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5 UK festival bills that put Reading & Leeds to shame

Today Festival Republic announced the full line-up for its 2015 Reading & Leeds festivals. Back in the day, there were some pretty amazing moments – think Nirvana ’92 – but the big unveil earlier today left us here at Far Out feeling a little despondent.

However, the good news is that the saturated UK festival market means that there are plenty of other bills out there that not only make the predictability and soullessness of Reading & Leeds look embarrassing, but also do it with far more scarce resources.

So without further ado, here are our picks so far for the 2015 UK festival calendar. A one-stop guide to some lovingly put-together line-ups for anyone pondering where their hard-earned pennies would be better spent.


For those of us who sill love the big festival experience and prefer to catch a couple of huge arena-sized names at the end of the night, Bestival 2015 is shaping up to be cracker.

Away from the Radio 1 fodder and general naffness of the Reading & Leeds bills, a trip to the Isle of Wight is already boasting heavyweights like Tame Impala, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Jurassic 5 and Flying Lotus, but the beauty is really when you look a bit further down the line-up and see gems like Kate Tempest, Four Tet, Fat White Family and Pond.

There’s a healthy dose of chart-botherers for those who are that way inclined, and enough enthralling rock ‘n’ roll to give you tinnitus, proving that there really is no excuse for the kind of tired line-up unveiled by Festival Republic today.

To get a better feel of what beyond the music makes Rob Da Bank’s extravaganza blow Reading & Leeds out of the water, take a look at Far Out’s feature, 10 Things We Learned From Bestival 2014.

End Of The Road

A look down the line-up at this year’s End of the Road looks like a who’s who of Far Out Track of the Day recipients. Beyond headline shows from The War On Drugs, Sufjan Stevens (UK exclusive) and Tame Impala, a truly vibrant and forward thinking line-up has been put together, featuring names such as Girlpool, BC Camplight, Joanna Gruesome, Wand, Ultimate Painting and Happyness.

Taking place only a week later, any readers feeling deterred from getting dragged to Reading & Leeds for the tenth year running will find few more enjoyable alternatives than this.

Field Day

For those who prefer the metropolitan experience, London’s Field Day comes armed with huge names suited to a far more discerning palate than the average Reading & Leeds goer.

Expect headline sets from Ride and Caribou, as well as some extra special one-offs like Patti Smith performing Horses in full and the comeback of Savages. Scroll a bit further down and you will also find delights like Far Out favourites Eagulls, Mac DeMarco and Daniel Avery. Give us that over The Wombats any day – had anyone else just about managed to erase them from memory before the Reading & Leeds line-up?

Green Man

This fantastic retreat within the beauty of the Welsh countryside is a slightly more civilised affair than Reading & Leeds and takes place just a week before, but in terms of the music it certainly comes out on top with a line-up that is vibrant and interesting, but still full of big names.

Headliners St. Vincent and Hot Chip would have been perfect for the second stage at Reading & Leeds – and the former might have gone some way to easing BB6 Music DJ Lauren Laverne’s despair at the lack of female artists – while inclusions like The Fall, Viet Cong, Hookworms and Courtney Barnett mean in our opinion Green Man is the place to be this summer.

Liverpool Psych Fest

Another one that hand crafts its line-up, as opposed to throwing money at whoever has been given a Brit Award. The term psych is banded around so much now that it has come to be something of an umbrella word – a factor that is reflected in Liverpool Psych Fest’s eclectic bill. Another option for people who fancy a comfy couple of nights in the city as opposed to sweaty tents and lukewarm lager.

Despite it having only released the details of a small number of acts thus far, yesterday’s announcement that sonic legends Spiritualized will top the bill within the amazing surroundings of the Camp and Furnace is surely nailed on as being one of the live shows of the year. There was a time when acts like Spiritualized would have been right at home on a Reading & Leeds bill, sadly nowadays they’re inevitably overlooked.

Patrick Davies