European music of every stripe will land in the UK in 2024, with touring artists ranging from the uber edgy to the fascinatingly naff making stops on this side of the Channel.
French downtempo electronic duo Air will play their classic album Moon Safari in full, amid the lavish surroundings of the London Coliseum in March (it has already sold out – sorry). Meanwhile, Icelandic-Chinese artist Laufey will bring her accomplished, understated jazz to three consecutive nights at the intimate Evolutionary Arts Hackney in February (also all sold out).
On an entirely different scale will be The World of Hans Zimmer: A New Dimension in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and London in April. The German master of film music will not make an appearance himself, but a full symphony orchestra will play selections from everything from The Lion King to Interstellar. Hot on Zimmer’s heels will be major Dutch touring phenomenon André Rieu, whose unstuffy classical hits shows with his huge orchestra will come to eight UK arenas in April and May, part of a lengthy 2024 world tour. Seven UK dates for French-Spanish Romanis the Gipsy Kings, meanwhile, will prove Brits still love the sounds of southern Europe.
Europe’s greatest pop princesses will also grace the UK with their presence. Cologne’s own Kim Petras, whose controversy-courting collabs with Nicki Minaj and Sam Smith have already made her notorious, and Swedish child star-turned-pop-juggernaut Zara Larsson have some things in common. Both collaborated with French dance music god David Guetta last year, and both will play Manchester on the same night in February, but there the comparisons end – Larsson promises her usual display of pop professionalism, while Petras’s Feed the Beast world tour, which began last summer, is already making Madonna look like Mary Poppins.
Larsson will be promoting new album Venus with her five UK dates, and the year promises new releases galore. French bossa nova covers act Nouvelle Vague will mark the 20th anniversary of their debut album with Should I Stay or Should I Go? in February, featuring songs by artists ranging from Dead or Alive to the Smiths. Meanwhile, Lætitia Sadier, formerly of Anglo-French Indietronica band Stereolab, releases Rooting for Love next month, promising a call for healing for all humanity.
The Ghent-based synthpop artist Bolis Pupul will release his solo debut album, Letter to Yu, in March, building on the intriguing politically aware dance music he made with Belgian singer Charlotte Adigéry in 2022. New music will also come from a raft of metal acts – the genre that Europe excels at and that never goes away – including Moldovan female-fronted four-piece Infected Rain, the Swedish heavy metal band with three lead vocalists Amaranthe, and Finnish power metal act Sonata Arctica.
Finally, the unrepeatable alchemy of Eurovision returning to Sweden exactly 50 years after ABBA won with Waterloo will be a big story in 2024. It is clear that whoever wins the Melodifestivalen, which will select the Swedish entry for this magical Eurovision year, will carry a heavy weight on their shoulders, and it will truly be a year to remember for the contest’s famously ardent fans.