Kanye West, the Dalai Lama and Florence Welch walk onto a field… No, it’s not the beginning of a bad joke. It’s Glastonbury 2015.
Festival season is upon us. By now, you’ll have seen the multitude of flower crowns and waterproof jackets for sale everywhere. But get ready for people posting on Facebook about what a great time they’re having at festivals that you couldn’t get tickets for. Prepare yourself for the surge of unbridled jealousy that courses through your body at the shaky phone videos of your favourite acts. But don’t fret. You’ll feel like you were at arguably the best festival in the UK after reading this.
“In a world of its own” and “a festival of joy” are just some of the ways that Glastonbury has been described and it’s easy to see why. With headliners such as Florence and the Machine, Kanye West and The Who, Glastonbury 2015 was bound to be a hit. Heck, even the Dalai Lama was there! But who really won the crowd?
One of the more controversial acts to appear was Kanye West. But many people felt he was a disappointment. While there was an intense club vibe for the first fifteen minutes or so of the set, Kanye West delivered an almost weary performance overall that wasn’t helped by his apparent disinterest in even being at the festival at all.
British rock legends, The Who, also performed the festival for the first time since 2007. Despite their gruff voices, numerous complaints about shoddy sound quality that only they could hear, and throwing some much needed shade at Kanye West after he proclaimed himself the greatest rock star on the planet, The Who gave a fantastic performance at Glastonbury showing fans new and old that they were still great rock stars.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5OSqa_ZYE
Friday night, all eyes were on Florence and the Machine. With her usual awe-inspiring quirkiness, she enraptured the entire crowd from the very beginning. Barefoot throughout the set she showed her enthusiasm by dancing around the stage in a silver sequinned suit that will be on many Pinterest boards by the end of the week.
She threw in some songs from her new album, alongside her older material. Despite only being released four weeks ago and everyone in the crowd was singing along word for word. Amazing.
At one point she asks if “anyone wants to get high?” and it seems like the entire crowd waneds to obey Queen Florence as they all clamber onto each other’s shoulders. The swaying for the next few songs looked a little dangerous with all the extra height but it was a fun and beautiful performance nonetheless.
Highlights of the rest of the set include a soulful cover of Foo Fighters ‘Times Like These’ (as a get-well-soon message to Dave Grohl who broke his leg and had to miss out on Glastonbury) and the finale of ‘Dog Days Are Over’ where she asked the audience to throw off their clothes and any bad feelings before running around the stage with her top off. Classic Flo.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDXkD4l0ZBE
After Florence was bumped up to take Foo Fighters place as a headliner, a ‘very special guest’ was promised to fill Flo’s original slot. And the guest was ‘very special’ indeed as The Libertines made a surprise appearance. Their 19 song set was a complete success and certainly proved that they have still got it.
Hands down the winning performance was Lionel Richie. He succeeded in drawing the biggest crowd at Glastonbury by giving a lively performance that everyone went crazy for, filled with his biggest hits, personal anecdotes and general loveliness. He managed to make it a special feel-good experience for over 100,000 people. Richie really set the standard for what Glastonbury acts should strive for – funny, inclusive, and energetic. A personal favourite from the festival coverage was thousands of people singing ‘Three Times a Lady’ together. Beautiful.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lMxN07lCRQ
The 14th Dalai Lama gets an honorary mention. While obviously not a musical performance, his speech after Patti Smith’s act was heart-warming. The people of Glastonbury sang him ‘Happy Birthday’, before he shared with them the practice of holding more compassion and kindness within oneself as a way of bringing about good days for all.
What a lovely and fitting speech for “the festival of the people”.
All in all, Glastonbury was a huge success, as usual.