Festivals 2016: the essential A-Z

Adele or Ice Cube? Reading or Lovebox? Our writers give you the heads-up on the best line-ups - and rumours - of the upcoming season


There are plenty of festival apps around, but they have a pretty low hit rate. Festival Flash is one of the neater ones: if you want to look beyond the obvious big festivals, it scans your music collection and identifies smaller events where the lineup matches your tastes. You can also sign up for notifications of lineup announcements. Separately, bookmark the Clashfinder website in your browser: it helps you find and print out stage times at a host of festivals to identify artist clashes. SD


The Craig David comeback is here, people – in January he scored his first top 20 hit in nearly a decade with When The Bassline Drops. But this summer is when the wave of nostalgia for early-2000s UK garage and sculpted goatees will truly break. As well as headlining at the X Music festival in Cardiff in June, David is booked for the Parklife Weekender in June, Kendal Calling in July and Bestival in September. KF


LCD Soundsystem are playing at your festival, your festival. The New York band fronted by James Murphy called it quits in 2011 with much fanfare and a four-hour goodbye show, but after releasing a surprise track last Christmas they announced nine live dates including Primavera and Lovebox. Elsewhere, Lush will reunite at Coachella, while 80s aficionados should head to Bestival for Bananarama, the Cure and The Human League. KB


Japanese noise rock band Boredoms bring their percussion-heavy sounds to Stewart Lee’s All Tomorrow’s Parties 2.0 (April) and Primavera in Barcelona (June). Led by shamanic figure Eye – who once drove a bulldozer through a venue and on to the stage – their live shows are always spectacular. Last year’s hypnotic performance at the Barbican included 88 cymbal players, six drummers and eight guitarists. Bring earplugs. KB


Catch Sam Shepherd, aka Floating Points, perform his stunning breakout album Elaenia: Kitty Empire praised the “emotional pull exerted by these creeping, tickling and soaring tracks”. He’ll be at Field Day and Bloc (as will fellow electronic pioneer Kieran Hebden of Four Tet) as well as at Green Man and Roskilde. More icy beats will be on offer from Blanck Mass at ATP Iceland, Caribou at Secret Garden Party, and Holly Herndon at Field Day. KB


Foals co-headline Reading and Leeds in August.
Foals co-headline Reading and Leeds in August. Photograph: Kieran Frost/Redferns

Stealthy creatures are Foals: five serious souls, several with facial hair, who have somehow become arena rock stars. Once you hear the propulsive drums, banks of guitars and Yannis Philippakis’s needy wail, though, you get it: they’re a younger, indie-r, heavier U2. Two nights at Wembley in February rubber-stamped their appeal, plus their fans are energetic, excitable beasts. They co-headline Reading and Leeds in August, swapping the top spot over several nights with Disclosure. JR


Grime and festivals have had a chequered history – remember Wiley’s Twitter tirade at Glastonbury? – but all that was forgotten last year as Skepta shut down festival stages across the land, from The Great Escape to Wireless. With a dearth of moshable indie and punk bands on the schedules, the grime revival is perfectly timed to pick up the slack. Skepta’s Boy Better Know crew were one of the first acts announced for this year’s Reading and Leeds and the likes of Lovebox, Parklife and Sundown are all noticeably grimier, while London’s bass-centric Born & Bred festival is back for a second year. SR


The last (and only) time Adele played Glastonbury, it was in front of a tiny audience in the Guardian tent in 2007. If she agrees to headline this year, as rumours suggest, the audience will be substantially larger. And that’s the stumbling block. The singer, who suffers from stage fright, told Capital London FM: “The crowds are too big, I don’t know if I could do it. I went [in 2015] to watch Kanye and I literally just crapped my pants at the size of the audience.” But she hasn’t ruled it out, and Ladbrokes are offering 4/1 odds that she’ll overcome her fear. KF


Following the success of the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton last year, it’s been rumoured that the groundbreaking LA rap posse will reunite for the first time in 25 years at this year’s Coachella festival in April. Either way, it’s confirmed that Ice Cube, whose new solo album Everythang’s Corrupt comes out in May, will perform at the Parklife festival at Manchester’s Heaton Park in June. KF


JB: perfectly placed to headline V.
JB: perfectly placed to headline V. Photograph: George Pimentel/Getty Images for Universal Music

After his album Purpose transformed him from public enemy number one to “pop star with gravitas”, JB is perfectly placed to headline V. When he drops Top 10 fixtures Sorry and What Do You Mean?, it will be hard not to crack a smile and reach for a celebratory vuvuzela. Bieber fills out the headline bill alongside Rihanna, Sia and David Guetta as V sheds its tendency to be the corporate awayday of festivals and reinvents itself as a global pop extravaganza. PE


Riding the wave of his triumphant second album To Pimp a Butterfly, which topped many critics’ polls in 2015, LA rapper Kendrick Lamar is probably the hottest ticket on this year’s circuit. He’s confirmed to play Longitude festival at Dublin’s Marlay Park on 15 July after supporting Florence and the Machine on the British Summer Time festival’s Saturday lineup in Hyde Park earlier in the month. KF


Tanworth-in-Arden, the Warwickshire resting place of Nick Drake, is the setting for this very amiable little festival that offers folk, psychedelic music and “spiritual exploration” against a bucolic backdrop (though Birmingham is only a few miles away). The lineup this year, the festival’s third, is led by Super Furry Animals, Mercury Rev and Television – other notable acts include the Zombies, Martin Carthy and Bill Ryder-Jones. KF


Oh, Jeff Lynne and your exquisite pop band, please tell us why you had to hide away for so long? We say band, but in fact all the instruments on their 2015 album, Alone In The Universe, were played by Lynne alone (keyboardist Richard Tandy has also played live since 2014). Jeff Lynne’s ELO is an inspired choice for Glastonbury’s Sunday legends slot. Play festival bingo when commentators joke about the weather’s response (or not) to Mr Blue Sky, or the age of the band and the tenderfooted Livin’ Thing. JR


As essential an item in the festival raincoat pocket as a job lot of Andrex or a bag of wine liberated from its box, night light torches are much better, and brighter, than they used to be. Get a teeny LED one to guarantee easier 3am (eternal) navigation. Or go the full hipster by wearing one attached to an elasticated headband (just kidding…). A Silverline torch costs £5.30 and will last the whole weekend. JR


No, the Gallaghers haven’t reunited yet, although it’s surely only a matter of time (and money). Oasis is this year’s most appealing foreign fest: a house music festival in Marrakech that brings the template of the civilised, sun-kissed rave to north Africa. 2016’s Oasis (it launched last year) is headlined by German selector Dixon, recently voted best DJ in the world by users of electronic music site Resident Advisor. If you can’t afford the airfare to Morocco, Sunfall is a brand new dance festival hoping to offer similar vibes in London’s Brockwell Park. SR


Cosmic travellers should prepare themselves for a journey of spiritual and intellectual discovery: psychedelia is this year’s big new festival theme. Festivals Liverpool Psych, and Reverence in Valada, Portugal, will in September be respectively “operating at the bleeding edge of today’s psychedelic renaissance”, with “a chop-chasing lineup of heavy psychedelia, space rock and everything in between”.

Expect kaleidoscopic visuals, shimmering colours and woozy, looping sounds. Elsewhere, you can catch psych rockers Tame Impala, Animal Collective, Goat and more. KB


Queen, featuring Adam Lambert, left, play at the Isle of Wight festival.
Queen, featuring Adam Lambert, left, play at the Isle of Wight festival. Photograph: MediaPunch/REX

Currently enjoying a second life thanks to their collaboration with quiff-haired American Idol winner Adam Lambert, Queen will be putting the Isle Of Wight festival under pressure (sorry) with their bag of hits. There are also purple-tinged rumours of Prince popping over from Paisley Park to play a Hendrix-inspired set (Jimi famously played the fest in 1970). PE


One good reason to stay in Europe: Radiohead will be debuting their highly secretive ninth album – their first since 2011’s The King of Limbs – live at Primavera in Spain in June, followed by appearances in Switzerland, Portugal and Germany (and non-EU Iceland). No UK dates have been announced yet, although the inevitable Glastonbury rumours are rife. So far we know only that the album will include a song from the mid-90s. If the rejected track for James Bond movie Spectre, released last Christmas, is anything to go by, it should be a blinder. KB


Topping the bill at T In The Park in July, The Stone Roses’ festival headline slots are usually legendary for the wrong reasons. At Glastonbury 1995, John Squire’s broken collarbone forced them to pull out of the Saturday night headline slot, allowing Pulp to reign victorious; in 1996, they honked tunelessly all over Reading, leading the NME to call I Am The Resurrection “the eternal crucifixion”. Responses to performances in recent years have been mixed, although when the Roses hit form, those nostalgia buttons get pressed brilliantly. JR


Fetty Wap plays his first major UK dates at Reading and Leeds.
Fetty Wap plays his first major UK dates at Reading and Leeds. Photograph: Lester Cohen/WireImage

One of the great hip-hop success stories of 2015, New Jersey’s Fetty Wap was due to play at a 1Xtra event in Leeds last October, but was prevented from doing so by a motorcycle accident that broke his leg. The rapper behind 2014’s infectious Trap Queen will make up for it in August when he plays at the Reading and Leeds festivals – his first major UK dates. KF


One of the most cheering festival developments of recent years has been the rise of small, thoughtfully curated, city-based festivals, offering cutting-edge music, tech and arty happenings for sensible prices: see the likes of Visions and Illuminations in London, Simple Things in Bristol, and Mutations in Brighton. As well as celebrating a city’s smaller venues, these festivals explore other urban spaces such as churches, galleries, breweries and, in the case of Gateshead’s Tusk festival, former police cells. If you want to explore a foreign city instead, try Off in Katowice, Unsound in Krakow or Sonar in Barcelona. SR


Boomtown’s Bang Hai Palace.
Boomtown’s Bang Hai Palace. Photograph: PR

Post Glastonbury’s Shangri-La area, stages are starting to resemble the sets from Mad Max: Fury Road. There’s now even an award for “most mind-blowing spectacle” at the Festival Congress Awards (won last year by Boomtown’s nine-storey stage, Bang Hai Palace). Expect more of this in the coming festival season: Boomtown say this year’s Bang Hai will feature six giant lasers and 18 flame throwers; Bristol’s Arcadia Spectacular is a massive travelling metallic spider with lasers shooting from its eyes. PE


Having scored great reviews for their debut album My Love is Cool, and picked up nominations at the Grammys, Brits and NME awards, Wolf Alice are poised to clean up during festival season. The north London foursome, who explore hidden connections between folk and grunge and put on a fierce live show, play the Parklife Weekender in June, the BST festival in Hyde Park in July and Bestival in September. KF


Last year, festival posters with all the male-fronted bands crossed out looked so bare they made headlines. There’s still a way to go before we’re anywhere near a 50/50 split, but in 2016 things seem slightly better, with Joanna Newsom, Bat for Lashes, Churches, Grimes and Julia Holter taking top slots at Field Day, Green Man, Latitude and End of the Road. At Glasto, Emily Eavis promises a lineup “strong on women”; PJ Harvey was recently confirmed for Sunday on the Other Stage. KB


Chairlift play Primavera in June.
Chairlift play Primavera in June. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Rock festivals needn’t be all about grunge and grit. Mellow, highly polished pop sounds, perfect for listening to on the deck of one’s private cruising vessel, also sound good in a muddy field or urban leisure space. Glossy New York synthpop duo Chairlift play Primavera in June and Todd Terje, the Norwegian disco producer who once cheerfully described a track of his as “good, danceable elevator music”, will grace Parklife the same month. KF


Though they’ve been going for nearly half a century with the same lineup, this millennium has been relatively quiet for ZZ Top – the Texan blues-rockers have released just two albums since 2000. So their presence at Glastonbury (if rumours are true) will be quite an event. Not far behind them in the unflagging rock legend stakes are AC/DC, rumoured to be headlining the Download festival in June. KF


Kathryn Bromwich, Stuart Dredge, Priya Elan, Killian Fox, Sam Richards, Jude Rogers

The GuardianTramp

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