1 Afrobeats music festival
Between Drake’s funky flirtations, dancehall crew Mixpak triumphing at Culture Clash, and acclaim for UK artists such as J Hus and NSG, 2016 has been a banner year for Afrobeats. Europe’s biggest celebration of the dance hybrid returns for a fifth year, with a lineup featuring Ghanaian duo R2bees and Nigerian singer May7ven.
2 Haçienda Classical
The Haçienda may be no more but its spirit lives on, from Shaun Ryder’s England Euro 2016 song to this event, where acid house cuts from the seminal Manchester club are performed live by a 70-piece orchestra and choir. It’s surely the only classical concert where the string section will be obscured by 2,000 pairs of arms pumping to Marshall Jefferson’s Move Your Body.
The Rainbow Arena, Birmingham, Sun
3 Dizzee Rascal
The dust was once again stirred up around estranged pals Dizzee and Wiley in June, after the latter opened up in an interview about the former’s stabbing in Ayia Napa in 2003, the last time the pair properly spoke. Whether it’s settled enough for them to have their own Jay Z and Nas moment is another matter, but Wiley is on support duties here nevertheless.
4 Ludovico Einaudi
Einaudi’s accessible take on classical has soundtracked everything from beer ads to This Is England. Catch the composer as he rounds off four nights in support of latest album Elements, which made him the first classical pianist to break the Top 15 in the UK charts.
Royal Festival Hall, SE1, Sat & Sun
5 Chain Of Flowers
South Wales’s Chain Of Flowers are blazing a trail of invigorating post-punk that feels like a wholly different beast to any other group currently citing Bauhaus and the Birthday Party as influences. They released their self-titled debut last October, a labour of love that translates best live, where blood, sweat and other bodily fluids can fly.