This article appeared originally on THUMP UK.
Look everyone, summer's here. The streets smell of tar and bin juice! Your back is sweaty! Everybody's eating lunch in the car-park! Modjo's "Lady" is playing on repeat! And how else do you know summer is here? Well, because you're about to go to lots of festivals, aren't you? You lucky sod.
Festival Season—unlike Hunting Season or Ski Seasons, which were cynically cooked up by capitalists to sell rifles and raclette respectively—is the most important time of the year. Those special few months when we set aside our differences and commune over class-A drugs, trays of cheesy chips, and the distant rattle of Joy Orbison sets we're presumably missing. The working week might continue to drizzle on monotonously, but who gives a flying Floating Points? Come Friday, you'll be watching that Easyjet check-in confirmation slide out the office printer, your mind frenzied with dreams of ancient forts and swimming shorts, the taste of that first airport pint merely moments away from your excitable gut.
It used to be that festivals were for rock bands. This was back in the days of "real music" when musicians like Van Morrison and Acker Bilk played actual instruments, instead of just pressing play like modern "DJs". Sadly, those days are over and now electronic music festivals make up a significant portion of the market, with selectors even coming to dominate the bills of many so-called traditional festivals. Typical of a music industry that seemingly values infinite quantity over quality, there are more of these wonderful events every year, creating a Festival Season with more to choose from than ever before. And you—you with your fun lovin' spirit and massive disposable income—will be going to all of them, won't you? I can see you now, pounding clouds of dust into the air during your third Fatima Yamaha set of that month, the wild Sunday 3AM madness in your eyes as you try not to doze off in the half an hour before Robert Hood starts.
In anticipation of this, and the other addled-adventures you are going to have, let's sit for a while and consider: Every Type of Dance Music Festival You'll Go To This Summer. Yes? Okay then.
The Two-Day, Inner-City, Piss-up in a Park One
What luck: you don't have to leave the country for this festival, in fact, you don't even have to leave the city! That's right, the huge park you've been going to once a summer since you moved here—for a dismal afternoon of hummus, blackcurrant cider, and desultory chat about which Buzzfeeder writer makes you laugh the most—will now cost you and your mates £50 a head to get inside. Wicked!
Once you've used all your battery in the queue and finally made it inside, you'll be greeted by a karaoke taco van, a waltzer and DJ sets by every member of Hot Chip scattered across the weekend. The locality will mean that on the second day you get complacent and end up spending your entire day "pre-drinking" at your flat, arriving just in time to catch the end of a headlining Flying Lotus set—a set that is being performed without amplification, in order to avoid noise complaints from the park's surrounding neighbours.
The "Truly Unbelievable Location" One
If only the bleeding, blistered hands and the broken backs of the Bulgarian Empire could have seen into the admittedly very-distant future, and glimpsed upon what the stone turrets and battlements of their medieval fortifications would one day play host to. Look Bojidar, Grozdan, Dragomir and Nikola: it's Adam Beyer and all the boys from the Identification of Music Group! This is what Simeon the Great would have wanted.
The "This is the Next Croatia, Mate" One
Jamie means well, you can tell he really does. He really wants you to enjoy yourself and you believe him when he says he's absolutely buzzing to see what Hot Since 82 does with the system on the second stage. But, and this is a big but, a substantial but here...the Pitcairn Islands aren't quite a suntrap on the Adriatic. In fact, you're freezing cold, have run out of rations—the next scheduled food supply drop is tomorrow afternoon—and the locals, all 45 of them, don't seem as enamoured with Steve Lawler's set as Jamie does. Not to worry, next year's "the next Croatia" is somewhere called Bouvet Island, which already sounds nicer. Must remember to Google when you get home.
The "Relentlessly Innovative" Headsy European One
This weekend, somewhere in the sun-dappled fields of Eastern Europe, lots of people who think they know more about ambient techno music than each other will congregate. Talk of Biosphere and POLE and "early Aphex" and GAS will gather in plumes of Camel Blue smoke above the torn grass and plastic-cup recycling points. So loud will the clamour grow that Call Super's set will eventually be drowned out completely, leaving only the sound of endless conversations about Hiroshi Yoshimura. As the sun sets and disagreements become increasingly heated, the event will descend into violence and riots, before eventually the last man standing is throttled by the straps of his own Lobster Theremin tote bag and silence falls. Only then will the ambient bros will finally achieve the eternal chill vibes they so longed for in life.
The Overproduced, Pyrotechnic, Carl Cox DJing Aboard a Fully Operational Animatronic Turtle One
You and hundreds of thousands of other people standing in a field watching Patrick Topping play wAFF remixes, atop a flotilla that honestly looks like the set from a rock musical adaptation of Pan's Labyrinth. Better save that distress flare for later on. Krewella are DJing from inside a 70-foot recreation of Thomas Hardy's childhood home. Shit's gonna go off!
The Boutique "Best Kept Secret" One
You've finally made it. The one your friends have been bigging up for years. The "best kept secret," and oh yeah baby, does it look good. Good enough to capture approximately 39859854135 times per day on Instagram. There are trees, festoon lights, and even a series of art installations for you to sit cross-legged and space out in front of come sunrise. Fuck, you'll blow through your data in a day, but you've been waiting for this for so long. Go you! The line up is great, obvs, and you're particularly excited to see Four Tet and Daphni who are obvs gonna smash it, and you reckon you'll probably end up at a yurt party where everyone's drinking MD-laced G&Ts. This is going to be the best weekend ever!
But oh, no! It's Saturday night, and after meeting your 632nd University of Manchester student of the night, you've accidentally snorted a key of face glitter and have to be taken to the medical tent. Not so glam, babes!
The Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads, Lads One
Ere we, ere we, ere we fucking go! You and the boys are on one this summer, and Split/Budapest/Amsterdam/Hertfordshire won't be left standing once you've finished with it. Your duffel bag is stuffed full with a pair of tiny swimming shorts and horrendous home-made blend of powders you've trademarked "Creatamine"—for wobbly workouts, chyyyyyz! You have also brought bronzing lotion and six changes of bum-bag. It's quite literally going to be a madness. You're all going to pull so many worldies. You can taste it. No, it definitely won't end up in a grainy video of you, stumbling down the beach in nothing but a snorkel, having just popped a Viagra for banter during a Richy Ahmed set. Said video will definitely not end up being shared by the Lad Bible, and you will definitely not have to relocate to a Pacific atoll.
The Big, Muddy, "Let's Drink 18,000 Pints and Watch Fatboy Slim" One
Unsure of how you got there, you find yourself talking to a bloke called Kenny, with the frame of a bear and the face of a bat. He is wearing a trilby and a red t-shirt which reads E N G L A N D. Each letter is cleverly clipped from the logo of a classic British foodstuff. "Been coming to this festival for...fuck me...twenty years now...crikey...obviously back then I could move about a bit easier but nah always a good laugh...obviously we don't bother with the tent now got a little motorhome thing we rent from Hertz which is good especially for Jackie because she can't be fucked with all the music stuff after a while so this means she can go back and have a kip or whatever…you seen Fatboy before? You have to respect him...you just have to...I've been watching him for...fuck me...twenty years now...you have to respect him...the maestro....he understands what funk music really is...a lot don't understand these days...he's got the funk...the FUNK SOUL BROTHER!"
He has his arm round you now, tightly clasped around your throat, his watch is scratching your chin. Beer laps out the sides of his cup and into your hair. You are tired, so tired. You've run out of battery and the drugs aren't working anymore. He starts jumping, pulling you up into the air with him on every time. The terrain is now are now so thick with mud, every bounce pulls you further from your wellies. You begin to wonder what happened to your friends and why you came to this festival in the first place. You are about to make your excuses to leave, when he starts to sing. Right about now / The funk soul brother / Check it out now / The funk soul brother.
The Very Important Industry One
Yeah I mean, sure, you can come to this if you're just a fan of the music, but you might get a little bored—we've got a lot of very important talks, lectures, panel discussions, symposiums and roundtables to get through before any tunes are played. Topics this year include, "How to Optimise Your Brand for the VR Ecosphere," "We Need to Talk About Water Organs," and "Streaming: Bad or What?" If you go to this, expect to get stuck talking to someone who pitched to FACT once about the "difficulties" dance music writing is going through. They will talk to you at length about writers you either don't know, or don't care about. You will also probably appear in a photo on RMBA's Facebook account and secretly think about making it your profile picture. Oh, and Soichi Terada will play a rapturously received set that neither you or anyone you know actually saw.
The Wibbly, Wobbly, Naughty, Messy, Bassy One
The sort of festival which manages to seamlessly fuse the disciplines of dubstep and circus skills. This weekend is going to be more of a hoot than every trombone you'll hear all weekend put together. You've got your best hareem pants on your bottom-half, your trusted Plain Lazy t-shirt on the top, and your heart is aflutter with the prospect of conversing with part-time actor pretending to be the Mad Hatter, somewhere in the "Wonderland" themed section of the festival complex. Expect breakcore, dub, ragga, hardstep, jungle, jungletek, techstep, raggamuffin, reggae, neurofunk, liquid funk, acid-jazz, deep, drumfunk, swing, electro-swing, electrocrunk, funkstep, sambass, psytrance, dnbnoise, drill 'n' bass, garage and improv comedy.
The Rich People Dancing to House Music One
There ain't no party like a bunch of media executives on £50k a year dancing to a Hunee set party. Step this way for paper fans, rhinestones and eye shadow, champers and really good coke. House is a feeling, and it feels even better when you've been doing Vedic Yoga all morning. And when the house in question is one you own. On Broadway Market. With your architect partner. Who got the money from her very, very wealthy parents.
You will probably go to Field Day.