2011 more than any other year has marked the decline in the mainstream English music festival. Suffering from waning sales and lackluster line-ups, there has been much criticism surrounding the decline in content and ultimately popularity of English festivals. It is European festivals instead that seem to be attracting the most praise. One of the shining lights of European festivals is Swedish festival Way Out West whose design and lineups are as good as its name.

it’s hardly surprisingly that Sweden should have such a good music festival. Steeped in such a rich supply of great bands and a propensity for flawless indie-pop music, Sweden is the new Mecca of Indie music. Way Out West is set in the heart of Sweden’s second largest city and cultural hub Gothenberg, nestled amongst the Slottsskogen park. Unsurprisingly Way Out West is environmentally conscious, the food and drink is mostly organic, the power is green, the waste is recycled and the park even features a zoo complete with elks, seals and penguins (which incidentally are the few animal names that haven’t been taken by bands.)

Top 5 Acts to see at Way Out West

5) Chad Vangaalen


Chad Vangaalen is one of those performers whose popularity/skill ratio is severely unbalanced. Chad's distinctive take on the forever-saturated indie pop genre confidently sets him aside as a standout solo artist. Having had complete control over his albums from recording to writing to creating the artwork, it will be interesting to see how his music translates to the stage with other musicians.

4) Loney Dear


It’s only right that a Swedish artist should feature in this list and I could think of no better than Loney Dear. Emil Svanängen’s unique musical style of pulsing electro-tinged folk pop and his fragile falsetto has been firmly established over 5 great albums. Despite no doubt missing much of Emil’s Swedish crowd interaction, Loney Dear should provide a great, intimate festival performance.

3) Kanye West


There can’t be many performers your mum has heard of that are any good. Luckily Kanye West is one of these. Having balanced on my guilty-pleasure/enjoyment scale for a long time, I am curious to see whether seeing Kanye perform live will tip the scale to the latter. Regardless, his performance will undoubtedly be big, bold and ultimately impressive.

2) Destroyer


Daniel Bejar and his band Destroyer have been making music since I was 6 years old. With such a well-received and expansive back catalogue, Destroyer certainly have enough material to fill a diverse festival slot. Famed for his idiosyncratic vocal phrasings and lyrics, Bejar should prove to the Sweden crowd why he is such a well-loved front man.

1) Explosions In The Sky


Explosions In The Sky must surely stand on the podium of great post rock bands. After all in a world continually drowning in Post Rock bands, all with ever increasingly hilarious and obscure names, there is always a need for a band like Explosions In The Sky. Few genres work better than post rock at a festival and with the Texan 4 piece trademark sound of forceful and cinematic music the set will surely be a highlight.