End Of The Road Festival survives the pandemic to celebrate its 15th edition, we’ve picked our must-see artists.

Words by Karl Johnson

In the end, it seems a lack of security in terms of festival insurance was the key factor to the collapse of festival season in 2021. This week End Of The Road Festival in Dorset will go ahead, boasting a line up heavy with British talent to celebrate their 15th birthday, boldly stepping forward into unchartered – and uninsured – waters to offer festival season a lifeline. Below we offer a preview and a few specials selections of band’s that we can’t wait to see, first of all I’d like to say that you’ll find us at Hot Chip, Little Simz, King Krule, Anna Meredith, Girl Band, Crack Cloud and other sets – but the below are just that bit more of an occasion.

Artists at the peak of their powers.

It’ll come as no surprise to the reader that our festival picks for End Of The Road are likely to be newer artists. Our first pick is Bristol outfit SCALPING, who arrived in June with their debut EP Flood, their industrial electronica fused with feedback-driven guitars sounds out of this world on headphones, but was born for festivals. This wouldn’t be a complete list without Black Country, New Road. The post-rock/ jazz-inspired post-punk seven-piece released their debut LP this year and have ended up with a Mercury Nomination, their live shows are tension-filled and their technical prowess is undeniable. Dry Cleaning‘s seemingly rapid rise to popularity – and their debut album on 4AD that charted in the top 5 – has surprised many, but they’ll be a strong live prospect with the 6music crowd. For those wanting their pop fix, look no further than Arlo Parks. The Mercury-Nominated artist combines trip-hop-driven soundscapes with pop hooks and poetic lyricism. Whether it’s your sound or not, she’s an artist with a huge future. Billy Nomates captures the gritty punk spirit of Alison Mosshart of The Kills, or the propulsive energy of Sleaford Mods. The Leicester native has a biting lyrical delivery and doesn’t skirt around the topics of class, feminism or politics in her music.

Bands likely to cause a storm.

The world may have not woken up to the brilliance of Irish quintet Just Mustard just yet, but when they do it’ll send shivers through the spines of those with a taste for noise and industrial rock brilliance. PVA will need no introduction to readers of this publication, we interviewed them on our radio show (listen here) before the pandemic too. Their debut EP has given their techno-flecked electronica real legs live and they’re all about the club atmosphere. Wu-Lu are all over radio and have two huge singles under their belt this year already in South and Times, they’re no doubt one of the buzziest acts in London right now. Live it could get heavy. You couldn’t leave Leeds outfit Yard Act out of this list, and I expect them to draw a large crowd. Their debut EP Dark Days dropped in the thick of the pandemic – a bold move some would say – however it seemed to sum up the feeling of alienation within post-Brexit Britain that many are encountering. You’ll find Regressive Left playing every festival in sight until the end of 2021, but who are they? The London trio are three excellent singles deep into their career and seemed to arrive fully formed at the end of last year. They’ve got a NYC art-rock swagger combined with a playful and immersive electronic side.

Listen to our End Of The Road Festival preview on Boogaloo Radio below.