With the festival season in USA and Europe coming to an end, The Sherp looks back at all the incredible musicians who dominated the year’s festival scene, and why you must check them out if you haven’t already.
Festival lineups are often moderate clones of each other, featuring artists that work best in a certain year. This can be attributed to a number of reasons. A phenomenal new album that is topping the charts, a sudden soaring in popularity fueled by an award, Grammy otherwise, and genuine increase in the artist’s commercial stake, any of them can bring them to multiple festival stages a year. We look at the most frequented festival performers this year, and why you should be checking out their music if you haven’t already!
1. Kendrick Lamar
Performed at: Reading and Leeds Festival, Osheaga, Life is Beautiful, Sweetlife Music Festival, Outside Lands, Essence Music Festival, Governor’s Wall, Sasquatch, Summesfest, Bonnaroo.
The world must agree that Kendrick Lamar is quite easily one of the brightest rap artists of his generation. Not only is the man capable of great lyrical brevity, but his ability to stand up for issues that plague black culture in America is seriously notable, given how rap music has lost its true dedication to its genesis somewhere in the popularity scale. Lamar sings songs that matter, while carefully climbing the charts of commercial success. All this while his latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike.
If you like rap music, Kendrick Lamar will take you back to its inherent cultural bearing. If you don’t like rap music, his reflective lyrics would be a fine start.
2. Tame Impala
Performed at: Outside Lands, Boston Calling, Lollapalooza, Bestival, Splendour in the Grass, Coachella, Sasquatch, End of the Road, Levitation Festival.
Tame Impala is making psychedelic music a commercial play-game, with their rise to fame. Their latest album, Currents, which sees the band take the electronic-synth route after their sharp rock leanings, was preceded by the band performing at several festivals debuting the songs from their album one by one. And their penchant to be a live-wire of an act live, the appearances have only helped cement the band’s position as one of the better and more popular psychedelic acts of the year.
3. Florence + The Machine
Performed at: Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Bestival, Sziget Festival, Osheaga, Way Out Festival, Apple Music Festival, Splendour in the Grass.
Florence + The Machine is the very same band that came in to replace the Foo Fighters as Glastonbury headliners, who then went on to render the rock greats a fitting tribute that caused Dave Grohl to cry out of emotion. There is very good reason why the band would be chosen for such a grand position. Not only is the band truly back after a four-year hiatus with their ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ album, but they have made it to every after-festival’s favourites list.
4. St. Vincent
Performed at: Green Man Festival, Coachella, Osheaga, Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza Buenos Aires, Sasquatch, Boston Calling, Outside Lands, Free Press Summer Fest, Nelsonville Music Festival, Beale Street Music Festival
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is quite easily one of the most interesting female musicians of this period, not quite the run-of-the-mill stuff you’re prone to seeing. Her last album especially is pure brilliance, with spaced out music, almost dark if you can call it that! And St. Vincent is extremely well known for her eclectic live performances. Which makes it even more important that you know her music, given that she’s one of those very few genuinely eclectic artists around.
Performed at: Bumbershoot, Coachella, Rock am Ring, Bonnaroo, Firefly Music Festival, Tinderbox Festival, T In The Park (UK), New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Festival, V Festival, Sonic Boom, LouFest, Summer Ends.
Having appeared in the music scene only two years back, Hozier boasts of strong musical ingenuity, which has propelled him to headliner status at several festivals this year. The soulfully morose music he propagates, propelled by his intense performances at several festivals have made him the new favourite crooner. Fans of soft, alluring music often find themselves gravitating to Hozier’s emotionally fueled renditions, so he’s someone you ought to check out when in need of that genre.
6. Mumford & Sons
Performed at: Reading and Leeds, Outside Lands, Gentlemen Of The Road, Bonnaroo, Rock In Rome Festival, Open’er Festival
Up until a few years ago, Mumford & Sons went from being everyone’s favourite banjo-wielding, chorus alleviating folk-rock band to one that many not cared much for. People were too quick to notice the band’s limited range, and dismiss them. This was before the band took to electronic guitars, and embraces electronic leanings to create a new terrific sound that seems to have won them a new set of admirers. And if their Reading and Leeds performance was any indicator, the band is firmly back. So if you’re a former fan, it’s time you became loyal again.
7. Belle & Sebastian
Performed at: Festival No.6, A Summer’s Tale, Lollapalooza Berlin, Coachella, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Glastonbury, Rock The Garden, Bonnaroo
Belle & Sebastian have always remained on the fringes of popularity, despite their fairly catchy anthems. They’re testament to how indie pop can sound beautiful, almost even thirty years after formation, and it riles us up how largely ignored this band seems to be in India. Melodic music, soulful lyrics, and beautiful vocals, they’re just the band to wind up with after a long day, as they work as well as a soothing balm. They can be quirky, fun, imaginative, and emotional – leanings that deserve the band a lot more listeners.
8. Alabama Shakes
Performed at: Lollapalooza, Coachella, Field Trip Music & Arts Festival, Boston Calling, Bonnaroo, Gentlemen Stopover, T In The Park, Mountain Jam Festival, Down the Rabbit Hole
Front-woman Brittany Howard joining Paul McCartney at Lollapalooza, and the band’s performance at White House last year might be the band’s biggest ticket to popularity, but we believe, their music deserves much more. This band amalgamates rock and blues with the style reminiscent of a long-gone era. If that isn’t enough to check you out, then we seriously hope lead front woman Brittany Howard’s powerful voice compels you into their albums. Their recent album, Sound & Color has earned them rave reviews, along with appearances at various other festivals, including Coachella.
Performed at: Lollapalooza, Coachella, Osheaga Festival, Primavera Sound, Lollapalooza Berlin, T In The Park, Longitude Festival, Latitude Festival, Sziget, Bergen Fest, Reading and Leeds Festival.
Since their second album, ‘This Is All Yours’, the band’s catchy tunes have only propelled them to greater popularity. Their ability to fuse folktronic with synth elements, coupled with catchy, quirky lyrics, and vocals that gravitate from the depths of alto to the heights of falsetto, the band’s ingenious compositions have struck a critical and commercial chord. If you have heard of Alt-J but haven’t heard Alt-J yet, you better, soon. The band has only forward to go.
10. Modest Mouse
Performed at: Parklife, Sasquatch, Firefly Festival, Rock The Garden, Tinderbox Festival, HomeAway Music and Arts Festival, Mo Pop Festival, Sloss Music and Arts Festival.
It’s been eight years since American indie rock bank Modest Mouse were in the musical space actively, so with the release of their 2015 album ‘Strangers to Ourselves‘, one could expect several small scale, indie-scouting festivals to lineup for their presence, and so they did. The band’s alternative rock ambient feel, which employs a strong sense of instrumentality will be a hit with several rock lovers.