Friday, 13 July 2012

Summer Sundae Weekender 2012


This years Summer Sundae will take place on the 17th, 18th and 19th of August. Located within the grounds of De Montfort Hall and Victoria Park in Leicester, Summer Sundae has always been a family friendly music festival for all ages. One of the many reasons that make SSW unique is it's location. Very close to Leicester's city centre and just a short walk from Leicester train station, De Montfort Hall is the ideal place for a three day music bonanza. I'm here to guide you through the music, the prices, the stages and the schedules. 

If you're staying for the weekend, you should of arrived on Thursday. Those day trippers / local resident will make their way to the grounds early - mid day. You wouldn't want to miss anything would you? Another reason that makes SSW unique is the ability to bring in your own food and drink. I'm talking about alcohol. At some of the UK's biggest and best festivals, you can bring alcohol with you, but you're unable to bring it into the 'arena', it must stay in the campsite. Well not at SSW, a big money saver. In terms of food, if you're camping and can bring/cook food, go ahead and do it. Festival food prices are extremely inflated. You're better eating home made food or cooked food wrapped up for the three day duration. I'm not calling the SSW food bad, it's merely expensive. From experience, SSW has a diverse range of fast food from all over the world.

Friday's music isn't as clinical as the following two days. For this, prices are actually £10 cheaper at £35, compared to Saturday and Sundays £45 each day ticket prices (Weekend is £105). Please refer to this SSW poster. As you can see, Friday isn't the best of line-up's. SSW has four music stages and one comedy/poetry tent. The main arena (see photo) is referred to as Lion's Den. De Montfort Hall (Inside stage / Drowned In Sound) is Crocodile's Lagoon and so on. The reason why the stages have these names is because of SSW's yearly theme, this year it's Safari. OK onto the music.

Friday. Clock Opera will be an exciting introduction to the main stage. Guy Connelly has expanded Clock Opera from a one man band to a fully fledged synth pop/electronic band. There isn't a lot of music on Friday that draws me in, so Clock Opera will be the first of several artists I'll personally see on Friday. Local musician Uncle Frank is up next, but instead of seeing somebody I could catch down the local pub, I'll opt for something more desirable and head into the unknown. By the way, if you're into gags, happy faces and funk-like music, go ahead and see Uncle Frank, they're not that bad actually. So after Clock Opera, I will make my way over to see what Last.fm can produce. Last year they gave quite an incredible line-up with Shonen Knife, 2:54, Dry The River and Born Ruffians. This years Last.fm bill isn't as spectacular or well known, but be sure to check some out some of these bands, you may remember them for the distant future. Without a time schedule it's hard to pick and choose so early on, but I'm guessing Tiny Ruins, Clean Bandit, Y Niwl and Bastille will be four artists to check out on the last.fm rising/musician stage buried in SSW's corner. Make sure you're back inside for Leicester locals Kyte, who will no doubt play an extensive and loud indie pop filled set. They're a very prospectful local electronic / indie rock band. Francois and The Atlas Mountains are a band not to be missed back at the last.fm stage, with Willy Mason performing his folk straight after. Willy Mason's set will clash with Ghoestpoet and Asian Dub Foundation. So do some research on the three, and go for your desired choice. I'll find myself travelling between all three.

After making your tri-clash decision, it should be nighttime. That means it's the final few artists before the stages become void. The next clash sees Patrick Wolf inside De Montfort Hall, Sway on the last.fm stage and Katy B on the main stage. Folk, hip-hop or dubstep-ish. That's your choice for tonight. Katy B will be an enjoyable set I can assure you of that. Critically acclaimed and well sought after since last years debut album 'On A Mission'. Sway will deliver a beat heavy hip-hop/dance set. Patrick Wolf will be playing an acoustic set inside. This is where I'll be stationed on Friday night. His indie folk/baroque pop isn't the most popular, but it's calming, enjoyable and fitting for De Montfort Hall. Friday is certainly the day to explore and check out new artists. The two clashes will cause a stir between audiences, and the weather may effect your decision. Opting for the dry inside stages rather than braving the wet Katy B and Asian Dub Foundation sets. Whatever your choice may be, make sure you get there on time and find a reasonable place to enjoy some music. You don't want to be trapped at the back between all three stages at night.

Saturday. There's several big name artists not to be missed on Saturday. If you want to see the most promising and best of artists, you'll have to stage hop throughout this day. In short, the artists i'll be seeing are Speech Debelle, Jonathan Richmann, tUnE-yArDs, Death In Vegas, Adam Ant and Ocean Colour Scene. Lucy Rose will clash with Dog Is Dead, so that will be one for the misses to pick. Goodnight Lenin will also be another interesting folk artist to see. I wouldn't like to miss the Brooklyn indie pop band Friends either. So that's Saturday's highlights highlighted for you. of course, most of these will clash. The biggest clash will be tUnE-yArDs and Adam Ant. I'm sure they'd like to see each other perform as much as I'd like to see them both perform. Unfortunately, I'll be missing part of Adam Ant's set for tUnE-yArDs. The reason being, I saw Adam Any at Latitude last year and tUnE-yArDs just cannot be missed. Ocean Colour Scene will clash with Death In Vegas. Again, this is a decision which must be made by the misses, otherwise I'll be standing between both stages pointlessly weighing up who to see and who to miss. 

Saturday's peerless set will be by Jonathan Richmann, without a doubt. The Modern Lovers released one album, recorded in 1972. These tracks were years ahead of their time, and Jonathan Richmann will play his laddish punk rock/new wave to an audience of 40 year olds + me. Hopefully Jonathan Richmann and Friends don't overlap for too long, because it's exciting to have such a huge performer in my average city. Make your decisions wisely for Saturday. If you have time, check out Jake Bugg and These Furrows, two upcoming artists who are currently making a breakthrough.

Sunday. It's always sad waking up on your last day, so make the most of it. This is where the nerd in me takes over. Sunday's line-up is mouthwatering, it really is. For £45 or a third of your weekend ticket, the amount of brilliant artists you ll be exposed to on this day is insane. I will be positioning myself inside De Montfort Hall for Drowned In Sound's takeover. Maybeshewill and Her Name Is Calla will be the first bands to perform. Both of which are local Leicester bands. Both of which are post-rock oriented. This is one to be enjoyed in total silence. Enjoy you're Sunday morning everyone who's into post-rock; If you're not, and I'm guessing most of you aren't... Then check out the last.fm/musician stage for some lovely rarities. If that's not your fancy, then the poetry tent is a nice place to be on a Sunday morning. I'd advise you to stay away from the main arena in the morning. Cowboy isn't an artists to play the main stage and Jersey Budd just isn't a credible performing artist in my opinion. I've seen him live for free in a pub, don't waste your festival on his plain and simple 'singer-songwriter' set. Again, if that's your thing, then check him out.

After seeing two of my favourite local bands, I'll probably take a stroll over to the last.fm/musician stage once again to see what they've got going on. Make sure you're back for Japandroids inside De Montfort Hall. I don't care who they're clashing with, make sure youre in the audience for Japandroids. It will quite literally be a blast. If you can't handle the noise, then tough... Japandroids released one of 2012's best albums so far with Celebration Rock. The Twilight Sad will settle down the mood after Japandroids. They released their third album this year with a fascinating direction into electronic music, whilst keeping their alternative rock/shoegaze features. They're another band not to be missed. When The Twilight Sad finish their set, you'll have three choices once again. It's especially hard for me to pick this time round. Down in SSW's corner they'll be folk-punk legend Billy Bragg performing Woody Guthrie songs. Inside Django Django will be playing tracks from their critically acclaimed self titled album, up their with Japandroids for album of the year so far. Reverend & The Makers will begin their set during Django Django's. By experience, I'd rather stick with Billy Bragg or Django Django and leave Reverend & The Makers out of the equation. If you're a R&TM fan, go ahead. 

After Django Django / Billy Bragg, make your way to the main stage for Public Image Limited. You may not be old enough to remember PiL, but you won't forget John Lydon's voice. That set will be long, energetic, heavy and worldly. If PiL isn't your thing, then head over to see Stay+. they're an exciting electronic outfit that can put on a visual show. Your options are limited, I know, but make the most of the final night. Closing the festival (if my sources are correct) will be Gold Panda. If you're not familiar with Gold Panda, now is the time to get familiar. I saw him live in 2011 midday, everybody was dancing. Gold Panda seems to have this ability to put his audience in a trance. He may debut new material, he may not. His electronic/dance rhythms will go down a storm after Public Image Limited. I hope PiL and Gold Panda don't overlap, it will make for an enthralling close to this years Summer Sundae Weekender.

Summer Sundae is one of the most eclectic festivals out there. Latitude and Bestival are obviously more expensive, bigger and better. If you enjoy good music, like to explore new music and want a moderately cheap festival, then Summer Sundae is for you. Just remember to bring your own alcohol, download the time schedules and enjoy yourself.
Prices can be found here.
~Eddie

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