A late Lana
Del Rey took fashionably late to the extreme when she arrived for her performance headlining the festival. The ‘Summertime Sadness’ singer was 30 minutes late to her set, proclaiming that the Other Stage appearance was delayed because her “hair takes so long.” The ‘do did look good though, and fans weren’t deterred by her lack of timeliness. “I’m so fucking late they may cut my set,” she said referring to the midnight curfew on Glasto’s two main stages. “If they cut the power, let’s keep going.” So as power shut down when she was performing the 2012 track ‘Video Games’ and the singer dropped to her knees to take out her in-ear monitors, fans rose up to sing the rest of it for her. Between vape breaks and pleading with the crew to let her perform, she was then escorted away by security off the stage after singing a barefoot acapella ‘Summertime Sadness’ rendition with audience members at the barrier. However you may feel about her tardiness, the whole affair was very on-brand for Lana.
Return of Rick Astley
The ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ singer shocked festival goers with a surprise appearance with indie band Blossoms – and fans went mad for it. Astley, aged 57, performed at Glasto for the first time singing covers of The Smiths songs, with some online users dubbing him the “coolest motherfucker alive.” The return of Astley has won over a new legion of fans, who went crazy when he crushed a cover of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ on the drums, as well as Harry Styles ‘As It Was’. Telling the audience he was going to “take them back to the 80s”, many think Astley’s lively set may have just won Glasto.
The Foo Fighters’ surprise set
Surprise! The mysterious ChurnUps were in fact the Foo Fighters, with Dave Grohl strolling on stage to say “You guys knew it was us the whole time, didn’t you?” It marked the first time the band headlined Glastonbury since the death of their drummer Taylor Hawkins last year, and played ‘All My Life’, ‘Learn To Fly’, ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Best Of You’, as well as Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ and the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’. The band was watched by Paul McCartney and his daughter Stella from the wings of the Pyramid Stage, dedicating their tune ‘Everlong’ to the late Hawkins, as the crowd brimmed with energy to reflect the powerful presence of Grohl on stage.
Central Cee and a baby
On the Other Stage, Central Cee brought out the baby from his chart-topping track ‘Sprinter’ – who is the son of designer and artist Slawn. With oversized headphones and an extremely well-behaved manner, the baby bounced along with the rapper as he brought out A-Lister Dave for the tune, with fans screaming at the top of their lungs as he stepped onto the stage. The crowd sang every word to the set, as the baby watched from the arms of Central Cee.
Lewis Capaldi’s emotional set
He’s been the UK’s man of the hour since he first released ‘Bruises’ in 2017, and this 2023 appearance at Worthy Farm was no different. The balance between quick-witted banter and powerful uplifting tunes made Capaldi’s set one that displayed the joy of the human spirit. Capaldi has revealed he suffers from Tourette’s syndrome which manifested itself in tics as he played his set. He took a minute to pause, to which the crowd sang “Oh, Lewis Capaldi” to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’. “That’s enough! I don’t need Jack White making money off this situation,” he joked. “I recently took three weeks off … a wee break for my mental health,” he revealed to the crowd as he kept pausing. He closed the set with ‘Someone You Loved’, which was finished for him by the humongous bout of watchers, displaying the immense bond that the singer has with the audience.
Manchester rapper Aitch won over a heap of new fans as he performed his Glasto set – mega-confident and full of witty banter. He started with ‘Safe To Say’, headed to ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’, and got the crowd moving with ‘Keisha & Becky’. In between his lively performances, he jokingly threatens to have a fan in a Manchester City shirt removed from the crowd. He then pulls out his own Manchester United shirt, with the DJ saying “It’s only right we represent.” Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ is then played, as crowds chant “Manchester” to the sounds of The Stone Roses’ ‘Fool’s Gold’. Repping his northern hometown, the rapper’s set championed where he was from with a slew of Mancunian anthems – and fans (mainly the United ones) were absolutely loving it.
The last of the ‘Rocket Man’
There were Birtney Spears, Madonna, and Dua Lipa rumours as to who the iconic Elton John would be bringing on stage, but a solo goodbye from one of pop’s biggest stars was an experience in itself for Glasto goers. Some had been camping front row since the night before to be as close as possible for the end of his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour. This is allegedly the last time we will ever see Elton John perform in the UK, and the Worthy Farm set was nothing short of extra fabulous. He was joined by newer stars, almost an ode to representing the next generation, of Rina Sawayama and Jacob Lusk, who performed alongside him for one tune each. He travelled his own career with ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ and, of course, the major ‘I’m Still Standing’. He also played a fantastic tribute to what would have been George Michael’s 60th birthday by performing ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’. Crowds went feral for the performances, and rightly so, as he ended by saying “I’m so happy to be here. I’m never gonna forget this.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll kings, Arctic Monkeys
“The Monkeys are back on the farm,” says Alex Turner. “Wow!” The day before, there was a rumour of whether the band would actually perform due to the Dublin tour shows being cancelled after Turner’s diagnosis of laryngitis. But there he was, sauntering on stage, pulling out some of his fan-fave dad-dance moves and crooning with a voice that sounded near-enough fully repaired. They played crowd faves ‘Mardy Bum’, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, ‘Cornerstone’, ‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ and ‘R U Mine?’ Even with their newer songs, ‘There’d Better Be a Mirrorball’ and ‘Body Paint’, the crowd floated on a euphoric rock ‘n’ roll high as Turner posed Saturday Night Fever-style on the stage. Mysterious as ever, Turner ended the set by telling the audience “You’ll be alright.” Iconic, to say the least.