Ever since its inception in 2013, British Summer Time has brought some of the world’s biggest names to London’s Hyde Park. Whether hosting legendary rock icons like the Rolling Stones or pop princesses like Taylor Swift, there’s no denying the sheer scale of British Summer Time, representing a variety of different tastes and genres. Here is everything you need to know about British Summer Time 2016.
Bristol based Trip Hop pioneers, Massive Attack, are the first headliner to grace the stage at this year’s British Summer Time in support of the recently released Ritual Spirit Ep. 25 years on from the release of acclaimed debut album, Blue Lines, the band find themselves playing arguably the biggest show of their careers and with an ever-growing, hardcore fanbase, it looks to be a spectacular event. Massive Attack are a formidable force in the live arena and this headline slot appears to be no different, with the band said to be bringing their state-of-the-art, stimulating audio-visual live show, of which was designed by visual collaborator Robert Del Naja. A great opportunity to see one of Britain’s most-loved cult bands play an iconic concert, with strong support form the likes of Young Fathers, Patti Smith and Warpaint.
Kendrick Lamar + Florence & the Machine
Kendrick Lemar, quite frankly, one of the greatest and acclaimed artists in music today, is set to play his biggest ever UK show at this year’s British Summer Time. With last year’s To Pimp a Butterfly blowing away critics and audiences alike (winning Exeposé Music’s album of the year poll in 2015), this is a chance to see one of hip hop’s leading lights at the top of his game. But if that is not enough, he will be sharing the headline slot on July 2nd with indie pop heroine and previous Glastonbury headliner, Florence & the Machine, in what looks to be a triumphant homecoming show.
Fresh off the back of a successful residency at London’s Alexandra Palace last summer, as well as latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful debuting at number 1 on the UK albums chart, Florence Welch and her band have gone one bigger this year and are set to bring huge tracks – including the likes of ‘You’ve Got the Love’ and ‘Spectrum’ – to British Summer Time in Hyde Park. Jamie XX, Cat Power and Kamasi Washington also make up a rather eclectic lineup.
Carole King’s Tapestry is widely regarded as one of the most important and acclaimed albums of the time. The album stood atop the US album chart for 15 weeks when released in 1971 and catapulted King into stardom, having written many chart hit for other artists. King’s popularity in the UK is unmistakable, having achieved 61 chart hits and often being regarded as the ‘most successful female songwriter in the UK singles chart’, making her headline show on Sunday July 3rd all the more a landmark event. The California singer-songwriter scene of the 19702, which King was very much a part, can also be clearly reflected in the day’s line-up with Don Henley, drummer and co-lead vocalist of The Eagles, sub-headlining and King’s own daughter Louise Goffin making for a strong day of music. A lineup only added to by the likes of British soul man Michael Kiwanuka and Electro pop singer Rae Morris.
Mumford & Sons
London-based Mumford & Sons have come a long way since their 2009 debut album Sigh No More. Having broke onto the scene with their triumphant brand of folk rock, which saw tracks like ‘The Cave’ and ‘Little Lion Man’ become festival favourites, the band have adapted their sound towards more anthemic, stadium rock, and to great effect. With the release of last year’s Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons have become a more dynamic live act, swapping banjos for electric guitars and proving their classic rock mettle at last year’s Reading & Leeds festival.
This year however, Mumford & Sons are supporting their African-inspired new EP, Johannesburg, recruiting the help of world musicians of varying genres, including Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg (all of whom are also on the day’s strong lineup). Completing the stellar bill, handpicked by Marcus Mumford and the band, are soulful Grammy award winners Alabama Shakes and leading lights in the British indie scene Wolf Alice. An exciting day of guitar music!
Stevie Wonder is without doubt one of the most iconic figures in music and is the man tasked with closing this year’s British Summer Time in an exclusive UK performance. With a plethora of huge songs to choose from, it would’ve been easy for Stevie Wonder to put together a set of any number of different hits, however the fact that he is playing 1976 masterpiece, Songs in the Key of Life, make the show all the more unmissable as the album celebrates it’s 40th anniversary. An opportunity to see a legend at work! Playing just before Stevie Wonder is US pop sensation Pharrell Williams, as well as Leeds-born singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae, giving added depth to an already special day. Unfortunately the event has already sold out, which is unsurprising given Wonder’s star status, however if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket it is sure to be a night to remember.
What else is on Offer?
British Summer Time has always been about more than just music, even if it is the more high profile of the events taking place over the British Summer Time residency at Hyde Park. There are also many free events taking place and are widely accessible to those of all ages. Here are a couple of the other events on offer.
Pop Up in the Park
In addition to the massive shows at the weekend, this year’s British Summer Time hand the spotlight to some smaller bands looking to breakthrough. This will be taking place on Thursday 7th and has a strong punk rock emphasis with a headline slot from grungey surf-psych band The Wytches, alongside rising stars in the form of Spring King and The Magic Gang.
Between Monday to Thursday there are a number of different film screenings, also taking place on a huge screen in the middle of Hyde Park. With a range of genres and themes – including: USA, Brits, Musicals and 80s – there is plenty on offer for different tastes and ages. Whether you’re still itching to watch Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar winning turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything or laugh-out-loud to 90s classic Groundhog Day, there’s a wealth of cinema for all.
Also, for the more sportingly inclined, this year British Summer Time is hosting a number of activities to get stuck into. This includes free badminton and Ping-Pong facilities, alongside daily live screenings of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. However, it is not all sport, with the Royal Parks Horticulture Show taking place across the weekend.
Street Food & Live Entertainment
Also appearing over the week at British Summer Time’s Open House are a number of hand-picked, award-winning street food traders offering a number of varying cuisines. Whilst live entertainers will also appear across the week including; Rockaoke, London Gay Men’s Chorus, London Gay Big Band, Royal Organ Duo and an assortment of different DJs.