Following months and months of waiting, Pinkpop Festival has finally revealed a big chunk of its line-up for the 2016 edition. This June, the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rammstein, Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie will all head down to the Dutch vicinity of Landgraaf for three days of sun, beer and (hopefully) mesmerising performances. The line-up was announced today (17 February) during the traditional annual press conference in Amsterdam’s legendary Paradiso. We were there, and we’ve decided to take a detailed, day-by-day look at the line-up to see what Pinkpop 2016 is all about.
The first day of the festival will be headlined by the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers, who look set to release a brand new studio album later this year. Their eclectic mix of funk and rock has been a radio mainstay for years on end, with 2011’s I’m With You making for a breath of fresh air in the form of new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Joining the Peppers lower down the bill is Diplo project Major Lazer, whose show has already been described as “massive” by festival founder Jan Smeets. The DJ collective will bring their inflatable balls and huge screens to Landgraaf for the first time. On the whole, Friday is essentially the pop day of the festival. Joining Major Lazer and continuing the pop trend are Bastille (appearing for the third time in four years), Years & Years and James Bay. Bay has taken the world by storm recently, with his Pinkpop appearance long overdue after having nearly appeared last year (before playing Lowlands instead). The Common Linnets and Bear’s Den will be representing the folkier side of things on the Friday, with One OK Rock becoming the first ever Japanese band to appear at Pinkpop. The band will perform on the smaller Stage 4 alongside a DJ set from Skip&Die and rockers The Struts. Nu of Nooit winner Storksky will open the festival in the Brand Bier tent. De Staat and Gary Clark Jr. complete the Friday line-up so far, with four more names set to still fill this day up.
The second day of Pinkpop 2016 will be headlined by German metal behemoths Rammstein. Just like Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Till Lindemann-fronted outfit look set to be releasing a new album this year. Expect their massive set at Pinkpop to be nothing less than what you already know about the band – fire, fire, and even more fire. In an odd placement on the bill you’ll also find Dutch heroes Doe Maar, who will appear on the main stage ahead of Rammstein. Their show in Landgraaf will be a warm-up for three sold out shows at the Ziggo Dome later that month, something which proves exactly why Doe Maar are an absolute cornerstone of Dutch music. The Arizona rockers Puscifer have been placed high up on the bill, even though it seemed like nobody in the room was aware of their existence. They’re likely to be a Rammstein package deal, although we can expect them headlining the Brand Bier Stage. The folky Lianne La Havas and popular James Morrison are joined by Matt Simons as the day’s three singer-songwriters, with the rest of Saturday filled with surprises. First of all, you’ll find drum and bass legends Noisia tearing up the tent, before the likes of Ghost, Halestorm and Skillet will tear up stages in their own way, i.e. by rocking the hell out. Ghost recently won a Grammy Award for the track Cirice, meaning that this should definitely be celebrated with a few unholy beers in Landgraaf. Radio friendly starlets Nothing But Thieves are set to appear on Stage 4, with the Conor Mason-fronted quintet finally starting to make a massive name for themselves on Dutch soil. Stage 4 might be small for Mason and co., but it’s definitely a huge potential springboard for the band. Dutch musician Lucas Hamming and his band will also show up, having also performed an electric set at the press conference earlier today (De Staat, Douwe Bob and Storksky also performed). Indie slackers Parquet Courts are a surprise addition to the line-up, with viral starts Walk Off the Earth also raising a few eyebrows. Belgian rockers The Sore Losers complete the Saturday.
The final day of Pinkpop 2016 is by far and large one of the best line-ups the festival has presented in recent times, with the absolutely spectacular double-header of Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie topping the bill. You might as well not even look at the rest of the Sunday line-up, because it only really gets better. House DJ Kygo will headline the Brand Bier Stage, with classic act Skunk Anansie also appearing. Metal heroes Bring Me the Horizon will make their first ever appearance at Pinkpop in June, with new album That’s the Spirit definitely opening plenty of doors into the world of mainstream pop festivals. Pop punkers All Time Low will also appear, having last taken to the stage at Pinkpop in 2011. Rockers Vintage Trouble will once again live up to all the hype touring with AC/DC has made for by absolutely destroying the stage, before St. Paul & the Broken Bones follow a similar, rocky path. Belgian indie folkers Balthazar will also continue raking in the huge appearances across the Benelux region, whilst John Newman, Jamie Lawson, Tom Odell and Douwe Bob will form part of the singer-songwriter clan. Swedish blues rockers Graveyard look set to headline Stage 4, with The London Souls and mental duo Slaves also making for part of the line-up that day. There are still a handful of acts left to be added to the line-up for Sunday.
On first impression, the line-up for Pinkpop 2016 seems to be a massive step-up from the cancellation-laden 2015 edition. Following Avicii’s seemingly successful set last year, the organization has chosen to book more artists on an electronic wavelength (see Major Lazer, Kygo and Noisia). The choice to book more ‘scene’ bands has been made apparent too, with All Time Low, Bring Me the Horizon, Skillet, Halestorm and Ghost only a selection of heavier bands on show in Landgraaf. Combine that with an absolutely stellar set of headliners and you’re likely to have one of 2016’s best line-ups.
Pinkpop 2016 takes place from 10-12 June in Landgraaf, Holland. Tickets go on sale this week Saturday (20 February) at 10am.