Wireless is one of the most sussed festivals in the calendar. What began in 2005 as a random mix of indie and dance names (Hard-Fi! Mylo! James Blunt!) has mutated into the defining underground festival of a generation. Unlike many other fests out there, Wireless has found its niche: massive American hip hop stars and under celebrated, ignored-by-the-mainstream UK acts from the fertile worlds of grime, drill, hip hop and afrobeats. Nobody else puts this amount of urban UK talent on such a big platform, and it’s something to really celebrate – despite attempts by Haringey Council to curb the festival, including prohibiting artists from swearing and wearing ‘offensive clothing’ onstage. Regardless, the line-up just got announced, so let’s look at the high-profile Yanks and the local-ish legends playing Finsbury Park this year…
Headliners-wise, it’s an all-American takeover of N4. Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky bring their heady brands of hip hop across the pond, heading up Saturday and Sunday respectively. Friday’s shared headliners Cardi B and Migos (pictured) are a surprise – given Cardi’s on-off relationship with her hubby (aka Migos’s Offset). There’s also special guest Future bringing the Atlanta bangers, plus fellow statessiders Tory Lanez, Lil Uzi Vert, Rae Sremmurd, Ski Mask The Slump God, Young Thug and Californian megastar Tyga.
Repping the UK
Yanks but no thanks… honestly, there’s so much homegrown talent right now it’s hard to know how the American crew will compete with the kings and queens of the UK scene. Take Brit-grime stars like Bugzy Malone, Denzel Curry and AJ Tracey for example, or Stefflon Don (pictured) and her dancehall-tinged bops. There’s also a tip-top selection of acts breaking through, which is wicked to see: south-east MC Flohio is unmissable, and anonymous artist M Huncho too, who’s getting a whole lot of buzz right now. If that wasn’t enough there’s also Fredo, Steel Banglez, Not3s and Cadet. It all makes for three essential days, basically.
Wireless is at Finsbury Park on Jul 5-7.
Check out more great music festivals coming up in London here.