The best new bands of festival season 2018

The up-and-comers who made this summer a classic

If you didn’t see at least one new band that captured your heart this summer then you’re either very fussy or you’ve been doing festival season wrong. There were plenty of candidates on offer, whether you were looking for something catchy, or deep, or a bit silly, or something to hit you right in the feels. Here are the best new bands we caught over the past few months.


1Sofi Tukker

Sofi Tukker Mad Cool
Derek Bremner/NME
Who: New York-based "jungle-pop" duo who know how to get the party started.

What we said: "Endlessly fun and a total sugar rush, this is how you want to start your day at a festival - dancing with a bunch of wonderful, half-pissed strangers to Sofi Tukker’s glorious soundtrack." - Mad Cool

Where to catch them next: Manchester, Gorilla (September 16); London, KOKO (17).

2Post Animal

Post Animal SXSW
Jenn Five/NME
Who: Chicago psych-gang who'll mesmerise you with their noodling wig-outs and big hooks.

What we said: "They’re the next great band to come out of Chicago – wild, electrifying and, seemingly, indestructible." - SXSW

Where to catch them next: Their festival season continues in the US until October.

3Sassy 009

Sassy 009 Oya
Maj Brenna
Who: Flute-loving Norwegian trio who take pop to strange new heights.

What we said: "Sassy 009 bewitched the Sirkus tent with their trip-hop tinged electro-pop. They’re weird, wonderful, and a very happy discovery." - Øya

Where to catch them next: Dates in Europe later this year, including at Iceland Airwaves.

4Confidence Man

Confidence Man
Poppy Marriott/NME
Who: Aussie oddballs with dance routines to die for.

What we said:"The four-piece are fast becoming as the best band to see  live at festivals this summer, having made a name for themselves for with their energetic, ostentatious and, at times, bizarre performances.  They are, quite simply, brilliant." - Bestival

Where to catch them next: You'll have to head Down Under to catch any of their remaining announced dates.


Parcels All Points East
Andy Ford
Who:Berlin-based Australian future-pop princes pulling from the disco canon.

What we said: "After collaborating with Daft Punk, Parcels are now eyeing up the dance rock throne themselves." - All Points East

Where to catch them next: Manchester, Academy 2 (November 5); Bristol, SXW (6); Leeds, Stylus (7); London, Roundhouse (8).


Mallrat SXSW
Jenn Five/NME
Who: Brisbane teen delivering half-rapped, half-sung pop addictiveness.

What we said: "As fun as you’d expect from the bubblegum hip-hop pop sound of her early tracks, showcasing an artist with a breezy self-confidence." - SXSW

Where to catch them next: Supporting Maggie Rogers on tour in the US this autumn.


Brockhampton Lowlands
Laura Palmer/NME
Who: The most talked about band on the planet right now.

What we said: "Taking turns like the dynamic, game-changing titans they’ve become, watching them bounce around on stage is a complete joy in itself." - Flow

Where to catch them next: Across the US until the end of the year.


Andy Ford
Who: Camden indie kid who's been co-signed by Skepta.

What we said: "Pounding drums, chunky guitar riffs and indie bops for days – we might be looking at Britain’s next great rock’n’roll star." - Live At Leeds

Where to catch them next: Brighton, Sticky Mike's (September 29); Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge (30); Manchester, Jimmy's (October 1); Dublin, Academy 2 (3); Leeds, Chapel (4); Glasgow, Garage Attic Bar (5); Bristol, Louisiana (8); London, The Dome (9).

9The Blaze

The Blaze
The Blaze Benjamin Loyseau
Who: Mysterious French duo who seemed to be everywhere this summer.

What we said: "The perfect, stunning end to a festival like no other." - Primavera

Where to catch them next: Touring the US this autumn.

10Pale Waves

Pale Waves
Andy Hughes/NME
Who: The 1975's proteges and next in line to the goth throne.

What we said: "Each song in the set has the weight of a closing finale – from the lushness of opener ‘Television Romance’ through to banging new single ‘Kiss’, which harbours one of the strongest crowd reactions of the night." - The Great Escape

Where to catch them next: Glasgow, SWG3 (September 21); Newcastle, Boiler Shop (22); Sheffield, Foundry (23); Liverpool, O2 Academy (24); Birmingham, O2 Institute (25); London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (27); Manchester, O2 Ritz (28); Nottingham, Rock City (October 1); Southampton, O2 Guildhall (2); Bristol, O2 Academy (3); Belfast, Elmwood Hall (5); Cork, Cyprus Avenue (6); Limerick, Dolan's (7); Dublin, Academy (8).


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