Welcome back to the Black Mountains of Wales for the 2019 edition of The Green Man festival, and a lush green welcome it is. The audience age range at this year’s festival must have been roughly 2 months to 80 years old. The festival has grown into a true family event for all ages, from the fabulous kids area for the tiny tots, to Enstien’s Garden with excitement for people young and old. There is comedy, there are films and talks and obviously, there is the unbelievably excellent line up of music which gets into full swing on the Thursday evening.

Our second visit to this festival in Northern Spain, on a mountainside just outside the beautiful city of Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain. Camping is available but with the festival running til the early hours we opt for the Festicket package which includes a city-centre hotel, well served by local busses and the courtesy festival bus back to the city in the wee hours.

There is nowhere I would rather be the first weekend of August than in Cambridge for the annual folk festival. It is the music lover’s dream: A great line-up with always some surprises and discoveries, easy to get around, very comfortable camping and best of all - people come for the music. They take photos, some dress up, but they do not come for the social media opportunities. They buy CDs, compare notes with others and best of all - they do not talk through the music! Richard Thompson had the biggest crowd of the weekend and when he was on Stage One you could hear a pin drop.

“The greatest show on Earth”, the Glastonbury Free Press said over the weekend. This was my 18th Glastonbury (been going since 1994 but missed some) and I would have to agree with that headline. What makes Glastonbury special is the beautiful location, the fact that it is essentially on a farm and the sheer size of it. There are all these different areas, small stages, installations.

Caitlin Moran wrote in the Times that sometimes a cheer goes up among the tents and everyone joins in.

The Great Escape is now a fixture in the Brighton early summer calendar. Multi venues across three days with band playing multiple sets, all having the feel of an industry showcase as well as a good gig-fest. Extending across a wide expanse of Brighton there is most definitely a need for planning. I was able only to attend one day (and had to depart mid evening) but managed to catch a number of great bands.

An inexpensive all-dayer (£17 per ticket) featuring 18 bands. As the name suggests, mostly noisy guitar outfits so a full on day. The event was held in Southsea’s Wedgewood Rooms, with acts alternating between the main venue and the smaller ‘Edge Of The Wedge’ which was curated by local DJ and event organisers Calamity Cratediggers.

The festival carried Pistonhead Beer as a named sponsor but sadly this was only available to the bands. The Wedge is however a good supporter of punters looking for interesting beer and had some good bitters on from polypins in both bars. We had to come up for air a couple of times during the day but still managed to catch 15 bands.

Sandra and I booked ourselves into a Monday departure from Austin which allowed us to enjoy the city and some favourite spots on Sunday. After a lunch at Craft Pride (which featured some fantastic beer and local jazz bands) we set off to roam a quieter downtown area We happened upon yet another Craft Beer bar and couldn't help but drop by to check it out and have a rather great conversation with the young guys that ran the bar.

It's the end of the official festival, it's a glorious day, and our plan is to combine 2 of our favourite things...craft beer bars and lovely bands 'Music For Listeners' (a radio program based in San Antonio, Texas) is putting on an afternoon of music at Lazarus Brewing Co..and we wander over to catch a couple of bands...and drink some fine craft ale. Lovely venue for bands, a large outside stage, plenty of room..easily a new favourite in Austin.

After another good rest and a full buffet breakfast (essential for a successful day!) Sandra and I are off for what annually turns out to be our favourite day party. Current.org is a public community radio station based in Minnesota and never fails to attract a wide assortment of talented performers to their showcase and this year, we tick off a lot of boxes by joining them at the Barracuda

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