The 2018 festival round-up

Reading and Leeds

The annually-disappointing conveyor belt of trite known as Reading and Leeds festival once again churns out a homogenous indie pâté for this year’s GCSE recipients. The surprising lack of indie on the line-up and the strange presence of outdated noughties pop-punk, a genre now close to becoming dad-rock, has led indie fans to look for other festivals to meet their demands of samey four-piece white male bands who know three-chord progressions between them. Sadly for them, line-ups of this persuasion are on the decline, for indie music hasn’t done anything new since 2011, whereas hip-hop, trap, grime and dance are continually pushing boundaries and creating new sounds. Resultantly, they are attracting significantly more attention from this generation of teenagers, displacing guitar music almost entirely. The R+L line-up has to reflect this. It can’t have indie bands forever if the kids don’t dig it. Those complaining about the line-up have completely missed 2017’s big boys: Kendrick, J Hus, My Nu Leng, Ski Mask, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, and Brockhampton make this line-up the best in years.


With a traditional emphasis on festival infrastructure instead of bringing in big names, Chapter 10 has subverted this trend by offering Gorillaz, Die Antwoord and Limp Bizkit as headliners, with other big acts like Morcheeba, Enter Shikari, and Soul II Soul. Despite the firm guarantee of face-melting bass, Boomtown’s biggest strength has always been variety. Beyond having multiple themed districts, which put the “town” in Boomtown, its plethoric line-up regularly offers something for everyone, from reggae to death metal, from jump-up to spoken word, from psy-trance to country rock. Treat yourself and buy a Boomtown ticket.


As a more toned-down, less nitty version of Boomtown, Bestival once again supplies a decently varied line-up with multiple themed areas. Bestival doesn’t fall short on the promise of decent indie, with Django Django, First Aid Kit, and London Grammar, balanced with excellent dance acts like Mura Masa, Jorja Smith, and Flava D. Those who were left unsatisfied by Reading and Leeds line-up, Bestival is the next best thing. Not only does it serve you quality indie on a silver platter, but those musically unadventurous will experience the genre-defying awe of Grace Jones and Thundercat, the mind-bending renditions of Talking Heads classics by the London Astrobeat Orchestra, and hot fiery sets from DJs like Craig Charles, Norman Jay, and Gilles Peterson. Bestival has done its bit this year.


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December 2021
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