Following a storming 2018 including the release of fourth record High As Hope, which earnt her a third Mercury Music Prize nomination, and a massive arena tour which included two sold-out stops at London’s largest-capacity indoor arena – The O2 – Florence + The Machine have announced a massive homecoming show at London’s Hyde Park as part of the 2019 British Summer Time (BST) series, now in its 7th year. This marks only the second time BST has welcomed back a former headliner.
Hot on the heels of announcements of legends Bob Dylan & Neil Young co-headlining and Robbie Williams also lined up for BST slots next summer, Florence Welch & co will no doubt rise to the occasion, the enigmatic frontwoman’s famous live performance seemingly made to make full use of BST’s Great Oak Stage.
A stage already graced by a plethora of stars with the likes of Roger Waters, Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, The Cure, Eric Clapton and Paul Simon headlining this year joining past shows over its previous 5 years from legends such as The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Black Sabbath, Carole King, Tom Petty, Mumford & Sons and Green Day.
High As Hope, which features the anthemic singles Hunger, Sky Full Of Song, Big God and the Patti Smith-referencing Patricia, already feels like a career-defining record as she breaks quietly away from her storming debut, 2009’s Lungs. Welch started writing the record, also the first she has officially co-produced, in solitude in South London: routinely cycling to her studio in Peckham every day to, as she puts it, “bang on the wall with sticks”.
She took the songs to Los Angeles with her friend and co-producer Emile Haynie, opening them up along the way for collaboration with the likes of Kamasi Washington, Sampha, Tobias Jesso Jr, Kelsey Lu and Jamie xx. Florence mixed the record in New York, where the daily, reassuring view of that iconic skyline – often in stark contrast to the chaos of the wider world – gave the album its upbeat title.
Sharing the stage are an American indie institution from Ohio, festival favourites and one of the most highly rated live acts around – The National – who celebrated last year with their largest ever UK headline show at All Points East festival and by headlining 4 nights at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Swedish singer Lykke Li is instantly recognisable with her sensuous, barely there vocals, backed up by an electro dance sound – this year’s So Sad So Sexy and subsequent tour garnering much noise. Texan trio Khruangbin bring their eclectic sound along as well as English songstress Nadine Shah with more acts still to be announced.