Hello from Glastonbury! This week’s newsletter is being written from the Guardian’s cabin at Worthy Farm, where we’ll be covering the festival in exhaustive detail (more on that in a bit). After an enforced pandemic-era break, Glastonbury feels particularly wild and antic this year, everyone hopped up on the prospect of a mass gathering after two years of the rule of six, Zoom pub quizzes, substantial Scotch egg meals and the like. Festival-goers of every stripe are here – ravers, metalheads, poptimists, jazz aficionados, glamorous hospitality hangers-on, lads in SuperDry T-shirts throwing each other in the air for some reason – all drawn together by the promise of revelry, community and some pretty spectacular music. There genuinely is no place like it.
Obviously, if you aren’t at Glastonbury, you may well find all this talk of the “magic of the festival” envy and or rage-inducing. But the good thing about Glastonbury is that it’s pretty easy to vicariously enjoy the festival from wherever you are. The BBC’s coverage alone will see to that: this year they have live streams from the festival’s “big five” stages – Pyramid, Other, John Peel, Park and West Holts – as well as TV coverage of the Pyramid’s huge headlining acts: the planet conquering Billie Eilish on Friday, some bloke called Paul McCartney on Saturday and Kendrick Lamar, performing live for the first time since the release of his new album, on Sunday. There’s a load of other stuff too, including a plethora of other sets to stream and the usual extensive radio coverage – check here for full info of the Beeb’s offering.
And of course, the Guardian will be covering the festival in microscopic detail – every last squall of feedback, special guest appearance and celebrity sighting (one of our lot has already spotted Tilda Swinton) will be feverishly reported on. Each day we’ll have a liveblog stuffed full of news, reviews, pictures, videos and all manner of entertaining ephemera. We’ll also have standalone reviews of all the big hitters, photo essays from the site, interviews and tons else besides. In fact we’ve already kicked things off, with musicians, broadcasters and writers recalling their favourite festival moments, and Guardian music editor Ben Beaumont-Thomas’s picks of the 30 acts not to miss at this year’s festival.
To add to Ben’s list, a few picks of my own:
Manchester-based DJ Anz (playing the Sonic stage at 7.30pm on Friday) serves up a warm and inviting garage, house and bassline hybrid perfect for those hazy summer early evenings.
The marvellously monikered geordie stoner metal band Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs already played Thursday night, but are still worth mentioning because a) they’re excellent and b) it’s fun to type the word ‘pigs’ seven times in a row.
Wu-Lu is a very exciting south London producer who dabbles in everything from psych rock to fuzzy electronica.
The relentlessly energetic Baltimore hardcore group Turnstile – who Ben did mention, but are worth doubling up on as they might be the most exciting live act on the planet right now.
The good news is that, even if you have a total aversion to Glastonbury, all the above acts are booked in for a host of gigs and festivals this summer. See you down the front!
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