These 10 Artists Deserve A Shot At Headlining Big Festivals In 2016

Summer is pretty much over, bringing to a close another awesome festival season. A gloomy thought isn’t it? No more balmy evenings full of six-packs of cider and live music till 2016 – just cold, bleak autumnal nights. To cheer us all up, here’s a look forward to next year at festivals and the fresh-faced bands who could step up and headline them. This year saw Florence + the Machine climb the bill at Glastonbury to close the Pyramid Stage for the first time. Which other young guns could similarly step up in 2016?



The Oxford band’s latest album may be titled ‘What Went Down’, but ever since the frenetic math-rock of ‘Antidotes’ in 2008, they’ve been a steady upwards journey towards festival headliner status. In a recent chat with NME, Melvin Benn said that he wants Yannis and co to top the bill at Reading & Leeds one day, and why not – their rich blend of big guitar riffs and urgent rhythms has never sounded more exciting than on this new record. Maybe next August Bank Holiday is their moment?


Yes, it’s baffling that a band with lyrics like “turn you inside out/to lick you like a crisp packet” have become so huge. But huge Alt-J undoubtedly are, and having already bagged a Mercury Prize for 2012’s ‘An Awesome Wave’, headlined London’s O2 and blown away Latitude in the top spot there, will surely be targeting prime billing at even bigger festivals soon. Their winning Glastonbury performance high up on the Pyramid Stage was seen as many as an audition to headline that they passed with flying colours.

Jamie T


For five whole years, dishevelled London indie kids scoured internet forums like a digital search party, hunting for any scraps of information about AWOL troubadour Jamie T. The South Londoner thankfully finally returned last year with the addictive ‘Carry On The Grudge’, stuffed with more hooks than an angler’s boat. It’s not too hard to imagine him moving up a couple of places on the Reading & Leeds bill to nab the coveted headline spot sooner rather than later.

The xx

Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’ was a vibrant, vibey piece of electro-pop magic and got a whole lot of musos bloody excited. This – combined with the fact that The xx are busy working on a ‘completely different’ third album in Texas and Iceland – makes them a headline possibility, especially considering that their sparse, spacious grooves are perfect for night-time slots.

The Vaccines

What do we expect from The Vaccines? A headline slot, that’s what. Alright, maybe that’s a bit adventurous, but it’s certainly not impossible based on the strength of recent LP ‘English Graffiti’ and their important existence as one of the Britain’s biggest guitar bands. Festival headline spots are only a matter of time, we’d wager – and who knows, next year may be the year.

The Maccabees

As consistently good as The Maccabees have been over the last 10 or so years, they’re yet to have a certified #BigMoment. This could all change rather soon, however – even the band themselves have said that they’d “love to” headline Reading and “think we could do it one day”. Muddy fields of Britain and beyond, you’ve been warned – The Maccabees are coming for you.

Royal Blood

Royal Blood manage to tap into something primal in all rock-lovers – a deep yearn for riffs dirtier than a pair of the Fat Whites’ socks. With their raw mix of beaten-up, overdriven bass guitar and thumping drums, the duo have been revving up festival goers into sweaty fits of hysteria all summer, on bigger and bigger stages. Maybe it’s a bit optimistic to see them headlining festivals already, after only one album, but remember this – that record was one of the biggest selling debut in decades, shifting 65,000 copies in its first week. If The Darkness were able to top Reading & Leeds all those years back after just one album…

Tame Impala

On the back of announcing a couple of mahoosive dates at Ally Pally, Aussie psych-heads Tame Impala may float up the bills on some of the bigger festivals in the UK – especially considering recent LP ‘Currents’ was filled with the kind of dance-orientated tunes that work like a dream after dark – as witnessed when they went down a storm when topping
the bill at End Of The Road recently.

Jake Bugg

After a flurry of material, Jake Bugg has gone a bit quite of late. But not to worry – the singer-songwriter has been working on some new, “darker” material that sounds pretty intriguing, and probably will be a little more electric-based than before. Last year he played right before the headliners at Reading & Leeds, meaning he’s got a stellar chance of fronting some more festivals come Album Three.

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey will always be ridiculously enigmatic and enchanting due to her perfect blend of American dream-inspired lyrics and lush instrumentation. Surprisingly, she hasn’t actually performed at all that many festivals, but perhaps after ‘Honeymoon’ drops she’ll surely nab an exclusive festival slot somewhere in the UK. Wireless maybe?