This weekend Paul McCartney, The Who, Roger Waters, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones headed to Indio, California for the inaugural Desert Trip festival. It was an incredible line-up, but was it the best ever? These 10 past events give it a run for its money.
Isle Of Wight ‘70
Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the 1970 edition of Isle Of Wight festival was his last UK show – the musician died suddenly a month later. It was also the last edition of the event until it was revived in 2002, and drew 500,000 people to the island to see the American guitar hero. Elsewhere on the line-up: Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, The Doors, Joni Mitchell.
Monsters Of Rock ‘91
This rock festival used to be held annually at Castle Donnington, but ceased in 2006 (although its international arm is still going). Back in ’91, AC/DC headed up a massive line-up, which also included the likes of Metallica and Motley Crue. Elsewhere on the line-up: Queensrÿche, The Black Crowes.
The organisers of Coachella really had a great year in 2003. Not only did NYC rap heroes Beastie Boys headline the fest’s first day, but they shared a bill with Queens Of The Stone Age, Blur and The White Stripes. Someone build us a time machine. Elsewhere on the line-up: N.E.R.D., Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Sonic Youth.
The first Glastonbury of the 21st century was a big one. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, it featured David Bowie making his final appearance at Worthy Farm. Although rumours would abound every year after positing him as headliner, he never made the trip down to Somerset again. Elsewhere on the line-up: Chemical Brothers, Cypress Hill, Happy Mondays, Nine Inch Nails.
The ultimate in legendary festival moments courtesy of Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was pushed on stage in a wheelchair at the start of a brilliantly chaotic headline performance. Dave Grohl has since said he thought the shambolic set would end the band’s career, but it just made the world want more. Elsewhere on the line-up: Suede, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Public Enemy.
The Purple One headed to Hungary in 2011 to headline Budapest’s Sziget. Quite the coup for the festival and one that was only announced two weeks prior to gates opening. The last minute surprise didn’t disappoint either, with a hit-packed set that stretched to 28 songs. Elsewhere on the line-up: Pulp, Kasabian, The Prodigy.
The Stone Roses were due to headline at Worthy Farm in ’95, but were forced to pull out a week before when John Squire broke his collarbone. Pulp stepped in as last minute replacements, where they previewed loads of songs from ‘Different Class’ and really made their breakthrough. Elsewhere on the line-up: Portishead, Oasis, The Cure, PJ Harvey, Elastica and more.
Rock In Rio ‘85
The inaugural Rock In Rio, which took place over nine days in Rio de Janeiro, came out with a heavyweight line-up. Queen, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne all made the trip to Brazil for the festival that is now one of the largest in the world. Elsewhere on the line-up: The Go-Go’s, The B-52’s, Whitesnake.
Back when Lolla was still a travelling festival moving around the States, they bagged an incredible line-up including headliners Smashing Pumpkins, following the success of ‘Siamese Dream’. Billy Corgan later described it as “some of the best experiences and the worst”. Elsewhere on the line-up: Beastie Boys, George Clinton, The Breeders.