At first glance Summer Sundae festival in Leicester doesn’t look particularly appealing. Located in a city centre with a line-up that includes McFly, Newton Faulkner, The Maccabees and Showaddywaddy (yes honestly) sounds like someone has put the name of every band that ever existed into a hat and pulled some out randomly and called it a line-up.
But closer inspection reveals a festival that is bulging with musical goodness and has a couple of unique selling points that means that it’s a cracker of a festival – whatever the weather.
Summer Sundae may not pull huge names; it’s having to be run on a very careful budget after overspending in previous years, but as you look down the bill there’s a whole host of great new artists, many of whom have appeared on this blog. Take for example the band Other Lives, who play their first ever UK show on Friday afternoon on the Rising Stage – their album Tamer Animals is a subtly distinguished gem, one of our favourites of the year. On the same day there’s the jaw-droppingly good folk rockers Admiral Fallow, the irresistible put-a-smile-on-your-face indie of Givers and a certain Mr Graham Coxon of Blur. Add to that list over the next two days Breaking More Waves featured favourites Beth Jeans Houghton, Yaaks, Kyla La Grange, Delta Maid, The Antlers, Warpaint, and Example as well as names such as Blood Red Shoes, Dry The River, Bellowhead, I Am Kloot, The Agitator and Mercury nominated acts King Creosote & Jon Hopkins and Everything Everything and you have a veritable feast for your ears.
But there’s something else pretty clever about Summer Sundae. Unlike many other festivals, the chances of the dreaded line-up clash are minimised by the main stage running whilst the other three stages change over and vice versa. So in theory if you don’t stop for toilet or food breaks you can watch a band on one of the three smaller stages and as soon as they finish walk a few yards across the compact site to watch the next performance on the main stage. Not only that but if the weather is atrocious, you have the benefit of being able to dry off and even sit in comfort on a balcony as the second stage is Leicester’s De Montford Hall which is located on the side of the park where the event is held. Of course being a permanent building on site brings other luxuries – permanent toilets, sinks with hot water and soap and a carpeted bar area. If the idea of 3 days in a muddy field seems like your worst nightmare then Summer Sundae provides a decent halfway house between that and a normal gig.
We’ve mentioned some of the artists playing Summer Sundae. Here are three of our recommendations for your listening pleasure. We’ll be bringing a full review of Summer Sundae with our usual round up of the key points that make a festival work or not after the event.
*Footnote - Due to the recent riots and looting in the UK some events have been cancelled. We understand that there have been some incidents in Leicester, but that Summer Sundae organisers are liaising with police and the festival is still due to continue. Please however check the event website (link at the top of this preview) before travelling.
Other Lives 15.30 – Last FM Rising Stage - Friday
Other Lives - Dark Horse
Kyla La Grange 14.30 – Last FM Rising Stage – Sunday
Kyla La Grange - I Could Be (free download)
Example 19.30 – Main Stage - Sunday