain to stop stage invasions.

The crowd started out by requesting songs (“PLAY MAINSTREAM”, “PLAY SELL SELL SELL” etc) But by the end were concentrating on specific instruments “PLAY THE FRENCH HORN”, “PLAY THE CASIO AGAIN”. It all culminated with some girl stealing Alex’s microphone to sing backing vocals on Be My Baby, and Tom crowd surfing to the back of the Tent. It was a perfect end to the first evening of summer.

What’s the best festival performance you’ve seen?

The four of us were smuggled into Leeds 2007 by some very kind people. It was the first time the 4 of us had been out together after playing all summer in our Manchester rehearsal space squat.
I think somewhere between Kings Of Leon laying waste to the main stage, and drinking straight bourbon from the bottle while Arcade Fire wailed their hearts out, we realised what OSA was going to be about. Heart, soul, passion and getting drunk on hopes, fears, and alcohol with your friends.

Are there any particular items to bring to a festival that you cant do without? you can’t do without?

Wet Wipes. Do the essentials, put on a crisp white T-shrit, smear a line of your favourite eye shadow across your cheek and face the world.

Have you had any nightmare festival experiences?

Not mine, but at the first Reading I ever went to (Weezer at Reading 01, perfection!) my best friend got food poisoning on a massive level and was dehydrating rather dangerously in his tent. His girlfriend was an absolute hero and carried him to the station and home. It wasn’t the same festival fun without him.

What can we expect from your performance at Beach Break Live?

We’ve been taking our horizon scanning, escapist sound everywhere we could over these last few months but we haven’t done it by the seaside yet. We say we’re a heart and soul band. We try and move brains and feet, and we leave a little bit of ourselves on the stage every night I think.
We wrote our album Understanding Electricity, in the summer sitting in the garden at Alex and Mike’s house, but then we recorded it during the heavy onset of autumn. We still trying to figure out if it’s a summer or winter sounding album. Maybe we’ll try and find out at Beach Break Live. Have some kind of straw poll.
However we might just abandon this plan and march everyone down to the beach for a big swim along sing along. I don’t know. It will be something special though I promise.

What would be your perfect soundtrack to a summer night on the beach?

– The Stranglers, ‘Peaches’
– Weezer, ‘Surf Wax America’
– REM, ‘Nightswimming’
– Beach Boys, ‘Surfin’ Safari’
– All Saints, ‘Pure Shores’



  1. Looks like the formatting for the web broke this article a bit. I’d guess the text:

    “Global Gathering Located at Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon, Global is one for those who like their dance music, but don’t count 70’s Swedish electronica amongst their passions. The acts are world renowned, unpretentious, and distinctly enjoyable.”

    is supposed to fall under item number 3? :-)

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  2. Sziget is one of the best festivals. There are a lot of really good bands and the price is quite low, not to mention other costs in Hungary. And the weather… well hot summer almost guaranteed.

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  3. Agreed, these are all good festivals. However, you have overlooked the hottest festival this summer, winner of “best new festival” last year…Bestival! The acts include;

    Massive Attack / Kraftwerk / Elbow / MGMT / Seasick Steve / Klaxons / Bat For Lashes / Lily Allen / Soulwax / Doves / 2manydjs / Florence and The Machine / Fujiya & Miyagi / dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip / La Roux / Tinchy Stryder / Frankmusik / Filthy Dukes / Rusko / Metronomy / Natty / DJ Yoda / Fake Blood / Caspa

    Bestival also has cheaper tickets for students and lots of fancy dress. This year’s theme is ‘Outer Space’! …need I say any more?

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