Now that we have quite a few of our early to mid season lineups out, it is time to take an in depth look at the lay of the land. In this post, we are going to talk about trends, surprises, and awesome undercard acts we are seeing on lineups across the board this year.
We started by looking at headliners at all the larger festivals that we have lineups for already, and pulled the headliners from festivals last year as well. The first thing that stuck out is that there is a lot more diversity between the lineups this year (at least so far).
Last year, some combination of Eminem, The Killers, Jack White, Muse (and to a lesser extent Artic Monkeys and/or Kendrick Lamar) were across the top of many lineups. The fact that these awesome acts were all touring at the same time makes sense – but it also made less of difference between headlining spots. For example, The Killers, Jack White and Eminem were each atop 5 or 6 of the lineups I looked at in 2018. The Killers and Eminem were both on three and Jack White and Eminem were together on two. Perhaps a better way to break it down is to show you that between: Bonnaroo, Firefly, Gov Ball, Hangout, and Boston Calling – the headliners were only made up of 8 artists in 2018.
While we don’t have a full sample of lineups to look at yet this year, we already can see a lot more differences between the lineups we do have. In 2018, Boston Calling and Gov Ball shared 2/3 headliners – this year they don’t share any.
In 2019, between the same five festivals listed above we have at least 14 different acts that come up across the top lines. Part of that is the result of diversity among the lineups. But a big part of it also comes down to the festivals having more acts total to fill out the top lines, because we aren’t seeing as many legendary huge acts ($$$) as we have in the past. For example, Hangout Festival lists six artists in their top row and Bonnaroo has been advertising with 4-5.
As far as being surprised in a more general sense, I think we have been surprised to see Travis Scott at the top of what at least feels like a lot of festivals (both this year and last). We have already seen him atop the lineups at Firefly and Hangout Fest for 2019 (as well as some international festivals). And last season our crew saw him – at Voodoo (replacing Childish Gambino), GovBall, and at Osheaga (sort of – more on that in the Osheaga Recap). It is also surprising to see Tame Impala do more than one festival, as they one of our LTFL team indicates they don’t normally do that.
We have a smaller sample size to look at this year, not just because we are doing this comparison before some lineups are out – but also because the 2018 offseason has marked the end of the line (at least for now) for quite a few festivals. For a more detailed info about a few of the festivals we lost, you can check out our RIP post.
When Firefly Festival (our home favorite) first released its lineup this season there seemed to be a mixed reaction from the fan base. I love all things Firefly, so I will always be a fan girl and so look to those around me for a less biased opinion. Now that we have had time to see what this season’s festival landscape looks like – and dig into the undercard I think we feel a little differently. From what I can tell, this lineup is on par with the rest and has the best undercard we have seen. Nearly every band I hear and think “oh I wonder if they are doing festivals this summer” has turned out to be somewhere deep in this lineup. So check it out again and see what you think.
It shouldn’t be all about the “big” festivals – some the regional festivals bring both unique experiences and carefully crafted lineups. Because they are smaller in size, these festivals are able to keep a theme and stick with it. Here are a few of our favorites:
M3F – So first of all, this festival is aimed at giving back to the community and is run not for profit, promoting that message with the #EveryTicketCounts mantra. This lineup is going to be a good time too – a great danceable mix of what I have decided to call Electronic Rock. Not fully EDM, not fully rock. But completely looking like a fantastic time.
Innings Festival – Takes place in Tempe the same weekend as M3F, but they are a world apart in terms of lineup and theme. Innings Festival is produced by C3 (ACL, Lolla) and is themed around the Cactus League Spring Training going on in the area at the same time. In addition to a music lineup, they have a fantastic lineup of baseball legends, and baseball activities onsite.
SandJam – This beach festival takes place in Panama City Beach, Florida and based on the lineup and word of mouth has a great vibe. It also happens to have some of my personal favorite artists on the lineup: Alice Merton, Dirty Heads, Young the Giant and Coin just to name a few. I am so excited to listen to Dirty Heads with the ocean in the background.
Sabroso – The title says all you need to – Beer, Tacos and Music. But not just any music, bands that will make your (pop)punk rock heart swoon. If you tell me that there are tacos and Good Charlotte and The Offspring somewhere, that’s a place I want to be. Wait! There are four locations and one of them has Sum 41. Someone needs to get out there and check out this festival.
Savannah Stopover – We have written about Savannah Stopover a few times already, but really encourage you to check it out. Savannah is not only a gorgeous city, rich in history and booze, but this Fest also helps it serve as a “stopover” for artists on their way to SXSW. This one is unique because you can wander the historic district, drink in hand, seeing shows at local venues – rather than staying in one place.
Stay tuned for more news and analysis and fun from us. Tell us what festivals you are looking forward to, or which ones we should check out that we haven’t. Hope to hear from you in the comments.