Category: Festivals

Two weeks before his last appearance at Latitude Festival, Ed Harcourt decided to go sober. When he says sober, he means not only no drink, no drugs and no smokes but no coffee, no meat, no sugar, no carbs and no fun. It was this last appearance at the much loved festival that reminded him why sobriety isn’t such a good idea in the world of rock and roll. "I lost about a stone and a half in two weeks and looked like Zoolander by the end of it, then… I went a bit crazy" Says Ed. "That last show at Latitude was the final straw…"

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Six years on, the quintessential master of melancholy returns to the sleepy town of Southwold appearing in the film and music tent on 18th July.

Ahead of this, WJ caught up with him in a backstreet pub in Dartmouth Park to find out exactly what he’s been up to. A lot it would seem. The year started with a new album Back In To The Woods followed by the perplexing pastiche Wizard Bounce. "People thought this was a real album…" Chuckles Ed, who announced the release of his '7th studio album' ahead of a more legitimate follow up to BITTW earlier in the year. Ed slipped in Wizard Bounce as a free download with the description:

The dam of change is leaking and I’ve cut off my thumbs. It is time to put a stop to all this mopey, floppy haired balladry & throw the piano overboard & man up. Wizard Bounce is my lucky 7th album and you are witnessing a well kindled rebirth, a sexy dissidence, a timely scream in the face of pompous boredom & meandering mewling.

Followed by the statement:

Sorry that I treated you like a fool. An April fool. Most of you cottoned-on, but in case you’re one of those people hassling my manager to buy a copy on vinyl, let me be clear: Wizard Bounce is NOT my seventh album, it was a (somewhat elaborate) hoax.

If you find this confusing, check out the album itself.

Naturally, in between his own albums Harcourt is not one to sit and thumb twiddle, so in recent weeks has set up camp in the leafy sprawl of Richmond to write and record with long time friend Sophie Ellis Bextor. “It’s been a fantastic experience, she’s just got one of those voices that works with anything” says Ed who is producing and co-writing the record. “Loads of our friends are involved, it’s going to be folky and really interesting… not what you’d expect.”

Expect the unexpected seems to be Ed’s mantra, a co pro deal with Greggs should really be on the cards with the amount of pies this enterprising troubadour seems to have his dexterous fingers firmly planted in… Nestled between a bevy of albums he’s even found time to make and market his own Beer. “A really good friend of mine runs The Stag [swish boozer in NW3] and my local, The Parlor. We’re going to be launching it soon". He’s taken to Facebook to ask fans for their name suggestions, fancy having go? Click here!

Perhaps next time you see Ed Harcourt live, the merch stand will be conveniently positioned next to the bar… unless that is, you’re a punter at his up and coming tour which takes in numerous stops at churches around the country. Do they have bars? “I just think my music sounds better in churches” says Ed. “It’s a geeky sonic thing and as an Atheist I’m looking forward to it!” One would have thought the red tape of the cloth might scupper any chances of access to the delights of the UK’s regional churches to which Ed replies “I just let my manager Sean deal with that, he’s amazing.” Before the release of In To The Woods, Ed joined forces with Drowned in Sound founder Sean Adams. “I played him the record just to see what he thought and he turned round and said well why don’t I manage you? I was so surprised but was like Yeah OK!”.

With a jam packed summer ahead Ed Harcourt seems constantly on the brink of over loading, but in his own words is an extremist. With six and a half critically acclaimed studio albums under is belt, Ed is one of the UK’s diamonds in the rough, a song writer whose ability to tug heartstrings, elate minds and intrigue with stories puts him gracefully at the top of his pile. Now however it seems he’s stood at the foot of more than one.

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To see what all this babble is about, head to the serene fields of Latitude Festival from 18th – 21st July, with their painted sheep bleeting to the likes of Bloc Party, Foals, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Alt-J and of course Ed Harcourt.

WJ: "So Ed, what can fans expect from your set at Latitude?"

EH: [Takes a deep breath] "A brutal, brooding, dusky musky, sanguine, serpentine clusterfuck of clarity."

What more could you want?

As we leave the pub, Ed stops to pat a small fluffy creature that’s been pacing the room throughout our stay. “Dogs and Children” he says. “They can sense evil”.

Words: Ben Welling

hopfarmIt was due to be its 6th year but it seems times might be changing for the Hop Farm Festival as it has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

Festival organise Vince Power said that he made the decision to cancel this years festival with 'great sadness'.

This year in the line up were The Horrors, Dinosaur Jr, Jimmy Cliff, The Cribs and Edwyn Collins but that wasn't enough of a draw to get the ticket buyers in.

Power said: "We have worked very hard to try to make it work but it has proved too much a of mountain to climb and despite fighting hard, circumstances are such that based on poor ticket sales and the forecast selling rate substantial losses would be made."

With people pinching the pennies more and more it's likely that the only festivals not noticing a tough ticket selling climate will be the large ones though we hope that Hop Farm doesn't start a trend as we love our small independent festivals.

One of the UK's most loved festivals of the season has announced a bevy of the best bands and artists to its already jam-packed line up. With an alternative tinged bill that will get festivalgoers really going, Latitude is set to shake up the sleepy town of Southwold in Suffolk once again. Joining the likes of Bloc Party, Kraftwerk and Foals will be Brooklynites Grizzly Bear, Stornoway, José González fronted indie-folk trio Junip, plus Duane Eddy and Canadian art-popers Austra.

Also featuring some of the best comedians you could possibly see in a field, Sean Lock, Andrew Maxwell and Adam Buxton will be offering something for those after a laugh. With one of the most visually stunning Festival sites we've ever been to, Latitude really does have something for everyone (unless you're really into staying indoors). Among the magnificent names performing are a host UK exclusive performances from the likes of  Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeah's and Japandroids so make sure you don't miss the chance to see some of our favourite bands in this scenic and surreal setting. You wont be disappointed!

Tickets for Latitude are available now from the credit card line: 0871 231 0821 or from the festival site or seetickets.

BW

One of the biggest events on the musical calendar is the always-epic, ever-awesome Reading & Leeds Festival weekend from 23-25 August. This 'now educated' pen pusher first attended the south's installment at the tender age of 15 and was given a deserving clip round the ear for cowering at the blistering volume of RATM during their (almost) final UK appearance. Since then the award winning Festivals have seen some of the best guitar wielding icons the world has to offer grace its many many many stages and 2013 is set to be no different. Here's a few reason we think you might not want to miss this one...

If you like live bands, this Festival is for you. There's 68 and counting. If you like Rock and Roll music, this Festival is for you. Both Reading and Leeds feature the likes of Biffy Clyro, Greenday, Twin Atlantic and Deftones. If you like listening to the radio, this Festival is also for you as The Lumineers are playing. If you love showing off the cool contents of your iPod on the tube to people you know are looking, you guessed it... this Festival is for you as Surfer Blood, Haim and Foals are all stopping by. If you believe music was better around the time of the millennium, New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio are playing. If you love the invincible, chirpy, bleached blonde, coffee making, indie prince Tim Burgess.... If you aren't put off by Pete Wentz' 'thin emo-action-man' body, if you've ever stood by a speaker at a Magnetic Man gig and felt the bass play your intestine like a xylophone, if you think the French do quirky better - Pheonix are there, if you've heard of the Mercury Prize, don't miss Alt-J, if you thought The Smiths were made by Johnny Marr, he's there and finally, if you've ever thought 'Oh for god sake, OK! OK! I'll go and see Kate Nash' and enjoyed it. This.One Is.For.You.

Tickets are available now, check out the full line up here and see how many of the bands playing have touched your life in a way that evoke some pretty strange memories.... Why not tweet @OfficialRandL and tell them what springs to mind!

BW

phone-in-toiletHow many of us have lost our phones at festivals raise your hands? A fair few I bet. What if we told you that there was a new festival phone that lasted just 35 days and cost only £13.

The new piece of tech called a dumbphone. The Nokia 105 (it's proper name) can go a whole 35 days without charging which as every festival goer knows - is a godsend. This phone is also a pretty good idea for anyone that has large nights out, is generally accident prone or likes some sort of adventure sports.

Apparently (and we're not sure if this is true but it does kind of makes sense) people are beginning to buy (at risk of sounding like a parent trying to use the latest slag) Drunkphones. Phones that are cheap and just for taking on nights out so that the pain of dropping a smart phone down the loo is avoided.

The Standard put together a list of goos festival phone options already out until the dumbphone is released :

Samsung E1200 for £14.95

SIM-free. Features include colour screen, hands free speakerphone/10 hours’ talk time/800 hours standby time/alarm and stopwatch. Argos.co.uk

Huawei G3512 for £17.21

Dual-SIM means it can take both contract and PAYG SIM cards simultaneously, so no worries about poor connectivity to any one network — a problem if you’re in a field in the middle of nowhere. prepaymania.co.uk

Tesco VM565 for £9

Handset only. Network: Virgin. Includes headphones, built-in FM radio/MP3 player/integrated camera/six hours of talk time /450 hours of standby time/GPRS, email capabilities and expandable memory slot. tesco.com

Alcatel One Touch 232 for £17.99

Includes £10 top up. Network: O2. FM radio/torch/games/ supports hands free/four hours’ talk time /200 hours standby. O2.com

Nokia 100 for £17.95

Includes £10 top-up. Network: Vodafone or O2. Basic 2G phone with texts, comes with torch and FM radio/840 hours standby.  carphonewarehouse.co.uk