The clocks have gone forward and Easter is out they way... It's the time most music fans start thinking about the summer and which music festivals to go to. To help you decide here is a brief round up of some of the better ones.
It's a Glastonbury 'fallow year' meaning all is quiet at Worthy Farm until 2013. Some suggest it is down to a restriction on the number of portable toilets available within one country in an Olympic year but it seems more likely that they simply wanted to give the land a break. Normally every year with a one or a six at the end passes by without a Glastonbury anyway - after the festival last year we are overdue a 'break'!
Rearing up to fill Glastonbury's pretty large shoes are two pretty well established festivals that take Glastonbury's cue in focusing on more than just the line-up, although they definitely have those too.
First-up out of the two then (literally) is Suffolk's Latitude. Held from 12-15 July it brings music plus a lot more to the big blue skies of the East. The line-up is spectacular, with Bon Iver, Elbow, The Horrors, Simple Minds, Richard Hawley, M83, The Antlers, Chairlift and the War On Drugs providing highlights. There is much more though with poetry and literary arenas as well as a sizable selection of comedy, including Jack Dee, Rich Hall and Reginald D Hunter along with Brian Cox, Robin Ince and Al Murray turning up to present their Inifinite Monkey Cage. Very Radio Four. If the weather is good expect a blinding weekend. Get tickets here.
The other big hitter this summer looks to be Bestival 2012, which arrives on the Isle of Wight as the last major festival of the season from 6-9 September. I've not been to Bestival but rumour would suggest it is the closest you can get to Glastonbury without actually being there. The line-up may not be quite as broadly curated as Latitude's but it's almost certainly as comprehensive when it comes to the bread and butter that is music. Highlights include Stevie Wonder, New Order, the XX, Sigur Ros, Friendly Fire, Soulwax (twice, DJing and live), Justice and Gary Numan. Tickets can be ordered here.
If the big picks aren't your thing then there are still stacks of alternatives out there...
In the same London location of Victoria Park Field Day provides the usual selection of latest bands for hipsters - Com Truise, Gold Panda, Kindness, Peaking Lights, Rustie, The Men and When Saints Go Machine all feature on a line-up that is frankly too busy for the single day festival that Field Day is. Get tickets here.
Vintage Festival promises to take you on a trip back in time - expect vintage music and more besides. Chic and St Etienne and musical highlights but there are also plenty of DJs, including the Horse Meat Disco DJs, Danny Rampling, Norman Jay and Craig Charles - the full line-up is here. Elsewhere there will be classic cars, a vintage fashion catwalk show - coming from MAMA Festivals, winners of last year's Best New Festival award for their innaugral event Wilderness, Vintage Festival looks like it may be the dark horse of the festival season. It falls the same weekend as Latitude and tickets can be ordered here.
So there is a very non-comprehensive of some of the festivals that have me excited this year. What did I miss and where will you be going come the innevitable torrent of mud and rain this summer?