Liam Gallagher, Jack White, Damon Albarn: how to grow old in rock

Damon Albarn

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Festival lineups are filled with middle-aged stars and former headliners. But how can musicians stay relevant in a millennial music age?

People often talk about music going in cycles. However, after each cycle – flatulent indie, breathy electro, murmuring rappers who only use vowels – is complete, the artists who participated rarely disappear; they just continue releasing music that fewer people care about. Now is the perfect time to appraise these beings. This summer’s festival season will celebrate a litany of comfortable shoe-wearing men who peaked in the 90s and early 00s, bedded among otherwise youthful lineups. Gaz Coombes, Richard Ashcroft, Travis, Manic Street Preachers and Ocean Colour Scene are all set to descend upon fields across Europe; acts who were once big enough to headline, but are now lower on the bill, or targeting more niche events for the committed fan. There is, of course, nothing wrong with performing and releasing new music into middle age and beyond; many artists’ best work happens after mainstream fame. But if you are going to do so, here are a few suggestions on how to proceed without making a complete fool of yourself.

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