Festival fever: Who are the top pop performers?

Festival season’s in full swing and it’s looking like one of the best years yet– from Beyoncé at Glastonbury to Linkin Park at Download, there have already been some landmark sets from the world’s biggest music acts.


And there’s still weeks of live music left to get your teeth stuck into this summer.
Frankly, the guest lists at this year’s events are proving to be a who’s who of the celebrity world, from footballers like Wayne Rooney to old festival hands such as Kate Moss – a VIP pass is proving to be this season’s must-have.

With the music scene going great guns at the moment, we’ve been looking back at our festival favourites from down the years. The way things are going, we reckon some of the festival Class of 2011 won’t be too far off being added to this list in years to come. Missed out on any of them? Report to YouTube to get up to speed.

Jimi Hendrix, Isle of Wight Festival, 1970

The ultimate festival set from the ultimate guitar hero, this infamous gig set the bar for what summer music events should be about – massive stars, hedonistic crowds and a prevailing sense of chaos. The fact that Hendrix died a few months later meant that this set became even more enshrined in music history.

Stone Roses, Spike Island, 1990

The band’s own festival in Widnes, Cheshire, was either their baggy zenith or a total failure with dreadful sound, depending on who you speak to. If you remember it, you probably weren’t there…

Nirvana, Reading Festival, 1992

The grunge legends made a rare UK festival appearance at the Berkshire bash, which saw singer Kurt Cobain arrive onstage in a wheelchair before playing a storming set including classics such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. It turned out to be their final performance on these shores.

Radiohead, Glastonbury, 1997

The gig that saw Thom Yorke and co go truly stratospheric and cement their place as one of the world’s best bands, this headline slot was packed with true indie anthems and future classics.

David Bowie, Glastonbury, 2000

This music legend was the perfect headliner for the muddy Somerset event’s 30th anniversary and rolled back the years with a supreme greatest hits set that encompassed his Ziggy Stardust era along with his more bonkers ‘90s electro-rock numbers.

Jay-Z, Glastonbury, 2008

In the weeks and months running up to this gig, celebrity news sites were abuzz with comments from rock royalty the Gallagher brothers about the “unsuitable” booking of this hip-hop hero. However, Jay-Z blew away their comments within seconds of coming onstage while sarcastically covering Oasis hit ‘Wonderwall’ – then blasting into ‘99 Problems’ and sending the crowd into utter hysteria and the celebrity gossip world  alight.