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The best live acts to look forward to in 2022

Hoping that 2022 finally provides live music to return on a large, unabashed scale, Malcolm Jack picks the must-see acts that will make a it a year to remember.

Is 2022 the year in which the Twenties are going to finally hurry up and roar? Certainly, we’d all be feeling a lot more optimistic about the prospect were Omicron – the scarily named variant of concern which sounds like it should be headlining Download – not threatening to disrupt the steady resurgence of live music across the UK all over again (to say nothing of most other aspects of our daily lives).

But at the top of the year, let’s take a hopeful view at least of the spring and summer ahead. Seasons which, all being well, promise to be the first since 2019 to look, feel and sound like they’re supposed to (information correct at time of writing).

The live music industry, and especially music festivals, are banking on 2022 being the year in which big outdoor gigs come thundering back with a bang. Behold, the return of stadium shows for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and The Killers.

Rejoice, as some of the country’s best-loved al fresco weekenders make a long-awaited comeback (including at least one that’s been gone for over a decade). Celebrate, as Glastonbury finally gets around to turning 50 (and a bit). Winter might be looking grim but plan ahead instead for the warm months – they’ll come around sooner than you think.

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Dua Lipa
AO Arena, Manchester, April 15, then touring nationwide until May 3

Dua Lipa Photo: Katy Blackwood / Alamy Stock Photo

OK, so this is an arena affair rather than open-air, but rest assured Dua Lipa will be raising roofs around the country as she embarks on her first major outing in four years, the now several-times postponed Future Nostalgia Tour.

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Titled after an album of the same name, which became Lipa’s first UK number one and scored her six Grammy Award nominations and two Brit Award wins, it’s a long-overdue lap of honour for one of Britain’s biggest young pop stars.

Glastonbury
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, June 22-26

Glastonbury festival 2019 photo: Jamaway / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo

Only two artists are confirmed so far for Glastonbury 2022, but what a pair of massive divas they are, in their own, generationally specific ways. American pop sensation Billie Eilish will play by far her biggest UK show as she becomes the Pyramid Stage’s youngest-ever headliner, after rapidly ascending to the status of pop royalty over the last couple of years. Filling the cherished Sunday “legends” slot is Diana Ross – Motown queen, soul sensation and striker of the worst penalty kick ever at the opening ceremony for the USA World Cup in 1994.

Adele
BSTHyde Park, London, July 1-2

If you can think of nothing more eye-watering after the last couple of years than joining 65,000 others in a communal bawl-along to Someone Like You, Hello and the rest, you’ve clearly not seen ticket prices for Adele at Hyde Park (between £90 and £580). But then, if you want to watch the most blockbusting singer in the world -performing live, then you’ve got to pay the price. The Tottenham soul-pop sensation promotes her records-breaking fourth album 30 with her first live shows since Wembley Stadium in 2017.

The Strokes (with Fontaines DC)
Lytham Festival, Lancashire, July 8 and TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow, July 9

The Strokes Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Outside Land


Anyone who remembers being young in the early 2000s, look away now: it’s more than 20 years since the release of The Strokes’ era-defining debut album Is This It. To mark the occasion, New York’s most rakish leather jacket wearers are embarking on a tour to glamorous towns and cities globally including, um, Lytham St Annes. They’re joined at both of their only UK shows of the summer by Dublin post-punks Fontaines DC – a band touted by many as the Strokes of their generation.

Sam Fender
Finsbury Park, London, July 15
North Shields’s finest – and friend of The Big Issue – will follow in the footsteps of Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Liam Gallagher and more by headlining hallowed rock’n’roll ground. A hand-picked bill of supports for the 40,000-capacity show also includes Fontaines DC, Declan McKenna, Beabadoobee and Goat Girl.

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Connect Festival
Venue TBA, Scotland, August 26-28

Staged only twice (in 2007 and 2008) at Inveraray Castle in Argyll, Connect has almost mythical status in Scottish festival history – specifically its first year, when the so-called leftfield antidote to T in the Park featured Beastie Boys, Björk and LCD Soundsystem among others. Fourteen years later, it’s back. Details – including venue, to say nothing of line-up – remain mysterious, but there’s hope that it could fill a big gap in the Scottish summer for a major alternative music festival.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach local your vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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