The fun thing about putting together this article, beyond the giddy joy I would be flush with every time I caught a new and unexpected line up of musical greatness, is the fact that people in Kuwait, whether locals or expats, are uniquely global in scope. I have written these before with the limited idea of what to do in the US or maybe Europe; but the fact is, as I type this, my many and disparate friends are packing their bags to head in every which direction from our small little nook of the world. So, with that in mind, I literally scoured the earth…from my desk (WHERE’S MY CONCERT BUDGET BOSSMAN?), to bring you the best of the best of this summers music festivals, arranged in order by date—as a dare—so that you might plan accordingly. Now go fourth and get, I mean be-merry!
With all of the festivals that happen in the UK it would be a very acceptable excuse to have been too busy at the others to even know that this year marks their 20th anniversary. This year, however, forego the overcrowded and done-to-death Leeds and Glastonbury Festivals for the experience of what those ones used to be: a truly great and diverse musical line-up, before all the hipsters get in (might be a tad late on that last part), that still has enough space for your tent! Just an hour drive northeast from Glasgow, and even less from Edinburgh, and you will be mixing it up in the beautiful grey haze of a Scottish summer. Highlights of the line-up include: Mumford and Sons, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Rhianna, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Script, and truly way too many to name here. Check out: www.tinthepark.com for complete line-up.
This 3-day beach festival, located a short half an hour from Lisbon’s city center, was created in 1994, and originally was geared just to rock and metal fans. With an increasingly diverse line-up that includes electronic artists as well as Hip Hop stars, they are clearly branching out. With a normal expectation of at least 3 stages of good music, on the beach, you can’t go wrong. Highlights of the line-up include: Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Johnny Marr, Miguel, Queens of the Stoneage, and Carl Craig.
I know what you are thinking—don’t let the name fool you. Though it is one of the oldest music festivals in the US, and is located at Fort Adams State Park, it has in recent years willingly strayed from the strictly folk title. That said, you are not likely to find hip-hop or electronica. Highlights of the line-up include: Beck, Amanda Palmer, Andrew bird, Beth Orton, Feist, Old Crowe Medicine show, and if you have never heard of him…the amazing show that is New Orleans own– Trombone Shorty.
If you don’t want to travel as far, this may be the one for you. Additionally, since it takes place throughout the month, with good shows most nights of the week, this means that although you wont likely see all the acts, you will save yourself from the annoying habit of your two favorite bands playing at the same time. Highlights of the line-up include: Cee-lo Green, Pet Shop Boys, Lana Del Rey and Scorpion, you might find just what you are looking for here. Honorable Mention- Baalbeck Festival—August 9th-30th—Baalbeck City, Lebanon- This international festival is billed as the oldest music festival in the Middle East. With a stellar line up of both regional and worldwide talent that includes Marcel Khalifé and his Oude, not to mention American icon Marianne Faithful, both of which can be seen at the steps of the Bacchus temple, this has all the makings of an unforgettable event.
This winner of the 2011 best European Music Festival has a great reputation for an awesome multi-cultural experience. Roughly 400,000 fans packed onto a small island in central Budapest have all the makings of a life-changing event. With extras that include a Ferris wheel, full circus, exhibitions and live theatre, you may get dizzy with options. Highlights of the line-up include: Blur, Regina Spektor, Bad Religion, David Guetta, and Dizzee Rascal.
This is a bit of a newcomer to the Festivals show, having launched approximately 4 years ago. That said, if you have never been to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in the middle of summer, this is quite possibly one of the most beautiful locations for an outdoor shindig. With extras that include a Japanese tea garden, a conservatory of flowers, as well as the best of local craft breweries and local Napa wineries, they definitely do it up like only California can. Highlights of the line-up include: Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Jurrasic 5 , Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, and more movie stars than you can shake a stick at (you really shouldn’t shake a stick at them-they are quite jumpy lately).
Paris in August for the Rock en Seine festival seems like about the most awesome way you could possibly spend a summer. Another festival that delicately balances a few cater-to-the-masses bands with a whole bunch of indie-street-cred stuffed in between, this one looks like the side stage might be the sweet spot to see some of the up-and-comers before they get too big. Oh and on top of all that, you will be in Paris, and not having to come up with excuses as to why you wouldn’t rather be waiting in line at the Louvre, which is great in itself. Highlights of the line-up include: Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Nine Inch Nails, and little known underdog Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Phoenix, and System of A Down.
Located at Fort Punta Christo, and now in its 6th year, this festival is now recognized as “Europe’s largest bass music and sound system culture festival”—all of which is basically code for Hip Hop and Electronica. While many bands mentioned at these other festivals can be generally be found at different ones (requiring that you mix and match your experience ‘til your hearts content no doubt), there is enough one-of-a-kind and unique-cannot find them anywhere else on the festival circuit acts here, to warrant a special trip. They also have awesome boat parties as part of the festival most nights—how can you not like a party on the Adriatic to end a long day? Highlights of the line-up include: Mos Def, Jay Electornica, The Pharcyde, Talib Kwali, Goldie, Bonobo, and Pharoe Monch.
If you make it to a summer music festival, make sure to post a pic or two to the bazaar Facebook page. We would love to see how you all got on—or didn’t.