We've already picked out the albums we're excited about, and flagged some of the names you should be looking out for on festival lineups in 2018. Now it's time to try our hand at predicting what the year in music will look like, particularly when it comes to the wonderful world of festivals. Here's what we think is about to go down.
Electro's continued ascent
As Mixmag and Resident Advisor picked up on, electro had an amazing 2017. The genre's two most prominent artists Helena Hauff and DJ Stingray took to decks at festivals and clubs across the world, bringing their hard and nasty, electro-inspired techno to dancefloors with aplomb.
And we can only see the trend extending in 2018, with the pair appearing ever higher on festival billings, while others in the genre – Silent Servant and Umwelt, for example – receive an ever greater share of exposure.
The year of the Arctic Monkey
After the news that the Arctic Monkeys will be making their long awaited live return at Firefly Festival this June, the rumour mill has well and truly been sent into full swing.
With fans frantically debating where the Sheffield band will be turning up next, we're predicting they'll be topping a host of festival lineups in 2018, showcasing material from their sixth studio album (rumoured to be due out this later this year). Mad Cool, Reading & Leeds and Primavera Sound are all festivals we'd put our money on.
Primavera Sound as the place to be
With Glastonbury taking a fallow year, the title for festival of the year is up for grabs. Obviously there are a number of worthy contenders, but our money is on Primavera Sound to take up the gauntlet. Granted the Spanish festival is a much more urban experience than Glasto, but a little variation never hurt anyone.
Centred in Barcelona's beach-fronted Parc del Fòrum, the festival also spreads throughout the city's clubs and theatres, offering everything from intimate gigs to the opposite. In this way Primavera brings Barcelona into the festival experience. This combined with its unparalleled commitment to putting together the best multi-genre lineup in the world will make it the festival to beat in 2018.
Hip hop officially dethroning rock in American festival scene
Last year, for the first time, hip hop and R&B outsold rock in America. A true passing the torch moment, this new pop pecking order is starting to find its way into festival lineups. People started to notice when the Coachella lineup came out and didn't feature any guitar-playing headliners, but that will soon become the norm.
The Arctic Monkeys comeback will no doubt soften rock's fall from grace, but the writing's already on the wall for the genre to become more of a supporting act than the main event. And in the wise words of one Mr. Kanye West, "Rap the new rock and roll, we the rock stars now!"
Afro-Bashment soaring in the UK (and beyond)
While grime remains the buzzword for much of the mainstream press (as well as a lazy label ascribed to whole swathes of black British artists), there’s a newer breed of rappers, singers and producers growing in popularity.
With J Hus leading the charge for the ‘Afro-Bashment’ sound and finding himself increasingly higher up festival bills, the way is paved for the likes of MoStack, Not3s, Lotto Boyz, Stefflon Don, Kojo Funds, Ms Banks, Ramz, Yxng Bane and Hardy Caprio to build on the impressive numbers they’re doing on YouTube and streaming services.
Tech-house coming for the top spot
Despite the yearly cries of ‘EDM is dead’, it really isn’t going anywhere any time soon. But there’s no denying that techno, house and most of all the cleverly named hybrid of the two have desires for the top spot.
Solomun, Jamie Jones and Black Coffee have bagged themselves Vegas residencies – previously the exclusive domain of EDM megastars – and the top of festival posters are increasingly including tech-house's biggest alongside (or even in place of) EDM's usual suspects. Just look at Creamfields announcing Carl Cox as the first 2018 headliner as an example, compared to deadmau5 & Eric Prydz last year.