Wide Awake returns to London in May with a definitive reading of the City’s alternative pulse.

Returning with an eclectic range of exciting alternative acts, the new festival strengthens its claim to being one of the best London has to offer.

Osees by Titouan Massé | Words: Lloyd Bolton

Now in its third year, Wide Awake is back in Brockwell Park this May for another storming day party with a dazzlingly eclectic lineup. Returning to their original single day format after experimenting with an additional, dance-oriented Friday last year, the lineup is a definitive reading of the city’s alternative pulse.

Caroline Polacheck is an outstanding choice of headliner, combining pop euphoria with alternative credentials. Her suitability for this role reflects the openness of the festival’s curators and audience to quality and originality across genres. Accompanying in a major slot are Black Country, New Road, who have made no secret of their shared admiration for Polacheck’s work, in spite of the great difference in their own sound. As a group they represent this refreshing acceptance of all forms of music, though their material may not show it in such dazzling relief as Jockstrap, with whom they will be sharing Georgia Ellery on the day.

Wide Awake 2023 also does due service to the heavier side of life, presenting some of the classic garage psych artists that have been the bread and butter of lead curators Bad Vibrations over the past decade. Osees is set to be a classic set, their gnashing sound the perfect incitement to mosh on a hot spring day in Brockwell Park. Supplying further energy will be two key poles of danceable contemporary punk, Warmduscher and Viagra Boys.

More than those before it, this year’s festival reflects the ranging tastes of a new generation of festival-goers. While the first year was a joyous post-lockdown tribute to the extended Windmill scene (the main stage headlined by Shame, Goat Girl and black midi) and its major players from before and during the pandemic, this year’s bill is truly eclectic. One can bounce from Shygirl to Alex G, from Daniel Avery to Naima Bock, and that’s what this day is all about. Marking an incredibly swift transition from newcomer festival to one of the capital’s defining showcases of alternative artists, Wide Awake 2023 is set to kick festival season into gear in style.