Your Definitive Guide To Those Splendour In The Grass Line-Up Rumours
Kendrick? Arctic Monkeys? Skrillex?
There’s still a couple of months to go before Splendour in the Grass officially announces its 2018 line-up, but the rumour mill is already cranking at full speed.
Over the last week a number of artists have been earmarked as potential headliners for the North Byron Parklands festival, including British rockers Arctic Monkeys, recent Grammy-winner Kendrick Lamar, and dance superstar Skrillex. But which of those are actually likely to be hitting up Splendour? We’ve taken a closer look at the rumours doing the rounds to see if there’s any truth to be found.
It’s been nearly three years since Lamar toured Australia off the back of To Pimp A Butterfly — a tour which included a somewhat unlikely headline slot at Byron’s Bluesfest. Since then of course, he’s released his spectacular record DAMN., picked up a few Grammys, and continued to cement his position as rap’s GOAT.
Right now, he’s at the beginning of a world tour for DAMN., so there’s every reason to expect he’ll be announcing Australian dates before too long.
But there’s another big reason we could be seeing Lamar at Splendour: he’s just been announced on the line-up for Japan’s Fuji Rock festival, which takes place just after Splendour and usually features similar headlining acts (last year The xx, LCD Soundsystem, and Queens of the Stone Age played both events.)
If an act is playing Fuji Rock, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll turn up on the Splendour bill. Which is good news for Kendrick fans.
Verdict: Very likely
Last month the Sheffield lads announced dates for an upcoming tour in support of their highly-anticipated new album. They’ll be playing a stack of big European festivals throughout June, July, and August — including Spain’s Primavera Sound and the Netherlands’ Best Kept Secret.
But more intriguingly, the band have a month-long hole in their list of dates — leading many to speculate they could be filling it with a Splendour appearance and some Australian sideshows. They’re also noticeably absent from New York City’s Panorama line-up, a festival which usually cuts out a number of Splendour headliners because it tends to be on the same weekend.
So there’s nothing to suggest they won’t be on the line-up. That said, they haven’t announced any dates apart from those European festivals, so there’s a chance they could be filling that space with their own headlining shows.
N.E.R.D’s surprising and excellent reunion was one of the best music stories of 2017. Their comeback track ‘Lemon’ — a collaboration with Rihanna — landed at #66 in triple j’s Hottest 100, while subsequent album No_One Ever Really Dies was the most ludicrous star-studded of any in 2017 — with features from Future, Gucci Mane, Kendrick Lamar, M.I.A., Ed Sheeran, and André 3000.
The biggest indication we have that Pharrell and co. would be landing at Splendour is their inclusion on the Fuji Rock line-up. Outside of that, there’s no evidence they have an Australian tour in the works. If they were to head our way, it would be the group’s first Australian show in seven years.
Dance superstar Skrillex last toured Australia way back in 2014, with the now-defunct Stereosonic.
Since then, he’s picked up two Grammy Awards for his Diplo collab project Jack Ü, produced a slew of hits for pop stars like Justin Bieber, Ellie Goulding, and Kimbra, and somehow managed to keep his own solo stuff ticking along too (his most recent single, ‘Deadbeat‘, landed in September.)
In December, Diplo confirmed that Skrillex was hard at work on a new record, which we should be seeing sometime this year. All this, coupled with the fact that he’s on the Fuji Rock line-up, points directly towards a tour Down Under.
Verdict: Pretty likely
A couple of weeks ago Scottish crew Chrvches dropped ‘Get Out’, the excellent first single from their upcoming third album. We don’t know when the album will be dropping, but we do know that the band are starting to announce a slew of tour dates, including a stop on the Fuji Rock line-up.
The last time they played Splendour was way back in 2014, following the release of their debut album The Bones Of What We Believe. They then toured with Laneway in 2016 off the back of their second album Every Open Eye. Given that consistent two-year pattern, it’s looking very, very, likely that they’ll be back in 2018 for Splendour. Lock it in.
Verdict: Very fucking likely
Last September, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig told a fan on Twitter that the band’s new album — the long-awaited followup to 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City — “was 80 percent done”, although he added that the “last 20 percent is always the hardest.”
We’re still yet to hear any new music from the group, but they have just announced their return to the festival circuit. They’ll hit up Japan’s Fuji Rock (there it is again), and then UK festival End of the Road at the end of August. So there’s plenty of time for a sneaky Splendour slot.
Electronic duo MGMT last played Splendour in 2009, at the height of their Oracular Spectacular and ‘Electric Feel’ fame.
Since then they’ve devoted themselves to making music as far away from the pop world as possible, like 2010’s underwhelming Congratulations and 2013’s even more underwhelming MGMT. But their latest record Dark Little Age sees them tentatively return to the pop world, with great results.
They’re almost a shoo-in for Splendour, mostly because they kinda outed themselves about it two days ago. In an interview with The Music, member Andrew VanWyngarden confirmed the duo would be heading Down Under in 2018: “I’m not sure when things are announced. But, yeah, we’ll be setting foot on Australian soil this year, for sure,” he said.
Verdict: Very likely
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
It’s not unheard of that an artist will play both summer and winter Australian festivals in the same twelve month period, but it’s unlikely. Anderson .Paak was only just here for Laneway, so despite being announced on the Fuji Rock line-up, we probably won’t be seeing the Malibu hitmaker Down Under anytime soon.
That said, .Paak did just confirm that he’ll be releasing a new record this year — as will his backing band, The Free Nationals. So it’s not entirely out of the question they could make a quick jaunt to Oz to preview some new tracks.
Verdict: Ehhh…probably not
Jules LeFevre is Staff Writer for Music Junkee and inthemix. She’s personally hoping for a Lorde headline slot. She is on Twitter.