Each festival season brings a few shocks and surprises. Festivals are constantly trying to attract crowds by booking the biggest names. Although bands such as Pearl Jam and Coldplay will always be crowd-pleasers, there is also space for rising stars. We have selected ten bands who could make up this next generation of headliners.
While some artists follow a long way to the top, some arrive there in only a few years. Two albums and a stunning performance at Reading Festival 2010 were enough for Mumford and Sons to headline major festivals only six years after their beginnings. Which artists could follow in their footsteps?
In our opinion, the following acts are on the right path.
1. Nothing But Thieves
Nothing But Thieves are an alternative rock band from Southend-on-Sea in the UK formed in 2012. The band consists of Conor Mason (vocals and lead guitar), Joe Langridge-Brown (guitar), Dominic Craik (keyboards and guitar), Philip Blake (bass guitar) and James Price (drums). With their eponymous debut album from 2016, they became a renowned act and supported major bands such as Muse. Their second album, Broken Machine, was released in 2017 and provided the opportunity to play bigger gigs. This year, Nothing But Thieves made a phenomenal rise, becoming superstars in the UK and some other countries. Thanks to Mason’s unique voice, fiery guitar riffs and inspiring lyrics, Nothing but Thieves could soon become the musical heroes of their generation. Listen to festival anthem ‘Amsterdam’, performed at Reading Festival 2018, above.
2. Gang of Youths
Gang of Youths are an Australian indie rock band from Sydney. Led by the charismatic David Le’aupepe, they had their breakthrough in 2017. That year, they were nominated at the ARIA Music Awards alongside famous bands Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. With second album Go Farther in Lightness, they won four awards: Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album and Producer of the Year. Famous for their breathtaking energy, the euphoria, and the sincere feelings they deliver on stage, Gang of Youths have given memorable performances around the world this year, including at European festivals like Mad Cool, Pinkpop, Roskilde and Rock Werchter. We cannot wait to see them on top of the bill. Watch ‘Say Yes To Life’, live at Splendour in the Grass 2018.
Ghost are a Swedish heavy metal band formed in 2006. Led by Tobias Forge a.k.a. Papa Emeritus, the band is famous for its spectacular performances and their costumes: the members are dressed as cardinals with black and white makeup. Thanks to their heavy melodies and impressive stage production, Ghost have become a subheadliner at the biggest metal festivals, including Hellfest and Graspop. We can see them headlining a major, non-metal festival in the next few years. Check out their incredible set closer, ‘Moonstrance Clock’, at Hellfest 2016 above.
4. Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet are an American rock band formed in 2012 in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Besides their young age (average of 22), the band is known for their heavy sound. It reminds us of Led Zeppelin and classical blues, soul and folk music. While debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army will be released in less than two weeks, Greta Van Fleet has already performed at many important festivals, including Download 2018 and Rock am Ring 2018. Give a listen to ‘Safari Song’, live at the German festival.
5. Portugal. The Man
Portugal. The Man are an American rock band from Alaska formed in 2004. After a few lineup changes, they got a national following that resulted in prominent spots at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza Chicago 2018. Portugal. The Man have endured a long way to the top, but after fourteen years their hard work was rewarded with a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in 2018. Listen to the award-winning song ‘Feel It Still’, live at Vieilles Charrues 2018, above.
Brockhampton are an American music collective formed in Texas in 2015. Thanks to multi-skilled members, Brockhampton has already released four critically acclaimed albums, giving them the chance to perform on the biggest stages. Apart from being hip hop stars around the world, the band has established itself as a heavyweight on the international festival scene. Check out ‘Sweet’, from their performance at Reading Festival 2018.
Kaleo are an Icelandic blues rock band formed in 2012. Led by the incredible singer JJ Julius Son, the band delivers both heavy blues songs and peaceful ballads that remind us of summery road trips. Their catchy guitar riffs are beginning to raise massive crowds around the world: they opened for The Rolling Stones in Hamburg last year and have played at major festivals like Rock Werchter 2018. Listen to ‘No Good’, a live lesson in rock and roll.
8. Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice are a British alternative rock band formed in London in 2010. With their great diversity of sounds, Wolf Alice delivers an indie, intimate and singular music that has attracted the ears of the biggest rock artists: the band has toured with Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and Liam Gallagher. They have also performed at many major festivals such as Mad Cool and Sziget. Listen to ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ from their magnificent latest album Visions of a Life.
Arkells are a Canadian pop rock band formed in 2006. While their upcoming fifth album, Rally Cry, will be released in October 2018, the band is adored by new fans around the world every day. Arkells are already superstars in Canada, leading to a well-deserved headline show at Skookum Festival 2018 alongside Florence + The Machine and The Killers. Although they have not conquered the European festivals yet, they gave a mindblowing performance at Coachella 2017. Watch them play one of their numerous singles, ‘Leather Jacket’, at WayHome Festival 2016 above.
Jain is a French musician who released her debut album Zanaka in November 2015. The hit album provided Jain with global recognition and received a nomination at the 2018 Grammy Awards for Best Music Video. You can see ‘Makeba’ above. Her shows are exceptionally entertaining, and contain an original mixture of African beats, reggae and electronic music. Jain has performed at the biggest festivals in the world, including Lollapalooza Chicago 2016, Rock Werchter 2017 and NOS Alive 2018.