19 artists we want to see headline festivals in 2019

Festival season 2018 might be largely done and dusted but you can always console yourself by looking ahead to next year. If you were drawing up your wishlists, who would be your headliners? We’ve had a think of ours, from the big acts who are almost guaranteed to be topping bills next year to the smaller artists we reckon deserve a shot. Here’s 19 artists who should headline festivals in 2018.


1The 1975

Why: They've promised their live return will be a "spectacle" - where better to blow people's minds than in a festival field? Where they could headline: They can take their pick, basically. Unless they severely veer off-track then not even Glastonbury will be out of bounds for them soon.

2Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice
Derek Bremner/NME
Why: They're the best band to come out of Britain in ages and have been steadfastly working their way up the bill every summer for the past six years. Over that time, they've become fully-fledged stars - what better way to reward them than with a headline slot? Where they could headline: Latitude, Reading & Leeds, a smaller festival like Truck or Standon Calling - the possibilities are many.


Why: She's Rihanna, do you really need more of a reason than that? Where they could headline: Wireless is always a strong shout for Rihanna, but it would also be exciting to see her at somewhere like Rize, where there's a little more variety on offer.

4Travis Scott

Travis Scott
Jenn Five/NME
Why: He's made one of 2018's best rap albums and backed up his power with headline sets at festivals in the US this summer. Conquering UK festies' upper echelons will be a doddle. Where they could headline: A Travis Scott headline at Parklife seems like a pretty natural fit to us.


Laura Palmer/NME
Why: It's about time a grime artist headlined a major festival and, as the genre's biggest crossover act so far, it makes sense for Stormzy to lead the way. Oh, and he'll obviously put on a hard-hitting, dazzling show. Where they could headline: He's rumoured to be in the running for a Glastonbury top spot, but he could also do something like Rize with ease.

6Tame Impala

Tame Impala
CCZH Photography
Why: There aren't many better ways to close out a weekend then with the woozy, euphoric bangers Tame produce. Yes, they headlined Citadel this year, but it would be nice to see them topping bills in 2019 with a new album in tow. Where they could headline: Bestival, Sound City, Field Day, and many more could work for Kevin Parker and his crew.


Laura Palmer/NME
Why: Brockhampton are easily the band of the summer. Why not let them capitalise on that and give them a shot at topping the bill at a smaller festival in 2019? Where they could headline: Parklife, Field Day, or Lovebox.

8Cardi B

Cardi B
Why: She had to pull out of her festival commitments this year due to becoming a mum, but in that time Cardi's become one of the biggest names in the game. By the time next summer rolls around, she should be even stronger and, therefore, able to pull off even more surprises. Where they could headline: Considering she reportedly doesn't perform for less than $300,000, it would have to be one of the big ones.


Neelam Khan Vela/NME
Why: Let's prove the argument that there's no new bands who could headline festivals wrong. Shame could use next summer to tease songs from their second album - they've already been playing two live this year, as it is. Where they could headline: Kendal Calling or Camp Bestival seem about the right size.

10Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails
Derek Bremner/NME
Why: Nine Inch Nails' sets this summer were blistering, incendiary performances that made us wish Trent and the band were a permanent fixture on the festival circuit. Where they could headline: Again, they're at that level where they could do pretty much anywhere, apart from perhaps Glastonbury.


Why: She's the undisputed Queen Of Pop with a little something for everyone. Where they could headline: We'd love to see Madge down Hyde Park for the British Summer Time series, but, in reality, anywhere would be lucky to get her.

12The Distillers

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 05: Brody Dalle of The Distillers performs at Shaky Knees Music Festival at Atlanta Central Park on May 5, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images) Getty Images
Why: It's been a long wait for The Distillers to be back in lives, but their reunion announcement has been bittersweet so far with them only playing a handful of dates in the US. The UK needs you too, Brody and co! Where they could headline: Slam Dunk would be a great fit, or somewhere with more of a crossover interest like Boardmasters.

13Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen
Why: Headlining festivals isn't just about having bangers in your arsenal. Our bill-toppers should be able to move us and Angel is one of the best when it comes to beautiful, emotive songwriting. Sometimes you need a little weep into your cider cup on a summer Sunday. Where they could headline: Festivals like End Of The Road, Larmer Tree, or Green Man could give Angel a shot at the big slot.


Laura Palmer/BBC
Why: There are few things in life that are better than dancing and singing along to 'Dancing On My Own' with a bunch of strangers, and we bet Robyn will provide us with even more unifying, euphoric experiences on her upcoming album. Where they could headline: We could see Bestival happening. Otherwise, she seems like a shoe in for a Field Day or Lovebox-type event.

15Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins
SACRAMENTO, CA - AUGUST 28: Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins performs during the band's "The Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour" at Golden 1 Center on August 28, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images) Getty Images
Why: Their US tour with the reunited classic line-up (minus bassist D'Arcy Wretzky) was an absolute joy to witness. They'll bring that show to the UK for one date this October, but that's nowhere near enough Pumpkins time. Where they could headline: Massive festivals only, and rightly so.


Joe Talbot from Idles performs at Rock en Seine David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 02: Beyonce performs onstage during the "On The Run II" Tour - New Jersey at MetLife Stadium on August 2, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW18/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment) Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment
Why: Her Coachella set was one of the greatest in that festival's history. Can we get the British equivalent next summer please, Bey? Where they could headline: You're not going to see her playing at Bestival, let's be real. She could do British Summer Time in Hyde Park if she fancied doing something that felt more like her own show, but we reckon she'd be up for revisiting the Pyramid Stage.

18Let's Eat Grandma

Let's Eat Grandma
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth of Let's Eat Grandma pose after performing live and signing copies of their new album 'I'm All Ears' at Fopp Manchester on July 1, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage) WireImage
Why: They're a truly interesting band who deserve to begin making their way up the festival line-up hierarchy. It would be great to see something a bit more boundary-pushing in the big slots too. Where they could headline: They'd have to start off somewhere small, but the Norwich ladies could easily handle the likes of Neighbourhood or Dot 2 Dot come next year.

19Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 10: Carly Rae Jepsen performs at the 2018 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival on Day 1 at Golden Gate Park on August 10, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage) WireImage
Why: Her last album 'EMOTION' was slick pop at its best and the sheer love her fanbase has for her would make any festival that booked her one filled with an incredible atmosphere. Where they could headline: Mighty Hoopla is an obvious one, or British Summer Time.

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