In a year of political chaos and financial uncertainty, there were two things that kept us going in 2019: live music and a better beer from Carlsberg. From Post Malone storming the Reading Festival to Sam Fender rocketing to superstardom and ending the year headlining O2 Academy venues, live music was the best way to stay sane, switch off and have a great night out. Preferably with a beer in hand that finally lives up to its promise. Here are some of the reasons we’ll be toasting live music in 2019 this festive season:

Getting intimate: Nothing beats the thrill of getting up close and personal with your favourite live act, especially when they’re more used to headlining arenas. This year, the likes of Foals, Ed Sheeran and Liam Gallagher all gave fans a night to remember by playing tiny theatre shows. Festival-goers at Download, Latitude and Reading Festival were also treated to exclusive performances by acts including Billy Lockett, Wild Front and Palisades on the intimate stage in Carlsberg’s essential Danish Quarter.

Here Come The Girls: At long last, live music started to reflect the rest of the world in 2019. Festival line ups were more diverse and focus shifted onto the great female artists dominating the music industry like Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey and Charli XCX. The Danish Quarter led the way with more than 50% of its live performances coming from female solo acts or bands with female members, while the mighty Latitude Festival was named the best festival for gender diversity in the UK. Here’s to more of the same next year.

Something for Everyone: A great night out brings everyone together over a pint of Carlsberg’s new Danish Pilsner. It’s the ultimate chance for us all to escape, forget the daily grind and reconnect with the people who make us smile. This year, there were unforgettable events for every taste, whether you partied to 90’s tunes at the unstoppable Bongo’s Bingo at one of the O2 Academies or finally heard your favourite songs performed live by the astonishing tribute acts now touring the UK.

Hearing It First: In 2019, bands made sure fans heard their new albums first by launching records with unmissable live shows. Elbow, The Sherlocks and Coldplay all introduced new material with gigs this year while Snow Patrol will play a very special album launch show at  O2 Academy Leeds this December. We’ll see you down the front.

Making A Change: This year saw live music change the world. Festivals including Reading and Latitude promoted lift sharing, on-site recycling and reusable cups, while Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, committed to new environmental goals including an end to the sale of single-use plastics at all owned and operated venues by 2021. A better world needs a better beer too, so Carlsberg eliminated traditional plastic wrapping with the new Snap Pack and even changed the ink on their labels to make them more recyclable.