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               Summer is fast approaching, which also means, for music lovers young and old, that the 2016 festival season is looming too. A dilemma for many UK citizens is choosing which festival out of the seemingly infinite number to attend.  I’ve picked out 5 much-loved festivals and hopefully can inform you of the ups and the downs of this summer’s musical madness.

GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL

               Often seen as the holy grail of British festivals, the Glastonbury Festival, in Somerset, is into its 47th year of welcoming festival-goers to its green pastures.  Inaugurated in 1970, Glastonbury is a five-day event in which some of the world’s biggest music stars come to play.  In 2015, a mammoth 135,000 went to see the likes of Florence + The Machine, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and The Who, and it appears that this year will be no different.

               2016 sees some of this years’ most successful musicians come south, namely Coldplay, Muse, Adele, ELO and many others.  Coldplay will bring a magnetic following to Glastonbury, on the back of winning Best British Group at the Brit Awards and that incredible performance alongside Beyoncé and Bruno Mars during the Super Bowl half-time show.  Their show at Glastonbury will be inevitably fantastic, and I would definitely recommend heading to the Pyramid Stage to see the Sunday night headliners.  Muse have also often been referred to as the one of the greatest live performers and they will most certainly get the audience bouncing.  Adele has had another cracking year, with her massive single ‘Hello’ and album ‘25’ sweeping the world’s charts.   Her beautiful voice will attract one of the biggest crowds of the week as the Saturday headliner.  Other ‘ones to watch’ are the legends ELO; Fatboy Slim will most certainly get Glastonbury bouncing with his electronic beats; and Stormzy will be met by a large crowd of adolescents for sure.

                Glastonbury tickets cost £228 and the event takes place from June 22, 2016 – June 26, 2016.  The ‘sheer size of Glastonbury will blow you away’, according to my avid music loving uncle.  His one tip is: camp in a high field if it rains, as nobody wants to be sleeping in a wet tent!

READING AND LEEDS FESTIVALS

                The Reading and Leeds Festivals are similarly renowned music events and are very popular with boys and girls having just finished their GCSEs and A Levels.  Their atmospheres are electric and always produce a range of performing artists. They are pair of festivals that take place simultaneously over the bank holiday weekend in August.  Reading’s inaugural festival was in 1971, with Leeds starting up in 1999.

                Despite not being Reading/Leeds’ greatest line up in their rich 45-year history of festivals, there are still a wealth of impressive acts and bands. The young grime (a form of rap music influenced by UK garage, characterized by machine-like sounds) following will come from all parts to see the likes of Boy Betta Know, however I would most recommend headliners Red Hot Chilli Peppers, now 33 years old, and Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, who won’t leave a dry eye in Reading or Leeds with their track ‘Many of Horror’.

                To camp at Reading for the weekend it will cost £213, and it is the same price in Leeds.  The festivals last from August 26 - August 28, 2016.  For the older festival fans, be wary that it is packed with school leavers, making for a very young crowd.  It is also a very small festival site, despite the star-studded line up.  Also, there is a single day option, making it accessible to those on a tight budget, or those with time restrictions.

T IN THE PARK

                T in the Park is a major Scottish festival that has been going strong since 1994.  It is named after its main sponsor, the brewing company Tennents.  It has, once more, another big-name line up this year.

                This summer welcomes the aforementioned Red Hot Chilli Peppers to headline the third and final day.  Also, The Stone Roses are one of the biggest bands to perform at the festival, soon after announcing that they will be releasing their first album since 2002. They will be inevitably awesome, and the atmosphere among the Scots will be buzzing.  Other big names that might interest you are Bastille, The 1975, James Bay, Jake Bugg and the Kaiser Chiefs.

                Camping the full weekend at T in the Park will cost £205, from Thursday 7 July 2016 - Sun 10 July 2016.  Some of the drawbacks of the festival include its expected inaccessibility (being in Scotland) and the weather doesn’t have the best of reputations.  However, the line up is reliably impressive and the crowd is always enthusiastic.

V FESTIVAL

                Finally, V Fest is a festival held in Chelmsford in the penultimate weekend of August, sponsored by Virgin.  The first festival was held in 1996, and it is fast becoming a very popular music event.

                This year brings Rihanna and Justin Beiber to V Festival, two of the most successful modern music stars.  Other acts performing are Sia, Bastille, Kaiser Chiefs, Little Mix, Jess Glynne and Rita Ora.

Its popularity soared in its infancy for showing a wealth of Britpop bands, but over the years it has slowly become more and more ‘poppier’.  In short, if you are a classic rock fan or are fond of your guitars, I would probably give it a miss.  On the contrary, if you are a massive supporter of contemporary music (music your little sister tends to like), this is the one for you, especially if you are young and starting to dabble in the festival scene.  Camping for the weekend will cost £189 from Saturday 20th August to the 21st.

                Whichever one you choose, let’s hope the weather stays fine and your festival experience is a memorable one.

Patrick Ardill, Hampton School