Wanted: 20 Acts to Shake Up Future Music Festivals

Here's our 2016 wishlist-of-sorts as we enter the early days of Hype Season


    It’s early September, which means we’re just about to enter Hype Season. If you’re unfamiliar, this is the time when undisclosed sources start to toss around names for next year’s festivals. Some are on-point, others not so much.

    Already we’ve heard rumblings about Guns N’ Roses, who reportedly will have a “big year” in 2016. They won’t be the last, rest assured. In the coming months, you’re wont to hear about a few more reunions and a number of comebacks. It’s just expected.

    In anticipation, we rounded up 20 acts that we’d like to see on lineups next year. Know that we crossed off a few of the obvious choices, namely Talking Heads, The Smiths, The White Stripes, and Daft Punk. Still, if you’ve been around, you know there’s a name missing there.


    A few of our choices will be obvious — in fact, a couple have even been touring lately — but we believe each one of these names would make any festival’s lineup sparkle and shine. Hell, some would sell them out instantaneously.

    So, what are you waiting for? Read, agree or disagree, and share your own Wanted lists below.

    –Michael Roffman

    20. Rage Against the Machine


    Ideal for: Governors Ball, Sweetlife (I’ll explain)

    Election season looms, and we all know what that means. It’s time to dust off that copy of Evil Empire, rehang that Che Guevara poster, and find some open real estate on a jacket or book bag for that “Free Mumia!” patch. Okay, okay. In hindsight, maybe we never quite changed the world during Rage Against the Machine’s first go-round – maybe we looked as ridiculous as nuns brandishing guns while practicing our teenage activism-lite – but the summer festival season leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election seems like the perfect time to put some politics back in mainstream rock. While new music or a full-on reunion tour seem unlikely at this point, RATM could perhaps be coaxed back as a festival headliner (à la Coachella 2007 or Lollapalooza 2008). Smaller festivals like Governors Ball and Sweetlife might seem like odd choices, but strategically speaking (near Wall Street and D.C.) they make all the sense in the world. Could 2016 be the year we really take the power back? Now where did I put that beret and armband? –Matt Melis

    19. Uncle Tupelo


    Ideal for: Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival, any alt-country festival, or someplace with a boxing or wrestling ring (Riot Fest, perhaps?)

    It rarely gets any media attention these days, probably for the very good reason of maturity. But I’m just going to say it, maturity be damned: There’s no music beef more intense than the one between Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar. The latter couldn’t even bring himself to write the former’s name in his 2013 memoir, seemingly still butthurt over the tensions that led to/arose from Uncle Tupelo’s dissolution back in 1994.

    For his part, Tweedy hasn’t made much mention of his former bandmate either. It’s this silence that makes their dislike for each other so palpable, even if neither of them would cop to any lingering feelings of resentment — after all, they’ve both got their own projects in Wilco and Son Volt, among other things.


    Still, if they reunited, it’s reasonable to think bloodlust would quickly start to bubble in these two old war horses, especially given their polarized demeanors. Tweedy’s very much the lighter-hearted one these days, with Farrar grumbly as ever as he mourns the death of an America that never really existed. Frankly, I can’t even picture them playing a song together these days, which is why seeing them rip through “Whiskey Bottle” would be a genuine, if dangerous, thrill. –Dan Caffrey

    18. The Pretenders


    Ideal for: Riot Fest, Lollapalooza, Shaky Knees, Coachella

    The Pretenders haven’t played a proper gig since 2012, and that was all the way out in Marina Bay, Singapore. Since then, Chrissie Hynde has been working on her harrowing memoir, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, which hits shelves on September 8th. (Recently, she’s been drawing ire and criticism for her comments on sexual assault, but we’ll leave that for another discussion.) So, unless she’s busy with an accompanying book tour, it’s looking like she’ll be free to return to the stage fairly soon — as in, next year. The good news is that dozens of festivals could use a little bit of The Pretenders’ classic fare, FM staples like “Back on the Chain Gang”, “Middle of the Road”, “I’ll Stand By You”, and “Brass in Pocket”. Yeah, let’s make this happen.  –Michael Roffman