The 10 Most Overbooked Acts at Summer Music Festivals

Festival Outlook


    Photo by Joshua Mellin

    Over the last several years, concertgoers have complained that the festival scene is oversaturated. Admittedly, each festival, from Indio to New York City, winds up looking increasingly similar side by side, year after year. In 2014, artists will perform an average of two summer music festivals – and many will play several more. That means fans around the world will collectively witness approximately 3,800 sets from 1,800 artists.

    So, which acts are the biggest culprits?

    For this week’s Festival Outlook, Michael Anderson combed through 100 of the biggest festivals in the market, from Manchester’s Bonnaroo to Oslo’s Øya, to identify the top 10 most overbooked acts at summer music festivals. (Some music fans refer to these with the un-PC term, “festival whores.”) Now, considering a number of major festivals have yet to release a 2014 lineup, we turned an eye to their 2013 bill.

    The bands that follow fit one of three categories: a.) big-time acts who disappeared and are making a comeback, b.) relatively young bands who are quickly becoming a household name (or one-hit wonder), and c.) those that tour without pause. These are the artists who play more than just a couple festivals; they’re so in demand that they’re among the few who play 10 or more.

    Shall we?

    Note: Had every summer festival already announced their lineup, it’s possible Outkast would’ve nabbed the number-one spot, as they’re set to play 40 festivals.

    10. Warpaint

    warpaint The 10 Most Overbooked Acts at Summer Music Festivals

    Warpaint’s ubiquity shouldn’t surprise; while their music can wander, their rise to fame has been awfully linear. In 2010, they put out one of the most lauded albums of the year, and now they’re back with an album produced by Flood – whose work includes classic albums from the Smashing Pumpkins, U2 and Depeche Mode; a single licensed for a major commercial – “Love is to Die” for Calvin Klein; and a forthcoming multimedia documentary directed by Chris Cunningham – the man behind that Björk video of hot androgynous robots making out. (Full disclosure: Cunningham is the husband of bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg). In addition to their festival dates, Warpaint will appear alongside Queens of the Stone Age on a club tour.

    Festival appearances (announced thus far): 12

    9. The 1975

    the1975 The 10 Most Overbooked Acts at Summer Music Festivals

    Like Bastille and Imagine Dragons, The 1975 is a member of the pop-rock class of 2013. They play straightforward rock music, and an intensely catchy single has made each a household name. For The 1975, the song’s called “Chocolate”, and it’s earned 11 million views on YouTube – more than recent hit singles from relative veterans Phoenix and Vampire Weekend. There’s nothing dangerous or risky about this band, but it’s hard to resist the charm of their sound’s smooth sheen and the gentle dance of their guitars.

    Festival appearances (announced thus far): 12

    8. Rudimental

    rudimental The 10 Most Overbooked Acts at Summer Music Festivals

    Similar to Disclosure, Rudimental is at the forefront of the British house-music scene. Two of their singles hit No.1 in the UK. Reviews of their live shows have been rapturous. Like one of their influences, Massive Attack, Rudimental’s soundscapes are populated with many voices, from the famous to the more obscure. On stage, the two acts are akin; electronic sounds are crafted live with a full band, which includes the four songwriters, a drummer, a trumpet player, and three singers.

    Festival appearances (announced thus far): 12

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