Another year, another set of empty promises to get fit and healthy before dancing skantily-clad at forthcoming field parties. Great Christmas and New Year? Check. Soul destroying January blues? Che...
...Forget all that, because 2007 promises to be another amazing, earth-trembling year of outdoor live music and the good news is that you're once again invited. Another fresh faced army of new and exciting bands and artists will be hitting the festival scene for the first time, while established favourites will be returning with new albums stuffed full of sky-filling anthems.
Enticed by VF's unique brand of moulding mince pie, we tracked down one of last year's top tips, The Sunshine Underground, and one of this year's long-awaited return acts, The Earlies, to give us their 2007 predictions.
We also sought the mystic musical gazings of people who really matter when it comes to deciding your festival fate - the organisers and bookers - to get the lowdown on the bands you're likely to be raving about come mid-summer. And who better than two of last year's UK Festival Award winners, Bestival's Rob Da Bank and End Of The Road's Simon Taffe?
Finallly, we'll offer up our own top tips and tell you who we'll be rocking out to this year. But let's leave that 'til later... First, kicking it off crystal ball stylee...
The Sunshine Underground (Craig Wellington)
CSS are one of the most exciting new bands doing the rounds right now. We're about to go on the road with them on the NME tour and we're all very excited about it. All the singles have been getting smashed in the tour bus and they've got a real funky summer sound. And they're Brazilian!
These are another female fronted group, who'll be everywhere by summer. 'Standing In The Way of Control' is simply a smash, although I prefer the Soulwax Nite Version. The album is packed with singles and I think a lot of festival organisers will be keen to get them onboard.
This is another album that has been really upsetting our tour manager on the bus, due to it being played exceptionally loud. They're a bunch of Belgian guys who do Daft Punk style stuff with guitars and synths. We played with them at Fabric recently and their set is massive. A great live band.
Anyone from Ed Banger Records
It doesn't really matter does it? Just someone to dance yourself into the ground to. Whether it's Sebastian, Uffie or Justice they're going to get the dance tent rocking somewhere - and we'll be there...
Leeds bands in general
Whether it's The Pigeon Detective, Shut Your Eyes and You'll Burst Into Flames, The Hair, Yes Boss or O Fracas, it'll be a guaranteed good times. All these bands are amazing live so miss out at your peril.
The Earlies (John Mark)
I found out about Frida as she is on our US label (Secretly Canadian) and fell in love with her album, 'Until Death Comes', instantly. I got a chance to catch her in Austin last month and she sounded amazing. She's definitely one to watch.
I was fortunate enough to see these guys at Homefires earlier this year. Their ethereal, backwoods-on-Mars touch was not lost in their live performance. They also played Coachella last year I think and I'm sure they'd go down really well at UK festivals this summer.
Flowers of Hell
I found out about these guys on MySpace and was able to get hold of their album. By the sounds of it their live show should be amazing.
Johnny Lloyd Rollins
A Texas singer-songwriter that brings Roy Orbison and Ram-era Paul McCartney to mind. He doesn't sound like anything else at the moment and that's always a breath of fresh air. Now get him on a boat to England.
With regular guest spots by Sonic Boom and King Creosote, these guys put on a mind-blowing festival show. Expect a slot at somewhere like Bestival or The Big Chill.
Rob Da Bank (Bestival/Radio 1)
He's a UK hip hop impresario coming on like the British Jay-Z - running a record label, clothing label and producing many of the underground UK hip hop acts. The way Riff Raff uses backing tracks from the likes of Razorlight and Radiohead guarantees crossover success.
I love this band. They remind me of the first time I heard Bloc Party. They're fresh young guys from St Albans who make choppy indie anthems and do a cracking cover of acid hosue anthem 'Your Love' by Frankie Knuckles. These guys are gonna be mega in 2007 and will be on loads of new band stages at festivals, including the main stage at Bestival! (You heard it first here - Ed)
Already being tipped by lots of radio stations and promoters as next years big thing, Mika played at Bestival this year and went down very well. Imagine Elton john and the Scissor Sisters getting it on with Freddie Mercury and you're halfway there.
Lush mix of My Bloody Valentine, Pixies and some old folk tunes, these guys are totally unique. The fact that I used to be in a band with lead singer, Nick, is by the by! I still think they're my favourite band of 2007.
The Kissaway Trail
Scandinavian indie pop minstrels who are really infectious on the ear and signed to the excellent Bella Union label in the UK.
Simon Taffe, End of the Road Festival
I reckon these guys will be making a huge return on the festival scene with their new album on the way. They are also one of the best live bands around, with their legendary Astoria gig being my favourite gig of 2005. Another returning artists I'm looking forward to is Joanna Newsom. I can see her headlining somewhere like Green Man.
Cold War Kids
I came across them last year when I heard their EP in Rough Trade. They have a White Stripes kind of vibe but at the same time are very different, what with them being a full band. They are the type of band that would end up touring most of the festivals and making lots of new fans.
Another band I think should do well next year, and will end up playing a fair few festivals, are The Annuals. They are probably the hottest unsigned indie band around right now and the album rocks in a kind of Arcade Fire sort of way.
XL's latest signing should make a big impact in the coming year in the same way Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly did last year, although his music is completely different, kind of like a rockabilly poet. I think he is bound to explode next year, at least in the UK. He will end up playing all the major festivals I'm sure.
Peter And The Wolf
I'm very fond of this American band and hope they'll end up playing a few of the more intimate festivals. He has a great voice in the same vein as Beirut or Magnetic Fields. I got recommended them by some friends while I was in Boston this year.
Ross Purdie (Editor, Virtual Festivals)
The most refreshing artist I've heard in ages, the former Ladytron retro-ist may rip the likes of T-Rex and The Beach Boys, but he reworks his influences into a fresh, hugely infectous summer soundtrack that'll light up festival stages across the land.
Tipsters are always searching for the 'next Oasis' and if anyone's going to get anywhere near their title this year it'll be Coventry's The Enemy. They may barely be out of shorts, but they're three angry young men who'll be making more and more noise throughout the year.
Another band from the Midlands, The Twang have just signed for B-Unique and sound like Ian Brown taking on the whole of Hard Fi and winning hands down. It's about time we had some bagginess back at festivals and these are the guys to do it.
Any band that can blend intense, hardcore rock and trancey atmosherics into a skull crushing genre of their very own deserves all the credit these guys will inevitably receive. Enter Shikari are going to be massive. Expect a fierce fight between Download and the Carling Weekend to slap a festival exclusive on their heads.
A band made for the likes V Festival and other genre neutrals, The Hours have been called the new Coldplay and have already received loads of airplay for the first single 'Ali In The Jungle'. Both accomplished and polished, their tunes should reach new heights on festival stages and expect to see them on several lineups this summer.
Other new bands and artists hitting a festival stage near you will include The Maccabees, Just Jack, The Hoosiers, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Calvin Harris, Foals, I Was A Cub Scout, The Little Ones, Ripchord, Air Traffic and Dustin's Bar Mitzvah.
And those we're expecting to make sensational live returns include The Smashing Pumpkins, Bright Eyes, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, Maximo Park, Iron Maiden, Kaiser Chiefs, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Rakes, Joss Stone, LCD Soundsystem, The Earlies, The Rapture, RJD2, Fall Out Boy and (hopefully maybe!?) Portishead.
Stay posted for all the festival lineup news as it breaks here on Virtual Festivals...