Jamie Webster Keeps It Political With Billy Bragg At Glastonbury 2024

IDLES frontman Joe Talbot requests the BBC turn their cameras around and instructs his Glastonbury audience to chant “Fuck the King!” Herd mentality dictates they all do it, but even staunch republicans could be left feeling slightly squeamish. The wealth and privilege might be unearned, but telling a cancer sufferer to fuck off en masse seems, shall we say, a bit mean?

Jamie Webster @ Glastonbury Festival 2024

Jamie Webster @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)
Jamie Webster @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

Around thirteen hours later, Jamie Webster and his audience have no such qualms when, in the febrile political atmosphere a few days before a general election, everybody within a quarter mile of his lunchtime Other Stage set chant “Fuck the Tories!” to the tune of Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag. It happens as a set-piece to a tom tom shuffle following the sublime protest song Something’s Gotta Give, but fucking the Tories is such an established part of Webster’s stage persona that the crowd spontaneously chant it between songs anyway, there’s even a child at the very front wearing a cap emblazoned with the statement.

Webster, an ex-electrician from the red half of Merseyside who made his name singing anthems from the Kop at music events hosted by the Liverpool FC fanzine BOSSMag, wears his heart (and his politics) on his sleeve. These days, he leaves his association with the football behind in favour of protest and tales of the everyday lives of everyday folk. His latest album 10 For The People has plenty of both. He opens with Voice Of The Voiceless (protest). He’s joined by the inspirational figure of Billy Bragg on Fickle Fran (a tale of the everyday life of everyday folk).

But it’s the end of the set when it really comes alive. This Place and Weekend In Paradise, a pair of tunes from debut album We Get By has Webster sharing the words with every member of the audience and smoke from flares of many hues dances with the sky.

For a brief period during this otherwise unassuming lunchtime slot there’s magic in the air and the atmosphere matches anything you’ll find across the entirety of Worthy Farm. Jamie Webster has further festival appearances through the summer including a massive hometown appearance at Sefton Park on 12th July. By then, his audience might need to find another chant between songs.

Review of Jamie Webster at Glastonbury Festival 2024 by Simon Reed, photos by Kalpesh Patel

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