I’ve always said festival line ups don’t decide which ones I choose to go to, and that I’m more about the atmosphere. That being said, you do tend to see the same names at a lot of festivals each summer, so I do like to be surprised with some unusual or exclusive artists. We’re right in the midst of festival line up announcement season, and I thought I’d point out some of my favourite offerings so far.
The best festival line ups of 2018 so far!
(well, my favourites anyway)
Boomtown Fair – 9-12 August
Where to start with this incredible line up? First Boomtown score a UK festival exclusive appearance from the mighty Gorillaz, then the next announcement is this huge poster with over 200 artists on it. Topping the bill along with Gorillaz are South African hip hop trio Die Antwoord, and millennials nostalgia-ridden favourite rap-rockers Limp Bizkit. As always from Boomtown there’s an eclectic and fantastic mix of ska, dub, reggae, break, drum n bass, dubstep, techno… Yet the surprise addition this year is a new district called Disorder Alley devoted to “the heaviest live music” and with performances from Napalm Death, Capdown and Soulfly. This line up is the best of Boomtown but expanded into new genres and with some genuinely surprising names you won’t get elsewhere. Needless to say I cannot WAIT for this one!
LOVEBOX – 13 & 14 July
I’ll be honest, despite living in London, when I was planning my festivals for the year, Lovebox didn’t even cross my mind. Not for any real reason, just that the lineup has never really quite been my thing. However this one defied my usual logic and I bought my ticket based on line up alone. Childish Gambino?!? How amazing will that be?! And N*E*R*D too? I am SOLD already, but add in the filthy beats of Shy FX, Jackmaster, Camelphat… and excellent grime from Skepta and SZA, and I can’t quite believe my luck. I am very much looking forward to this in Gunnersbury Park!
Download Festival – 8-10 June
One for the rock fans, this line up makes me very happy. I’m loving the mix between new bands and the classics. I’m definitely going to try and get myself to the Saturday as I LOVE Black Stone Cherry, and Guns N Roses are one of the bands that have eluded me all these years (aka I’ve never managed to see them). Axl Rose seems to have got his act together finally and Slash is back playing with them so I reckon this will be a great show. Day splits have not been announced yet but I’d be hoping for, on Saturday; The Temperance Movement and Whiskey Myers on the main stage, Rise Against and Meshuggah on the Avalanche, and The Hives, Less Than Jake, and Milk Teeth on the Dogtooth stage.
Victorious – 24-26 August
I’m not entirely sure how they did it, but Victorious pulled out the big guns and managed to get a UK exclusive festival appearance from none other than THE PRODIGY! One of my favourite live acts, this very nearly persuaded me to head here instead of Shambala. The whole of Sunday is just fantastic; I love Years & Years, and The Amazons, and Reverend & The Makers. An incredible line up for £30 for the day! Looking at the other days as well, Victorious have really stepped it up from “local festival” into the realms of the major players. Paul Weller, The Libertines, Happy Mondays… it really is superb value for money in a great seafront location in Portsmouth.
Kendal Calling – 26-29 July
I had to include this line up from Kendal Calling mainly because of Run DMC. This absolutely legendary hip hop group are only playing here and Nass Festival in the UK this summer; this is bound to be special. I also wanted to highlight the combination of Shed Seven, Ocean Colour Scene and James, all brilliant English rock bands from the 90s. The EDM section of the poster looks great too; the original Grandmaster Flash spinning some tunes, and actual Idris Elba DJing too! (True story: we saw Idris at Glasto 2015 and my best friend Katey was in the front row. She licked him when he came down to say hi to the crowd! 😛 )
Blisscamp (Blissfields) – 5-8 July
This little boutique beauty is located near Winchester, and I had to include it because it features some of my favourite artists & DJs! Of course there’s hip hop duo Too Many T’s (who I did an Artist Spotlight on) who are always a highlight! Then headlining Friday night are Slamboree – self proclaimed Pyro Circus Rave Massive – expect fast paced dancey beats with awesome dancers & fire tricks. This video should give you a taste! I’ve seen Slamboree three or four times and each time I come out the other side grinning, sweaty and having lost my voice. A-Skillz is possibly my favourite DJ ever; I guess it’s my love of mashups. You will be bouncing. His biggest mix that you will have heard before is definitely California Soul. Then also you have the fantastic Norman Jay MBE on the decks. And on Sunday, headliners Dub Pistols always put on one hell of a party, closing out what is guaranteed to be one Mucky Weekend.
Bestival – 2-5 August
After Wireless Festival suffered huge backlash from their almost entirely male line up, I wanted to shout out Bestival for their fantastic female showcase for 2018. M.I.A, London Grammar, Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, First Aid Kit… It’s a lady-loaded powerhouse up there on the main stage all weekend! And then there’s also my absolute favourites, The Cuban Brothers, AND Oh My God! It’s The Church! joining them. And just so no one thinks I only care about the main stage, that HMS Bestival line up is BANGING! You know I’ll be there watching So Solid Crew bring the
house ship down!