As the biggest festival in Europe (and possibly the world), Glastonbury may be the toughest of all to navigate. Between multiple stages, the long weekend, and competing headliners of epic proportions, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. That said, there are some things to look out for: First, try to catch the British bands. The hometown crowds show the most love. Second, see the acts you couldn't see anywhere else. How often does Portishead come to your home town? Last, catch the up-and-comers. Some great new bands are going to be playing festival stage for the first time. With these rules in mind, we've selected 10 of our favorite acts that are absolute must-sees. In the end, though, you're still going to have to choose between Public Enemy and The Rolling Stones for yourself. Good luck!
The Rolling Stones
Glastonbury's big headliner this year also happens to be the quintessential British band at the most massive British festival. Even by Rolling Stones' standards, this is going to be a huge show. Don't miss it.
Once known as upstart Columbia alums, Vampire Weekend has grown over the years into one the world's best bands. Modern Vampires of the City, the group's third LP, has already proven itself to make for a great live experience with "Diane Young," "Step," and "Ya Hey" already sounding like old favorites.
Dark, powerful, uncompromising, Portishead continues to blow audiences and eardrums away. Any chance to see the Bristol band shouldn't be missed.
With Flavor Flav's reality TV presence, it's easy to forget the impact that It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back had when it came out in 1988. Filled with uncompromisingly hard production from Rick Rubin and Chuck D, seeing Public Enemy's slice of hip-hop history couldn't have us more excited.
After conquering the Olympics, Fuck Buttons is back with a beat-driven new album, Slow Focus, that's equal parts harsh noise and hypnotically danceable. For an electronic band with an expletive in its name, it's fascinating and heartening to see just how far this duo has gone.
Archie Marshall's voice is something to behold: Deeper, darker, and wiser than his years, he captures a netherworld somewhere between Tom Waits and James Blake.
If you have to come up with an English band that's had more page time in the NME during the new millenium, we don't think you could manage it. Even so, years after the hype has died down, Arctic Monkeys remains one of the best big venue bands in the business.
Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence (a.k.a. Disclosure) have had one of the biggest critical smashes of the year with their debut record Settle. As good as the LP is, though, it's even better to hear the band live so you can actually, you know, dance.
Scottish rockers Primal Scream have been going strong since the early '80s, incorporating psychedelia, dance, and brit-pop into its sound. With a new album and 30 years of back catalog, a festival slot is far too short for what Primal Scream have to offer.
London duo AlunaGeorge (a.k.a. vocalist Aluna Francis and producer George Reid) have been on a roll lately, releasing single after single of bass music-inspired R&B. One of our favorite new acts.