Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts has been going for over 40 years now, and with a line-up that – this year – boasted The Rolling Stones amongst its headliners, it very much came back from its 2012 hiatus with a bang.
Friday opened with Haim on the Pyramid Stage, bringing their LA, Fleetwood Mac-inspired tunes to a packed out crowd that included none other than Florence Welch shouting her support. Their set was packed with live favourites such as ‘Honey & I’ and the power house of ‘Let Me Go’. Their drum-filled ending crescendoed around the entire site, leaving no person doubting that their impending debut album is going to be a late-summer hit.
Glastonbury is as much about the small obscure stages as it is about the legendary Pyramid Stage. At the Pussy Parloure Nouveu, fierce female rapper Brooke Candy spat her rhymes at break neck speed. While a woman screaming over a backing track might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the raging atmosphere in the sweaty crowd imitated one that a headline act would kill for.
Saturday belonged to one band and one band only – The ‘Stones. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts took to the Pyramid for their first ever performance at the legendary festival, and did not disappoint. Opening with ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, The ‘Stones intentions were clear from the beginning; play the hits and play them good. A career-spanning set wowed the 90, 000+ crowd, which has been recorded as one of the biggest sets of the festival’s existence. Mick was on top form, shimmying and shaking his 67-year-old hips beside Keith Richard’s epic guitar solos. The night went down in festival history, and only further cemented the Stones as Britain’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band.
Sunday was a considerably more mellow affair, offering a more relaxed line-up to ease people out of Glastonbury mode. Kate Nash may have been dropped from her label but bounced back ten times harder with her album Girl Talk, a feminist call to arms for the masses. Played live, its tracks sounded incredibly passionate and liberating, whilst Nash’s talent as a topical lyricist shone strongly. Meanwhile The Smashing Pumpkins got a little too technical in the playing of their instruments, and unfortunately many crowd members left the Other Stage Arena as a result.
London trio The XX have undergone a massive transformation since the release of second album Coexist. Whereas before singer Romy would shy away from the limelight, the band’s Sunday Other Stage performance saw her ooze confidence, weaving around the stage with bassist Oliver and singing louder and prouder than ever before. Jamie XX’s growing production prowess has had a positive influence on the band, and whilst playing live they gave fans a mix of both new and old, including everything they expected to hear with a few new dancier twists and turns.
They say Glastonbury is the greatest festival on earth, and with a line-up as good as this year’s it only lived up to that reputation once more.
Photos courtesy of the author, Rachael Scarsbrook – used with permission.