It's that time of year again. The time when full-time bloggers, music snobs, and hardcore fans who don't make enough money to actually buy tickets begin salivating over the long lists of artists rumored to appear at this year's upcoming rock festivals around the country. Until each festival's lineup is officially announced, the only thing anyone can do is make an educated guess at who will be performing, but when one pays attention to who is releasing new material soon, or who just has, patterns and possibilities begin to emerge. While anyone else's guess is as good as this Examiner's, let's have a bit of fun and speculate on some of the big names in rock that could soon be gracing festival advertisements.
In recent years, the success of the modern-American festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza, have given way to smaller up-starts like Outside Lands, Sasquatch, and Michigan's Electric Forrest to name but a few. But more than a decade into these annual events, booking bigger and bigger names who have appeared only once before, or perhaps never, gets harder and harder to do. The biggest names that have been circulating online thus far are Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones. While McCartney is a justifiably continuing favorite, even in his twilight years, having the Stones headline any festival would be a major accomplishment. It might be a hard sell for the band, however, as it could easily sell out any venue in the country, if not most of the world, on its own, and to just throw them in as a part of a multi-day package might not be what they are looking to do on their 50th anniversary tour.
Also in the classic rock vein, there are many rumors that this summer could see the return of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, who are said to be releasing new material sometime this year as well, and a possible appearance of Fleetwood Mac at a major festival. The Mac, now down to four core members, might bring in a crowd of a certain age, but their style doesn't mesh as well with EDM, dub step, and hip hop the way some other classic rock acts might, so which festival they might rock is open to debate. Certainly The Who have been active lately with their recent Quadrophenia tour, so there's always a possibility there, but a debatably more interesting classic rock act to include might be Rush, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, and who just released an anniversary re-master of their prog-rock classic, 2112. Late night on Which? Stage at Bonnaroo, anyone?
Other standard rock artists who are expected to release new material this year, or who released some near the end of 2012, include names like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Flaming Lips, Tool and/or Puscifer, Deftones, and Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels. Queens of the Stone Age are also slated to release a new record this year, notably with the return of Dave Grohl on drums, so they are also a good bet for a festival show, but Grohl has stated he won't be touring with the band to support the record, unfortunately. Thom Yorke's side project, Atoms for Peace, are releasing their debut LP in a few weeks, which makes them a good festival candidate, plus the fact that Yorke is famously a fan of Bonnaroo specifically, though Radiohead have performed at all 3 major American festivals, and a few others as well, in the past decade.
Green Day released a powerful triple LP late last year, and have infamously been unable to perform at all to support it due to rehab issues within the band. Many fans, however, are hopeful they will be out this year, and a festival crowd is what they are best at rocking these days. They are confirmed for a few overseas dates in June thus far, which leaves a lot of summer and fall to fill, though they've yet to announce dates. Classic hip hop is likely to be represented by a reunited Wu-Tang Clan, also set to release a new LP this year, while the EDM crowd is likely to be most impressed by a rumored return of Daft Punk, whose last major festival appearances, in 2007, has since become legendary. For those who like it a little on the weirder side, there's always a chance that Tomahawk or They Might Be Giants might pop up at Lollapalooza in August, or at least hopefully at a theater show near you. Both bands will release new material and perform this spring but have not yet announced summer dates.
Until the official lineups are posted, everything is a guess. So let your imagination run wild for the last few days and weeks it can. No one expected the Tupac hologram...