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Who Can Replace Kings Of Leon As The Premier Festival Headliner?


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The Killers and Kings Of Leon. The names roll off the tongue and not just because they begin with the same letter. Pretty much every festival has been headlined by either one or both of them recently and it’s getting boring.


Obviously festival owners work in such a crowded market they have to book the acts they know will bring the punters in and the Killers/ Kings axis guarantees the £50 Tesco man will be interested. What is worrying however is the lack of competition for these two contemporary giants. Looking across this year’s festival circuit makes for pretty dull reading. Blur reformed and obviously took their rightful place atop numerous bills and Arctic Monkeys are on another level to most indie bands so could probably headline all three nights of Reading/ Leeds were it not for Radiohead. But who else is there?


Franz Ferdinand only headlined the Leeds and Reading festivals in 2007 because Arctic Monkeys turned it down and their most recent album has been met with muted sales. However, their set at this years Glastonbury as headliners of The Other Stage was a bona-fide success and will hopefully see their stock rise. Elsewhere you have Muse and Oasis who, like Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, operate on another level to most acts around. Both bands have headlined festivals before though so whilst they might break the monotony of Brandon Flowers and the Followills they are nothing risky or new.


As far as I can see there are three contenders: Kasabian, Bloc Party and Dizzee Rascal. Now before you cough and splutter remember that just two years ago Kings Of Leon were playing on festival bills below the likes of Razorlight. It took a relative punt by Michael Evis for the Nashville boys to establish themselves as a headline band. Riding on the wave of a Mercury nominated third album and a reputation as a mean live band Kasabian must be the most likely to make the next step on the ladder.


Just imagine how giddy Tom Meighan would be headlining in front of 100,000 people at Glastonbury and you just know that ‘L.S.F’ would sound monumental. Bloc Party have an air of the ‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ when it comes to festivals, however, they have a solid foundation of hits and enough fans to close the show. Finally Dizzee Rascal; by the end of 2009 he will be the biggest pop star in the country. Loved by fans of all genres he is making huge strides towards ubiquity and surely a headline slot at a major festival will follow. For too long men with guitars have dominated the Summer circuit and it would make a great statement for a big festival to pick Dizzee as one of their marquee names. Perhaps the Jay-Z debacle has burned promoters fingers but still we can live in hope.


Who would you like to see play the big festivals? Perhaps Glasvegas could headline T in the Park whilst any sort of return from The Strokes or White Stripes would see muddy revellers going wild. Is there just a lack of acts good enough to make that step up though? What about Arcade Fire, The Cribs, Maximo Park or Yeah Yeah Yeah’s?

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