The Greatest Festival Lineups of 2015

The Greatest Festival Lineups of 2015


2015, the year that saw Robbie Williams and Lamb of God appear on the same stage, Fleetwood Mac make an exclusive festival performance, and Kylie Minogue don a pair of wellies and head off to Germany's Melt! Festival. It was another musical year to remember, but one question remains unanswered: which festival had the best lineup? 

We're not talking about straightforward collections of star performers, or the kinds of festivals that even the biggest artists fall over themselves to play at. Instead, we've picked out ten lineups from 2015 that favour diversity, one-of-a-kind acts, and sheer ambition. Here they are, in no particular order.


Sziget

Lineup Snapshot: Avicii, Kings of Leon, Foals, Marcel Dettmann

We applaud Sziget on its pure eclecticism. A quick glimpse at their headliners and you're presented with Avicii, Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine and Robbie Williams. Yes, the Robbie Williams, and yes, you could have just as easily steered off towards Kasabian, alt-J or Major Lazer. Sweeping from guilty-pleasure pop stars round to techno DJs Ellen Allien and Marcel Dettmann and all the way back again, Sziget embraced every genre with distinction. 


The Warehouse Project

Lineup Snapshot: Jamie Jones, New Order, Skepta, Andy C

OK, they do have over 30 nights, which helps a lot. But taking The Warehouse Project as a whole, it's a series that trumps every other. Held every Fall in Manchester, WHP is curated with immense detail, each night carefully matching a specific theme and inviting the best artists in the business to display that. Those behind 2015's series included Bugged Out!, RA, New Order and Ape, giving fans the welcome choice of picking between the likes of Siriusmodeselektor, Annie Mac, Andy C and Skepta. "Spoilt" is the word we're looking for.


Governors Ball

Lineup Snapshot: Björk, Drake, deadmau5, A-Trak

Consequence Of Sound has described Governors Ball as understanding how to "draw a crowd that genuinely cares about live music," and with a lineup that featured the likes of Björk, St Vincent and Flying Lotus, it's easy to see why. The Icelandic pop queen unfortunately had to cancel a host of her tour dates, which made her rare appearance at Gov Ball all the more poignant. Seeing a festival retain its stubborn loyalty to showcasing those artists it believes to be musically innovative, as opposed to solely booking headline grabbers, is beautifully refreshing.


Isle of Wight

Lineup Snapshot: Fleetwood Mac, Pharrell Williams, blur, The Prodigy

Isle of Wight Festival is known for its high-profile lineups, but surely even organiser John Giddings won't quite have believed his luck this year. Not only did the festival bag a UK festival exclusive from British-American rock legends Fleetwood Mac, they also had the likes of blur, The Black Keys, The Prodigy and Pharrell Williams to back them up.


Way Out West

Lineup Snapshot: Pet Shop Boys, Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Caribou

Occasionally, festivals take a risk by announcing a name that no one would expect. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. Way Out West has always welcomed pop artists, but none are as overtly pop-centric as Ellie Goulding, who this year made a sensational appearance alongside Patti Smith, The War On Drugs, Caribou and Father John Misty. Some would say folly, others would say daring – whatever you call it, it paid off. 


Melt!

Lineup Snapshot: alt-J, Kylie Minogue, London Grammar, Sven Väth

Another festival whose lineup had a conspicuous name lying amidst the likes of London Grammar and Sven Väth was Melt! Festival. Aussie icon Kylie Minogue, not used to appearing at festivals, delivered a classics-heavy set that now has her on the shortlist for headliner of the year at the European Festival Awards. And even if you couldn't get Minogue out of your head, we're certain that the aforementioned pair, Jamie T or Jamie xx would have quickly seen to that.


Bravalla

Lineup Snapshot: Calvin Harris, Robbie Williams, Lamb of God, Muse

Who's brave enough to put Robbie Williams and Lamb of God on the same lineup? Bråvalla, it would appear. Not only did the Swedish festival square those two off together, but it also thrilled fans of both Muse and Calvin Harris, Milky Chance and Eagles of Death Metal. An impressive trick, if you're able to pull that off. 


Latitude

Lineup Snapshot: alt-J, Manic Street Preachers, Alan Davies, John Cooper Clarke

Latitude is one of those festivals where the music is just one actor in the entire performance, taking its place alongside art, comedy, theatre and much, much more. Even though Latitude may spread itself broadly, it still draws in the best performers in each field, with 2015's variety including alt-J, Jason Manford and John Cooper Clarke. Such diversity, and such on-the-money programming, helped Latitude to Best Lineup at this year's UK Festival Awards


Outlook

Lineup Snapshot: Jurassic 5, Shy FX, Wiley, Run the Jewels

Croatia and its army of electronic music festivals can become a little confusing, which means Outlook's distinctly urban and bass sound is as in-your-face as a jungle drop at 4am. That "sound system" identity is what drew the likes of Jurassic 5, Shy FX and Run the Jewels to the beautiful Adriatic coast, alongside thousands of fans – persuaded by Outlook's careful curation and deep loyalty to urban culture. 


Glastonbury 

Lineup Snapshot: Kanye West, The Who, Mark Ronson, The Chemical Brothers

No lineup discussion would be complete without at least mentioning Glastonbury. The Somerset festival is all about variety, with its whole remit revolving around the idea of having something for everyone. Whatever genre you're into, the best artists will be there. It's as simple as that. Mark Ronson's guest-tastic set that featured Mary J Blige and George Clinton was a particular highlight, while Lionel Richie's Sunday teatime slot had the whole festival dancing on the ceiling.

 

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