Wireless Festival has seen some major changes this year as it spreads itself across the country for the first time, with all acts signing up to performances in London and now Birmingham too. Moving from last year’s newly opened Queen Elizabeth Park, the London shows will take place in Finsbury Park, Birmingham’s in Perry Park, next to the Alexander Stadium. We imagine there’s also a Wireless shuttle bus service to ferry the acts between the two cities, providing a splendid way for Drake to size up Iggy Azalea and a luxurious experience for Bruno Mars, normally seen dragging his piano down the street himself:
Alongside Drake, Azalea and Mars, Wireless has, as ever, pigged out on major US R&B and hip-hop stars, scooping Pharrell Williams (‘Happy’ is the first song to return to number one in the UK three times for 57 years), Outkast, Robin Thick (oops Thicke), Wiz Khalifa and Azealia Banks. If you worship Kiss FM, this is the festival for you.
Celebrating 20 years in the industry will be Outkast, who released their first album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (spellcheck nightmare) in 1994. Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton may have fallen off the UK radar since their most successful album (2003’s Diamond-certified Speakerboxxx/The Love Below) became the first by a rap group to win an Album of the Year Grammy, but after an achievement like that maybe they’ve been partying for 10 years. Their headline slot at California’s Coachella festival in April was marred by unhelpful sand storms and horrendous wind (ditto Pharrell Williams), so the fact that Wireless isn’t being held in a desert can only mean good things for their vocal deliveries. Because of course there’s no way it could be ruined by our weather. With such a stellar back catalogue, a rare chance to see Outkast live will surely be the Wireless highlight this year.
Arguably the biggest name on the bill is Kanye Yeezy Yeezus Yeez-ish Kardashi-West, who you’d put your money on to turn out a good show: his Watch The Throne tour with Jay Z was the stuff of legend, the ‘Niggas in Paris’ finale becoming a marathon as they increased the number of times they replayed it, which steadily climbed to 12 by the time they got to Paris; during West’s 2008 Glow in the Dark tour he refused to perform outdoors anywhere until it was totally dark, because he didn’t want to present a diluted audience experience. Of course this last point makes West sound like a diva, but also proves his commitment to spectacle. His current Yeezus tour features a mountain (possibly not actually a mountain), a Jesus impersonator and West performing in masks covered with jewels. Long time collaborator Hype Williams (‘Gold Digger’, ‘Stronger’ and ‘All of the Lights’ videos) thinks it’s so good he’s currently turning the whole thing into a movie. Kanye West is clearly a religious man and when preaching comes via classics like ‘Jesus Walks’, there’s every chance he’ll convert you.
For the full Wireless line-up and more information, visit their website