Amongst the many plus points that have drawn us back again and again to Rockaway Beach is the timing.  No better time than the first weekend of January to kick-start the gig year. But as well as that it seems to set something of  a template for the year, helping us start to shape our plans for the new music landscape and present and early opportunity to schedule in bands we want to place on the 2023 agenda.

The line-up is traditionally a mix of ‘legend’ bands (this year OMD, Peter Hook & The Light, The Undertones, The Beat) interspersed with a range of new acts to discover or revisit. Two stand-outs already in the diary for Spring gigs: Personal Trainer & Hamish Hawk


Mutations is a wonderful festival. it’s a key output of the Brighton music scene, with past headliners including White Denim, Lightning Bolt and other off the wall bands not often seen together. Its had various forms over the years, with 2022 featuring several of the organisers’ favourite venues, many fairly intimate, and a huge number of their current favourite bands - over 80! Big thanks to organisers including Relevant Records, Bella Union, Brixton Windmill and many others.

Cranborne Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which lies far from the beaten track on the Wiltshire/ Dorset border, the Chase surrounds the Larmer Tree Gardens which were created as a Victorian pleasure ground. Today the gardens are in demand as a wedding venue with black and white half-timbered buildings, peacocks and parakeets, lawns and laurel hedges carefully manicured providing the perfect background to many couple's nuptials. Since 2006 Simon Taffe (co-founder and curator) has used the Larmer Tree Gardens as the venue for End of the Road festival (EotR) interweaving the festival into the architecture and environs of the gardens. 

The End Of The Road was my fourth and final festival of the summer. It is a real music lovers festival. Having spent the previous weekend at Shambala, this came as a relief. You can put glitter on your face and fairy lights on your tent, but the main reason people come to the End Of The Road is to hear quality music. Instagrammers, whose main objective is to look to be having fun, are mercifully absent, and although people take photos or the odd short video as a memento, bands are not playing to a sea of phones. 

This is what we were dreaming about for the last two years – to come out and play Cambridge Folk Festival”, said Suzanne Vega during her headline set on Friday.  Indeed – how great it was to be back at Cherry Hinton Hall for four days of simply the best music. 

An excellent one-day festival in indoor venues in Hackney. We managed to secure our tickets at £25 each so excellent for money in terms of sampling current music, both up-and-coming and established. The five venues are within a 10 minute walk, with biggest acts at Hackney Church. Formerly known at St John’s Church, it has a had a significant facelift with widespread reparations to the interior décor and is clearly now principally a venue rather than a place of worship. Sadly they haven’t got the acoustics right yet. Headline act Black Country, New Road had a morning sound-check which allowed the balance to be ok for their set, but there were consistent comments about poor sound quality for most acts during the day.

Because I was volunteering, I didn't get to see as many acts as I normally would, but still managed to catch quite a lot. And a surprise appearance by Bruce!! Who would have thought...... I spent all of last week at Glastonbury Festival and have not quite come down yet. My 19th time at the festival, and the first time volunteering. This had many plusses. The downside is missing stuff. I was particularly sorry to miss Primal Scream and Jack White. Still, I got to see loads, including The Boss himself!

How exciting, finally going to a festival again. And a bit scary! After several postponements and a revised UK based lineup, its Friday and I’m here; negative test results shown to friendly security, I walk in to lovely Moseley Park, and everything looks the same! Well, perhaps a bit quieter, less stalls, but everyone is very considerate, plenty of space for social distancing, lots of hand gel, and it feels safe enough. Many artists express the feelings I guess we all have, of how special it is to be back. And, spoiler alert, I test negative each day since. I was pretty careful though, no late night partying this time.

Despite a reduced size and a last minute change to one of the venues Visions still delivered an incredibly diverse set of bands across a wide range of genres. Most of the punters still look like they could be in Black Midi or BCNR (some of them probably are), Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club is a suitably shabby chic new venue (despite the ten minute walk in the pouring rain to get there) and, while the spectre of Covid still lingered (temperature being taken before entry, some mask wearing in the more crowded areas) generally the vibe was as good as always.

“The best weekend Ever”. It’s not often you start a review with a quote like that, but Latitude delivered that and more and showed the way forward after the last 16 months. 40,000 were in attendance and it was exhilarating and liberating. There were a few adjustments around the site with wider walkways and access and the tents opened up to allow for more circulation of air otherwise not too different.

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