NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jake Bugg isn’t the only British star headed for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this week. There’s a mini-British Invasion of sorts going on Thursday through Sunday in Manchester, Tennessee — and we’re not just talking about Elton John’s headlining performance.
Look down the list and there are lots of acts like Bugg finding a firm footing in the U.S. to become familiar with.
Here are five British acts we’re particularly interested in seeing (and don’t forget you can stream many of the performances if you’re not one of the 80,000 down on the farm):
— The Arctic Monkeys: Listen to any rock radio station for 30 minutes and you’ll likely hear The Arctic Monkeys. The Sheffield, England, quartet began as buzzed-over darlings eight years ago and survived that experience to mature into a formidable, lasting act that’s learned the art of keeping our attention.
— James Blake: It will be interesting to see how London producer and singer-songwriter James Blake’s minimalist sound will go over at Bonnaroo, where sound bleed gives the advantage to the raucous. Listen closely, though. Blake is one of electronic music’s most interesting artists, and he earned a Grammy Award nomination for best new artist last year.
— Sam Smith: Blake took a nod for best new artist last year, and you can bet neo-soul crooner Sam Smith from London will pick one up this year. The BBC’s Sound of 2014 winner is one of the hottest singers on vinyl this year and his star is only going to get bigger. Check him out while you can still catch him at one of Bonnaroo’s more intimate stages.
— Disclosure: Guy and Howard Lawrence of Grammy Award-nominated Disclosure and Smith broke through together when the Surrey sibling duo featured Smith on their breakthrough “Latch” a few years ago. Like Smith, the Lawrences have drawn attention since then and are seen as one of electronic music’s most promising acts.
— Chvrches: This synthpop trio from Glasgow, Scotland, makes candy confections built around singer Lauren Mayberry’s wispy vocals that feel both new and comfortingly familiar — if you’re old enough to remember the first wave of British synthpop bands all those decades ago. Mayberry has the same star-making appeal of Smith. Here’s your chance to get on board early.