A 2-day festival conceived and curated by The Decemberists and held in their home back-yard in Missoula, Montana. This is the second time the band have organised such an event and this time round they headlined both nights with the promise of playing their ‘Crane Wife’ album in full. As one of our favourite bands this gave us a good reason to organise a holiday in the North West corner of USA, taking in other music hotbeds Portland and Seattle as well. Accommodation for the festival weekend was a motel in Missoula – the handy courtesy festival shuttle was an iconic yellow American School Bus.

After listening to the entire 1,900 song Spotify SXSW playlist, having scoured social media pages to find band suggestions, looked though pages of party listings and showcase announcements, a plan was in place as well as, a couple of back up ideas as per usual. We fly to Austin really early with very little sleep.  Our intention was to just lounge the first afternoon then start the festival on Monday night but after the early flight and a few pints, we decided to keep awake by going for a bit of a hike to Hotel Vegas and jump into a showcase.

Another wonderful weekend at this superb festival. Enough has been said about the wonders of this event in other reviews - in short it is a staple in the summer calendar for us. The selection of music on offer make for endless difficult choices aside from the plentiful poetry, comedy, literature, film and pop-up activities going on. Our focus is on the bands - these are the ones we enjoyed this weekend.

Last festival of the summer – the End Of The Road. A relatively small festival (boutique, I guess) with four music stages, on a very pretty site – Larmer Tree Gardens. The stages are perfectly placed; you can see and hear well from anywhere; peacocks roam about; the crowd are so well behaved you forget you are at a festival. The food looks great but comes at a price, and there is a huge assortment of drinks available, which even included normal beer this year.

Well here we are, back in Wiltshire for the End of the Road festival. Having only missed the first edition of this festival it’s been interesting to watch it grow from it’s small beginnings to the heights of the Flaming Lips, Sigur ros years to seeing the festival return to a very solid indie and songwriter base, with some alt-rock and psych thrown in for good measure.

 Folk by the Oak is set in the glorious grounds of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire in the grandly titled Queen Elizabeth Oak Field named as allegedly it was whilst sitting under an oak tree in this field that Elizabeth I learnt of her accession to the throne. There are two music stages, a Main Stage and the rather wittily named Acorn Stage (smaller stage, newer bands), along with the usual food and drink outlets and an unusual dance area (think maypoles rather than glowsticks) and a wood turning stall. The whole event obviously has an emphasis on music from a folkie/ World music background.

Well the Black Mountains of Wales provided us with a completely dry festival this year with some amazing music, food and err .. beer. This was a weekend to remember. 

Thursday with base camp established was a sunny afternoon with plenty of activities going on around the site. The festival has a brilliant family feel and the smiles were broad on most of the faces around the site.

Back from the ever wonderful Cambridge Folk Festival. It was my 13th time there and Cambridge remains my favourite festival. A lovely site, a nice size festival, super friendly atmosphere, draught Guinness, clean toilets and best of all – the music.

To my knowledge this is the first ever entirely dry CFF I have been at, and not only was it dry but there was a heatwave on. I did not mind this at all, though it did get incredibly hot at Stage One in the evenings. Tap water was readily available at various points around the site.

Last weekend’s Womad Festival offered a huge variety of music and an equally diverse range of weather: First two days of heatwave, which meant it was too hot to be in a tent after 8 a.m. Then an in-between-day with clouds and some showers and finally gale force winds and heavy rain that came at tents horizontally. I consider myself quite an experienced festival camper yet I have never had my tent flooded before. Apparently the ground was so dry that the rain could not sink in. My stuff wasn’t half as muddy as it sometimes gets, but definitely much wetter.

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