So there’s no Glastonbury happening this year: how are we going to cope?
Well, we could go to any one of the other 2,371,293 festivals happening in the UK over the coming months, including the arguably just-as-good-if-not-better-tribute-band-only-version-of-Glasto ‘Glastonbudget’ (I’ve been, was amazing), but according to the BBC, the only way we’ll be able to survive the summer is if they step in to fill the void.
They have extended their annual Big Weekend to become the ‘Biggest Weekend’ (see what they’ve done there) which will take place in not the usual one location, but in four - Belfast’s Titanic Slipways; Coventry’s War Memorial Park; Perth’s Scone Palace and Swansea’s Singleton Park - and across three days, rather than two, on the May bank holiday spanning Friday 25th to Monday 28th.
There’ll be more than 175,000 tickets available to the public, with concerts being hosted by BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, and BBC Radio 6 Music, plus extensive TV coverage across BBC Two and BBC Four - naturally, sets will be available on BBC iPlayer, mobile and online.
Tickets cost just £18 (plus £4.50 booking fee) - which is probably less than a pint in London - and go on sale from Monday 12 February with various priorities for those living in the area. Full details can be found here.
So who’s actually playing then? Well, there’s loads more to be announced, with acts expected to be added all the way up to showtime, but so far Swansea looks to be the flagship location, with pop behemoths Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and everyone’s favourite One Directioner Niall Horan due to play.
Here’s the current lineup, in alphabetical order:
FRIDAY: Beck, Courtney Barnett, The Breeders, Manic Street Preachers, Public Service Broadcasting, Orbital
SATURDAY: Ash, Franz Ferdinand, First Aid Kit, Goldie, Little Dragon, Young Fathers
SUNDAY: Billy Ocean, Jamie Cullum, Paloma Faith, Snow Patrol, UB40 feat. Ali, Astro & Mickey
MONDAY: BBC Concert Orchestra, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, GoGo Penguin, Miloš, Nigel Kennedy
FRIDAY: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Danielle de Niese, Evelyn Glennie, Jamie Cullum, Nigel Kennedy, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra directed by Tommy Smith
SATURDAY: Amy Macdonald, The Beat starring Dave Wakeling, Julie Fowlis, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Shires, Simple Minds
SATURDAY: Craig David, Ed Sheeran, Jess Glynne, Wolf Alice, Years & Years
SUNDAY: J Hus, James Bay, Niall Horan, Taylor Swift
While this all looks very exciting, particularly if you live in Belfast, Perth, Coventry or Swansea, there has been a backlash against the event from some in the industry who say, not unreasonably, that the BBC chucking on a cheap event of this calibre and size will simply mean that a load of people who would otherwise have gone to another festival, who need their custom, now simply won’t bother - either because they’ll be going to this, or will simply be sitting in front of the tellybox to get their festival fix for the summer.
Given that it’s in all artists’ interests to stay in with the BBC, in order to get airplay and other TV coverage, it’s also widely known that the BBC pays very low fees, if at all, thus undercutting other bookers who have to pay full whack. And, of course, acts playing this festival may now not bother with another that they would have considered, all things being equal.
Still. Swifty and Niall doing their thing on the telly? Count me in for that. Book Lionel Richie and I’m sold guys.