Featuring Truck Festival, All Points East, Reading…
In this I’m going to take a look at a few of the best UK festival line ups, as well as, go through some of the standout artists featuring on each line-up. These include the king of the Indie festivals Truck, the more ethereal All Points East and the now veteran Reading Festival. Check them all out below:
It’s been 2 years since the first and last time I went to Oxfordshire’s Truck Festival. One word comes to mind for that describes the whole weekend and that word is mud, pure mud, mud everywhere, quite simply it was chaos. Thats not a drag against the festival, the lineup was cracking, with superb headline sets from Libs and the Vaccines and a top undercard to boot. The festival just needs to learn how to control the weather better, is that so much to ask? I’ll be the first to admit that I thought last years headliners were a pretty poor selection (in my opinion), but, had another cracking undercard so I’m pretty gutted I didn’t go. This year however, is an absolute must. 3 incredible headliners from the excellent Foals (which is an absolutely huge booking considering they co-headlined Reading just 3 years ago), to indie darlings Wolf Alice and Two Door Cinema Club. The undercard is absolutely jam-packed this year too, from the likes of Johnny Marr who will undoubtedly pack his set with Smiths classics. The most important band right now, Idles will be there, pulling off another one of their blinding, raw and energetic live sets. In fact this years lineup is filled with an excellent selection of punk bands from the insanely good Shame who I had the pleasure of seeing at Reading last year, Fontaines D.C. who have just released the brilliantly boisterous Dogrel. Other excellent standouts include Cassels who I’ve previously written a feature on here, as well as, the always entertaining Spector which will be my 9th time seeing them at this years festival. Truck have managed to book some of the most necessary bands of the current day, as well as, balancing the lineup to be an inclusive festival. Truly, as a whole this is one of this years best lineups and when you couple that with Trucks cheap ticket prices it makes it almost irresistible.
Christ, this lineup is truly a thing of beauty. 6 days split over 2 weekends, my only wish is that this was an actual full blown camping festival as I would happily do the whole first weekend and most of the second. The true standout from weekend 1 is the Strokes day, jesus what a perfect lineup. Packed with the best artists from the alternative and garage rock scene, with Jack White’s The Raconteurs making a welcome comeback and Interpol who I have been wanting to see for some time now. Other standouts include some excellent smaller names such as Demob Happy and the trippy Fat White Family who made an appearance at last years Citadel Festival. Other must see artists include Courtney Barnett who is signed to UK label Marathon Artists, her brand of clever, thought provoking lyricism with excellent punky instrumentation has made her quite a big name in the indie scene. Obviously, the Strokes are the biggest draw, arguably one of the best bands to come out of the 2000s and pioneers of the rock revival, also Alex Turner wanted to be one of them, what more do you need? Across the rest of Weekend 1 there are some truly inspired bookings and excellent names from Jazz pioneer Kamasi Washington, to the critically praised R&B singer/songwriter James Blake who released one of the best albums of the year so far “assume form”. Obviously, shoutouts to the brilliant Christine and The Queens or just Chris now, and The Chemical Brothers headlining the Friday.
Weekend 2 is just as good with Bon Ever finishing off on the Sunday night, who are know for their incredible live experiences. Highlights include Mac Demarco who will be releasing a brand new full length LP next month, which I am incredibly excited for! The Friday is another great day with Bring Me The Horizon headliner off the tail end of arguably their best and most divisive album yet, would love to go to this day but unfortunately money does not grow on trees (unless you’re a tory politician then it almost certainly does).
This lineup has come under fire for supposedly being the worst lineup ever. Quite a bold statement and really it is completely untrue. This is topic I’ve spoke about on here quite extensively since around the time of the second announcement, whilst obviously everyone has a different music taste, to suggest that its objectively the worst lineup is really an insult to the success of artists such as The 1975, Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots. Obviously, there isn’t any dispute against the Foo’s, but, it’s the rest of the lineup that has come under heavy fire. Anyway there are some truly great bookings to be found here from the brilliant Billie Eilish who just recently released her debut album “When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”, which I thought was quite an excellent debut. Especially for someone so young. Obviously, big 1975 fan here and seeing them finally being given the chance to step up and headline a major UK festival is going to be a special moment to see live. As always, the Foo’s will undoubtedly put on a blisteringly great set, likely to clock in over 2 and a half hours because they don’t seem to play any less than that. There are some great hip hop artists here too, such as Anderson .Paak, Lil Uzi Vert and obviously headliner Post Malone. In my initial article on Reading I dragged it for the lack of diversity toward the top of the poster and whilst that criticism very much remains in tact, there are a number of great female bookings like Charli XCX, the Japanese House and Chvrches. My other criticism that the 1xtra stage is completely appalling also still remains, it truly is awful, like god awful. Yikes.
Whilst I’m not going to state what festival is best out the 3 they are all clearly good and have their own various standouts. At the end of the day it all comes down your own personal tastes, Truck is a complete Indie package, All Points East provides something a bit more alternative and strangely Reading probably provides the most mainstream choice with a great mix of alternative acts and mainstream rap and pop acts. I take no issue with Reading’s demographic change, in the grand scheme of things its probably for the better to make it feel more relevant. Overall, this year is pretty strong in terms of festival lineups. Unfortunately, no UK lineup seems to ever be able to top the European festivals, with the likes of Primavera over in Barcelona almost certainly taking the crown for best festival.