Lytham Festival 2023: Lionel Richie, Def Leppard and lots more
By Jay Darcy
After last year’s fortnight-long extravaganza, which more than made up for the cancelled 2020 and 2021 events, Lytham Festival is back with a killer line-up.
Last year’s line-up is hard to top. Heck, the first headliner was none other than “Original Diva” Diana Ross. I was fortunate enough to review the mesmerising gig, a fortnight after seeing her at Manchester Arena.
But whilst the organisers of Lytham Festival outdid themselves last year, they have no intention of peaking. This year’s line-up is equally as exciting, with headliner sets coming from Jamiroquai, George Ezra, Sting, Lionel Richie, and a co-headlining set from Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe.
US rock band Blondie, indie heroes Kaiser Chiefs, award-winning hitmaker Gabrielle, Scissor Sisters’ frontman Jake Shears, New York’s kings of cool Fun Lovin’ Criminals, singer-songwriter of the moment Cat Burns, and British pop icon Kim Wilde join the bill as special guests and support artists.
Wednesday June 28
The opening night will see English Funk and acid jazz outfit Jamiroquai (who we reviewed back in 2017) headline on Wednesday June 28. Led by jazz-infused soulman Jay Kay, Jamiroquai have sold more than 27 million albums, scooped a Grammy and Ivor Novello awards and enjoyed multiple sold-out world tours.
From ‘Too Young To Die’ and ‘Space Cowboy’ to ‘Cosmic Girl’ and huge crowd-pleaser ‘Virtual Insanity’, Jamiroquai are set to launch the party for the festival’s biggest ever funk night.
Soul band Stone Foundation will open the evening, followed by ‘Scooby Snacks’ hitmakers Fun Lovin’ Criminals while Jake Shears will be the main support.
Shears is the lead singer of the multiplatinum-selling, Grammy-nominated, BRIT Award- winning American glam rock band Scissor Sisters but has also enjoyed great success for his solo work, following the release of his 2018 eponymous debut studio album.
I had the pleasure of meeting Shears a few years back; he’s pretty lovely. I’d love to see him live one day; I’m sure he’s quite the showman!
Ahead of Jake’s set, New York’s Fun Lovin’ Criminals will bring their infectious blend of cinematic hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, blues-jazz and Latin-soul to leafy Lytham. With six studio albums, two cover albums, a triple live album and various best of’s behind them, Fun Lovin’ Criminals are
currently putting the finishing touches to their seventh studio album.
Stone Foundation‘s set will be part of their 25th anniversary celebrations. The eight-piece outfit have enjoyed huge successes over the years and have collaborated with artists including Paul Weller, Melba Moore and Peter Capaldi.
Thursday June 29
BRIT Award-winning, multi-platinum selling musician George Ezra will headline the second night. It is a return trip to the Fylde coast for Ezra who shared the bill at the festival in 2018 with Emeli Sandé (who I reviewed back in 2019).
Ezra is one of the UK’s most acclaimed songwriters and live performers. All three of Ezra’s studio albums have reached number 1 in the UK, including last year’s The Gold Rush Kid.
Ezra will be joined by triple BRIT Awards 2023 nominee Cat Burns, The Big Moon, and Kingfishr.
burns went from busking on London’s Southbank to mastering TikTok during lockdown, amassing a huge following and praise for her music. Drawing on gospel influences, pop inspirations and a love of guitar led and indie music, Burns is a rapidly rising star on the UK music scene and recently performed her smash-hit 2020 single ‘Go’ at the Brit Awards.
She will also be joined by English indie rock band The Big Moon at Lytham. The alt-pop four-piece released their third album, Here is Everything, to critical acclaim last October and have dates across the UK festival calendar this summer.
Opening the night will be Limerick-based three-piece outfit Kingfishr, who have quickly established themselves as one of the rising prospects in Irish music.
Friday June 30
The halfway event will see musician and acclaimed singer-songwriter Sting headline. He will be joined by special guest US rock band Blondie, who Head Music Editor Sarah Taylor reviewed last year (whilst I was there purely for pleasure) and we first reviewed back in 2017 (we love Blondie here at The Mancunion).
Composer, singer-songwriter, actor and author Sting has remained a constant on the global music scene since forming The Police back in 1977. As one of the world’s most distinctive artists, with The Police and as a solo artist, his award-filled career includes no fewer than 17 Grammy Awards, four BRITS, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, four Oscar nominations and a TONY nomination.
Sting’s Lytham set will see fans enjoy a musical journey taking in hits including ‘Fields of Gold’, ‘Shape of my Heart’, ‘Roxanne’, ‘Englishman In New York’, ‘Every Breath You Take’, ‘Message In A Bottle’, and many more.
Special guest Blondie are undeniably one of the most trailblazing and influential bands of our time. Blondie is pioneering frontwoman/songwriter Debbie Harry, guitarist/conceptual mastermind Chris Stein and powerhouse drummer Clem Burke (who we interviewed last year), along with bandmates guitarist Tommy Kessler, and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen – alongside Six Pistols‘ bassist Glen Matlock, who is still standing in for Leigh Foxx.
Among their hits is the groundbreaking rock-disco hybrid ‘Heart of Glass’, the equally influential hip-hop fantasia ‘Rapture’ (the first rap song to top the US charts), the stalker-love song ‘One Way Or Another’, and the lilting calypso ‘The Tide Is High’.
Support will come from Yorkshire’s indie heroes Kaiser Chiefs and rapidly rising Australian sibling trio Germein.
Saturday July 1
A long-awaited headliner set from Lionel Richie will fill Lytham Green on Saturday July 1, an electrifying penultimate night for the festival.
The international superstar will perform songs from his extensive and much-loved repertoire spanning decades, all the way from Commodores to the present day.
Richie’s shows are world-renowned for their party atmosphere, with fans set to enjoy timeless mega-hits and singalong classics such as ‘Three Times A Lady’, ‘Truly’, ‘Say You Say Me’, and ‘All Night Long’.
Lionel has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide and is an Oscar, Golden Globe, and four-time Grammy Award winner. His music is part of the fabric of pop music.
He will be supported by award-winning hitmaker Gabrielle, British pop icon Kim Wilde (who I reviewed last year), and blues, soul and rock artist Kevin Davy White.
Sunday July 2
The closing night of Lytham Festival 2023 will see its biggest rock night ever with a double headliner set from Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard.
Hot off the heels of the biggest North American stadium tour of 2022, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard will head to Lytham as one of only four UK dates to be announced for their upcoming The World Tour.
Whilst I generally review divas, I do love a bit of rock, from reviewing Queen to Panic! At The Disco. Heck, Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ is one of my favourite songs (ever since I saw a burlesque dancer perform to it last year!), and I’d love to see them sing it live.
The iconic bands will be supported by Indie-Rock outfit VIVAS. Hailing from Def Leppard’s hometown of Sheffield, this four-piece are intent on bringing infectious energy to the Indie Rock scene, having sold out shows across their 2022 tour.
Festival director Peter Taylor said: “What a line-up! We are always excited to reveal who will be coming to Lytham Festival and for 2023 we have one of our best line-ups to date.
“Each year we endeavour to work with artists who appeal to as wide an audience as possible. So when you’ve got Jamiroquai opening the festival, George Ezra the following night, and then Sting with special guest Blondie, I think it’s fair to say that represents a very varied week at Lytham.
“Add to that we are delighted we have the icon that is Lionel Richie finally coming to us and of course, arguably the world’s most iconic and celebrated rock legends to close the festival – Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe.
“Lytham Festival is all about the audience and what we can bring to those music fans every year. 2023 represents a huge line up of both international stars and homegrown talent. It’s going to be a big year.
We have a combination of British and American rock and pop legends and award-winning musicians. In 2022 we had our biggest ever Lytham Festival taking place over 10 nights. For 2023 we return to our usual five nights but they will be five huge nights and we can’t wait.”
Lytham Festival 2023 will take place on Lytham Green from June 28 to July 2.