Your votes have been counted, and here are the results of our 2013 Best Festival Headliners poll, counting down, 20 to 1. 20. Rihanna, T In The Park, 12-14 July. This summer Rihanna tore up Kinross-shire alongside Mumford & Sons – but not together. That’d be weird. She brought her enviable cache of hits, finishing on a high with ‘We Found Love’ and ‘Only Girl (In The World)’.
19. Jay Z, Wireless, 12-14 July. Jay-Z was reinvigorated for the Wireless shows at the Olympic Park, with hefty new album Magna Carta Holy Grail in the can and superstar pals like Rihanna on hand to bump up the glitz quotient. On the third night he and pal Justin Timberlake joined forces for the biggest double-header of the year. Or decade.
18. Justin Timberlake, Wireless, 12-14 July. Bringing his ‘Suit & Tie’ to the Park (along with his great mate), Justin Timberlake kept it slick and sleazy for Wireless, headlining one night while the Hov took the other. By the time Timbo and Jay got together on the Sunday, they had a 40-song-strong set to dazzle the Park.
17. Beyonce, V Festival, 17-18 August. Queen Bey brought the curtain down on V Chelmsford, swanning on late but appeasing the fans with an unsurprisingly hit-packed set, a dizzying succession of costume changes and the sort of dance routines that are knackering enough to watch let alone perform.
16. Iron Maiden, Download, 14-16 June. The legendary British metallers had no plans to do things by halves at Download, launching proceedings with a flyover from a Spitfire. Tough act to follow, but hardy perennials like ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Number Of The Beast’ kept things soaring and a blistering encore including ‘Aces High’ and ‘Running Free’ kept ears ringing. Forever.
15. Kings Of Leon, V Festival, 17-18 August. V’s co-headliners brought their ‘Mechanical Bull’ to Staffordshire and Chelmsford, but it was all about the seasoned favourites, from pelting opener ‘The Bucket’ to the wide spaces of ‘Cold Desert’ – and the Brit punters were kept on side with warm tribute ‘Fans’.
14. The Prodigy, Creamfields, 23-25 August. A mammoth set from the veteran ravers, kicking off with ‘Voodoo People’ and racking up the hits from ‘Breathe’ to ‘Firestarter’ as Maxim and Keith Flint punished their old bones, ruling the stage just like they always have.
13. Bloc Party, Latitude, 18-21 July. An essential for the fans as Bloc Party played their last show before heading off on another hiatus. Elevated to headline status, they rolled out old faces ‘Banquet’ and ‘Helicopter’ and even snuck in a bit of Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’.
12. Snoop Dogg, Bestival, 5-8 September. He started off Snoop Lion but soon the Dogg was back, treating the islanders to ‘Gin & Juice’, ‘Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’, along with a host of covers including House Of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’. The, er, highlight of the night was when Snoop allowed himself a lapdance. Classy.
11. Slipknot, Download, 14-16 June. Donington Park saw some sinister masked mayhem as Slipknot revisited the past in front of an ecstatic crowd who persistently broke through the barriers. Although there’s not been an album since 2008’s ‘All Hope Is Gone’, the band hinted something might be on the cards, urging the fans to “look forward to special fucking things in the future”. OK.
10. Bruce Springsteen, Hard Rock Calling, 29-30 June. The Boss and his E Street Band floored the Olympic Park by playing classic 1984 album ‘Born In The USA’ in full, in a three-hour set that also pulled on tracks from ‘Born To Run’, ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ and ‘Nebraska’ as Springsteen paid homage to his own legend.
9. Kasabian, Hard Rock Calling, 29-30 June. In true gonzo rocker style, Kasabian entered the Olympic Park to the old Grandstand theme. From then on it was wall-to-wall rock from their first four albums and a surprise cover of The Korgis’ ‘Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes’, warbled by Serge Pizzorno. Sweet.
8. The Killers, T In The Park, 12-14 July. They might’ve marched onto the stage 20 minutes late, but the Las Vegans got all of Scotland in their corner straight away with intro music from Big Country and a cover of Travis’s ‘Side’. Overkill really, but The Killers have never been about half-measures now, have they?
7. Foals, Latitude, 18-21 July. At last, Foals made the move to the big league with a long-awaited headline slot at Henham Park. Going big on this year’s ‘Holy Fire’, the band lived up to their hard-won status and Yannis Philippakis admitted how much the slot meant to them – before launching himself into the crowd.
6. Mumford And Sons, Glastonbury Festival, 28-30 June. The Mumfords closed this year’s Glastonbury, gathering mates like Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines and First Aid Kit onstage for rousing Beatles cover closer ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.
5. Green Day, Reading & Leeds, 23-25 August. A headline set with a difference from Billie Joe Armstrong and co, who played the entirety of their 1994 album ‘Dookie’ to widespread bliss, bookending it with a selection of well-thumbed classics. All this and they were introduced by a giant pink rabbit.
4. Eminem, Reading & Leeds, 23-25 August. A colossus of Reading and Leeds, Marshall Mathers reappeared after 12 years away, this time with a full band and the unexpected arrival of Dido for a live-action version of her ‘Stan’ chorus. Last time around his guest was Marilyn Manson, so they’re getting easier on the eye at least.
3. Biffy Clyro, Reading & Leeds, 23-25 August. Having rocked Leeds into life on the Friday night, Biffy closed the whole festival at Reading on the Sunday, delivering a riot of bare chests (obviously), flaming guitars and big stadium declarations from Simon Neil. “We’ve waited our whole lives for this,” he wept. “Once again, we’re Biffy fucking Clyro. You’re Rea-fucking-ding.” He’s right.
2. Rolling Stones, Glastonbury Festival, 28-30 June. It took Michael Eavis a good 40 years to persuade Mick Jagger and the old geezers to come to Pilton, and when they finally did they grabbed the opportunity with both grizzled hands, piling on classics like ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and giving a rare airing to ‘2,000 Light Years From Home’.
1. Arctic Monkeys, Glastonbury Festival, 28-30 June. Never in doubt, as Britain’s best rock band cemented their top-drawer status. Fireworks, strange cabaret drawling from Alex Turner and a clutch of new songs illuminated the Arctics’ triumphant return to the Glastonbury headline slot.