Granted, that this was not a title that anyone believed would exist, but here we are. The steady incline into summer was a contradiction of circumstances; following perhaps one of the balmiest springs that has emerged in recent years, the introduction to summer felt like a promising warm-up set with no headline act. With either postponed or cancelled music festivals for the 2020 season both in the UK and abroad, the party atmosphere is waning as hundreds of thousands of dancers anticipated a summer with few to no gatherings to attend.
One thing that has been consistently reassuring, however, are the music releases from some of our favourite artists. It’s a sign of connection, of memories that are soon to be made, and of an optimistic future. We’ve compiled some of the best music festival tracks to throw on; whether it’s dialled into a fancy-dress Zoom party, on your own in your room, planning for the first party back, or at the park with a social-distanced mate, these tracks remain just as uplifting as the knowledge that there is so, so much more to come just round the corner.
The DJs will not stop playing this tune. But you couldn’t care less. Fully aware that this track is going to be all over the Identification Of Music group next Monday, you’re proud of yourself because you knew about this track way before anyone else. Every time it’s dropped you smirk silently as you watch dozens of hands desperately writhing for their phones whilst their friends gape stupendously at each other. Shazam hasn’t picked it up yet, but you’re going to be everyone’s saviour once you - yes, you - quickly reveal the answer for the people. You are the human shazam, and this is your personality trait for the weekend. Embrace it.
Your housemate will not stop playing this tune, and it’s bothering you a bit now because you haven’t had the chance to hear it on a decent sound system. But at the same time, this track is still giving you the fuzzy feelings you first felt when you heard it for the first time, and even on its 100th play, you still find yourself turning up the bass so that it envelopes the entire room.
As the night time teeters towards dawn, you and your friends decide to finally descend onto the warehouse stage at the back of the festival, an ominous, industrial structure populated by thousands of the hardiest dancers in the English countryside. Shimmying through the crowd proves a mean feat at this stage of the night - particularly when the lights drop to a single convulsing strobe that makes the surrounding swarm glitch out as you squeeze through it. As you meander carefully towards the bar, the baritone of 'Bias' swells and heaves. It’s a calamity on your senses and you somehow end up at the front of the crowd instead. Oh well.
Whilst collecting your laundry in the pitch-black outhouse, the Sonos accidentally turns on the new Floating Points track. Your hands were navigating for the temperamental, glitchy lightswitch but instead you got hit with your brother’s 'Recently Added' playlist. The speaker blinks at you malevolently in the darkness before your brother yells out an apology for having the volume on too high. It’s like Printworks gone wrong.
There’s a brand new dance stage at the festival, and it’s been un-be-liev-able. Today is Friday - the first full day of the festival, and the excitement is palpable as the amber sun starts to retreat below the horizon, casting cherry pinks and golden rays that match the rainbow array of outfits worn by everyone around you. Today, everything just went right. There were no queues by the bar earlier, and the portaloos are still refreshingly clean. Just as you think it can’t get better, Four Tet throws out the track that everyone has been waiting for. It’s the track you were playing in the campsite. It was the track you played on the way down. This. Is. It. Spinning round over and over so that you can see all your friends at once, you yell loudly as Caribou’s ethereal voice merges with the psychedelic light show from the stage.
OK, so it may be Day 300 of lockdown. But today, despite the monotony, everything went alright. You got out of bed before midday. You went to Sainsbury’s and there was no long queue outside. Your mum even cleaned the bathroom this morning. You know what would fit this mood? That new Four Tet mix you found on Soundcloud. Chucking it on, you spin around in your desk chair to celebrate this small triumph.
It’s the third day of the festival and it’s been raining since breakfast. After retreating back to the tent to wait it out with some warm beers for the afternoon, the gloomy sky suddenly parts, and the sun makes its first, glorious appearance in 12 hours. You head to the main stage and are greeted by the unmistakable bassline of Khruangbin. One of your crew whips out a six pack they were hiding under their raincoat whilst passing through security, and the loot is distributed. The mood is lifted. Sharing is caring - time to lock in.
It’s been raining all day, which is an unwelcome halt to your social distancing BBQ that you’d been planning for the last week. But just whilst you’re finishing putting away your disinfected burgers, the sun makes its first, glorious appearance in 12 hours. You stroll over to the local park with your food in hand, and as you turn through the entrance you hear 'Khruangbin' jamming out to your arrival. Six feet away from your small crew, you sit down and are thrown over a can, which you wipe down with an antibacterial wipe. Sharing is caring - lockdown has lifted.
After getting separated from your friends just after midnight, you befriended a cheerful group of 30-somethings all wearing lampshades for hats. They’d noticed the paella you were holding whilst bopping about on your own in the woods, and it turned out that one of them owns the stall. Now knee-deep in a muddy forest with this small colourful cluster of sitting room decor, you’re wearing one of the lampshades when a hand suddenly taps you on the shoulder. Turning around, you realise it’s your best mate. As the percussion accelerates and all the lasers start to dapple off the crowd, he looks at you deadpan and says, “My grandma has that lampshade”.
After organising a Zoom party for what feels like the tenth birthday in lockdown, you get disconnected because the Wi-Fi has been temperamental all week and you can't call in someone to take a look at it. You’ve gone to grab yourself a beer (Corona - but only because it was the only thing left at Lidl) out of the fridge, and you’re reheating some microwave paella waiting for the Wi-Fi to reconnect. Just as you give up hope, your Zoom springs back into action, and you hear the tinny bliss of this Rhythm Section release bleeding out from your speakers. Turning out all the lights bar the dusty vintage lampshade that your nan gave you last Christmas, you sway dramatically in your chair with your paella for the rest of the evening.
You’ve been looking forward to this festival for weeks - and for good reason too, because it’s the one where you’re heading abroad. After getting an insane deal on a Croatian villa with your best mates just 10 minutes walk from the site, it feels like you’ve been waiting forever to get out of the country when the day finally arrives. After an entire day travelling, stepping onto the sandy beach as dusk sweeps in feels like paradise, and you grab a cocktail before heading to the seafront stage for some warm, soulful dnb. The mood is relaxed, the views are golden, and Years is the perfect, hazy start to the weekend. Nostalgia in the making.
The British seaside is usually quite a disappointing destination for most of the year, but there’s been a heatwave and you’re finally allowed unlimited travel on the very day that the temperature hits 25C. Your household has been breathlessly anticipating being able to go outside and actually sit down. Today’s the day! It’s not quite the Mediterranean, but there’s an off-licence selling £1 K Ciders - and at this rate, anything’s a bonus. Buying 5, you jog down the sand to your spot and chuck on the brand new Calibre album. You feel nostalgic over a festival season that never happened.