Sunday at Glastonbury Festival is the day you can’t quite believe is the last at the festival. Before the arenas and stages close, tents need to be packed away and the magical world around us is slowly taken apart. And so you have to make the most of it. Go back to those areas you love and try to find those you’ve yet to stumble upon organically. Above The Park there is Glastonbury-on-Sea, a traditional British seaside-esque pier installation that made its debut in 2019. The famous red and white Glastonbury Helter Skelter has also been displaced this year from its traditional home in the Fields of Avalon to above The Park.
If you’re lucky, you might catch a great band playing on the tiny stage just outside the entrance to the pier, the robot band playing a set on the pier, or even a robot horse roaming around terrorising visitors!
But time moves in its own mystical slipstream on Worthy Farm, and it’s already afternoon before you know it and time for this year’s surprise TBC act to take over the John Peel tent, an act that usually goes on to appear more prominently at the following year’s festival. But this year it is Shotgun-hitmaker George Ezra who appears, an act that appeared rather prominently at the last festival in 2019, appearing on The Pyramid Stage before Stormzy’s triumphant headline slot.
The dulcet dream-pop tones of Atlanta-hailing singer-songwriter Clairo take over the John Peel next, the 23-year-old shyly pouring out her heart and soul through a gentle, hook-laden 14-song set, featuring hits Bags and Sofia, while making a political statement on the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’.
While Glastonbury Festival has three evenings with three massive acts headlining its famous Pyramid Stage, in recent years a “fourth” headline slot has emerged on the stage: the Sunday teatime ‘legends’ slot. Huge acts from the likes of Kylie Minogue, Chic, Lionel Richie to Country music megastar Dolly Parton have all drawn massive crowds to the Pyramid field in years gone by. And this year it was the turn of Supremes legend Diana Ross, the 78-year-old hot off an appearance for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace wowing the 100,000 plus-populated dairy field. Hits from across The Supremes and her own solo catalogue, have the crowd swaying and singing along.
Baby Love, Stop! In The Name Of Love, You Can’t Hurry Love and Chain Reaction score the greatest engagement before the Motown hitmaker closes her set with a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. TV audiences might be subjected to an out of tune Ms Ross due to her monitors cutting out and her sound generally being drowned out to the point she can’t hear herself singing, but the atmosphere at the Pyramid is incredible as hit after hit after hit from across the decades are played.
Bury-hailing rockers Elbow are next up on the Pyramid, the four-piece adding the wonderful Jesca Hoop to their troup for Giants Of All Sizes cut Dexter & Sinister.
But it is a giant 11.5ft puppet of Little Amal, a 10-year-old Syrian refugee representing displaced children that steals the show as the Guy Garvey-led rockers close out their set with hit single One Day Like This, joined on stage by the Citizens of the World Refugee Choir.
Country music star Kacey Musgraves plays to a packed Other Stage field, drawing solely on her last two records – Star-Crossed and album of the year Grammy Award-winning Golden Hour – for her 12-song set. The song Golden Hour seems fitting as the sun slowly lowers over Worthy Farm and bathes the 33-year-old Texan in glorious golden light.
The Pyramid Stage belongs to New Zealander Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor (call her Lorde) next. The singer’s triumphant return to Glastonbury sees her move from top-but-one billing on The Other stage back in 2017 to a pre-headline slot on The Pyramid. She plays a massive 17-song set and even enlists Mercury Music Prize-winning Londoner Arlo Parks and, fresh from her John Peel Stage set, Clairo to join her for Solar Power cut Stoned At The Nail Salon.
Sunday night belongs to the two massive acts taking over the two main stages – Compton, California-based rapper Kendrick Lamar on The Pyramid and Northern England–hailing but London-forming synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys, who bring hits spanning four decades to The Other Stage. Alas, Chris Lowe – one half of the duo – spends the first seven songs stuck behind a malfunctioning giant video screen, leaving frontman Neil Tennant to carry the can. But it doesn’t dampen the mood as dance classics pour out over Worthy Farm. Years & Years man Olly Alexander appears on stage with the duo for 2019 single Dreamland, the singer cutting his acting chops on the recent Channel 4 TV show It’s A Sin, named after a Pet Shop Boys song of the same name.
And then there’s time for one last lap of the site. One last look into any corners that may have been missed earlier in the weekend. One last party at Arcadia or Block 9 before this mystical wonderland for children of all ages is packed away for another year.
Photography & words by Kalpesh Patel at Glastonbury Festival on Sunday June 26th 2022