Great to see, with edition two, the city’s summer celebration of music has a little more strut to its stroll – and is fast becoming one of the country’s most eclectic and essential explorations of music, now. Who’d have thought we’d have pulled that out of the embers of the Mathew Street Fest?

This year, the Central Stage veers over, majorly, to the Radio 1Xtra territory – dancehall, soca, chutney, funk and soul are the keywords (and we even know what some of them mean), yet elsewhere in the park there is the Celtic meets Calypso of the ace Future Trad Collectives, the somnambuantly stunning Vancouver Sleep Clinic and the electro-fiddle mayhem of Ireland’s Daithi.

shaggysWe have no doubt Shaggy and Kid Creole will whip the Bank Holiday crowd into something approaching a lather, and homecoming queen Marsha Ambrosius will ably show there is life and soul after Floetry. Can’t wait for that one.

We’re especially excited (because we would be) to welcome two of our favourite Icelandic ensembles – the uncategorisable but utterly brilliant Hjaltalin, and the icy and ethereal electronica of Samaris: quite how they’ll go down in Sefton Park is anyone’s guess. But we’re excited to find out.

Canada’s (via Australia) Emaline Delapaix is the perfect soundtrack for a bucolic summer’s afternoon in the park, and The Farm, well, they’re The Farm. But headliner, Ian Broudie – with the RLPO – is set to be life-affirmingly grin inducing.

But it’s the commissions (yes, ours included) that we’re most looking forward to: for it’s here that the festival will stand or fall.

This year, online music mag, The Quietus will be shining the spotlight on the minor characters of our favourite books and films. They’ve asked East India Youth, Forest Swords, The Lone Taxidermist, English Heretic, Ten Mouth Electron and Luke Abbott to create a new piece of work based on the imagined life of one of their favourite walk ons. What’s the betting the Log Lady looms large?

thisiswhatidocoverpicSteve Levine gathers the in-voice and on-song Boy George together with Tim Burgess, Pete Wylie, Bernard Butler and Mark King. They’ll use traditional and new technology to collaborate together for an exclusive performance at the historic St George’s Hall.

The marvellous Sense of Sound presents Migration Music – pitting human beatbox, Shlomo with their massed voices, and musicians from the RLPO, taking Bach’s Cello Suite no.1 as a starting point on a voyage through music.

Rutherford Chang’s pale but interesting We Buy White Albums is coming to town. An itinerant record shop, it holds hundreds of first pressing copies of the Beatles’ White Album: each wearing the grime and scribbles of nearly 50 years’ use. It’s a meditative and haunting exploration of the way we make the mass produced something intensely personal.

And we’ll be bringing musicians from France, Russia and home together to explore just that – home. One hundred years after Europe erupted into brutal conflict. The spark? The pull of home and heart, and the ties that bind us, all, to our territory. Our place under the firmament.

We’re bringing musicians from the triple entente together to investigate their experiences of what home means to them, now.

With Boiler Rooms bringing together the world’s hottest DJs and live-acts, Camp and Furnace promising a Summer Camp of substance, and an as yet under-wraps BIG DEAL show, this is set to be a giant leap for our city’s cultural clout.

15-31 August

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