From up-and-comers in queer pop to comedy queens and festival headliners, here are all the tickets you won’t want to miss out on
Pride Month is upon us, and whilst it may be cliché to say that queer music is thriving more than it ever has, it’s also pretty accurate. Many of the artists on this list have grown their tight-knit online communities into droves of Spotify listeners, and the likes of Muna, Rina Sawayama and Arlo Parks are becoming some of the most talked-about names in pop. There’s never a bad time to celebrate queer artistry, but now is one of the best.
We’ve gathered a list of all the events to look out for in June and beyond, so you can keep Pride going for as long as possible.
American singer-songwriter Fletcher has been active in the queer community online since 2017, but the last few years have cemented her as a name to watch in pop. Her debut album, Girl Of My Dreams, was released last year, containing the single ‘Becky’s So Hot’ – a song that sent queer TikTok into a collective meltdown – and she’ll be bringing her headline tour to the UK in November.
Self-described as a ‘queer alt rock gal pal duo’, ARXX have been on a steady rise over the last few years with their stream of confessional rock singles. “Imagine Taylor Swift if she only ever listened to Nirvana,” reads their impressively accurate Spotify bio. You’ll be able to catch them in London and Brighton this June.
Nominated for three BRIT awards this year including Rising Star, Cat Burns’ easy indie pop is making waves with Gen Z. Her breakout hit was the scorching 2020 single ‘go’, but also worth a listen is ‘Free’, an emotive and ultimately euphoric R&B track describing Burns’ coming out experience. She’s playing a string of gigs and festival dates across the UK this summer, including supporting George Ezra on tour.
MUNA’s frank exploration of queer womanhood have earned them a legion of fans and a record deal with Phoebe Bridgers. From joyful queer anthem ‘Silk Chiffon’ to devastating break up tracks ‘Home By Now’ and ‘Stayaway’, the group have a growing catalogue of excellent indie pop to dig into. They’ll be at Reading & Leeds Festival this summer, with a few other UK dates scattered throughout August.
Both through his music and his philanthropy, John has been a beloved figure in the LGBTQ+ community for well over fifty years – so beloved in fact that his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour just can’t seem to slow down. There are still some hospitality packages left for his shows in June, although tickets are extremely limited – as you’d expect.
The genre-bending, boundary-breaking Lil Nas X opened doors in the industry when he came out in 2019. Since then he has continued to defy hip hop stereotypes, writing openly queer music and testing limits with his visuals. Whilst he doesn’t have any UK dates scheduled as of yet, you can catch him at Mad Cool Festival in Madrid this July.
King Princess grabbed the attention of the industry with her debut single ‘1950’; an ode to queer love aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Since then, she’s released two studio albums and opened for the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Shawn Mendes. She’ll be opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers in London and Glasgow this July, as well as playing a string of headline gigs of her own.
After winning Best New Artist at the 2021 BRIT Awards, Arlo Parks has gone from strength to strength, releasing her second acclaimed studio album and garnering two Grammy nominations. Her music explores queer desire and identity – among other things – with vulnerability and great skill, something that has earned her vocal support from artists such as Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish. She’ll play a few different festival dates this summer, as well as headline shows in Manchester and London this September.
Since she first started experimenting with music, singer-songwriter Ethel Cain has explored the relationship between religion and the queer experience, both sonically and lyrically. After leaving the church at the age of sixteen she set about uncovering her identity both as a musician and an individual, releasing her debut album, Preacher’s Daughter, in 2022. She’ll play a couple of shows with boygenius this summer, and you’ll also be able to catch her at Reading & Leeds Festival.
Sawayama’s sophomore album, 2022’s Hold The Girl, was celebrated for its life-affirming, queer-coded pop – in particular with regards to lead single ‘This Hell’, which dances off homophobic religious rhetoric. The Japanese-British singer is set to be an unmissable act on the Reading & Leeds Festival line-up this summer.
Glasgow musician and DJ TAAHLIAH has been a gathering force in the queer club scene for some time. Now she’s emerging into the mainstream, with Spotify streams racking up and collaborations with several rising stars in dance music, including Manni Dee, James Indigo and Tsatsamis. She’ll play a hometown date in Glasgow this early June, as well as appearing at Connect Festival this August.
Alternative pop star Ashnikko gained viral popularity on TikTok a few years ago with ‘Stupid’ and ‘Working B*tch’. Since then, they have continued to be vocal about female sexuality and queer desire in their music, gaining particular attention for 2021’s ‘Slumber Party’ with Princess Nokia. She’ll be playing TRNSMT festival this July, returning later this year to bring her headline tour across the UK in early December.
If you’re a bit gigged out, here’s a little light relief. Jordan Gray tackles the bigots and the boundary-crossers head on in her wildly funny and confronting show Is It A Bird? which she’ll tour the UK with this September and October. A Fringe phenomenon, Gray’s one-woman stand-up show sold out every night before heading to the London Palladium – and it’s now out on the road. You’ll want to catch this one.
Of course, if you really want to celebrate this June properly then Manchester Pride is the place to be. With the likes of Pabllo Vittar, Jake Shears and Natasha Bedingfield headlining a mammoth line-up, the 2023 Gay Village Party is going to be one for the books.