Close to 50 acts have headlined a major UK festival over the past five years

Close to 50 acts have headlined a major UK festival over the past five years

Almost 50 acts have headlined at least one of the UK’s six longest-running major camping festivals in the past five years, according to Music Week research.

This week’s edition of Music Week lays bare the struggle to create fresh rock and pop headliners, but the overall picture is more encouraging.

Analysing the bills at Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, T In The Park, V Festival, Isle Of Wight Festival and Download from 2013-17, we found a total of 46 artists (listed below) had topped the bill in their own right at one or more of the events, which had a combined 82 headline slots available over those five years. 

“I think about who will entertain the audience. You need groups with hits to play the field because you always need to consider it might be pouring down with rain,” said Isle Of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings, regarding the event’s booking ethos. 

Remarkably, the total in the previous five years (2008-12) was identical despite only 21 acts featuring on both lists.

Fifteen of the 46 artists on the most recent list have headlined two or more of the six festivals in the past five years. Additionally, a further 12 acts (Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Queens Of The Stone Age, Avicii, The Prodigy, The Black Keys, Foals, Disclosure, Faithless, Stereophonics, David Guetta and Run-DMC) have been billed as co-headliners within that same period.

Giddings tipped Catfish & The Bottlemen and The 1975 as future headliners, but added: “The trouble is, there are too many shows. There’s a festival on every bloody weekend. When we first started there were 400, there are now 1,500.” 

Headliners, 2013-17:

(KEY - G = Glastonbury; V = V Festival; R&L = Reading & Leeds; IOW = Isle Of Wight; T = T In The Park; D = Download; * = co-headliner)

Arctic Monkeys (G/T)

The Rolling Stones (G)

Mumford & Sons (G/T/R&L)

Beyonce  (V)

Kings Of Leon (V/IOW)

Green Day (R&L)

Eminem (R&L)

Biffy Clyro (R&L/IOW*/T/D)

The Stone Roses (IOW/T)

The Killers (IOW/T/V)

Bon Jovi (IOW)

Rihanna (T/V)

Arcade Fire (G/IOW)

Metallica (G/R&L)

Kasabian (G/V/T)

Justin Timberlake (V)

Blink-182 (R&L)

Calvin Harris (IOW*/V/T)

Red Hot Chili Peppers (IOW/T/R&L)

Florence + The Machine (G)

Kanye West (G)

The Who (G/IOW)

The Libertines (T*/R&L)

Blur (IOW)

Fleetwood Mac (IOW)

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (T)

Muse (G/D/R&L)

Adele (G)

Coldplay (G)

Justin Bieber (V)

Queen + Adam Lambert (IOW)

Radiohead (G)

Foo Fighters (G)

Ed Sheeran (G)

Pink (V)

Jay-Z (V)

Rod Stewart (IOW)

Slipknot (D)

Iron Maiden (D)

Rammstein (D)

Avenged Sevenfold (D)

Linkin Park (D)

Aerosmith (D)

Kiss (D)

Black Sabbath (D)

System Of A Down (D)


Fall Out Boy (R&L)

Paramore (R&L)

Queens Of The Stone Age (R&L)

Avicii (T)

The Prodigy (IOW)

The Black Keys (IOW)

Foals (R&L)

Disclosure (R&L)

Faithless (IOW)

Stereophonics (IOW)

David Guetta (IOW)


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