10 of Europe's Future Festival Headliners

10 of Europe's Future Festival Headliners

After every 'festival season' this debate rolls around, who will headline our favourite festivals in years to come?

There's never a shortage of nay-sayers telling anyone who will listen that within a year we're going to run out of artists capable of stepping up to the plate. To be fair there might be something in that, as festivals are perhaps less likely to take a risk with a relative rookie these days, instead favouring tried and tested headline acts.

Nonetheless, we think there are loads of artists who, in the not too distant future, could easily take that extra step and comfortably hold their own on the biggest stage. Below are our ten picks for those names we think will be popping up at the tops of festival posters across Europe in the coming years.


The last year or so has been huge for the North London MC: a Mercury Prize winning album, huge media attention on both sides of the Atlantic and a growing list of festival appearances across Europe (Benicassim, Melt, Way Out West, Dour, Roskilde) that included memorable performances as sub-headliner to Major Lazer at Bestival and a headline slot as part of the Boy Better Know crew at Wireless.

Surely the next step of solo headliner slots is only round the corner, as highlighted by his upcoming appearance as one of a handful of co-headliners at MTV presents REC in Rotterdam at the beginning of November.   

Potential Festivals: Wireless, BestivalFresh IslandLovebox

Bring Me The Horizon

In a scene where the very tops of festival posters tend to be dominated by iconic veterans (Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Rammstein et al.) it's not always easy to see where the next generation of headliners may come from.

But in Bring Me The Horizon you have a band who, despite the oldest member being just 33, have been in the game for more than a decade and have a back catalogue of five albums; the last of which was critically acclaimed and hit the top 5 in more than ten countries.

So who better to take the baton from the ageing rockers, and run with it right to the top of bills across Europe.

Potential Festivals: Reading
 & Leeds, Download & Download Paris, Main Square, Hurricane & Southside

James Blake

With his critically acclaimed third studio album, The Colour in Anything released in May 2016, James Blake firmly cemented himself as one of Britain’s most respected musicians.

In the five years since his debut album, he has gone on to work with the likes of Beyoncé, Drake, Bon Iver, Frank Ocean and even Brian Eno.

The summer of 2016 saw him closing Glastonbury’s West Holts Stage on Saturday night, two weeks on from his headline performance at London’s Field Day festival.

Potential Festivals: Glastonbury, NOS Alive, Sónar, Bestival

Ed Sheeran

Heavily rumoured throughout the summer of 2016 to have already been confirmed as a Glastonbury headliner for the 2017 edition.

That would certainly be an enormous achievement for the singer-songwriter who less than a decade ago was famously busking and even sleeping rough.

His only headline festival slot to date was stepping in last minute as a Bieber-replacement at Fusion Festival in 2015, but given he sold out Wembley stadium for three consecutive nights on his tour, he's no stranger to entertaining enormous crowds and could surely do a job on the biggest stages.

Potential Festivals: Glastonbury, BenicassimIsle of WightSziget


Already tipped by Festival Republic director and Reading & Leeds organiser Melvin Benn as a potential headliner in the not too distant future, the Scottish trio have consistently staked their claim for the highest of billings at festivals across the continent – from Scandinavia down to Spain.

The energetic stage presence of frontwoman Lauren Mayberry and the wealth of incredibly catchy electro-pop singalongs is surely the perfect combination for a bill-topping band. 

Potential Festivals: Primavera SoundFlow, Best Kept Secret, Roskilde

Catfish & The Bottlemen

In 2016 the never-shy North Wales four-piece managed to bag themselves a number one album, a BRIT Award for best breakthrough act and top billing at Sheffield's Tramlines festival.

If they carry-on at such a meteoric rate, especially with the ever-growing and hugely dedicated fan-base they have built for themselves, it shouldn't be long before they find themselves topping bills across Europe. Especially given the anthemic indie-rock sound that they seem to have already perfected.

Potential Festivals: Reading & Leeds, NOS Primavera SoundLes Eurorockéennes 

Frank Ocean

The enigmatic singer certainly knows how to keep his fans on their toes, and given the almost unparalleled amount of hype surrounding the release of his latest album Blonde, it appears that there would be enough demand to warrant his place at the top of most festival bills.

Whether or not he yet has the back-catalogue, having only just released his second studio album, is a valid concern. But with breakthrough mixtape nostalgia,Ultra and visual album Endless adding to his repertoire, we reckon he's ready to headline without the need to wait another eternity for a new album.

Potential Festivals: Lovebox, Super Bock Super Rock, Wireless, Bestival

Wolf Alice

The highly rated alt-rock foursome have already received plaudits for their live performance, including a Best Live Band gong at this year's NME Awards (previously won by the likes of Muse and Arctic Monkeys) and a debut headline slot at By The Sea Festival in Margate, so it's safe to say their stock is rising by the day.

With a sophomore album scheduled for a 2017 release, there's every chance that the London four-piece could be topping bills as early as next summer. From there, who knows?

Potential Festivals: Bilbao BBK Live, Rock en Seine, LatitudeWay Out West 



Claire Boucher, AKA Grimes, is a stunningly unique talent; singer, songwriter, album producer, music video producer and above all fantastic live performer.

Her other-worldly presence, boundless energy, attention to detail and instantly recognisable aesthetic all make her the ideal person to bring something new and fresh to the world of the festival headliner. 

Potential Festivals: Roskilde, Secret Solstice, Flow, We Love Green  

Jack Garratt

Considering the singer, multi-instrumentalist and all round great guy only released his debut album in early 2016, the top of the major festival lineups might still be a little way off. That said, this summer he was one of four headline acts at Lost Village (alongside Fatboy Slim, DJ Koze and Ben Klock) and headlined boutique festival Barn On The Farm, who have a history of picking stars of the future (Ed Sheeran, Bastille, James Bay)

If he continues to grow at his current rate, maintains the buzz generated by his 'Critic's Choice' BRIT and BBC Sound of 2016 title, and builds on his impressive musical catalogue, there's no reason he couldn't go all the way to the top of the big leagues.

Potential Festivals: Best Kept Secret, Festival No.6, Pohoda, MS Dockville   

More like this: 


Sign up to Festicket newsletter and you’ll get festival offers and recommendations direct to your inbox. We’ll also keep you updated with the latest festival news and features from Festicket Magazine.