Festival season is a time of wonder — a chance to expand your musical horizons in an unforgettable setting surrounded by devoted fans hungry for the experience of a lifetime. This year’s fests have announced some of the most wickedly talented headliners out there, but due to multiple stages and competing time slots, sometimes tough decisions must be made about exactly which musicians deserve your attention. The agony!
To help you prioritize, we’ve scanned festivals from all over the globe to bring you the headliners that are not to be missed this go-around. From time-honored musical legends to recent sensations who have climbed to the top in a matter of months, we’ve gathered together the best and the brightest to help you discover and manage the overwhelming amount of talent that’s flooding this year’s music festival lineups. So sit back, relax, and streamline that busy schedule of yours.
Ever since their debut album An Awesome Wave was released in 2012, British indie rock band Alt-J has received nothing but the highest praise for their wildly unique yet accessible sound, and they don’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. Now on tour supporting their stellar sophomore album This is All Yours at fests all over the globe, Alt-J is a perfect choice for festivalgoers looking to get lost in the rhythm of the night.
Festival Performances: Lollapalooza, Coachella, Osheaga Festival (Canada, Lollapalooza (Brazil), Lollapalooza (Argentina), Asunciónico (Paraguay), Primavera Sound (Spain), Bergenfest (Norway), Northside Festival (Denmark), Rock in Roma (Italy), Hurricane Festival (Germany), Best Kept Secret (Netherlands), Rock Werchter Festival (Belgium), Garorock Festival (France), Open’er Festival (Poland), Festival Beauregard (France), NOS Alive Festival (Portugal), Bilbao BBK Live (Spain), T In The Park (UK), Musilac (France), Latitude Festival (UK), Melt! Festival (Germany), Longitude Fesival (Ireland), WayHome Festival (Canada), Sziget Festival (Hungary), Øya Festival (Norway), Way Out West (Sweden), Flow Festival (Finland), Frequency Festival (Austria), Rock En Seine (France)
2. St. Vincent
Known for her ripping guitar sound and unbeatable stage presence, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is not to be missed at any musical occasion. St. Vincent’s self-titled fifth album took home the 2015 Grammy for Best Alternative Album, so it’s no wonder the band is headlining an outrageous amount of festivals this year. All you dancers out there better get ready to take some notes, because Annie Clark has moves like no other – her charismatic stage presence brims with quirk and style that is eerily contagious, and she never fails to get crowds dancing along.
Festival Performances: Outside Lands, Coachella, Beale Street Music Festival, Boston Calling Music Festival, Sasquatch Music Festival, Nelsonville Music Festival, Governors Ball Music Festival, Osheaga Festival (Canada), Paradiso (Amsterdam), Lollapalooza (Buenos Aires, San Paulo), Roskilde Festival (Roskilde), Open’er Festival (Gdynia), Pordenone Sexto Nplugged (Sesto Al Reghana), Mojotic Festival (Sestri Levante), T In the Park (Perthshire), Big Top- Galway Arts Festival (Ireland), Colours Of Ostrava Festival (Ostrava), Positivus Festival (Latvia), Way Home Music Festval (Ontario), Green Man Festival (Brecon Beacons)
Talk about a quick road to stardom — the 25-year-old British musician has only been on the music scene since 2013, and he’s already headlining fests like Coachella, Firefly, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Musical Festival. The unmistakable passion and pride that infused his self-titled debut album have quickly launched the singer-songwriter to the top of charts and festival bills alike. For those moments when you’re feeling a bit more soulful and looking to belt out some emotional lyrics, Andrew Hozier-Byrne is the guy for you.
Festival Performances: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Festival, Coachella, Edgefest, Beale Street Music Festival, Sunfest, Byron Bay Bluesfest (Autralia), Rock im Park (Germany), Rock am Ring (Germany), Bonnaroo, Firefly Music Festival, Tinderbox Festival (Denmark), Rock Werchter (Belgium), Olympia (France), Main Square Festival (France), Open’er Festival (Poland), Pistoia Festival, Unaltrofestival (Italy), T In The Park (UK), North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), Skral Festival (Norway), WayHome Music Festival (Canada), Meadow Brook Music Festival, V Festival (UK), Longitude (Ireland)
4. Sam Smith
If you haven’t yet experience the graceful emotions of Sam Smith’s pop ballads, now’s your chance. In addition to walking away from this year’s Grammys with four awards including Best New Artist, Record of the Year (In the Lonely Year), and Song of the Year (“Stay with Me”), the young Brit has dominated airwaves around the world with catchy, honest melodies that immerse listeners in a cloud of passion. Lucky for us, he’ll be hitting the US and European festival circuits hard this season, putting audiences into a blissful musical trance with his melancholic croon.
Festival Performances: Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Forecastle Festival, Hang Out Music Festival, Rock In Rio, Wild Life Festival (UK), Bergenfest (Norway), Northside Festival (Denmark), Pinkpop Festival (Netherlands), City Season Festival (Milan), Rock in Roma (Rome), Provinssirock (Finland), Rock Wertcher (Belgium), Mainsquare Festival (France), Moons and Stars Festival (Switzerland), NOS Alive Festival (Portugal), T in the Park (Perthshire), Way Home Music and Arts Festival (Ontario), Squamish Valley Music Festival (British Columbia), V Festival (UK), Lollapalooza (Germany)
5. My Morning Jacket
Looking to rock out? Psychedelic rockers My Morning Jacket are spreading the magic of their unforgettable live shows to festivals around the globe in 2015. No strangers to the mad world of raucous fests and big-time gigs, the boys from Kentucky combine the sounds of classic Americana with an edgy alt-rock grit to arrive at a grungy sound brimming with head-banging possibility.
Festival Performances: Forecastle Festival, Hang Out Music Festival, Boston Calling, Governors Ball Music Festival, Field Trip Fest (Canada), Bonnaroo, Gentlemen Of The Road, XPoNential Music Festival, Rock En Seine (France), End Of The Road Festival (UK), Electric Picnic Festival (Ireland), Paradiso (Netherlands), Take Root Festival (Netherlands), Lollapalooza (Germany)
6. Mumford & Sons
Since coming together in 2007, Mumford & Sons have grown ever more ambitious and popular, putting folk rock squarely on the map of mainstream culture. Their first two studio albums Sigh No More and Babel launched the group to incredible heights, garnering them fourteen Grammy nominations and two wins including Album of the Year (Babel). With their third and much-anticipated album Wilder Wind set to be released in May, the band will offer festivalgoers a sneak peak at what the album has in store, not to mention a chance to finally experience one of their legendary live shows.
Festival Performances: Outside Lands, Gentlemen Of The Road (New Jersey, Iowa, Washington, Colorado & Scotland), Bonnaroo, Rock Werchter Festival (Belgium), Arena Di Verona (Italy), Rock In Rome Festival (Italy), Pistoia Blues Festival (Italy), Open’er Festival (Poland), Goffertpark (Netherlands), Main Square Festival (France), Bilbao BBK Live (Spain), NOS Alive Festival (Portugal), Waldbuhne (Germany), Squamish Valley Music Festival (Canada), Reading Festival (UK), Leeds Festival (UK)
7. Alabama Shakes
Representing our musical kin down south is Alabama Shakes, the irresistibly soulful rock group hailing from — you guessed it — Alabama. With their twangy country sound and the soulful vocals of lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard, Alabama Shakes has set themselves apart from the rest of the pack ever since their debut album Boys & Girls first turned heads in 2012. With their sophomore album Sound & Color hitting shelves in late April, the band will have plenty of surprises in store this festival season. If the first the first single off the album “Don’t Wanna Fight” is any indication, we can’t wait.
Festival Performances: Coachella, Lollapalooza, Byron Bay Bluesfest (Australia), The Great Escape (UK), Gentlemen of the Road (New Jersey), Field Trip Music and Arts Festival (Canada), Mountain Jam Festival, Bonnaroo, Down the Rabbit Hole (Netherlands), Rock Werchter (Belgium), Summer Festival Lucca (Italy), North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), T In The Park (UK), Squamish Valley Music Festival (Canada)
8. Florence + The Machine
She’s baaaaack! And she’s ready to take over the music scene all over again with her latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Yep, just when you thought Florence + the Machine couldn’t get any bigger, any more wonderfully unique and spritely, she has proven otherwise by reinventing her sound with even more power and heart-stopping vocals than ever before. As she brings her acclaimed live show to festival stages around the globe, the Brit star is giving fans the opportunity to bask in her otherworldly glory once again.
Festival Performances: Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Bestival, Hurricane Festival (Germany), Southside Festival (Germany), Roskilde Festival (Germany), Super Bock Super Rock (Portugal), Sziget Festival (Hungary), Øya Festival (Norway), Way Out West Festival (Sweden), Flow Festival (Finland), Electric Picnic (Ireland), Osheaga Festival (Canada)
9. Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters
Does it get any better than seeing the legendary Robert Plant up close and personal? We think not. Led Zeppelin’s leading man is hitting the road with his band The Sensational Space Shifters to grace us with more iconic and groundbreaking music. If you’ve been looking to embrace your inner rock n’ roller, the time is now.
Festival Performances: Sasquatch Music Festival, Bottlerock, Mountain Jam, Meadowbrook Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Forest Live (UK), Lollapalooza (Brazil, Argentina), Grona Lund Tivoli (Sweden), MoldeJazz Festival (Norway), Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), Positivus Festival (Latvia), Notodden Blues Festival (Norway)
10. Modest Mouse
Oh Modest Mouse, we are so excited to have you back in our lives. After a four-year hiatus — far too long in our book — the indie rock darlings are finally back with a forthcoming new album and a slew of highly anticipated tour dates. If their new material is anything like the offbeat perfection of 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News , we’re all in for a real treat. Don’t miss this chance to be the among the first to hear the new material in concert.
Festival Performances: Edgefest, Parklife (South Africa), Sasquatch Music Festival, Firefly Festival, Rock The Garden, Tinderbox Festival (Denmark), Bravalla Festival (Sweden), Open’er Festival (Poland), Calling Festival (UK), T In The Park (UK), Forecastle Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, HomeAway Music and Arts Festival (Canada)
11. Charli XCX
She’s only 22 years old and Charli XCX is already an established pop star with global appeal. With hits like “Boom Clap” taking over airwaves around the world, the Brit icon is making a serious mark on the pop landscape. Her festival performances will feature all the edgy fashions, catchy tunes, and pitch-perfect vocals she has become known for.
Festival Performances: Lollapalooza, Groovin The Moo (Australia), Sweetlife Festival, Governor’s Ball, Free Press Summer Festival, Firefly Music Festival, Balaton Sound (Hungary), T In The Park (UK), Osheaga Festival (Canada)
12. Passion Pit
Passion Pit has been an indietronica staple ever since their massively popular debut album Manners first introduced audiences to their slick sound, and they only seem to be getting better with age. With their third studio album Kindred hitting selves later this month, the group will take the stage at their upcoming shows armed with more dance-worthy tunes than ever before. If you’ve never been swallowed up in a Passion Pit dance fest, don’t miss the group’s upcoming US festival appearances.
Festival Performances: McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Big Guava Music Festival, Neon Desert Music Festival, Bottlerock, WayHome Music Festival (Canada), Summersonic (Japan)
13. The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, the duo behind blues-rock band The Black Keys, have been idolized for their phenomenal live performances ever since forming the group in 2001. The Black Keys’ dynamic live shows alternates between ultra-rockin’, bass-blowing energy and somber melodic swells, treating fans to an unforgettable experience that always keeps them on their toes. The pair has been nominated for numerous Grammys, and fans lucky enough to see them at one of their upcoming festival dates will have no trouble seeing why.
Festival Performances: Outside Lands, Bluesfest (Australia), Rockwave Festival (Greece), Bunburry Festival, Mountain Jam, Governor’s Ball, Isle Of Wright Festival (UK), Northside Festival (Denmark), Osheaga Festival (Canada)
14. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar has become a hip hop heavyweight virtually overnight thanks to his thoughtful lyrics and distinctive beats that can’t really be likened to anyone else. The California native has managed to up the ante once again with latest — and most indomitable — album To Pimp a Butterfly, a wildly self-reflexive take on his relationship to fame and power. Remarkably mature yet still full of edgy lyrics and catchy rhythms, the heavy-hitting album is sure to be the centerpiece of his upcoming festival performances.
Festival Performances: Outside Lands, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, WayHome Music Festival (Canada), Les Ardentes (Belgium), Wireless Festival (UK), Leeds Festival (UK), Osheaga Festival (Canada)
No festival is complete without a top-notch electronic music headliner keeping fans dancing through the night, and we’re lucky to have none other than Deadmau5 on multiple tickets this season to do just that. Whether he’s dropping the beat at festivals in the US or Europe, the master of house music never fails to awaken the inner raver in all of us.
Festival Performances: FVDED In The Park, The Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo, Hurricane Festival (Germany), Southside Festival (Germany), Urban Art Forms Festival (Austria), Veld (Canada), Leeds Festival (UK), Reading Festival (UK)
16. Ryan Adams
For over a decade, singer-songwriter Ryan Adams has moved us with warm and hearty ballads that combine poetic lyrics with evocative guitar strumming and lush instrumentation. Adams brings a true Americana flare to his work, making him an especially well-suited headliner for festivals like the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Georgia and the Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington.
Festival Performances: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Beale St. Music Festival, Shaky Knees Music Festival, Big Guava Music Festival, Sasquatch Music Festival, Governor’s Ball Music Festival, Calling Festival (UK)
17. Jack White
After carving out a position at the top of the rock n’ roll dogpile as one-half of The White Stripes, Jack White has proven that he’s just as vital as a solo performer. His first solo album Blunderbuss is a wonderfully homey yet edgy representation of all that Jack White has to offer — killer guitar chops, a soulful voice, and effortless rock and roll swagger. Coachella is White’s only US festival appearance this year before he heads off to South America to spread his bluesy soul glory, so plan accordingly.
Festival Performances: Coachella, Lollapalooza (Brazil), Lollapalooza (Argentina), Asunciónico (Paraguay)
It’s crazy to think that Drake has only been on the scene since 2010 — in just a few short years he’s become one of hip hop’s most ubiquitous and acclaimed players. Drake wastes little to no time between albums and he’s a performer to be reckoned with — don’t miss him as he brings massive amounts of swagger to festivals across the country in 2015.
Festival Performances: Coachella, Governors Ball, OVO Fest, Squamish Valley Music and Arts Festival
19. Ed Sheeran
He rose to stardom via collaborations with pop stars like Taylor Swift and One Direction, but Ed Sheeran has since proved to be powerhouse in his own right. Who can sell out Madison Square Garden three times in his first year on tour? Sheeran can, that’s who. Something about his undeniably smooth and emotional folk pop goes straight to heart and warms the inner softy in all of us.
Festival Performances: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Beale Street Music Festival, Rock In Rio, Summerfest
20. No Doubt
Whether you’ve been with them since their ’90s heyday or you’ve hopped on the bandwagon more recently thanks to lead singer Gwen Stefani’s remarkable solo career, you can’t deny the influence No Doubt has had on music culture. After teasing fans with on-again-off-again touring over the past decade, the pop rock favorites are ready to give us more of what we’ve been craving — a new album is reportedly in the works. The band’s upcoming festival appearances just may treat fans to a sneak peak of their new material, not to mention whatever hot new fashion trend Stefani is working this year.
Festival Performances: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Rock In Rio USA, Bottlerock, Kaaboo
For those who like a heaping help of funk with their fest experience, Chromeo is back on the road treating fans to their signature blend of dance-worthy tunes and flamboyant showmanship. In addition to cuts from 2014’s White Women, the duo will treat fans to favorites like “Fancy Footwork” and “Momma’s Boy,” putting a little extra pep in your step just when you thought you couldn’t dance any more.
Festival Performances: Ultra Music Festival, Governor’s Ball, Sasquatch Music Festival
22. Lana Del Rey
The alternative pop star is bringing her hypnotizing stage presence to The Governor’s Ball and Sasquatch! this year, promising her signature blend of sultry vocals and edgy lyrics. Del Rey has yet to announce a release date for her upcoming album Honeymoon, but she just may give fans a glimpse of the new material at her upcoming fest appearances. We can only hope the new tunes are as ceaselessly mesmerizing as her hit album Born to Die.
Festival Performances: Governor’s Ball, Sasquatch
If you haven’t had the distinct pleasure of seeing Bassnectar up close and personal, then you’re truly missing out on one of our generation’s most impressive live music experiences. Not only are the light shows and the stage theatrics worth the price of admission, but Lorin Ashton’s celebratory stage presence makes it the feel-good experience of a lifetime. Bassnectar offers audiences the chance to let go of all reservations and doubts and engage in the beats together as one.
Festival Performances: Lollapalooza, Ultra Music Festival, EDC New York, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, WayHome (Canada), Dancefestopia
No fest is complete with some good ole fashioned classic rock to reminds us of our musical roots. Currently on their Rock or Bust Tour, Australian hard rockers AC/DC continue to prove their supremacy as head-banging masters of the genre. AC/DC will kick off Coachella this weekend. Proceed with caution at their shows — it will undoubtedly be a face-melting experience.
25. Porter Robinson
A mere 22 years old and Porter Robinson has already taken the electronic world by storm. Robinson has played a key role in EDM’s growing popularity ever since he started producing in 2011. While he’s blessed us with numerous No. 1 singles over the past couple of years, it was his much anticipated debut album Worlds that truly captured our attention, establishing the North Carolina native as one of the most talented young DJ-producers currently dropping the bass.
Festival Performances: Coachella, Outside Lands, Squamish Valley Music & Arts Festival, Backwoods Music Festival, Dancefestopia, Go Hard (Seattle), Mysteryland, Sonicmania (Tokyo), FM4 Frequency Festival, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival
BONUS! More Hot Festival Headliners
Festival Performances: Rock In Rio (Las Vegas), Lollapalooza, Grüne Hölle Rock (Germany), Rockavaria (Germany), Sonisphere (Italy)
Festival Performances: Lollapalooza, Firefly Music Festival, Roskilde Music Festival (Denmark)
Festival Performances: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Outside Lands