By now, January 31st, we usually have a solid idea of who will be topping the bill at Reading and Leeds Festival. However, for some reason, this year’s line-up has been held back and it has now reached a point where fans are past caring.
Initial rumours of Arctic Monkeys seem to have fizzled out now the Sheffield outfit have released their festival dates with no sign of Reading and Leeds on their extensive schedule. To be honest, there is a gap in the tour dates where the Yorkshire/Berkshire events are, so we are not ruling that out, but with the likes of Primavera Sound, TRNSMT and even Parklife announcing solid, versatile, line-ups before R&L have revealed a single act is a poor show.
Several theories are flying around the internet, which include the lack of Glastonbury resulting in less competition (weird because the new, London-based All Points East, Parklife‘s announcement of Lorde and A$AP Rocky, and Arctic Monkeys feat. Interpol at TRNSMT make competition tougher than ever) and easier ticket sales. In principal this is a good tactic, but surely this will be an opportunity for R&L to experiment with headliners of tomorrow. I am sure I speak for the masses when I say I am tired of the same handful of ‘headliners’ being reused time and time again.
A ‘leaked’ poster circulated featuring Paramore sitting proudly at the top of the poster. Of course, they co-headlined with Queens of the Stone Age in 2014, but the release of After Laughter last year gives a solid hint they could be back to major festivals. However, if they were to headline, does this mean neither Arctic Monkeys or QOTSA will be headlining? Surely festival organisers have realised all three of those bands headlined only four years ago? No way will we have a repeat of 3/4 headliners (the other being Blink 182) less than five years on?
So who, other than the usual suspects, could actually headline the festival?
- The National – quite a hectic tour schedule, but no confirmed dates for the time-frame of Reading and Leeds. Only UK dates this year (so far) are All Points East and two shows at Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin. Would a massive UK festival headliner tempt The National to comeback after a sold-out run in the autumn of last year?
- Bjork – tenth album, Utopia, was one of the most critically acclaimed records of 2017 and it is easy to see why. Constantly progressing, both visually and audibly, Bjork would be an impressive scoop for R&L. Headlining Eden Project and All Points East already in the UK makes Bjork an unlikely headliner, but never say never until the organisers pull their finger out and announce something.
- Jack White – probably one of the most likely headliners, if it wasn’t for the fact he is doing a fairly extensive America run in the week leading up to Reading and Leeds. Realistically, he could leave USA on August 23 and headline the Saturday/Sunday night on 25/26 August. Doable? Yes. Likely? Who knows.
- Daft Punk – a rare glimpse of the legendary dance duo would definitely go down a treat for many festival goers. A bit of a long-shot considering their 25 date run last year, but we can live in hope.
- Kendrick Lamar – sub-headlining The Libertines in 2015 was an unbelievable scoop for the R&L organisers and I think it is fair to say not many people would turn down a reunion in the fields with Lamar. The release of Damn last year could prove pivotal in his 2018 festival run, also, the short UK run this spring could be a teaser of what to expect from a festival headline slot this August.
- Foo Fighters – a rumour as old as time itself. Every year Foo Fighters are tipped to headline, but they haven’t returned since 2012. If there was a year it might actually happen, this is the one. Live show specialists, Grohl and co. will certainly relish topping another festival bill.
- Smashing Pumpkins – maybe not quite ready for a reunion yet, but a new album is apparently in the early stages so could Reading and Leeds be the place they get back together and please the masses? Hopefully. Although they could co-headline, I am sure Billy Corgan will be eager to play to a field full of fans.
- Kings of Leon – similar to Foo Fighters, KoL always seem to be dragged into the rumour mill whenever an announcement is going to made. Pros: solid sing-along tunes like Closer and Waste a Moment. Cons: are people still THAT into them? Bit of a risk, but a fantastic live show is certain from the rockers.
- Drake – now signed to the Boy Better Know label, the Canadian rapper is one of music’s hottest acts right now and if Reading and Leeds know what is good for them, they will capitalise. Eminem gathered one of the biggest ever crowds last year and Drake is sure to match that – was the Boy Meets World Tour the last we will see of Drake for now? Doubt it.
Of course, these are all completely theoretical, but wouldn’t it be great if a couple headlined? Other options include a few co-headliners – for example Tame Impala (now their comeback has been confirmed at Mad Cool) and Lorde would be an incredible addition. It is certainly going to be interesting to see who actually plays Reading and Leeds this year – I said last year that unless the line-up is phenomenal, I will not be back, and at the moment no one is playing.
Who do you think will headline, or play in general? Let me know via Twitter.