Putting the world’s best hip-hop and pop talent bang in the middle of the city, Wireless Festival offers a weekend of extravagant urban thrills. This year’s event extends to Birmingham for the first time, with Wireless 2014 hitting the second city’s Perry Park as well as London’s Finsbury Park. A stellar line-up including such titans of their game as Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Bruno Mars and Outkast will straddle both places over the weekend of 4th-6th July.
2014 is the second consecutive year of change for Wireless Festival. The event moved from its original Hyde Park location to London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z played exclusive headline sets. A fixture in London since its launch in 2005, Wireless Festival also took place in Leeds’ Harewood House in 2006 and 2007. In these early incarnations, the festival’s line-up encompassed rock and indie alongside dance, pop and hip-hop. In 2005 New Order, Keane and Kasabian appeared, The Strokes, Massive Attack and The Who performed in 2006 and in 2007 The White Stripes, Daft Punk, Faithless, Kelis and The Kaiser Chiefs took to the stage. 2008’s event spanned four days in Hyde Park and featured performances from Jay-Z, Mark Ronson, Fatboy Slim, Robyn, Hot Chip, Beck, Deadmau5, Eddy Grant and Counting Crows.
Kanye West has appeared at Wireless before too, he topped the bill at 2009’s edition, which also starred Basement Jaxx, Calvin Harris, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal. Jay-Z returned to headline Wireless in 2010, a year which also saw performances from Lily Allen, Pink, LCD Soundsystem and Snoop Dogg. The Black Eyed Peas, The Chemical Brothers and Pulp played headline sets in 2011 on a bill that also included Grace Jones, David Guetta and Plan B. The following year, Deadmau5, Drake and Rihanna closed each night. Example, The Roots, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J also played. For nearly a decade, Wireless Festival has curated explosive line-ups in inner-city locations that perfectly match the sprawling, street-smart diversity of the artists it selects.
This year, the artists will alternate between London and Birmingham. The acts playing London on 4th, 5th and 6th July will appear in Birmingham on 6th, 4th and 5th July respectively. Kanye West and Pharrell Williams appear side by side in London on 4th and Birmingham on 6th. The Americans are two of the most talked about artists in recent years for different reasons. Pharrell will hit the Wireless stage, most likely in one of the large hats he has taken to wearing of late, on the back of his new album ‘G I R L’ and worldwide hit single ‘Happy’. Throughout 2013 Kanye West fanned the flames of the debate that surrounds him and his music. His ‘Yeezus’ album, not to mention his outrageous live show, eccentric interviews and private life still provoke relentless discussion among critics and fans. On the same day, snappy London singer Tinie Tempah, legendary dance act Basement Jaxx and controversy-baiting rappers 2 Chainz and Iggy Azalea will also play. Joining them on the bill is Ella Eyre. The big-haired, big-voiced singer rose to prominence via her vocal on Rudimental’s 2013 number one smash ‘Waiting All Night’ and has become one of the country’s most exciting female pop talents. Expect a big statement from the 20-year-old Londoner. Rudimental have their own Wireless Festival slot (4th Birmingham, 5th London). The chart-toppers honed an explosive set playing more than 40 festivals in 2013, and fans are in for more of the same at Wireless 2014. Canadian rapper Drake will top that day’s billling, following this year’s phenomenal arena tour with collaborator The Weeknd and last year’s million-selling ‘Nothing Was The Same’ album.
Pop sensation Bruno Mars will play a special headline set (Birmingham 5th, London 6th), with his sun-kissed tunes firmly in line with the poppier end of Wireless Festival’s tradition. Before Mars’s slot will be a special guest appearance from Atlanta hip-hop gamechangers Outkast, who kicked off their run of 20th anniversary festival performances with a pulsating set at Coachella in California. Alongside Mars are breakthrough British acts John Newman and Clean Bandit who offer soulful pop and frenetic electro respectively. Both will hope to follow in the successful footsteps of multi million-selling star Ellie Goulding, who plays on the same day. Get ready for another Wireless Festival extravaganza. Both London and Birmingham are vitally important in the UK’s rich musical history and will provide the perfect location to host this iconic Wireless line-up.
Wireless Tickets are on sale now and available from Ticket Arena. Tickets are available for all three days of Wirless Birmingham with only Sunday Wireless London tickets available.
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Wireless Festival, MTV Voices and Capital FM