Name: Three Stages by Wes Anderson
Location: London, England
Lineup: The Kinks, Faces, Cat Stevens, Sigur Rós, Patti Smith, Paul Simon, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Scott Walker, Alexandre Desplat, Sharon Van Etten, Jarvis Cocker, Devo, Coconut Records, and Seu Jorge
Why? Music is as much a character in Wes Anderson’s films as Royal Tenenbaum, Steve Zissou, Max Fischer, or Dignan. The Texas filmmaker glazes nearly every one of his scenes with a dusty classic from his pristine vinyl collection, often turning coarse family drama into emotional, perfectly orchestrated music videos that go for the jugular. Think back to Richie Tenenbaum’s tragic suicide attempt, set to the tune of Elliott Smith, or the Whitman brothers connecting with their mother through Mick Jagger’s haunting poetry. Music enlivens his body of work, and given that he’s a capital A auteur, a music festival should be child’s play for the guy — and also a blast. Granted, a number of his preferred clientele have long passed — ahem, Lou Reed, Nico, Nick Drake, Burl Ives, The Bobby Fuller Four, Yves Montad, et al. — but if he pulled the right strings, he could be the one to finally orchestrate long sought after reunions by The Kinks and Faces. Toss in some other familiar faces who have driven around Andersonville — from Cat Stevens and Sigur Rós to Iggy Pop and Alexandre Desplat — and you have a wildly adventurous run.
Photo by Heather Kaplan
Name: Art Angels in Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, California
Lineup: Florence + the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Portishead, Grimes, Marilyn Manson, Paramore, Skrillex, Solange, Animal Collective, Janelle Monae, Lykke Li, Christine and the Queens, Arisophanes, BloodPop, Nicole Dollanganger, HANA, Tei Shi, and Devon Welsh
Why? Because Grimes might have the most unique creative vision of any current rising star in music. Taking inspiration from her current home city, as well as the many artists she’s toured with and recorded with, Grimes would not only bring a singular musical taste to a festival, but also the visual presentation to accompany it. Picture the bright lights, vibrant colors, choreography, and odd-ball installations that she would curate, balancing impulsive whims and well-considered artistic statement. Grimes would also create one of the most diverse festivals in the world, both in terms of the people making the music and the sounds that would be featured. Where else could some of her favorite acts like Marilyn Manson, Paramore, and Skrillex share the same stage? They’re all art angels in the eyes of Grimes.
Name: Rookie Fest Season One
Location: The Rockaways, Queens, New York
Lineup: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lorde, Stevie Nicks, Chance the Rapper, Carly Rae Jepsen, Breeders, Hole, Le Tigre, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Body/Head, De La Soul, Vampire Weekend, The Julie Ruin, Courtney Barnett, Mitski, Mourn, La Luz, Lizzo, Perfume Genius, Cayetana, Katie Gately, and Noname
Why? Tavi Gevinson has been a tastemaker for nearly a decade now, and while fashion was her first calling card, her connections to the music world are prime for a festival. Better yet, market it under the Rookie banner, and you’ve got a built-in audience. Doing so would also offer the festival a unique voice, one aiming to give a platform to female artists, educate about feminism and raise money for important causes, and offer a safe space for teens and adults alike. Gevinson is at once a Millennial with her finger on the pulse and an old soul who connects to the best of decades past, unafraid to embrace pop hits and indie fare, meaning that she’d be great to pull together everyone from Queen Bey to Stevie Nicks, Carly Rae Jepsen to Mitski.
Photo by Nina Cocoran
Name: Arcade Fire’s Bayou Boogaloo
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Lineup: Bruce Springsteen, U2, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, David Byrne, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blondie, Spoon, The Unicorns, Television, Mavis Staples, Tune-Yards, Dan Deacon, Will Butler, Owen Pallett, Sarah Neufeld, and DJ Windows 98
Why? Since their inception, Arcade Fire’s been a music-first band. Their the type of group that uses their Grammy acceptance speech to perform another song, or finish performances in the audience, or showcase exiting fans further music outside of venues. The opportunity to curate their own even would prove just too enticing for both the band and their audience. While they could have a festival in their homebase of Montreal or their frequent humanitarian cause of Haiti, Arcade Fire instead would choose their latest infatuation, New Orleans to host their first-ever music festival. This would allow them to join forces with a pair of acts that they’ve played shows with, The Boss and U2, and to invite the wealth of artists that they’ve worked with over the years. In addition, there are the solo projects of Arcade Fire-members both past and present that can fill out the lineup. Of course the event will wind up with Arcade Fire and friends taking to the streets of the city in a massive musical parade. That scene alone would make the whole thing worth it.
Photo by Heather Kaplan
Name: Pieta Festival
Location: Dallas, Texas
Lineup: St. Vincent feat. Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Kate Bush, David Byrne, Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Sufjan Stevens, Robyn, Wild Flag, The National, Fatboy Slim, The Mountain Goats, Andrew Bird, The New Pornographers, Of Montreal, The Polyphonic Spree, Amanda Palmer, Fred Armisen and The 8G Band, and Lake Highlands High School’s Wildcat Band
Why? There’s nobody quite like St. Vincent. Since her 2007 debut, Marry Me, she’s become a singular force that has only grown stronger with each release, and her forthcoming fifth studio album is poised to be her biggest effort to date. Given that her exhaustive live performances factor into so much of her artistry, evolving from album to album with one jaw-dropping stage show after another, a music festival might be the grandest gesture to frame her scope and influence. And who better than she to fill out a lineup? She could call up veteran titans like David Byrne and Beck within seconds, and longtime pals Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, and Carrie Brownstein would play at the drop of the hat. Who knows, Ms. Annie Clark could even send a passionate letter to her all-time hero Kate Bush and get her to finally return to North America. Wouldn’t that be nice?