Since Glastonbury released another tranche of bands last week, there’s been a lot of negative chatter. We get it, The Arctic Monkeys released a rubbish album and swannied into a headline slot ahead of literally any woman. But Glastonbury is a huge, multi-faceted beast and here’s ten reasons why 2023 will still be fantastic.
Two Great Headliners
You’d have to have a hard heart not to want to see Elton John, on his farewell tour, play the UK’s biggest stage. Everything’s lined up for it to be a legendary night. Meanwhile the staff at Glastonbury have taken on the impossible task of getting Guns N Roses to start some time, and unless you’re the person responsible for explaining to the local council about the inevitable legal case when they go on till 2am, it should be fun.
It’s Female Led
The biggest musical event on the UK calendar is now run by a woman. Emily Eavis is no nepo baby, and has proven her ability to inherit and run the festival from her father Michael. In fact, it’s going from strength to strength under increasingly innovative leadership. Where have the yearly ‘the council wants to ban this’ articles gone? The way of the dinosaur. Emily’s sorted it and will for years to come.
We have a pretty good idea how brilliant Slowthai will be at Glastonbury as we’ve seen them there before, but now with a few more years of tunes, presumably a bigger stage and no less energy, this is the act that’ll get you alive and hyped when everyone else is asleep in a stone circle.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Currently the leading pop act on the lineup, they’ll have to search far and wide to find someone with more bangers than Carly, the always underrated and overlooked queen of bops. She’ll soundtrack your festival romance too.
The Emerging Talent Competition
Stand aside X Factor. Goodbye Britain’s Got Talent. The only UK music contest that counts is the Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition, where they team with PRS for Music to put an upcoming band on the main stage and give them five grand, all without charging an entry fee. 2022 was won by Scotland’s Lewis McLaughlin.
Lil Nas X
Forget the old town road song, Lil Nas X has a fantastic set of tunes and we expect nothing less than iconic costumes and performance as he’s, we hope, carried on a litter through the mud by the local rugby team oiled up and dressed like something rejected by Eurovision for being too silly. He will single handedly scare any government ministers tuning into the BBC coverage.
This is the intangible one, this is the one you don’t get unless you’re there. Sorry Jarvis, we know you’ve got a brilliant song about being alienated by a festival crowd, but we’ve had some truly marvelous communal moments in the fields, we’ve found a world away from the world that’s not even really a ‘music’ event, but a special place once a year. Glastonbury is fantastic even if you never see a band. I mean how often do you like all the headliners? Almost never, so go exploring the best place in the UK to explore.
They’ve dumped John Peel
Glastonbury are listening, even if they’re doing it in a low key manner, and the John Peel name has been axed and the stage renamed.
The Meeting Place
Want to perform at Glastonbury? No, really do, you? Because you can. The Meeting Place is an open mic / speakers corner / short form stage at which you can just rock up, book a ten minute slot, then get onstage and do your stuff. Sing? Rap? Play an acoustic instrument? Do some poetry or comedy? Yeah you can. (We do legally have to point out you have to have got into Glastonbury with a ticket to qualify, don’t turn up at the gates with your guitar and expect free entry.)
There might be a beach
Obviously, one joy of Glastonbury is being in a field, but in 2022 some absolute mad ones set up an entire seaside pier, complete with the sounds of seagulls (the only sort of seagull which doesn’t go all Luftwaffe on your chips.) It was marvellous and bizarre and we really hope they’re back for 2023… and even if they’re not, there’s loads of fantastic and strange areas taking its place.