Any music lover will have that one friend, who, whenever confronted with the line up of any festival, will moderately to completely ignore the headliner(s) and go on a long, convoluted, scientific rant about how the seventh name in the fifth row of small letters is basically the band that makes the whole thing worthwhile and you should totally go and check them out. Sometimes, though, you realize that this deluded person is actually you.
So I will firstly inform you that Sziget now has all of its Main Stage headliners, in what seems to be a very clear strategy to compensate for last year’s lukewarm bunch (at least per general opinion, I still stand firm and say it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be), and the final name to be announced is none else than Lana Del Rey, who thus joins in no particular order but Arctic Monkeys go first: Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, Dua Lipa and Mumford and Sons. (I know them by heart too, is this scary? A bit, yes.)
Lana, just like the Monkeys, is someone who has been expected and rumoured for years now, so she also qualifies as a coup, alongside, right, let me mention the Monkeys again, and of course Kendrick Lamar, who is unavoidable these days- I was most heartbroken to see he was not nominated for an Oscar though, but should probably tick that one off two next year with a song from the Black Panther soundtrack, which would also be a rare occasion when the award is given to an actual decent tune.
This being said, the two names that made me happiest from the most recent release were not Lana, firstly because she is only one name, and secondly because I had been desperately scanning tour dates to check out when and how I could see the magnificent Fever Ray. She did come tantalizingly close to Budapest, but stopped at the usual hurdle of Vienna, so I harboured the secret hope that this would mean inclusion in the Sziget line up, and sure enough it did. Karin Dreijer was of course one half of The Knife alongside brother Olof, and although the (oh so) ignorant world knew them mostly for Heartbeats, as covered by José González for an iAdvert, their actual thing was quirky gender-bending Scandinavian electro, which was Fever Ray also does, with perhaps a stronger feminist agenda, given that she’s lost Olof, and her second surname on the way.
As for the second name, it’s Aurora, arriving from neighbouring Norway and incidentally the author of one of my favourite gigs from 2016, so it will be interesting to see how she evolved- not to jinx anything here, but fellow Scandinavian (they do know their pop music, these people), MØ was a bit disappointing the second time around after a very strong first showing, though she has the chance to redeem herself this year. BØRNS and Asaf Avidan are two other returning names, though neither left a very lasting impression- except perhaps Asaf’s dancers, so here’s hoping he will bring them back.
The rest of this release’s names are mostly other people’s cups of tea: a strong electronic showing, with an unavoidable Dutchman, Don Diablo, two Germans, Tujamo, and the somewhat more Berlin minimal project of Jan Blomqvist (who wants you to know he is not from Sweden), a Chinese-American, ZHU (ticking the slot for someone unnecessarily capitalizing their name), and two Brits, Damian Lazarus & the Ancient Moons and SG Lewis. Last but not least we approve the efforts of the intriguingly named Unknown Mortal Orchestra, coming all the way from New Zealand.
If you’re too lazy, though, here is a list of all names announced so far, in no particular order but we being with the Arctic Monkeys:
Arctic Monkeys * Dua Lipa * Gorillaz * Kendrick Lamar * Kygo * Lana Del Rey * Mumford & Sons * Shawn Mendes * Liam Gallagher * Bastille * Lykke Li * Stormzy * Parov Stelar * The War On Drugs * The Kooks * MØ * Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker * Kaleo * Zara Larsson * Gogol Bordello * Clean Bandit * Blossoms * Fever Ray * Milky Chance * Børns * Wolf Alice * Lianne La Havas * Desiigner * King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard * Asaf Avidan * Little Dragon * Cigarettes After Sex * JP Cooper * Gorgon City live * Goo Goo Dolls * Fink * Seasick Steve * Don Diablo * Above & Beyond * Unknown Mortal Orchestra * Petit Biscuit * Aurora * Nothing But Thieves * Slaves * KSHMR * Everything Everything * Borgore * ZHU * Lewis Capaldi * Lemaitre * The Living End * La Femme * Sofi Tukker * Scarlxrd * Joe Goddard live * Tujamo * Ummet Ozcan * Sam Feldt live * Jay Hardway * Delta Heavy * The Him * Seven Lions * Alle Farben * Yellow Days * Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons * Bilderbuch * WhoMadeWho * Shame * My Baby * Jan Blomqvist & Band * SG Lewis * Perturbator