Who better to turn to when making your way through the overwhelming volume of acts appearing during 2017’s festival season than your local Social Media agency? ANYWAY…. Although I’m sure (certain) you’re not planning on making it to everyone this summer, there is no harm at all in getting a bit of insight as to who to check out if you’re around. Here’s a look at the weird, wonderful and occasionally obvious choices from some of the UK’s finest line-ups.
21st-25th June: Worthy Farm, Somerset
Before the cries of “obvious headliner” return, it’s worth noting that Radiohead have only headlined Glastonbury twice before, and the last time was 14 (FOURTEEN) years ago. Radiohead needs no introduction, and with recent setlists including the likes of ’Ideoteque’, ‘Karma Police’ and ’Fake Plastic Trees’, it makes much more sense to see them headline than it did Skunk Anansie.
Run The Jewels
The unstoppable rise of the world’s hottest hip-hop duo (Killer Mike and El-P) continued with their first US number 1 album in late 2016, aa release which also saw them hit the UK top 40 for the first time. There is a reason they have been regularly championed by the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha, and it is no clearer than at one of their legendary live shows. Having recently appeared at Coachella and Bonnaroo in the US, their performance at Glastonbury is certainly not one to be missed. Even Jeremy Corbyn will be there to introduce them.
Run the Jewels
7th-10th September: Lulworth Estate, Dorset
Charlotte Church’s ‘Late Night Pop Dungeon’
Not exactly what you would expect from the former operatic pop superstar, but her recent ‘Late Night Pop Dungeon’ tours have received rave reviews across the board. Expect to see her tackling genuine pop classics such as En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ and Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bootylicious’ alongside more bizarre choices from the likes of Black Sabbath and Super Furry Animals. At least it seems bizarre until you see it, afterwards it all makes perfect sense.
The Pet Shop Boys
Hot on the heel’s of their 13th studio album, ‘Super’, and a subsequent sell-out world tour, the electronic pop heavyweights take their dazzling stage show to the main stage of this year’s Bestival. Any headline show which includes what BBC listeners voted greatest cover version of ALL TIME is well worth a watch. That’s ‘Always On My Mind’, by the way, if you didn’t know…
Pet Shop Boys
13th – 16th July: Henham Park, Suffolk
Ah, the unlikely success story of a reasonable indie rock group formed at high school being transformed to stadium-pop superstars; with a little help from Radio 1 and Muse along the way. Although stating the likes of Talking Heads, Sigur Ros and My Bloody Valentine as influences, it’s fair to say they have found the perfect formula for success within the pop sensibilities of the Spotify era. Expect hit after hit, as well as a couple of tracks from their upcoming album, currently scheduled for release early next year.
Still going strong (or perhaps even stronger) at 77, the Staple Singer and civil rights activist return to the UK in support of her latest full-length, 2016’s ’Livin’ on a High Note’. Staples recently appeared on the long-awaiting new albums from both Gorillaz and Arcade Fire and claims to be “the happiest old girl in the world. Yes, indeed”. A soul-gospel treat for festival-goers both young and old, no doubt!
17th – 20th August: Brecon Beacons, Wales
Formed in 1990 and still going strong 27 years later, Saint Etienne provide the perfect pop soundtrack for the summer with classic singles such as ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’, ‘You’re in a Bad Way’ and ‘He’s On The Phone’. Expect to also hear tracks from their critically-acclaimed new album ‘Home Counties’ released this month. Don’t forget your feather boa.
With tickets for Harvey’s rare tours generally sold out as quickly as they go on sale, a headline set at one of the UK’s best-loved festivals isn’t too bad an alternative for those hoping to catch a set from one of the most consistent artists of the past 25 years. The 2-time Mercury Music Prize winner (and 4-time nominee) released her latest album ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ in 2016, which also saw her nominated for a Grammy award.
READING / LEEDS
25th – 27th August: Richfield Avenue, Reading / Bramham Park, Leeds
Despite a run of 6 consecutive UK number 1 albums, Eminem doesn’t seem to be one for touring too much over here. Appearances at previous Reading and Leeds festivals have gone down a treat with the crowds, and you can be sure he won’t be short of hits to keep them going.
At The Drive-In
It seems a lifetime ago that At The Drive-In burst onto the scene with their seminal album ‘Relationship of Command’, though it’s extremely likely that many of the crowd at this year’s Reading & Leeds festivals were barely out of nappies when it landed. The unlikely reunion of the post-hardcore legends has picked up pace recently with the release of their first album in 17 years. Widely expected to be another case of blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em, don’t pass up the chance to witness their live show.
At the Drive-In
9th – 13th August: Watergate Bay, Cornwall
Not just a man who wears daft hats, Jay Kay also makes some seriously funky music, and so what better way to see out a (hopefully) sun-soaked day on the beautiful coast of Cornwall? Returning for his first tour dates in 3 years, you can expect to hear smash-hit singles such as ‘Little L’ and ’Space Cowboy’, as well as tracks from his new album ‘Automaton’. We do like the hats, though. Maybe they’re not so daft after all.
English Grime sensation Stormzy has been getting nominations at the likes of the MOBO Awards every year since his breakthrough in 2014, but incredibly it took him until this year to release his first studio album, ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’. 2017 is a year which has also seen him collaborate with huge names like Ed Sheehan, Little Mix and Linkin Park. You can expect to hear the UK hit singles ‘Big for Your Boots’, ‘Cold’ alongside deep cuts from his early days, and perhaps witness a few surprise appearances.
14th – 15th July: Victoria Park, London
Returning last year after a 4-year absence with the outstanding ‘Blonde’, described by Mojo magazine as a “beguiling, meandering sprawl that rewards total immersion”, Frank Ocean heads to London’s Lovebox as one of only 2 UK Festival appearances this year. Production delays forced cancellations of highly-anticipated slots as a number of European festivals earlier this year, but recent shows in Denmark and at Manchester’s Parklife festival have been widely praised. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness a rare live appearance from one of the most talented, and elusive, artists out there today.
Not just Beyonce’s sister, and don’t you forget it! ‘Cranes in the Sky’, the lead single from her most recent LP, won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance, with her unique brand of experimental pop and R&B cementing her status as an exceptional artist in her own right. Heading out on her most extensive tour since 2013, this is another one not to miss at a festival which has become a staple of London’s summer schedule since it’s launch 15 years ago.
Congratulations, and thank you, if you made it through all that. Don’t forget your wellies.