Over 200,000 people flooded into Pilton, Somerset, for the world's biggest Greenfield festival, Glastonbury, which opened on Wednesday.
Headliners in this 50th anniversary year were Paul McCartney – who has just turned 80 – and Billie Eilish – the festival's youngest headliner to date. You can read all about Macca giving "one of the great Pyramid Stage sets", ditto Eilish impressing, plus you can catch up on all the action from Friday and Saturday.
Glastonbury's final day ended with a flourish too. Kendrick Lamar was Sunday's big headliner (read the review here), while the one and only Diana Ross performed in the Legends slot. Plus we had the Pet Shop Boys and two exciting surprise sets, from George Ezra and Jack White.
The Telegraph's chief music critic Neil McCormick, as well as Telegraph music journalists James Hall and Alice Vincent, and Telegraph features writer Ed Cumming were all at the farm this year and contributed live talking points, reviews, and Glastonbury highs and lows throughout the weekend.
Sunday's Glastonbury highlights
— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) June 26, 2022
The Pet Shop Boys deliver predictable yet masterful entertainment ★★★★☆
As ritzy as the Glastonbury headliners are, I sometimes wonder if the crowd would be as happy with a karaoke machine. By Sunday night, especially, the emphasis is on singalongs. Well, not over at Kendrick Lamar. But on the other stage, the Pet Shop Boys were called on to give the people what they wanted. And they delivered, with a routine that was shiny, polished and predicable, especially for anyone who had seen them on their latest tour. There were silver costumes and dancers and lights. But they hardly deviated from their routine.
Still, they weren’t there by mistake. Neil Tennant is a master, and he guided the crowd with insouciant style through their greatest hits. The programme for this evening had seemingly been built around Russell T Davies’ TV series It’s a Sin. Olly Alexander starred in the BBC drama named for the track, and his band Years &Years played before Tennant and co. The Pet Shop Boys song, when it came, prompted suitable euphoria. The crowd would Go West again. Ed Cumming
Charli XCX has Doric columns and pounding beats, but feels synthetic ★★★★☆
I’ve heard Sunday night described as “the Battle of the Gays”. In one corner, Pet Shop Boys at Other Stage; in the other, LGBTQ+ favourite Charli XCX - and that’s leaving aside the draws of Kendrick Lamar on the main stage and Bicep up at Park. Three years since the last Glastonbury, and here the festival was going out with a bang.
The 29-year-old pop star put up more than a fair fight in her corner. Dressed like Xena the Warrior Princess, on a stage bedecked by Doric columns and flanked by two buff dancers in harnesses and skirts, Charli XCX wasted no time in delivering a set ripe with pounding electronic beats, club samples and ferociously catchy hooks.
The crowd may have been on their last legs but XCX - Charlotte Emma Aitchison to her mum and dad - was wildly energetic. This in spite of apparently spending the past couple of days in the site’s late-night “Naughty Corner”, pumping out choreography while unleashing pop-perfect glissando over a curated selection of her extensive back catalogue, from Girls-famous I Love It, Boom Clap to deep cut party 4 u. Caroline Polachek appeared for a blink-and-you-miss-it duet on I Got It.
This isn’t XCX’s first Glastonbury. I saw her tear up the Other Stage a few years ago, leaving pink streamers all over the place and a real sense of her ascent. Maybe it was the slot, maybe it was the stage, but this set lacked some of that excitement. After a weekend where even the most pop of acts have been bolstered by bands lurking in the wings somewhere, XCX’s arena-ready, unashamedly synthetic show felt a little hard and plastic at times.
She’s an undeniably talented artist, but it was difficult to push away the sense that as the final hurrah neared, there may have been a more transcendent party happening a stone’s throw away. Alice Vincent
Are we about to see an appearance from the real Slim Shady?
Yes, that's right: rumour has it Eminem is in the vicinity.
Headliner Kendrick Lamar is currently tearing up the Pyramid Stage (our verdict on that to follow soon). Might he add to this weekend of memorable Glastonbury team-ups by bringing on one of the most successful rappers of all time? Let battle commence...
You'll also have noticed that Lamar's set is being broadcast live - unlike Paul McCartney's on Saturday night, which was aired an hour after it actually began. The BBC has responded to irked viewers by putting out a statement explaining that the delay was down to the "complexity" of the performance. You can read more about that here.
Jack White reclaims Seven Nation Army from Jeremy Corbyn ★★★★★
Jack White has turned blue. For his latest album and tour campaign, the former White Stripes frontman has opted for an azure colour theme. So he took to the stage for Sunday’s second ‘secret set’ – up on The Park stage – with blue hair, surrounded by an array of blue guitars and bathed in blue light. It matched the brilliant blue sky overhead.
And what a set this was. Forget that he looked like a curious amalgam of Sonic the Hedgehog and Tintin. For an hour, to a crowd that stretched right up the hill to Glastonbury’s perimeter fence, White played what might easily have been the set of the weekend.
It was packed with hits. Dead Leaves in the Dirty Ground, Hotel Yorba and Lazaretto came in quick succession. The 46-year-old Michigan-born musician managed to conjure a dizzying array of sounds from his guitars: sounds which could veer in an instant from crunchy to squelchy to ear-piercing to mellow. He flipped from Prince-like deep funk-blues, aided by his incredible three-piece backing band, to Led Zeppelin-style virtuoso rock. White’s reputation as the Willy Wonka of alternative music was given credence by his roadies’ outfits – they all wore black suits, black pork pie hats and blue ties. They busied themselves around the stage like lab technicians as White pulverised and mesmerised with his playing.
— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) June 26, 2022
We got a new song too: a peachy acoustic number that White wrote a few days ago. It’s so new that it doesn’t have a name yet. They also played Steady As She Goes, the 2006 song from White’s side project The Raconteurs. The crowd went berserk, perhaps aware that the weekend was drawing to an end.
Then came Seven Nation Army, the White Stripes song that has taken on a life of its own. A few years ago, Glastonbury rang out to “Oh-Jeremy-Corbyn” as the song’s chant was adapted for the visiting then-Labour leader. That seemed like a distant memory today. The song has reclaimed the chant for itself. White kept the singing going, urging the crowd to get “louder” and, then, even “louder!”. They obliged. The bass drum kicked in. They kept going.
A few years ago, White played on the Pyramid Stage in drizzling rain. I was there. He failed to connect. That didn’t happen today. “You’ve been incredible, and I’ve been Jack White,” he said at the end. The band were as taken aback by the set as the crowd was. On the way out of The Park, I walked past their changing room (a yurt, obviously - it is Glastonbury). Their language suggested that it was not only the audience who’d had an hour to remember. James Hall
Lorde supplies a giant seesaw and a dreamy sunset spectacle ★★★★☆
“I am the ideal comedown shepherd, and then when I think you’re ready to handle it, I’ll f--k you up,” announced Lorde with a wicked grin, showing a keen understanding of the general state of the Glastonbury crowd at 7.45pm on a Sunday. Newly and unrecognisably blonde, the 25-year-old appeared at the bottom of an elaborate wooden seesaw against an Olafur Eliasson-esque yellow orb projected against the back of the stage.
The New Zealand pop star, who made a splash with her debut single Royals in 2012, has form at Glastonbury. She last played in 2017, days after the release of sophomore album Melodrama. It remains one of the most ambitious and accomplished sets I’ve ever seen.
Now taking the sunset slot at Pyramid, Lorde - aka Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor - rattled through her back catalogue while strutting up and down her vertiginous staging in a pastel bodysuit. She has always been a prodigious songwriter, but what’s been so admirable about her career is how she’s taken her time to make new records. She’s technically touring her most recent, 2021’s Solar Power - a characteristically cynical if sunny record - and the styling of this set reflected a new, dreamier aesthetic to the grizzled emotion that fuelled her last performance here. But this was a set that also folded in songs she wrote in her teens - Supercut, Royals, Perfect Places - with a new maturity.
If 2017 was a raw, pulpy affair, this was a show of air and light and spirit. Sitting on the steps of her giant seesaw, Lorde explained that Glastonbury was “Disneyland” for artists like her. “What happens here doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world,” she explained, telling everyone what they already knew. And in Lorde we have an artist who knows how to nail a Glastonbury set. Alice Vincent
Turnstile are wholly committed to their noisy, chaotic vision ★★★★★
I suppose it's in keeping with Glastonbury’s ability to surprise that the most energetic act of the weekend didn’t play until 6:30pm on Sunday, by which time most people are starting to think about how they’ll explain the residual glitter on their face to their boss.
Turnstile are a Baltimore hardcore band, formed in 2010, who broke through with last year’s album Glow On. It was produced by Mike Elizondo, who also gave us Mary J Blige’s Family Affair and 50 Cent’s In Da Club, and who is a master at giving potentially obscure sounds a more popular hedge. His poppier influence is clear in Turnstile’s newer songs, which are melodic and catchy but also - as the crowd repeatedly proved - hugely moshable.
As Turnstile mixed up new bangers Mystery and Blackout with old favourites, they maintained a level of commitment Paul McCartney can only dream of. The band’s members might be half straight-edge, meaning sober, at odds with their well-refreshed crowd, but they are all wholly committed to their noisy, chaotic vision. Guitar music is not dead. Ed Cumming
Fontaines DC are frenetic, raw – and true festival legends ★★★★☆
Fontaines DC are about as diametrically opposed to Diana Ross as it’s possible to be. While the soul legend was playing her polished pop hits on the Pyramid Stage, the Dublin band took to the Other Stage for a set of frenetic and scuzzy guitar music. With vocals half-spoken and half-sung by frontman Grian Chatten, the music was by turns raw, dense and - at times - softly beautiful.
In a counterpoint to Ross’s plumed feather hat and sequinned dress, Chatten wore a loose black Pogues T-shirt. He stalked across the stage, hands jittery, walking in circles around his microphone stand. “Oh Glastonbury. How’s you?” Chatten asked. There was a fierce intensity to him and his bandmates. The crowd roiled like an angry sea.
— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) June 26, 2022
Chatten’s voice can flit between a John Lydon sneer and Ian Curtis-like monotony, such as on Televised Mind. But Fontaines are not sonic brutalists. There is tenderness in this music too. They were joined for tracks including The Couple Across the Way by a string section. And while we heard plenty of songs from new album Skinty Fia, released earlier this year, there were old favourites too.
Boys In The Better Land and A Hero’s Death, with its repeated refrain of “Life ain’t always empty”, saw a vast mosh pit develop. Ross may have had this year’s ‘Legends’ slot. But plenty of Glastonbury-goers would happily put Fontaines DC in that category. James Hall
Glastonbury proves that music can unite us all
So says a blissed-out Neil as he gives his verdict so far on a fantastic 2022 festival. "On Friday night, 20-year-old US pop sensation Billie Eilish became the youngest person ever to headline Glastonbury. On Saturday, Sir Paul McCartney became the oldest, at a still sprightly 80. But for a festival effectively celebrating a 50th anniversary twice postponed by the pandemic, this was no battle of the ages. Rather it offered an optimistic and celebratory demonstration of the power of music to bridge the generation gap, and fill that space with rhythm and melody."
You can read his full report here.
Kacey Musgraves brings low-key Americana to Somerset
Last night I met a Glastonbury first-timer in the loo queue at Block 9 who asked my advice on surviving the weekend. I replied with one word: eat. Excitement can carry you through the weekend but you’ll suffer the week after if you don’t keep your energy reserves well topped up.
And so it was with heavy heart that I missed half of Kacey Musgraves’ set because I was waiting for a cheese toastie. It was my first meal since lunch, which was a fry-up. I suppose, technically, I generally eat breakfast here at around 2am - usually some kind of cheese-beige-carb combo (are you sensing a theme here?). Add in a trip to the loo (queue 15 minutes) and you’ve lost an hour of your life you’ll never get back.
Anyway, to Kacey, with cheese toastie in hand. The Texan pop-country singer-songwriter will be supporting Adele at Hyde Park on Friday, and one can imagine she could only got a warmer reception on the Other Stage, where the sinking sun might almost have been organised to reflect her 2018 album Golden Hour. Musgraves’ star has risen in the pop-crossover realm in the decade since her 2013 country debut Same Trailer, Different Park, and she brought a charmingly crowd-pleasing set to Glastonbury, complete with unnecessary, spotless wellies and a “Kaceyoke” Fleetwood Mac cover.
Her voice - effortlessly gliding over its score - brought a whiff of Americana to Somerset, but one couldn’t help but feel that the set could be slightly more keyed up, and the devoted crowd a little larger. Alice Vincent
Not the most tuneful, but Diana Ross has glorious star appeal ★★★☆☆
After the diva strops and production disasters of the Platinum Jubilee concert in May, where Diana Ross fell foul of a disconnect between her backing music and her vocals (the BBC confirmed that Ross was singing live), there was perhaps an extra curiosity over whether her ascension to Glastonbury’s hallowed Legends Slot would be an improvement. But if viewers at home were worrying, down in Somerset, tens of thousands were simply up for the party - the Pyramid Stage arena started filling up beneath a cloudless sky from an hour before Ross’s set, proving the singer’s appeal even among those born 40 years after her 1960s heyday.
Yes, the support of her backing singers poured out of the speakers, but Ross trilled along above these, mostly in-sync, offering a far reedier version of the belt that made her star. There have perhaps been more tuneful performances on the Pyramid Stage.
The thing is, nobody comes to the Legends Slot expecting heritage stars to be as good as they were decades earlier. They come for the star appeal, and they come for the bangers. Ross brought both in huge quantities, appearing on stage after a hyper video montage of glamorous portraits from yesteryear over a fiercely slapped bass, swamped in a dazzling head-to-toe glittery white number, with a trail that followed her around the stage. Watching her detach her two-feet tall headdress from her glorious trademark curls six minutes later was just as entertaining.
As for the set list, it was a relentless: Coming Out, Baby Love, Stop! In The Name of Love, Locomotion, Upside Down, and rousing extended versions of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and I Will Survive. It’s also worth noting that Ross seemed to warm up as she went on, a tight and effusive band providing the motor, complete with brass quartet.
Her new number Thank You was set in a register more generous to Ross’s vocal range these days, and it went down almost as well with the crowd as her more familiar hits, demonstrating that when it comes to bopping tunes, she is still capable of churning them out.
It’s easy to believe that those watching at home might be scoffing at Ross. Up close and on screen, weak vocals are hard to hide. But what doesn’t get through the cameras is the mood in the field, the fondness Ross elicited with statements such as “Because vinyl’s back again!”, the excitement of hearing tracks many have grown up dancing to live for the first time, and the sunny start of the final night of a very long-awaited Glastonbury. So what if Ross was losing her voice? None of the crowd’s were intact after such a singalong. Alice Vincent
Jack White hates the colour beige
George Ezra isn't the only surprise act today. We've also got Jack White coming up - frontman of the White Stripes. Stay tuned for our verdict on his latest set, as well as news on Diana Ross, who has just taken to the Pyramid Stage.
In the meantime, get to know White better (and why he hates beige) via this excellent interview with Andrew Perry.
George Ezra's secret set was bursting with positivity ★★★★★
The weekend’s ‘secret set’ on the relatively small John Peel stage has been an open secret since a not-so-subtle photo on social media linked it to George Ezra a few days ago. With the singer-songwriter more used to playing the far bigger Pyramid Stage, the place was absolutely heaving.
Ezra, who only arrived on site today, said he’d been a “very jealous young man” seeing friends’ posts from the festival in the preceding days. That was moot now: it was time to have his own fun. The show was significant for Ezra. “Eight years ago, I realised my first album. And that weekend we played the John Peel stage,” he said.
— george E Z R A (@george_ezra) June 26, 2022
So let’s call it a birthday party. It certainly felt like one. Ezra’s blend of soul and sunny pop could have been tailor-made for Glastonbury. It’s an unrelentingly uplifting sound, rich in horns, organ and backing vocals. And it would take a curmudgeon of monumental proportions not to have been swept up in the sheer joy of this show. Songs like Green Green Grass got people moving, singing and hollering. Ezra was engaging throughout. A little boy called Thomas who was holding up a placard with his name on it got a shout-out from the stage, resulting in a good 10,000 people giving him a hair-raising cheer.
Ezra ended with Budapest and Shotgun. The latter song has become something of an evergreen Glastonbury anthem. It was a fantastic show, bursting with positivity. Ezra will be back. But next time, I imagine, the stage will be bigger. James Hall
Herbie Hancock demonstrates his enormous influence on modern music ★★★★☆
Everyone makes a big fuss of who’s headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, but I’d argue that the Sunday afternoon line-up at the big stage is a better decider of a good festival or a great one. On the last day of the festival it makes increasing sense to go easy on the step count and lean in to the gentle roll of the Pyramid Arena hill, especially if the sun’s out, and especially if Herbie Hancock is cooking up some immaculate jazz. Over the course of Hancock’s set, the paths around the Pyramid became clogged with people trying to get their spot for the afternoon, but at least he kept some of them dancing.
The Chicago multi-instrumentalist and jazz funk pioneer is 82 now, and deftly led his three fellow musicians through a set that elegantly showed off his enormous influence on contemporary music. Hancock spoke barely a handful of words, preferring to let his music do the talking. Crooning into layered mics that recalled the presence of autotune in modern pop, Hancock and his band unleashed dreamy harmonies and soft jams upon a happy-weary crowd.
— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) June 26, 2022
Nearly 40 years have passed since Hancock released Future Shock, an album many consider a vital ancestor of hip-hop, and yet his music - rich, layered and transportive - sounded as timeless as ever. Alice Vincent
With a nod to Macca, Sports Team leave everyone smiling ★★★★☆
Sunday morning cobwebs were firmly blown away by South London six-piece Sports Team, whose energetic indie rock went down a treat in the John Peel tent. The group, most of whom met at Cambridge University, sing about a romanticised Middle England, rather like early-era Blur. Their debut album Deep Down Happy was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2020, and its follow-up, GULP!, comes out later in the summer.
The band’s performance revolved around the manic energy of singer Alex Rice, who - at various times - climbed the lighting rig, crowd-surfed as a confetti cannon burst overhead, and writhed and wriggled on the stage floor like a man possessed. There are elements of the madcap circus performer to Rice (he wore a two-pronged red jester hat for much of the set) and touches of the charisma and presence of INXS’s Michael Hutchence too. (Sources close to real-life sports teams tell me he’s a pretty useful medium-paced bowler as well).
A mosh pit formed for a raucous Here’s The Thing, a pop song that positively crackles with energy. In a big tent like this, guitar-based music can sound muddy and its intricacies can be lost in the vastness. Everything ends up sounding a bit like landfill indie. This threatened to happen once or twice but was saved by the sheer energy of the individuals on stage. In a nod to Paul McCartney, they played A Little Help From My Friends. “This is beautiful. This is the best festival in the world,” Lake said.
The entire tent seemed to leave with smiles on their faces. It hopefully set the tone for Glasto’s final day. James Hall
What's your favourite Glastonbury memory of 2022 so far? How about your favourite Glastonbury memory all of time? Tell us in the comments below