9 European Music Festivals to Experience in 2018

From discovering the best new bands, to dancing poolside or on a beach, partying in a fortress or experiencing the surreal midnight sun, wallet friendly European hotspots and amazing city festivals to combine with long weekends of culture, gastronomic delights and sightseeing, there’s something for every music lover.

Eurosonic Music Festival in NetherlandsESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) in Netherlands
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) is the place to discover and access the very best emerging European music talent. The event has a proven track record of helping to break new acts on the international music scene, with now well-known names such as Aurora, Blossoms, Dua Lipa, Hozier, Mø, Lost Frequencies, Royal Blood, and the XX having played at ESNS as up and coming talents.

The B2B side of the event attracts more than 4,000 entertainment industry professionals from all sections of the industry, including representatives of over 400 European festivals, managers, agents, publishers, labels, tech companies and event suppliers. Each year, ESNS stages more than 350 showcases all over the city of Groningen as well as offering a comprehensive and focused conference programme of around 150 panels and keynotes. The event also hosts multiple networking opportunities, annual meetings by music associations, pitch sessions, dinners, parties and dedicated areas featuring the very latest thinking and technical innovation in the music, media, interactive and production industries. At this year’s edition Denmark will be the ESNS focus country.

ESNS takes place from 17 – 20 January 2018.

Sea Star festival in CroatiaSea Star festival in Croatia
After an electric premiere edition Sea Star festival is set to return to beautiful Stella Maris laguna in Umag on May 25th and 26th, while the opening day will take place on May 24th and the after party on Sunday, May 27th. Put together by the team behind EXIT Festival, the first Sea Star festival closed with rapturous applause, firmly proving that it is worthy of the nomination for ‘Best European New Festival’ at the prestigious European Festival Awards. Stunning location, 6+ stages, more than 70 world renowned artists and outstanding productions make this festival a must see. Umag is a beautiful Istrian town, rich in Mediterranean spirit, historical baroque and renaissance buildings and narrow streets that lead to numerous authentic restaurants making it the perfect place to chill out after dancing all night.

Sea Star Festival takes place from 24 – 27 May 2018.

Secret Solstice in IcelandSecret Solstice in Iceland
Celebrating their fifth anniversary, 2018 promises to be Secret Solstice’s biggest edition yet! Taking place in Reykjavik from 21-24 June during the surreal summer solstice (meaning the sun never sets), the festival has firmly established itself on the bucket list for every true festival-geek wanting to be a part of this truly unique experience. Secret Solstice is Iceland’s premiere music festival, each year welcoming an eclectic lineup to the naturally breathtaking country for main stage sets, glacier raves, midnight sun boat parties and secret lagoon blowouts. By combining a high caliber of music talent alongside side events that showcase the incredible Icelandic landscape, Secret Solstice have created a not-to-be-missed festival experience in one of the most breathtaking corners of the world.

Secret Solstice takes place from 21-24 June 2018.

EXIT Festival in SerbiaEXIT Festival in Serbia
Just a short ride away from the Serbian capital Belgrade, the magical Petrovaradin Fortress set high on the banks of the river Danube in Novi Sad provides the perfect setting for the EXIT Festival. Started as a student protest in 2000 fighting for political change and freedom, EXIT continues to spread positive vibes, promoting change and positive education, supporting many community and humanitarian missions, while throwing a damn good party. The award winning festival has something for music lovers of all genres with a diverse mix of artists performing on numerous stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels. Also renowned for it’s amazing atmosphere and energy the Dance Arena champions the who’s who in the electronic music world set in the awe inspiring moat of the fortress, it’s that special moment when the sun’s rays shine over the fortress walls and your favourite tune is belting through the soundsystem and into your soul!. EXIT. Where hedonism meets activism.

Exit Festival takes place from 12-15 July 2018.

Positivus Festival in LatviaPositivus Festival in Latvia
Taking place in the picturesque coastal town of Salacgriva in Latvia, Positivus is the largest music and arts festival in the Baltic States, transporting chart-topping headliners, underground emerging talent and exciting art and dance stages to their unspoiled atmospheric coastal setting amid stunning woodland. Festival goers can dip their toes in the baltic sea or take in the atmosphere in a hammock beneath the trees while enjoying a rich diversity of international chart toppers and underground emerging talent in this idyllic holiday location. Positivus also offers art and dance stages giving festival goers a variety of activities and stalls selling locally made designer clothing and accessories, giving festival goers plenty to see and do during the 3 day event. Positivus was also recognised in the 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 European Festival Awards being a finalist in the ‘Best Medium Sized Festival’ category and also for ‘Best Festival Line Up’ in 2013.

Positivus takes place from 20 – 22 July 2018.

OFF Festival in PolandOFF Festival in Poland
A truly unique boutique music festival, OFF Festival takes place in ‘Three Lake Valley’, Katowice – a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia. OFF is a way of life, one that flies in the face of current trends and stays true to itself, and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time. OFF Festival’s reputation is growing year on year driven by the festivals forward–thinking, eclectic music policy and it’s bold and eclectic lineups. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF festival has inspiring music in abundance and the organisers and crowd have one serious finger on the pulse when it comes to music. As well as discovering new music festival goers can also discover the city of Katowice with plenty of art and culture to soak up and a huge choice of bars and restaurants to delve into.

OFF Festival takes place from 3-5 August 2018.

Lowlands Festival in NetherlandsLowlands Festival in Netherlands
Get ready for A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise 2018. Taking place next to the Walib Fairgrounds, Biddinghuizen Lowlands features some of the biggest headliners, impressive installations including the new iconic armadillo food and drink area, plus unique covers for every stage so you can enjoy all the music rain or shine. Just over an hours drive from Amsterdam you can easily mix your festival trip with a few days city break in Amsterdam. As well as all the amazing artists, Lowlands has so many others things to do from enjoying a soak in the hot tubs, to taking part in science experiments! The festival has also been shortlisted for several awards in the European Festival Awards including ‘Best Major Festival’ and ‘Best Line Up’, Tickets include festival entry, camping + shuttle bus from / to railway station or Dronten Lelystad. Save the date now!

Lowlands Festival takes place from 17 – 19 August 2018.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in NetherlandsAmsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in Netherlands
Amsterdam’s thriving club and nightlife scene is well documented and for 5 days a year the city becomes the centre of the electronic music world as over 395,000 visitors flock to the city for the Amsterdam Dance Event. The ultimate music festival for fans of electronic music features more than 2,500 international artists performing in more than 100 of Amsterdam’s most celebrated venues including Melkweg, Gashouder, Claire, Shelter, Paradiso, the NDSM Docklands and De School. In addition to the extensive line-up of the ADE Festival, the ADE Conference also offers music enthusiasts and artists a large and varied day program featuring a wealth of dance music-related seminars, artist Q&A’s exhibitions, films, documentaries, DJ showcases and gear master classes, taking place across Amsterdam’s five main districts, utilising historical locations and unique venues across the city.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) takes place from 17-21 October 2018.

Sea Dance Festival in MontenegroSea Dance Festival in Montenegro
Award winning Sea Dance festival gathers party people from all over the world to dance together on the beautiful beach in Budva, Montenegro. Voted best European medium-sized festival, Sea Dance has proven much within just three short years. With a stunning beach location and impressive line up of more than 100 hottest international music stars. Sea Dance is one of Europe’s hottest summer destinations. Recently listed by Skyscanner as the number 1 cheapest holiday destination this country is well worth checking out. Montenegro has towering mountains perfect for hiking and mountain biking as well as some of the world’s best unspoiled beaches on the Adriatic Sea. And if that wasn’t enough Montenegro featured in the James Bond Film Casino Royale and if it’s good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for us!

Sea Dance Festival dates will be announced soon.

Offerings by Typhoon – the first great album of 2018

Offerings by TyphoonIn these days of instant downloads, individual tracks and a call for shallow, instantly forgettable and meaningless pop songs, the first great album release of 2018 sits very uncomfortably among the previous statements.

Offerings is the fourth studio album from indie / alt rock band Typhoon from Portland, Oregon.

Typhoon fall somewhere between indie rock and alt folk, if I had to try and categorise their music. There are elements of Arcade Fire in their heaviest and more intense moment.  Folk acoustic and traditional rock instrumentation and arrangements, married with the beautiful duel vocals on songs like Empiricist are mesmerising and truly wonderful.

Offerings follows a central figure, allegedly a fictional man who is losing his memory, and in turn, his sense of self.  Singer / songwriter Kyle Morton may well be the latest in a long and distinguished line of tortured souls.

From the very first listen, I was drawn into the album.  This is not background music.  Offerings is deep and richly layered content.  Beautifully crafted, it is without doubt best enjoyed as a complete album.  Following the story from start to end; and in doing so, this is indeed a concept album.

“I’ve always been preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory. I wanted to explore the questions: What does a person become if they don’t know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?”

In losing a certain level of control, Kyle Morton was motivated in part by his situation, as well as drawing inspiration from literature, art, and the films of David Lynch  and Christopher Nolan’s Memento, he was immersed in during the writing of this record.

Offerings is divided into four movements (Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning, and Afterparty) to represent the mental phases the main character goes through where he first realizes that something is wrong, then struggles through the chaos of his situation, and finally moves into acceptance before succumbing to his dreadful fate.

Rorschach looks at the age of information and collapse of meaning. While on Empiricist, Morten explains:  there’s a regression to the womb where the character is back in his bed at home, talking about his range of motion shrinking. This first movement ends with ‘Algernon’ [taken from one of Morton’s favourite short stories, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes], where he’s constantly awakening and in an interrogation with a woman-who the listener should know is his wife, but he doesn’t.”

Offerings is a truly great album.

Typhoon UK Live Dates:

27/02 – THE LEXINGTON – LONDON, UK (2nd date added)

Offerings by Typhoon is released via Roll Call Records on 12th January on vinyl, CD and MP3 formats. The limited edition Blood-Red vinyl (1,000) have already sold out.

Bradford – Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly

Bradford - Thirty Years Of Shouting QuietlyBradfordShouting Quietly – a lost indie pop classic gets remastered, extended & re-released.

Thirty years ago a young northern skinhead band named Bradford were very publically handed the baton by Morrissey to blaze a trail in English Indie music after the demise of The Smiths. Well renowned British producer Stephen Street immediately signed the band to his new label and the scene was set for the band, who in the words of Sounds music magazine in May 1988 were:

“Five guys with strict haircuts, their image conjures up short, sharp, shocks but their music tells a different story, creating intelligent and distinctive, finely crafted Pop songs. There are no jangly jaunts through well trodden paths of predictability, the image, the name, the songs, the intelligence and the voice see to that”

Alas, two things destroyed their chances: The collapse of Rough Trade, sending Stephen Street’s new label into ruin and the massive all covering avalanche in music that became known as ‘Madchester’. Bradford’s brand of sharp English Indie Pop was suddenly completely out of step with the times.

Thirty years later and the thawed avalanche reveals a distinctly northern row of chimney stacks belonging to the album ‘Shouting Quietly’ and it’s time for a reappraisal. Here it is in its original form containing 3 top twenty Indie singles, one being the renowned  classic ‘Skin Storm’ which Morrissey also recorded and released in 1991.

This newly remastered re-release also contains ‘In Liverpool’, (Record Mirror’s ‘Single of the Week’) their first single for Stephen Street’s Foundation label, B sides, the eponymous ‘French’ mini album and some never before released material. Totalling 30 tracks on gatefold double CD containing extensive liner notes by Fergal Kinney (Louder Than War), lyrics and photos.

Stephen Street labelled the album a “lost classic” when approached about it in 2017 and it is with the greatest pleasure that A Turnatable Friend Records bring to you this gem of an album once more.

Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly‘ by Bradford will be released on February 9th via A Turntable Friend Records.

The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

The Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks 40 years ago (28th October 1977 to be exact), Never Mind The Bollocks was originally released.  It was and is, one of the most influential albums of all-time; and a true classic album in every sense of the word.

Between the Spring of 1976 and the end of 1977 The Sex Pistols changed rock n roll, music, and with the help of Jamie Reid and Vivienne Westwood, fashion and design forever.

Malcolm McLaren and graphic artist Jamie Reid were influenced by the Anarcho-Situationist movement in the 1960s, blurring art with politics. McLaren had previously unsuccessfully managed glam rock proto-punk band, the New York Dolls.  Returning to London he was able to learn from the experience and recycle some of the ideas for The Sex Pistols. Steve Jones also took a lead from the New York Dolls by aping Johnny Thunders every rock guitar stance; and with young clothes designer Vivienne Westwood and a Kings Road shop that attracted young outsiders from all over London and beyond, a scene began to blossom.

Anarchy In The UK was The Sex Pistols’ debut single released on 26 November 1976. But it was a week later when they appeared as a last minute replacement for record label buddies Queen on ITV’s 6pm Today Show that their meteoric rise to fame began.  Even before releasing the mighty singles Pretty Vacant and the crowning glory of God Save The Queen amidst the Queen’s Jubilee that shocked and excited young and old in equal measures, did they find themselves on top of the world. In fact, for everything that has followed, it’s quite easy to forget just how shocked, scared and horrified people were of them, and just how exciting it was to see The Sex Pistols perform on Top Of The Pops amongst the Bee Gees, Leo Sayer, David soul and Rod Stewart in spandex leggings!

A group of spotty, rude working class kids took on everything and everyone that was stale and moribund; and in the process changed the world.

The album cover was provocative. Not only was the use of the word ‘bollocks’ deemed too offensive for shop window promotional displays, the track list wasn’t so much written as produced in the style of a kidnappers’ ransom note. The design was perfect, as was the loud and abrasively powerful, solid production by Chris Thomas.

Times have changed.  Music, fashion and politics have moved on.  The Sex Pistols and Never Mind The Bollocks are no longer threatening, shocking or particularly offensive.  But their only studio album still sounds as powerful today as it did 40 years ago.  That is the sign of a true classic album; and in my opinion, Never Mind The Bollocks  is one of the best debut albums of all-time.  The Sex Pistols didn’t start punk.  They were the final rock n roll encore.

This latest edition of Never Mind The Bollocks includes the 2012 digitally re-mastered original studio album on Disc 1.  While Disc 2 is a compilation of 1977 b-sides, demos and studio out-takes recorded with Dave Goodman and Chris Thomas.

Disc 3 includes 2 live shows from Trondheim, StudentersamfuNdet in Norway and Happy House in Stockholm, Sweden. While the performances aren’t note perfect, they distil the myth that Johnny Rotten couldn’t sing in tune and the Sex Pistols couldn’t play a note.  Apart from Sid Vicious, that is!

Disc 4 is a DVD featuring 1977 footage of the band playing live from the infamous boat party held on the River Thames, the Winter Gardens, Penzance in Cornwall and the Happy House, Stockholm, Sweden show.  The box set comes with a 48-page hardback book with narrative from music journalist Pat Gilbert plus rare photos from Bob Gruen, Barry Plummer, John Tiberi and Dave Wainwright.

The Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) will be released in various formats including 4 Disc box set on 1st December.

Disc 1 – Never Mind The Bollocks

1. Holidays In The Sun
2. Bodies
3. No Feelings
4. Liar
5. God Save The Queen
6. Problems
7. Seventeen
8. Anarchy In The UK
9. Submission
10. Pretty Vacant
11. New York
12. EMI

Disc 2 – Studio Rarities / Dave Goodman Demos / Chris Thomas Demos & Outtakes

Studio Rarities & B Sides:
1. No Feeling (B side of withdrawn God Save The Queen On A&M Records)
2. Did You No Wrong (B side of God Save The Queen)
3. No Fun (B side of Pretty Vacant)
4. Satellite (B side of Holidays In The Sun)
Dave Goodman Demos:
5. New York (Demo Version)
6. Unlimited Edition (Demo Version of EMI)
7. Liar (Demo Version)
8. Pretty Vacant (Demo Version)
9. Problems (Demo Version)
10. No Future (Demo Version of God Save The Queen)
Chris Thomas Demos & Outtakes:
11. Did You No Wrong (Alternative Vocal)
12. Seventeen (Alternative Vocal)
13. Satellite (Rough Mix)
14. Submission (Rough Mix)
15. Holidays In The Sun (Rough Mix)
16. EMI (Rough Mix)
17. Seventeen (Rough Mix)
18. Holidays In The Sun (Alternative Mix)
19. Body (Demo Version Of Bodies)
20. Submission (Alternative Mix)
21. Belsen Was A Gas (Demo Version)

Disc 3 – 1977 Live

Trondheim – StudentersamfuNdet – Norway:
1. Anarchy In The UK
2. I Wanna Be Me
3. Seventeen
4. New York
5. EMI
6. No Fun
7. No Feelings
8. Problems
9. God Save The Queen
Happy House – Stockholm – Sweden:
10. Anarchy In The UK
11. I Wanna Be Me
12. Seventeen
13. New York
14. EMI
15. Submission
16. No Feelings
17. Problems
18. God Save The Queen
19. Pretty Vacant
20. No Fun

Disc 4 – DVD 1977 footage

Riverboat Party – River Thames London 1977:
1. Pretty Vacant
2. Anarchy In The UK
3. Problems
Happy House Stockholm – Sweden 1977:
4. Anarchy In The UK
5. I Wanna Be Me
6 Seventeen
7. New York
8. Problems
9. No Fun
Winter Gardens – Penzance – Cornwall – 1977:
10. Problems
11. No Fun
12. Anarchy In The UK
Promo Videos:
13. Good Save The Queen
14. Pretty Vacant
15. Holidays In The Sun
Radio 1 Rock On Interview:
16. John And Sid Interview

The Vietnam War – Soundtrack & Original Score

The Vietnam War - Soundtrack & Original ScoreThe Vietnam War is a new 10-part series currently showing on the BBC and available on the BBC iPlayer. This engrossing, disturbing documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tells the epic story of the Vietnam War includes graphic footage of the war, tape recordings between the various U.S. presidents and their advisors, and first-hand accountants from nearly 80 witnesses including Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

Two soundtracks have been released. The Soundtrack is a great collection of accompanying hits from the era. In total, 38 of the 120 songs used in the documentary are collected in what could be seen as nothing more than a great excuse to compile such heavyweights as The Beatles; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Rolling Stones; Bob Dylan; Jimi Hendrix; Buffalo Springfield; Simon & Garfunkel; Janis Joplin; The Temptations; Barry McGuire; The Byrds; Otis Redding; The Animals; Santana; Marvin Gaye; Nina Simone; The Temptations; Booker T. and the M.G.s; Pete Seeger and more. The other release is the Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

“The Vietnam War era produced some of the greatest, most impactful music ever recorded. We are grateful that so many artists from the period wanted to be part of the film and now the soundtrack. We were equally fortunate to have had the tremendous honour to work with Trent and Atticus. Their original score beautifully complements the music from the time. And we are absolutely thrilled that our audiences will now have the chance to own the original score along with some of the best music from the film,” said Ken Burns and Lynn Novick in a joint statement.

The Vietnam War Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross features over 90 minutes of new, original music on 2CD and 3LP. The original score music is poignant, beautiful, chilling, and at times chaotic and dark. As such, it is a perfect accompaniment for a film about the war that couldn’t be won. “This is war. This is what we do” one marine recounts he was told on questioning the barbaric behaviour of his compatriots.

Over the course of several years, Burns, Novick and producer Sarah Botstein shared with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross raw interview footage and scenes from rough cuts of the film, and suggested a range of feelings they hoped the music would evoke — rage, courage, sadness, fear, chaos, loss, love, sacrifice, aggression, loneliness, anxiety. They also provided a collection of sound effects from the era for the composers to work with.

Ten years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward, produced by Sarah Botstein, Novick and Burns, it includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe; photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

“The sheer scale of the project combined with the magnitude of the subject matter was initially daunting for us, but the commitment, care and reverence they displayed made the experience deeply satisfying on many levels,” said Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross in a joint statement.

The Vietnam War Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

CD 1

1. Less Likely
2. Four Enclosed Walls
3. The Forever Rain
4. Remnants
5. Other Ways To Get To The Same Place
6. Torn Polaroid
7. Before Dawn
8. What Comes Back
9. Justified Response
10. Counting Ticks

CD 2

1. A World Away
2. The Right Things
3. Passing The Point
4. Strangers In Lockstep
5. Before And After Faith
6. The Same Dream
7. Haunted

The Vietnam War Soundtrack

CD 1

2. HELLO VIETNAM – Johnnie Wright
3. IT’S MY LIFE – The Animals
6. MASTERS OF WAR – The Staple Singers
7. MUSTANG SALLY – Wilson Pickett
9. BACKLASH BLUES – Nina Simone
10. THE SOUND OF SILENCE – Simon & Garfunkel
12. AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG – The Temptations
13. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
14. I’M A MAN – The Spencer Davis Group
15. GREEN ONIONS – Booker T and The MG’s
16. STRANGE BREW – Cream
17. WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY (Live) – Pete Seeger
18. A WHITER SHADE OF PALE – Procol Harum
19. THE LORD IS IN THIS PLACE – Fairport Convention
20. FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – Buffalo Springfield

CD 2

2. PIECE OF MY HEART – Big Brother & The Holding Company
3. MAGIC CARPET RIDE – Steppenwolf
4. THE LETTER – The Box Tops
5. BAD MOON RISING – Creedence Clearwater Revival
7. TELL THE TRUTH – Otis Redding
8. OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE – Merle Haggard
10. PSYCHEDELIC SHACK – The Temptations
11. OHIO – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
12. GET TOGETHER – The Youngbloods
13. GIMME SHELTER – The Rolling Stones
14. TAIL DRAGGER – Link Wray
16. WHAT’S GOING ON – Marvin Gaye
17. BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER – Simon & Garfunkel
18. LET IT BE – The Beatles