Wireless is one of the few major festivals catering for pop and urban audiences in 2013, and in doing so it should prove to be a very different experience. Previously known for hosting some of the biggest names in indie and dance music – in the past the likes of The Strokes, Daft Punk and Pulp have headlined – the festival has turned to pop and hip-hop acts in more recent years.
This year Wireless takes place in East London at the home of last year’s Olympics – The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – and is preparing for the arrival of Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, here’s what we expect to find:
Yes, with pop music comes pop music fans – most of which will still be trapped in the angst of their formative years. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re old enough to remember Nas’ debut LP Illmatic changing the face of hip-hop or A Tribe Called Quest kickin’ it over the charts, then you’ll have no trouble navigating your way around the venue’s bars.
It’s gonna be loud
This year there shouldn’t be any more complaints about noise – or lack of it. The affluent residents of W1 weren’t exactly keen on live music being beamed across Hyde Park into the early hours. So they insisted Westminster Council impose stringent noise limits and a curfew so strict it famously cut off McCartney and Springsteen mid-flow. Thankfully, early reports from gigs held at the QEOP have found that noise levels are more than ample.
The future of hip-hop and R&B
Most music fans will admit that hip-hop and R&B hit a slump a few years ago, with many of its leading stars being reduced to producing chart-friendly Guetta-ised anthems. Recently a new wave of acts have been breaking through and restoring fans’ faith in the genres. This weekend many of them will be making an appearance, including Miguel, A$AP Rocky, Jessie Ware, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean.
OK. This is a given. But we’re not just talking about the usual pop churned out by super-producers and the latest winner of the X Factor – we’re talking about the good stuff, namely Justin Timberlake. Even the most ardent hipster can’t ignore ‘Like I Love You’ when it comes on, and if his recent performance on Fallon is anything to go by, all pop naysayers will be duly silenced when he takes to the stage this weekend.