VF's Top 10 festivals of 2011 - vote for yours!

The big top ten countdown!


VF's Top 10 festivals of 2011 - vote for yours!

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Chris Eustace | 29 September 2011

The Big One! Want to get an unsung hero some credit or did you have yourself a time down at one of the behemoths? You know it was a good festival season when high scorers Glastonbury, Latitude, Lovebox, Reading, Beach Break Live and T In The Park can’t quite make our top ten!

But don’t just listen to our top ten - we want you to have your say! Vote for your favourite in the UK Festival Awards at the bottom of the article. 

One lucky fan who votes in the Awards will win a pair of tickets to every winning festival in 2012, so just in case that last cider made things a little bit too hazy, we’ve had a look through our reviews to find who got the best verdicts. Maybe it’ll help you out with yours?

Here’s who did make it (NB: Headliner scores were used as “goal difference”):   

10. End of the Road (9/10) Alison Kerry may have gone to the new-look EOTR with some trepidation, but was delighted to report that “the relaxed pace...and charm of this festival is still intact,” with “perfect sound” for the likes of Mogwai, Joanna Newsom and Beirut.

9. Green Man (9/10) Francis Whittaker entered the “stunning grounds” to take in “the discerning man’s music festival of choice”, picking out Fleet Foxes, Squarepusher and The Low Anthem as the main highlights.

8. Secret Garden Party (9/10) It was “sheer decadent brilliance” for Jamie Skey as he enjoyed Leftfield and Martha Reeves in an “intimate hedonistic playground...where your deepest and strangest desires can be fulfilled at every dazzling turn.

7. High Voltage (9/10) The rise of the metal festival continued this year, with Judas Priest, Dream Theater and Slash triumphing at High Voltage, leaving Ross Baker to praise a “feel-good classic rock event with a real celebratory feel.”

6. The Big Chill (9/10) “This wasn't going to be about Kanye West. It really wasn't,” began Dan Fahey, but it’s was always going to be about Kanye, as a compulsive headline set, punctuated with a bizarre celeb-centric rant took the headlines. Aloe Blacc, Janelle Monae and Wild Beasts managed to get some plaudits too, with “pockets of the festival’s original feel” still to be found amongst the superstar glitz. 

5. Sonisphere (9/10)  Metallica were “tight and masterful” while Slipknot paid tribute to Paul Gray and Biffy rose to headliner status at last. All this and a circle pit for Gallows that reaches “the sound desk in the middle of the field,” as Kai Jones “banged the head that did not bang.

Sonisphere 2011 Round Up - Round Up on MUZU.TV

4. Ben & Jerry's Sundae On The Common - (9/10) Chris Swindells went along to this “undiscovered gem” on Clapham Common, and got “good music, good old-fashioned fun and good ice cream” for his trouble, with a sterling headline set from Maximo Park.

3. V Festival Staffordshire – (9/10) Hit-packed sets from Eminem, Rihanna and the Arctics, plus Tinie Tempah in celebratory mood – V knows what its audience want. “It remains one of the biggest and best,” said Stephanie Davis.

2. Isle Of Wight - (9/10) It may have chucked it down, especially during Kasabian’s set, but “no weather could compromise a show of immeasurable rock magnitude” according to Neil Stone, as Pulp made their UK return and Foo Fighters slayed yet another festival crowd.

1. Bestival – (9.5/10) We have our winner! “...how festivaling should be done in 2011: diverse, engaging and intriguing without a reliance on headliners.” Or normality either, apparently, but who needs that with PJ Harvey, The Cure and Bjork around?


Do you agree? Or disagree? Then vote for your favourite in the UK Festival Awards below:


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