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Glastonbury Festival 2024 Review

Glastonbury Festival 2024 Review

Dua Lipa, Coldplay, SZA and Shania Twain headlined this year’s festival line-up, which leaned heavily on household names.

Over seven months after tickets were hastily snapped up, Glastonbury 2024 is finally here. Some 200,000 music fans gathered at Worthy Farm in the southwest of England from June 26 to June 30 for the Glastonbury Festival. Following Wednesday, when Glasto-goers battled a heatwave and bore witness to a drone show and fireworks, and Thursday’s warm-up, the fest finally properly got going on Friday with huge shows on the main stages and a headlining set by global pop superstar Dua Lipa.


Friday, June 28, 2024

AURORA

AURORA transforms the Park Stage into a realm of ethereal sounds and powerful messages – her barefoot performance a journey through her discography, each song carrying a weight of emotion and purpose beyond its melody.

Between her haunting vocals, Aurora Aksnes uses her platform to address pressing global issues. She dedicates songs to those grappling with mental health struggles, feeling disconnected and isolated, and facing oppression due to their sexuality. The atmosphere shifts to something especially poignant, though, as she performs ‘The Seed’, a tribute to the children of Gaza, while holding a sign for War Child.



Sofia Kourtesis

Those lucky enough to stagger out of camp in time for Sofia Kourtesis’ opening West Holts set were rewarded with music so embracing it tempered the morning’s chilly winds. The Berlin-based Peruvian DJ and producer released one of Time Out’s albums of 2023 with Madres, and plenty of that record’s favourites (‘Si Te Portas Bonito’ and ‘Habla Con Ella’, among others) featured here, plus a few new ones – all fluid, grooved, Latin-tinged dance music with a dose of intimate melancholy.



LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem’s first Pyramid Stage slot (following Glasto sets on John Peel in 2005 and the Other Stage in 2016) cemented them as dependable purveyors of a goddamn good time. From slow and teasing opener ‘Oh Baby’ and first belter ‘I Can Change’ it was clear James Murphy and co’s disco-punk would land every tune, getting a crowd of any size moving and singing. A sprawling rendition of early smash ‘Tribulations’ and a defiant ‘Losing My Edge’ sealed the deal, while few closers have quite the might fitting for the Pyramid as a raucous ‘All My Friends’. Dependable, triumphant.



Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club prove why they’re indie royalty on the Other Stage, serving up a set of sun-soaked anthems that have the crowd in raptures. But just when we think we’ve hit peak Glastonbury, they go and raise the bar even higher.



Enter Damon Albarn. The Blur frontman joins the band on stage for their recent collab ‘Heaven’. To suggest it tops well over a decade of Bombay Bicycle Club’s iconic indie brilliance showcased before would be somewhat unfair, but with a vocal that almost goes hand in hand with the fields of Glastonbury, there’s no doubt it’s a moment.



PJ Harvey

Ethereal songstress PJ Harvey’s set started 15 minutes later than scheduled as the Pyramid Stage played host to a surprise appearance from art world icon Marina Abramović. In front of a crowd filled with Palestine flags, the pioneering performance artist spoke of hunger, protest, war and violence, declaring that ‘the world is in a really shitty place’ before leading onlookers in a seven-minute silence, during which she slowly raised her arms to reveal a white dress designed in the shape of a peace symbol. It was a fitting introduction for PJ Harvey, a musician whose work has often tackled the subject of war. ‘The Glorious Land’ and ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ – both songs from Let England Shake, her Mercury Prize-winning 2011 album protesting against the Iraq war – were particularly resonant in a powerful, if slightly subdued, set.



Confidence Man

Camp, mischievous and out for a good time; it’s hard to think of a band more suited to a Friday afternoon at Glastonbury than Confidence Man. The Aussie foursome’s recent hits with DJ Seinfeld and Daniel Avery have no doubt increased their exposure in the UK, but even if you didn’t know their party-ready bangers it would be hard not to come away from their Pyramid Stage set feeling like it was, indeed, the party of the year.



Singers Janet Planet and Sugar Bones had no fewer than three costume changes over the course of one of the funnest hours of the festival so far, in a set that also encompassed their signature synchronised dance moves (like children at a wedding, yet also deeply chic), some barmy graphics of pigeons on a light up dance floor, and a mad spiky silver inflatable DJ booth.



Lambrini Girls

Phoebe Lunny is asking us to raise our hands if we know what love bombing is, and on a very unrelated note, Lilly Macieira wants to know if we’ve had breakfast this morning. We raise our hands, and then no further context is given. This is Lambrini Girls: batshit weirdness mixed with frenzied punk bangers. It’s their own brand of live show, and they’re bloody good at it.

At one of three Glasto performances this year, the lairy Lambrinis exude a 'Let's ’ave it!' confidence – Lilly is pouring beer into Phoebe’s mouth right from the get-go, and Phoebe is spitting it out like she’s about to swing in a bar fight. Through the thumping sounds of God’s Country, Body Of Mine, and TERF Wars, they’re working the crowd and curating a little space in which queer legends are celebrated and we’re allowed to release our anger about sexual harassment and assault through one big scream. All of this is sandwiched between Phoebe jumping both in and on the crowd, and she even lets us play a game of limbo with her microphone wire. The winner is allowed to slap her right in the kisser (and they do). It’s weird in the Woodsies tent, and brilliantly so.



Declan McKenna

With the sun shining on Worthy Farm, young indie sensation Declan McKenna brought tropical vibes to the Glastonbury Festival with his classic track ‘Brazil’.

Despite only being 25 years old, the Enfield musician is no stranger to the world’s biggest festival, having made his debut in Somerset back in 2015. Since then, he has made good on his early buzz and the protest song, ‘Brazil’, that launched him.

In the years since, he has continued to use his voice, enamouring enough supporters in the process to grant him a prominent slot on the Woodsies stage between 19:30 and 20:30 on June 28th. The former ‘Glastonbury Emerging Talent’ winner drew a sizeable crowd for his show.



Olivia Dean

Olivia Dean should be the first thing anyone sees on any festival Friday. A total pro, it’s hard to believe this time last year she was playing Lonely Hearts Club; now, following the unstoppable rise of her debut album ‘Messy’, she takes the lunch time slot on the Pyramid stage to a deserved full field. 

Slowly rousing a weary but raring-to-go Friday morning crowd with her velvety vocals, she opens with ‘OK Love You Bye’, working through gentler tracks like ‘Be My Own Boyfriend’ and ‘Messy’, working up to dancier bangers like ‘Ladies Room’ and squeezing in a cover of Kelis’ ‘Millionaire’. 

She gets a bit tearful during a performance of her first ever single ‘Reason To Stay’, noting she’s wanted to play this festival since she was eight years old. Closing on the loved-up ‘Dive’, there’s no doubting Olivia Dean’s superstar status.



Remi Wolf

As Remi Wolf takes to Woodsies, any lingering doubts about the star’s power to deliver on the festival stage – of which there are none here, obviously – are instantly vaporised. From the first note, she’s turning the tent into her own vibrant universe, delivering a whirlwind of euphoria and electricity that has the crowd in a frenzy.

The irresistible ‘Sexy Villain’ showcases her ability to blur genre lines with effortless cool. Her voice is a force of nature – powerful, versatile, and unafraid to push boundaries. It’s a vocal performance that sets the bar impossibly high, and then bounds it with ease. The set is a non-stop thrill ride of musical innovation, with Wolf’s captivating presence holding the audience in thrall. During ‘Toro’, she’s a whirlwind of energy, her passionate delivery leaving jaws on the floor.



Voice Of Baceprot

Glastonbury is well-known for extravagance, but there's nowhere on the grounds as fucking terrific as Woodsies right now. Opening the stage on its first day, Marysa, Widi and Siti of Indonesian power trio Voice Of Baceprot are just as joyful to watch as they are commandeering and ferocious.


The three young women are the first Indonesian band to ever play at the festival, and they bring all the belters from their debut album Retas. After a hung silence and a little twang of Marysa’s guitar, they open with [NOT] PUBLIC PROPERTY and the bass is rib-crushing. During their 45-minute set, they each show off their technical ability like it’s second nature with instrumental masterpiece Kawani as the cornerstone, as Marsya takes a seat on the drum riser, bringing an air of casualness to her finger-tapping guitar work.



They uplift and spotlight one another as they each have their moments, calling on Glasto to cheer. Among their many thank yous, before they leave us, Widi lets it slip that today is actually Marysa’s birthday, and as the three gather in a group hug, she tells the applauding crowd that being here is the best gift she could ask for. And as she dabs away tears, the potency and vitality of their performance hits even harder. VOB are phenomenal, and they do metal right.



Dua Lipa

When Dua Lipa last played Glastonbury, Worthy Farm could barely handle her. Mere weeks after the release of her debut album back in 2017, Dua wasn’t yet the all-conquering pop titan she is today – but she still packed out the John Peel Stage (now Woodsies) to its tent-pole rafters. Seven years later, on Glasto’s biggest stage, Lipa is as safe a bet as headliners get: one of the planet’s biggest stars with a truckload of hits. 



How did Dua Lipa fare on the Pyramid this year? As expected, the performance was exceptionally slick, with no note missed, a dazzling display of dancers and vast, impressive production. As she powered through her many, many hits from ‘New Rules’ to ‘Houdini’, Dua threw out any notion that this might be a routine set with stuff like a bassy outro to ‘One Kiss’, a gentle tease into ‘Levitating’. She brought on Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker (who produced a bunch of tracks off Lipa’s 2024 album Radical Optimism) for a cover of ‘The Less I Know the Better’. It was all a spectacle – and a thoroughly entertaining one, at that.



Saturday, June 29, 2024

Kneecap

It’s 11:30am as Irish hip-hoppers Kneecap hit the stage, but in festival hours it's Too Early. And yet, the tent is positively packed with a loyal following of Kneecappers, ready to swig on tinnies and get feral. This is no peaceful wake up for Woodsies. The trio want moshing, they want movement, they want craic. With chants of ‘your sniffer dogs are shite’ and ‘get your brits out’ (both from tracks of the same name), the hordes get what they ask for. Their debut album only just landed, and we’ll put our bets down now that next time Kneecap are back on Worthy Farm, they’ll be moving up to an even bigger stage.



Soccer Mommy

If you’re looking for a raucous Saturday, those vibes have all but disappeared from Woodsies’ chaotic start. It’s much calmer now, and Soccer Mommy’s Sophia Allison's sun-soaked guitar soothes us into the late afternoon after spending a morning in the stale air of a striped circus tent. Treating the crowd to new single Lost – as well as fan-favourites Shotgun and Your Dog – she’s still and chill. Everything is lighter now.




Little Simz

‘I’m having the best time of my life up here, I swear’, north London rapper Little Simz enthused to the sprawling crowd during the closing stages of her Saturday evening appearance on the Pyramid Stage. The ‘Top Boy’ actress might call herself an introvert, but there wasn’t so much as a hint of shyness or awkwardness about her as she bounded about the stage in a custom Ed Hardy biker jacket and skirt, a permanent grin on her face. Backed by a stellar live band that featured noughties indie rocker Jack Peñate on guitar, as well as a troupe of Daft Punk-esque dancers sporting motorbike helmets, the 30-year-old artist delivered a confident, adept and energetic hour that cemented her reputation as one of the most exciting names on the British rap scene. It was a joy to witness, and the crowd couldn’t have been rooting for her more.



The Last Dinner Party

When art rock five-piece The Last Dinner Party made their Glastonbury debut last year, it was on the 12,000-capacity Woodsies stage, in an 11.30am Saturday morning slot which a significant number of the festival’s party-weary hordes will no doubt have slept through.



That they were able to draw a healthy crowd to the festival’s second-largest arena under the baking hot mid-afternoon sun this time around is testament to the London-based band’s meteoric rise over the intervening 12 months, during which they released their chart-topping debut album Prelude to Ecstasy, were named as the BBC’s Sound of 2024 and picked up the Rising Star Award at the Brits. Led by swaggering, charismatic frontwoman Abigail Morris, they delivered a sleek, poised and confident set, that, if slightly short on out-and-out bangers, is certainly a sign of bigger things to come.



Cyndi Lauper

With the first 15 minutes of her set afflicted by a variety of sound issues, and a slightly lackadaisical atmosphere amongst a crowd sweltering in the oppressive heat, it took a while for pop legend Cyndi Lauper’s Pyramid Stage appearance to get going. The 71-year-old appeared to be having problems with her earpiece at various points in the performance, singing half a beat out of time with her band at times, and not quite hitting all of the high notes at others. All the same, it was impossible for the crowd not to warm up as she reached some of her more recognisable hits, from 1983 ballad ‘Time After Time’ to 1985 single ‘True Colours’ via the undeniable banger that is ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’, during which she deliverer an impassioned feminist speech about her charity fund supporting womens’ rights. It won’t go down in history as one of the most iconic legend slots the storied stage has hosted, but it did get Glastonbury’s sweaty, dusty crowd dancing by the end.



Kasabian

Kasabian played a surprise set at Glastonbury. The festival is bathing in sunshine, with fans anticipating some key performances. Eagle-eyed observers would have noticed that Woodsies Stage had a TBC slot at 6pm – and as it turns out, it was a big-name inclusion.

Kasabian hit Woodsies with full force, the huge crowd packing the tent and fanning out far beyond the arena. The Leicester band packed the set with fan-pleasing hits, such as thumping opener ‘Club Foot’ and a magnetic ‘Underdog’. Serge Pizzorno told the crowd: “This is the time right now!”



Camila Cabello

Curiously, it quickly transpires that there are few better ways to spend a sweltering, heavy-eyed Saturday afternoon at Glastonbury than at Camila Cabello’s Other Stage set. If you need an energy boost, they are everywhere here – in the wildly unserious but brilliantly executed opening section, which sees the Cuban-born singer and six dancers thrust around in Cyberdog-esque outfits; and in the elaborate stage sets, which include a metallic swing set and BMX stunt ramp. Little that Cabello does or says on stage today makes sense, but while pop artists should be taken seriously, the genre and being a fan of it doesn’t always have to be.



Despite her offering clichéd, repeated press lines in recent interviews (“I’m a weirdo!,” she’s told numerous outlets of her experimental new LP ‘C,XOXO’), this performance illustrates that she’s in on the joke and enjoying herself. The March release of lead single ‘I Luv It’ centred the 27-year-old as the internet’s punching bag for a week on the basis that the track shares the rapid conversational delivery of Charli XCX’s ‘I Got It’. Marina might say that ‘that Froot looks familiar’ but Cabello has followed her vision through with conviction, selling each sonic twist and turn as hard as she can.



Tems

A Saturday afternoon double bill is rounded out by the reigning queen of the alternative R&B, Tems. Fresh off the release of debut album ‘Born In The Wild’, her slow but impactful rise has taken her worldwide in the last year.

While the co-signs from major players like Drake and Wizkid are nice, she stands stronger solo, owning the Other stage with expert calmness and candor. Putting her own spin on the diaristic style that’s taken over pop in recent years, a quick call to change up the setlist to add in ‘Not An Angel’ proves the right move, as that along with older singles like ‘Damages’ clearly resonate with women across the audience.

Hitting a sweet spot between chilled out early afternoon R&B and bouncy Afrobeats, Tems and Ayra Starr’s huge slots are proof that diversifying Glastonbury is always worth it.



Ayra Starr

Making her Glastonbury debut on the Pyramid stage, Ayra Starr is perfection from the get go. Effortless but never lacklustre, her silky Afrobeats style combined with the full pop production of the show shake all the Saturday morning cobwebs off. 

The first of three Nigerian artists with major placings this weekend (and the first Afrobeats artist to play on the Pyramid stage EVER!!), it’s so clear she’s the next of the country’s exports to go global. Viral tracks, stellar performance style and the personality to complete the package, it’s quite unbelievable she’s only 22. 



Keane

Keane performed at Glastonbury 2024, and used their set to reflect on 20 years since they shared their breakthrough album ‘Hopes And Fears’.

The band took to the stage at the Pyramid Stage on Saturday, following performances earlier from Femi Kuti, Ayra Starr and Cyndi Lauper.

During the set, Tom Chaplin and co. used the platform to reflect on their first time performing at the Worthy Farm site. The moment came back in 2004, when they took to the second biggest stage on the site following the huge success of their aforementioned debut album.

“20 years ago we played on the Other Stage and saw a sea of people,” the frontman recalled, speaking to the crowd towards the end of the hour-long performance.



Coldplay

Coldplay are used to this sort of thing. Saturday marked the fifth time Chris Martin and co have headlined Worthy Farm – a feat managed by no other artist in history (this year took them past the Cure, who’ve headlined four times). And up there on the Pyramid once again, it was clear very quickly why Coldplay have been invited back so many times. 



From the first strums of ‘Yellow’, Coldplay made it known that not only are they a Glasto-headline-level band – but that they own that status as good as anyone. Chris Martin’s band steamed through tunes like  ‘Head Full of Stars’, ‘Paradise’, ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Viva La Vida’ in rather straightforward fashion but also did stuff that they didn’t necessarily have to do. They brought out Little Simz, Femi Kuti, Laura Mvula and Michael J Fox, they played exceptional 2019 tune ‘Arabesque’, they offered a stripped back ‘Sparks’, the Parachutes ‘deep cut’ (can any Coldplay song really be a deep cut?). Add in the spectacle of the audience’s glittering sea of light-up wristbands and surely no one can be left wondering how this band has ended up so dominant on the Pyramid Stage.



Sunday, June 30, 2024

London Grammar

London Grammar gave an emotional headline performance on Glastonbury‘s Park Stage. Lead singer Hannah Reid was visibly stunned as she took to the stage prior to the band’s third Glastonbury performance. Their seminal slot on the Park Stage marked 10 years since they first appeared at Worthy Farm. Appropriately, they delivered a pensive, emotional setlist spanning their three, critically acclaimed albums. But it wasn’t all moodiness, with Reid promising to bring “party vibes” at the end.



Avril Lavigne

The sky is turning all colours of pink, purples and orange as smokey flares fill the air and 2000s pop-punk trailblazer Avril Lavigne takes to The Other Stage. The area is unbearably jam packed; it seems Glasto underestimated just how many want to see her perform.

She heads out onstage to Girlfriend, and even lads in football shirts are fiercely on board with shouting 'I’m the motherfucking princess'. It’s taken Avril 22 years to get to Worthy Farm, and the thousands of voices singing back to her prove just how much she has been missed. Many of those watching grew up with Avril, and we learned to be outrageous, authentic, mischievous, all from her discography. And as she is amid promoting her new Greatest Hits album, we're lucky enough to get all the classics: Don’t Tell Me, I’m With You, What The Hell, and obviously Sk8er Boi. Sadly, she is far more deserving of a Pyramid Stage set with more time.



James

This year James went straight to number one with eighteenth LP Yummy and played two nights at the 02 arena. Yet frontman Tim Booth still had time, onsite at Glastonbury, to read Emily Hughes’ book Wild as a bedtime story for CBeebies. However, in their nine-member formation, plus a discretely placed onstage statuette of the elephant headed Hindu god Ganesha, there is no soporific intent in James’ 3pm slot on the Other Stage.



With Booth in a woolly hat and fur coat of pale tones, and looking not unlike a younger relative of Ben Kingsley, opener Sound is a slow, incantatory eruption, soon graced with Booth’s idiosyncratic eel-in-the-seaweed dance moves. When Madchester-era hit Come Home follows immediately the field is theirs. One song later, after the self-explanatory Life's A Fucking Miracle, which finds Booth being carried aloft in the audience (he continues to sing), they do signature hit Sit Down and the field is theirs even more. As James-style flowers fill the TV monitors, this surging song of communality becomes that rarest of beasts: spiritual stadium rock.



Bob Vylan

This is Bob Vylan's second time at Glastonbury, and the Left Field tent is growing ever more sweaty, despite it growing dark outside, and the Bobs – aka the Fred Perry Mafia – are just as fired-up as always, despite running on two hours' sleep due to previous tour engagements.

What ensues is a concoction of shithousery and emotion – not because there are any teary speeches or other cliched onstage bravado, it’s emotional because Bobby is collecting notes and offerings thrown onto the stage and promising to look at them later, he's handing out water, he’s pulling a young child onto the stage and showing them the power of being a musician as fans chant their name in support, he’s making space for women and non-binary people at the front. This is the guy who felt nobody would believe in a punk band consisting of two Black men with no guitars. They deserve the reception they receive tonight.

Through a set that spans Hunger Games, We Live Here, Makes Me Violent and others, Bobbie keeps the beat on pulse to a tee. At the end of their time with us, after one last crowdsurf from Bobby, the pair stand together majestically as the lights in the tent lift, to share their thanks and soak up the love. Glastonbury 2024: completed it, mate.



Peggy Gou

For the past five years, it feels like Peggy Gou has been the buzziest DJ in the world. A mainstay at festivals ever since ‘Starry Night’ blew up in 2019, it’s taken until this year for her to release an album, but her star power in that time has increased majorly. 

At The Park, she becomes the first female DJ to headline the stage at Glastonbury, a position she’s not taking lightly. Despite finally dropping the album ‘I Hear You’ just a couple of weeks ago, much of it remains un-spinned, and the set leans towards her DJ side over her artist side. 



It’s a shame really, considering she’s the DJ with the most pop star value since probably Calvin Harris and her songwriting abilities took earworm ‘(It Goes Like) Na Na Na’ to the UK top 5 last summer. Still, it’s great Saturday night fun for anyone who fancies a rave up over Chris Martin’s pop rock, and she packs out The Park. 

An extra treat for anyone in attendance, a remix of ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ gives way to a guest appearance from Sophie Ellis-Bextor herself. Then it’s back to business on the decks. 



Burna Boy

Back in 2019, Burna Boy expressed his disgust with Coachella for giving him such a small-fonted billing on that year’s lineup, stating he was an African giant and deserved better. Five years on and Glastonbury has honoured that by giving him second top at the Pyramid, and yeah, he was kind of right.

This year’s Glastonbury has seen language barriers go out the window, making way for Burna Boy’s Nigerian party on its biggest stage. Collaborations with a variety of British artists have helped raise his profile over here, and, knowing exactly where he is, uses his Dave feature ‘Location’ to open the set.

Coaxing more energy out of a lagging Sunday crowd than you’d expect, Burna Boy’s pyro-fest of a set is a total party. For some, it’s an introduction to Nigerian culture that hits like a sledgehammer. Older tracks like ‘It’s Plenty’ are the mood-lifter an overcast Sunday on Worthy Farm needs, while recent hit ‘City Boys’ is a riot. 

He asks the whole crowd, boys and girls, to remove their shirts and swing them around for ‘Ye’; almost immediately after it’s done he’s told he needs to wrap it up, but he’s far from finished. Breaking the rules for a final performance of ‘Last Last’, his African Giant status remains untouched. 



The National

As the sun sets on Glastonbury’s final night, The National take to the Other Stage, proving just why they’ve become a festival staple. Rather than sad-sounding indie for 6 Music dads, they deliver a set that’s anything but melancholic, infusing their performance with a raw energy that belies their studio recordings.

From the moment they launch into ‘Don’t Swallow The Cap’, it’s clear this isn’t going to be a by-the-numbers headline set. Frontman Matt Berninger prowls the stage, his baritone voice cutting through the cool evening air.

The setlist is a carefully curated journey through the band’s extensive catalog. Early fan favourite ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ gets an airing early on, while newer tracks from their two albums dropped last year sit comfortably alongside classics.



Rachel Chinouriri

Rising indie star Rachel Chinouriri kicked the Other Stage into gear on Sunday with an open-hearted set of future festival anthems, from the peppy Never Need Me to the thunderous chords of The Hills.

Wearing a distinctive Union Jack crop top and Spice Girls-style platform boots, she also threw in a cover of Estelle's American Boy - singing Kanye West's rap section and changing the lyrics to "Glastonbury boy".

She dedicated the song to all the black women who’d shown her Glastonbury was an achievable goal: Joan Armatrading, Skin from Skunk Anansie, Keisha from Sugababes, Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes and Estelle herself.

The message resonated heavily in a year where the festival deliberately stepped outside its comfort zone, with a high-profile presence for Afrobeats stars like Tems and Ayra Starr, Peggy Gou's historic headline set, and a brand new stage devoted to South Asian artists.



Janelle Monáe

US multi-hyphenate Janelle Monáe brought one of the most elaborately choreographed routines to the Pyramid Stage. Across five different chapters, Monáe presented her exhilarating and broad back catalogue. As a stage presence, she’s a force of nature, her dance moves more mechanical articulation than human movement, her voice effortlessly sonorous, and her costumes suitably iconic.



Like Chinouriri did on the Other Stage before her, Monáe takes a moment to celebrate the icons that paved the way for artists like her, naming off a list of Black and queer legends (Grace Jones, Freddy Mercury, etc). Whether it’s her intention or not, her performance firmly places her among those greats as a queer Black musician at the forefront of the industry.



Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith made the Pyramid Stage her own and paid tribute to Amy Winehouse with a ‘Back To Black’ cover at Glastonbury 2024.

Faith began with her cover of Cass Elliott’s ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’ before saying, “We love you Amy, you’re here in spirit,” and launching into Winehouse’s 2007 hit.

After Faith performed ‘Bad Woman’, the second single from her latest album The ‘Glorification of Sadness’, released in February, she gave an emphatic speech in which she dedicated the song to single mums: “I know it’s hard, I’m doing it!” she said, bemoaning that girls are told, “Be a good girl, always behave’, [because] it’s not right. I’m a bad woman and proud, and I hope that you are gonna raise your daughters to be bad women too.”

Throughout her set, it felt like a party atmosphere on stage with a number of backing singers, musicians and dancers all coordinated in black and red outfits as Faith worked her way through her discography, taking festivalgoers on a journey through her trademark soulful, jazzy pop.



SZA

SZA’s Sunday night headline set was never going to match the feelgood highs of Elton John’s final ever UK date, which drew about half of the festival’s 200,000-odd ticket holders to the Pyramid Stage for the closing act of last year’s festival. In fact, when the St. Louis-born singer first arrived, dressed in a tasselled bronze number that evokes a kind of woodland Lara Croft, it was to one of the feeblest headline crowds the legendary venue has hosted in recent memory, despite it being a good fifteen minutes after her scheduled start time when she launched into debut album favourite ‘Love Galore’. 



The opening stages of the four-time Grammy winner’s Glastonbury debut might have felt slightly flat as crowds slowly trickled in from elsewhere, but the 34-year-old brought boundless energy to her set nonetheless, exhibiting impressive stamina as she writhed around the stage with her backing dancers, rarely stopping for breath during a jam-packed fever-dream of a set that saw her climb a life-sized tree trunk, ascend on a giant mushroom and disappear for two costume changes – first transforming into what can only be described as a cyborg insect, then into an emerald green Tinkerbell – while nailing every line of her soulful, confessional R’n’B bangers. Her voice is truly brilliant, and it particularly shines on slower ballads like ‘Broken Clocks’ and ‘Supermodel’, while the popularity of second album singles ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘I Hate U’ get the crowd dancing, despite the relatively low turnout. 

If the hedonism, exhaustion and general chaos of Glastonbury’s final day makes it feel like a particularly debauched rendition of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, then SZA is a spectacular Titania.



Shania Twain

There were stetsons, rhinestones and cowboy boots aplenty among the predictably massive crowd as Shania Twain took to the Pyramid Stage for Sunday afternoon’s traditional ‘legends slot’. Entering flanked by a coterie of drag queens carrying gigantic hobby horses – not quite – the country-pop legend sported a chic black rhinestoned hat of her own, alongside matching black gloves, a glitzy black dress and gigantic pastel pink tulle coat, as she launched straight into one of her bigger hits in ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’.



Her voice isn’t quite as powerful as it used to be – she feared she would never sing again after contracting Lyme disease in 2003 – and the sound issues that plagued Cyndi Lauper’s set the previous day were present once more, with the Canadian singer’s microphone cutting out occasionally as she spoke to the audience. But with so many hits to her name – from classic ’90s ballad ‘You’re Still The One’ to the barnstorming ‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?’ and the anthemic ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman!’ – it was inevitable that Twain’s 75-minute set would be a toe-tapping good time. 




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