Take the choice cuts of rock and alternative music from the past forty years. Airdrop them onto a magic island in a lake in one of the most stunning cities in Croatia, a country that has stunning cities like Dave has Mock The Week repeats. Charge, literally, about sixty quid for the entire three days. And you might well have the best – and best value – festival in Europe.
That’ll be INmusic, Zagreb’s annual lakeside spectacular that sees the lush greenery of the Isle Of Youth in the middle of Lake Jarun transformed into an alt-rock Valhalla for three days, capturing both the neon-lit, hyper-real vibe of a boutique festival – check out the light-up Tesla Tower in the middle of the site and bask in the welcoming, mellow atmosphere of the place – and the bill of a festival circuit behemoth. 100,000 people flock to Croatia’s biggest festival each year and 2019 more than lives up to previous years, when the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon and Kasabian have graced Europe’s hidden festival gem. Here are the sets from this year’s festival that promise to be as must-see as Bros: Stranded On Fyre Island.
Since Robert Smith realised, watching Duran Duran at Bestival, that bands playing all the hits during headline sets is officially A Good Thing, The Cure have become arguably the most essential festival band on the planet. Leaving much of their atmospheric shuffling for their eight-hour fan gigs, their Greatest Hits sets are virtually untouchable in alternative rock circles. Glacial heartbreakers, gothic firestorms, claws-out scat-pop and airborne indie classics, theirs is a devastatingly dynamic three hours or so.
The 2019 season’s biggest contemporary draw, Foals return from a four-year absence with some of the strongest singles of their career – ‘Exits’, ‘On The Luna’, ‘Sunday’ – two new albums in the bag and a pubic crying out for their ultra-infectious brand of widescreen angular future pop. They’re worth the entry price three times over alone – which is what you’d be paying to see them at most other festivals.
While the Britpop nostalgia scene blooms, Suede remain its elegantly wasted outsiders. Their reunion has been anything but rose-tinted: since 2010 they’ve produced three albums – well, monuments, really – of scintillating, uncompromising and self-challenging noir rock par excellence, and reapplied for the title of the most breathlessly brilliant live band on the planet. Their disturbing latest album ‘The Blue Hour’ is their latter period ‘Dog Man Star’, but with more blood than sweat staining its sheets, and for all its menace and foreboding, expect singer Brett Anderson to attack it like a devil dog in heat. Unmissable.
Talking of uncompromising comebacks, electro-rock supergroup Garbage also emerged from an “indefinite hiatus” at the start of the decade, instantly sliding into legendary status as the world was turned back on to the sardonic cool of Shirley Manson and her clutch of celebrated rock celebrities born with the ability to make their guitars sound like a lightning strike on a Korg factory. Manson herself was welcomed back as an inspirational rock heroine, picking up NME’s inaugural Icon Award last year. Expect her to land in Lake Jarun like a meteorite in heels.
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
From one-man-and-his-knackered-guitar gigs in stinking North London pubs to rousing rabble punk arena tours, Frank Turner has been alt-rock’s most adorable journeyman since leaving Million Dead in 2005. Like a folk-rock Pied Piper, he’s slogged for his supper – and his faithful fan army – through 2,310 (at time of writing) gigs and seven increasingly impressive albums, any one of which could be considered his ‘big break’. Along the way he’s built one of the finest canons of punk jigs, huggable billow-ballads and communal air-punches known to man, making for one of the most exciting and inclusive rock shows of the age. Defiant anthems of the toilet circuit struggle, atheist gospels, heart-breaking confessionals and many, many reasons not to be an idiot; who’d have thought things so simple could save rock’n’roll?
We’re not sure if 500 million streams for your biggest hit is that many anymore, but for someone with a ukulele, it’s gotta be up there. Enter uke-pop sensation LP – aka Laura Pergolizzi – co-writer for Rihanna, Cher and Christina Aguilera who has also dented the internet thanks to dusky uke folk epics like ‘Lost On You’. She’s been described as “Roy Orbison on helium” in one review for her latest album ‘Heart To Mouth’, which’ll do for us.
Kurt Vile & The Violators
Head hairball of the new slacker-psych explosion (or should that be ‘spark-up’?), Kurt Vile arrives at INmusic on the back of a major breakthrough with ‘Pretty Pimpin’’ in 2015 and a celebrated new album of heady, amorphous indie rock in a style best summed up by the title of its second single ‘Bassackwards’. Prepare for the perfect sink-into-the-turf set.