2020’s biggest headliners and where to see them

Kendrick Lamar 
BST Hyde Park (London, UK), 

The King himself Kendrick Lamar is on the international festival circuit in 2020. The California native hit his creative and chart-topping stride in the early 2010s. In 2012, after the success of ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’, Kendrick appeared in tiny font on the Coachella line-up. The rapper crossed the Atlantic to play V Festival in 2013, where he appeared on the bill underneath the likes of Olly Murs, Rita Ora and Stereophonics. In 2016, the Grammy-winning ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ led him to international acclaim and Kendrick co-headlined Hyde Park with Florence & the Machine.

Fast forward to 2020, following the success of ‘DAMN.’ (2017) – Kendrick now earns coveted festival slots on stages around the globe. With his iconic back catalogue, God-like stage presence and undeniable flow, Kendrick Lamar is a must-see headline act. 

The Strokes 
Sziget (Budapest, HU),  

Elusive indie titans The Strokes are yet to confirm a UK festival appearance in 2020. The band’s first stroke of luck happened in 2001 at NME’s Carling Weekender when they were moved from their limited capacity side-stage slot to the main stage, for fear of people trampling each other. Coinciding with new music, the New York band are grabbing their guitars for headline festival performances in the US and Europe.

Having laid low for the last decade, the highly-anticipated new album will be The Strokes’ first LP since their 2013 triumph, ‘Comedown Machine’. 

Taylor Swift 
Glastonbury (Suffolk, UK), Mad Cool (Madrid, ES),

2020 is the beginning of a woke decade where women are given headline slots at major festivals. Taylor Swift is at the forefront of this woke-ness. The country singer turned international popstar will close The Pyramid Stage on Sunday 28th June 2020 as part of Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. As shown in her recent documentary, ‘Miss Americana’, iconic feminist Taylor has finally found her voice and is using it for good. Go Taylor! A headliner worthy of the biggest platform from which to share her music and spread those positive vibes. 

Tyler, The Creator 
Lovebox (London, UK), Parklife (Manchester, UK)

With the name Tyler, The Creator, it makes sense that you create your own festival and book yourself as one of the headliners. Held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Camp Flog Gnaw is Tyler’s very own creative playground, reflective of his aesthetic. In 2020, the LA native brings his art (and hopefully some California sunshine), to two of the UK’s biggest city festivals. Released last year in 2019, the thoroughly heartsick ‘IGOR’ is arguably Tyler’s best work yet. We are in for a treat.

Haim
Latitude (Suffolk, UK), Mad Cool (Madrid, ES), Lollapalooza (Paris, FR) 

Californian sister act HAIM will headline Latitude Festival in Suffolk this July. Their polished mixture of Fleetwood Mac-inspired rock, ’80s synth pop, and ’90s R&B influences make HAIM the perfect festival band. They first caught the attention of the music industry in 2012 via a series of shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The girls’ popularity in the UK swelled in 2013 with the release of singles ‘The Wire’ and ‘Don’t Save Me’; leading to a slot on The Pyramid Stage. Their debut album, ‘Days Are Gone’, arrived later that year.

HAIM returned in July 2017 with their sophomore ‘Something to Tell You’, including hugely successful festival anthems ‘Want You Back’ and ‘Little Of Your Love’. With their third album on the way, 2020 is the summer of HAIM.

Billie Eilish 
Firefly (Dover, USA), Mad Cool (Madrid, ES), Lollapalooza (Paris, FR)

Being from the first generation of kids who grew up in the digital age, it feels like 18-year-old Billie Eilish became a megastar over night. From SoundCloud to SXSW to Coachella, Billie has paved her own path to become a generational icon. In 2019, she drew in headliner sized crowds at Glastonbury and Reading, and – even with only one album out – the LA native is an obvious fit for headliner at any major festival in 2020. But she isn’t a typical popstar.

Billie rewrites the rulebook when it comes to performing live, and often reflects very wisely on contemporary life. It would be a mistake for Eilish to headline all the big festivals so early on in her career, and the young creative knows when to end the party. There’s no doubt a headline slot on The Pyramid Stage is in her future, but for now Billie is enjoying the moment and playing a select few festivals around the world including Mad Cool in Madrid where she’s billed above The Killers.

Tame Impala
All Points East (London, UK), The Governor’s Ball Music Festival (NY, USA)

Thanks to the ravenous demand of fans for a transcendent live performance, Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) has headlined festivals and theatres around the world and released three full length albums – Innerspeaker, Lonerism and Currents. Released early 2020 and already a contender for Album of the Year, ‘The Slow Rush’ is Parker’s “deep dive into the oceans of time, conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones whizzing by while you’re looking at your phone, it’s a paean to creation and destruction and the unending cycle of life.”

Rage Against The Machine 
Reading and Leeds (UK), Coachella (California, USA), Firefly (Dover, USA)

In 2008, Rage Against The Machine were forced to halt their headline set on the Main Stage at Leeds Festival to prevent a crowd crush. The festival announced the band’s comeback this year, leaving its younger generation of attendees angry and confused. So here’s some background: Rage Against The Machine formed in Los Angeles in the early ’90s out of the wreckage of corporate America, cultural imperialism, and government oppression. They are a fiercely political punk band and a must-see festival headliner. Rage’s headline performances in 2020 will erupt and educate.

Foals
Snowbombing (Austria), Wilderness (Oxfordshire, UK), Mad Cool (Madrid, ED), TRNSMT (Glasgow, UK), Open’er (Poland)

Rock quintet Foals are the next British act reaching for international headliner status. They started in true DIY fashion, perfecting their complex and unique sound by playing house parties around Oxford. Foals released their debut album ‘Antidotes’ in 2008, but it was their sophomore album ‘Total Life Forever’ that created a real buzz and gave us timeless festival anthem “Spanish Sahara”.

The band returned in early 2013 with ‘Holy Fire’, the first album of theirs to chart outside of Western Europe, topping the charts in America and Australia. Picking up where ‘Holy Fire’ left off, ‘What Went Down’ arrived in summer 2015 and lead to sold-out shows around the world. In 2016, Foals were billed as co-headliner for Reading and Leeds Festival, alongside Disclosure. Fast forward to 2020, following the release of expansive two part record ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, Foals are ready to take on the world.