Line ups get confirmed

If Christmas is traditionally the season when holiday firms start filling our TV screens with ads for sun-drenched beaches, then the wet and windy early months of the year are festival announcement time.

There are so many fests of varying sizes now that you need to come up with something special to attract the nation’s attention. The Camden Crawl, for example, is one of the earlier events on the calendar, and while already a bit different, being a multi-venue city effort, it has an extra ace up its sleeve. Once again this year they’ve been running Indie Idle, which allows one unsigned outfit a prime spot on one of the festival’s many stages, after a good, hard vetting by a panel of tastemakers. No big-money record contract but, hey, that may be no bad thing. For every Leona Lewis there’s a Michelle McManus…

One particularly good gimmick in these belt-tightening times is freeness, particularly freeness somewhere classy. TignesFest takes place in mid-April in one of France’s classiest ski resorts and features a useful line-up of up-and-coming artists under the curation of Radio One’s Kissy Sell-Out, Xfm’s Eddy Temple-Morris and Kiss FM’s Loose Cannons (no between-stations beef? Shame). Plus you can have a really stylish ski, which is one-up on Glasto.

As mentioned in the Rob da Bank interview elsewhere on these pages, the family-friendly Camp Bestival is back after last year’s award-winning debut, and should be a blast again; not least because Rob has hired the marvellous PJ Harvey as his headliner. Just watch those toddlers bop if she cranks out some of that catchy stuff off her first album. “Hey kids, this is called ‘Sheena Na Gig!’ Everybody dance now!”

If you’d rather keep your kid/adult festival-going separate, then Victoria Park’s annual double-header might be your bag. Saturday August 1st is the musically-mature Field Day, featuring the splendidly morbid likes of Mogwai and Malcolm Middleton. Then on Sunday it’s the Day-glo, fizzy-powered Underage Festival, with Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds, Florence And The Machine, Micachu and, er, Glasvegas (who’ve presumably been booked as some form of musical Ritalin).

And to finish, the now traditional curtain-closer to the small-festival season. The folky End Of The Road festival has lined up an intriguing headliner in Steve Earle, the hard-living alt-country maverick who’s perhaps best known recently for a recurring role in widely-aggrandised greatest-show-of-all-time The Wire. Expect a few shouts of random dialogue from die-hards throughout that set - “Sheeeee-it!” in particular. Wire freaks will understand.

Follow Clash: