Glastonbury 2017: The bands, the brass and Barry Gibb!

We’ve been asked to leave Worthy Farm and not return for two years, but it will probably take that long to get over Glastonbury 2017. The Eavises have a habit of saying that the current year is the best it’s been, and it’s hard to ever argue with them. The surprises get bigger (and better kept), the smaller acts get bigger (but crowd control’s better kept), they continue to push for environmental change (meaning the farm’s better kept)… You cannot predict the weather, but you don’t need to be a psychic to know that Glastonbury’s always going to be the highlight of the festival year. And here are just a few from Glastonbury 2017:

The Sun!
Not the rag, but the burning ball of gas that was pretty much absent from last year’s festival was out in force – leaving over 100,000 people with white bits where sunglasses, bandanas and face paints once were. Anyone present last year will admit that it was a difficult slog, with the journey from one stage to the next seeming like an insanity work out, but 2017 was officially welly free!

A queue free SE.
The South East has become as important to Glastonbury as The Pyramid, although initially trying to get there was like to trying to get to the secret Rabbit Hole (how come David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Noel Gallagher found their way in this year? Where the hell was Gigslutz invite to that party?). Now the crowd chaos has been sorted, and finding your way to party in a dystopian city, an Aztec wonderland, an upside down fairground or a Latin dance club is as easy as uno, dos, tres.

Club nights.
Ultimate Power, Guilty Pleasures, Club De Fromage… As much as Glastonbury is about live music, it’s about coming together and enjoying yourself no matter what your musical tastes. So sing Meatloaf loud, dance to a Christmas song in June, do the Macarena in the Devil’s lair…

Good times.
Chic last performed at Glastonbury in 2013, when they went head-to-head with Arctic Monkeys, and according to Noel Gallagher came out on top. They’ve only released one new track since then, but they have toured endlessly, headlined Bestival, and came back to Glastonbury on a sunny Sunday afternoon, bringing the party with them. With Barry Gibbs’ ‘70s-heavy set just before, and The Jacksons’ the night before, Glasto has never been so disco.

John Peel.
The John Peel Stage has often championed new music, but this year saw more established acts than ever packing the tent past capacity. The Killers’ secret set saw the majority of the festival trying (and failing) to get in, with huge audiences also overfilling it for energetic sets from Future Islands, Goldfrapp, and something truly beautiful from London Grammar.

The Pyramid openers.
Haçienda Çlassical officially opened the Pyramid Stage, but not before Peter Hook and Rowetta asked the crowd to join them in a minutes silence for the Manchester and London. 2017 has not been an easy year for the UK, but if Glastonbury gathers one thing it’s hope, and it was particularly overwhelming to hear such silence from such a loud place. The set was predictably europhic, with their version of ‘You Got The Love’ trumping Florence’s, while on the Saturday The Bootleg Beatles brought their own orchestra for an early morning walk through Sergeant Pepper, with some other of (not their) hits for good measure.

Old Dirty Brasstards, Hot 8 Brass Band, Brass Funkeys, New York Brass Band… At least 26 brass sets to precise, which is no bad thing.

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn.
The chant ran around the site, started by acts and audiences alike, but his appearance on the Pyramid Stage really was one of the special moments of 2018. Bringing politics to this area of escapism is a risky strategy, but like Jezza C, Michael and Emily are clearly passionate about encouraging others to make the world a better place.

The bands.
Of course, the bands! You’ve heard too many times that it’s not all about them, but without them it’d be a lot easier to get a ticket. Radiohead’s set was expectedly subtle in its dramatics, and far from a greatest hits set, but what Radiohead fans wants that? (They did play ‘Creep’, however.) Blossoms took another step closer to becoming future headliners, with an upbeat set of tracks from their debut (before running to the BBC Introducing stage for a secret six-track set). The National made doom and gloom sound uplifting and sing-a-long-able, which also adding some American politics into Jezza’s mix. First Aid Kit were mesmerising, Glass Animals were mathematising and Dropkick Murphies were pirate-ising. Props also to Katy Perry and Busted, for attracting huge crowds for huge pop parties.

So until 2019, cheers Glastonbury. As always it was a blast.

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Reviews Editor
London. Likes: Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Prince Charles Cinema, Duran Duran Dislikes: Soreen, All-hits setlists, "I liked them before everyone else..."