Friday blew the proverbial roof off Glastonbury Festival, after years of pent-up need, Billie Eilish proved just why she should be headlining the Pyramid Stage and commanding audiences of all ages the world over, while Oxford rockers Foals tore apart The Other, their confetti cannons spreading paper as far as the dispersing crowd over at the Pyramid field. So Saturday has a lot to live up to. And what better way than to bring out the big guns early on, with the sun blazing down and lighting up the stages.
London-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Kitty Liv is drawing in the crowds at The Greenpeace Stage, directly following the area’s Junior Jungle kids rave.
New York City-based brass & rock collective Brass Against appear over at The West Holts stage, the Brad Hammonds-led and Liza Colby-fronted group tearing into their unique, brass instrument-infused covers of songs by the likes of Rage Against The Machine. Colby marches from one side of the stage to the other, flicking her hair, taking to the air and generally bringing the rock rage the group are renowned for to West Holts.
Meanwhile, Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer Tems is lighting up The Other, bringing her unique flavour of R&B and Afrobeats to the Somerset stage.
But it isn’t long before British rock outfit and former Pyramid Stage headliners Skunk Anansie – the first Black British act to do so – take the stage, bringing their unique flavour of rock back to Worthy Farm. Frontwoman Skin is resplendent in a bright lime green suit emblazoned with the words “Clit Rock” on the back and donning what seems to be an inflatable spiky headdress. The 54-year-old singer packs a real punch, plays and then destroys a theremin, before jumping down off stage to sing directly to the crowd, from within the crowd!
In stark contrast to the rage on show over on The Other, the Acoustic tent is sparsely populated, many sitting or lying down in the cool of the tent but listening keenly to the tranquil tones of Pacific-Northwestern folksy singer Laura Veirs, here performing solo and throwing in an incredible cover of the late Eliott Smith’s Between The Bars.
While L.A.-based sister trio HAIM command The Pyramid Stage, American-British singer-songwriter and 2021 Mercury Music Prize-nominee Celeste dazzles over on the sun-soaked West Holts Stage, her hair fashioned into spikes not too dissimilar to that of Skunk Anansie’s Skin from earlier in the day or Lisa Simpson! She’s brooding, and smiling and brings stage dominance that points to nothing but great things ahead for the 28-year-old.
American soul man Todd Michael “Leon” Bridges is next at West Holts, the Atlanta, Georgia-hailing man’s set in stark contrast to teen hit-maker Olivia Rodrigo who takes over The Other Stage or former Oasis man Noel Gallagher, whose High Flying Birds draw the masses to the Pyramid Stage at the same time.
And then it’s time for Sir Paul McCartney who, at a sprightly 80 years old, is exactly four times the age of Friday night’s Pyramid Stage headliner and becomes the oldest act to headline at the festival. While his set begins slowly, it’s not long before he’s bringing out the Wings and Beatles hits he’s legendary for. He even ups the ante by bringing out former Pyramid Stage headliners Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen to sing a couple of songs with him.
But over at The Park, it is English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware who closes the stage in fine style.
And the great thing about winding up live music at The Park is just how easy it is to slip out down to Arcadia for a bit of flame-fuelled dance while the famous Glastonbury sign shines down over you.
Photography & words by Kalpesh Patel at Glastonbury Festival on Saturday June 25th 2022