The 10 best artists to see at BST Hyde Park this summer, from Stevie Nicks and Gary Clark Jr. to AlienBlaze and Kylie

Stevie Nicks, Gary Clark Jr, AlienBlaze, Kylie
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage | Douglas Mason/WireImage | AlienBlaze Instagram| Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic)

Given the insane amount of hype and endless sycophantic media coverage which precedes it, you might possibly be aware that the world's most self-regarding music festival starts today. It's not, however, the only music event in the UK this weekend, for the annual BST Hyde Park festival season kicks off tonight in London's largest Royal Park, with headline attractions including SZA, Kings Of Leon, Robbie Williams, Shania Twain, Stevie Nicks, Kylie Minogue and more, plus full supporting bills.

Here's our guide to 10 of the best artists playing BST over the next three weekends, with not a single hippy or 'Free Hugs For Global Peace!' placard in sight.

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It's entirely possible that you might not realise quite what a big deal Solána Imani Rowe is, but, if not, the fact that her most recent record, 2022's SOS, topped the US Billboard 200 chart for 10 weeks, and that the 34-year-old singer/songwriter is headlining BST (on June 29) and closing Glastonbury in the same weekend tells its own story. Features with Drake, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar and Doja Cat are an indication of the esteem in which the St. Louis-born R&B star is held among her peers, but with new album Lana on the horizon, this weekend will go a long way to affording SZA the full glare of the spotlight she deserves.

SZA - Kill Bill (Official Video) - YouTube SZA - Kill Bill (Official Video) - YouTube
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Stevie Nicks

A true legend, Stevie Nicks needs no introduction. Fleetwood Mac's vocalist has cut a singular presence in the music business for five decades, the timeless quality of her music meaning that artists from Miley Cyrus to Hole and Smashing Pumpkins have covered her songs. Nicks' most recent set-list, on tour with Billy Joel, included Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Gold Dust Woman, Dreams, Rhiannon, Landslide and more, and her return to London to headline BST on July 12 (with Brandi Carlile and Anna Calvi on the supporting bill) promises to be a special night. 

Black Grape

Billed, for possibly the first time ever, as Shaun Ryder's Black Grape, presumably to bolster name recognition for those more familiar with the singer's appearances on I'm A Celebrity... and Gogglebox than his fabulous work with The Happy Mondays, the Mancunian party-starters are an impressively left-field choice to support enduring English pop superstar Robbie Williams. The band's debut album, It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah, is a '90s indie rock classic, and this year's Orange Head record finds Ryder and his mate Kermit in equally irrepressible form. Quite what the hen parties will make of it all is anyone's guess. 

Black Grape - Kelly's Heroes (The Bank Job Version) - YouTube Black Grape - Kelly's Heroes (The Bank Job Version) - YouTube
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Kings Of Leon

King Of Leon's visits to the UK haven't always made headlines for the right reasons, but the Followill 'boys' are apparently in a good place now, and having titled their current album Can We Please Have Fun this seems like an ideal opportunity for the Nashville quartet to serve up some Southern comfort (and the odd rebel yell) on a warm summer's night. Expect the singalong to Sex On Fire to drown out any rendition of Three Lions on Sunday evening, even if Gareth Southgate's team also belatedly rediscover their form. 

The Meffs

For those who like their punk rock wrapped in the warm, comforting blanket of nostalgia, Green Day are revisiting their Dookie and American Idiot albums at Wembley Stadium this weekend.  But for those who prefer their punk with genuine bite, and street-level resonance, there's The Meffs, supporting Kings Of Leon on June 30, previewing songs from their forthcoming Frank Turner-produced What A Life album, set for release on NOFX mainman Fat Mike's Fat Wreck Chords on September 24. Turner describes the album as "a fucking beast" so it's high time you were introduced.

The Meffs - F R S F (Official Music Video) - YouTube The Meffs - F R S F (Official Music Video) - YouTube
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Soft Play

The last few years have not been easy for Soft Play (the artists formerly known as Slaves) for both personal and professional reasons, so  Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent will be looking to let off some serious steam at BST, supporting Robbie Williams. With the release of Heavy Jelly, the duo's first album in six years, just around the corner (July 19), Soft Play will be aiming to remind everyone exactly why they had a reputation as one of Britain's best live bands before unavoidable and unfortunate challenges derailed their momentum, starting now. 


That AlienBlaze does not lack confidence was indicated from the moment she described her 2023 single Not Yours Never Was “as if Tchaikovsky wanted to write a rock or alt.pop song”. The first UK artist signed to Sumerian Records, also home to the likes of Poppy, Bad Omens and Kittie, as with fellow nu gen trailblazers Cassyette and Bambie Thug, the singer/guitarist (aka Alicia Moore) has the songwriting skills to transcend genres, and a desire to push rock music forward. Performing for open-minded K-Pop fans at Stray Kids' July 14 BST show should be a chance to broaden her fan-base even further.  

ALIENBLAZE - Romantically Dead (Official Live Video) - YouTube ALIENBLAZE - Romantically Dead (Official Live Video) - YouTube
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Gary Clark Jr

Classic Rock has described Gary Clark Jr.'s current album JPEG RAW as "one of the best albums you'll hear this year" and "the best album of his career", and bearing in mind that his last album, This Land, scored three Grammy Awards wins, that's high praise. A gifted multi-instrumentalist and one of the finest blues guitarists of his generation, Clark has collaborated with legends such as Stevie Wonder and George Clinton, and this could be the year in which he crosses over to become a mainstream 'face' in his own right. Supporting Kings Of Leon at BST in front of 60,000 people won't hurt. 

Dea Matrona

For Your Sins, the debut album from Belfast's Dea Matrona, is a wonderfully accomplished piece of modern rock, flitting across genres lines, while serving up some killer bluesy riffs and gorgeously addictive vocals on songs such as So Damn Dangerous, Stamp On It and Wilderness. Years honing their craft in Irish clubs mean Orláith Forsythe and Mollie McGinn are a formidable live band too, so playing alongside the likes of The Corrs and Natalie Imbruglia in support to pop-country queen Shania Twain on July 7 will be an excellent opportunity to raise their profile. 


At this point we could attempt some lame justification for including Kylie in this list, perhaps pointing to her 1995 duet with Nick Cave on Where The Wild Roses Grow, or her Manic Street Preachers co-write Some Kind Of Bliss (1997), but come on, who doesn't love Kylie? Who would want to live in a Minogue-less world? Not us. We're not being ironic when we say that Tension was one of 2023's finest albums, and if you think there's more fun to be had in any field in England than one in which you can hear Spinning Around, Slow, Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Padam Padam, and Confide In Me in quick succession you are, with all due respect, mistaken. 

Kylie Minogue - Padam Padam (Official Video) - YouTube Kylie Minogue - Padam Padam (Official Video) - YouTube
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For full details (and tickets) visit the BST Hyde Park website. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.