Jeremy Corbyn to appear on Pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival 2017

Exclusive: Labour leader to introduce political US rap duo Run the Jewels on the main stage as Michael Eavis hails him ‘the hero of the hour’

Jeremy Corbyn will appear at this year’s Glastonbury, speaking to crowds from the main Pyramid stage on the Saturday afternoon of the festival.

After being scheduled to appear at last year’s event before cancelling amid the vote for Brexit, the Labour leader is likely to receive a rapturous reception this time, in the wake of a general election campaign in which he energised young voters and defied political pundits to erode the Conservatives’ Commons majority.

He will be led on stage by 81-year-old festival founder Michael Eavis. “We’re Corbyn fans, that’s the thing,” Eavis told the Guardian at the Glastonbury site this week. “He’s got something new and precious, and people are excited about it. He really is the hero of the hour.”

Corbyn will introduce US rap duo Run the Jewels, known for their evangelistic leftwing politics and lyrics that touch on social issues. The group’s MC Killer Mike is a friend and supporter of Bernie Sanders, and campaigned for him throughout his Democratic leadership campaign. At a recent concert at London’s Field Day festival, the MC threw his support behind Corbyn and encouraged the crowd to vote Labour.

Killer Mike with Bernie Sanders at a 2016 rally in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Killer Mike with Bernie Sanders at a 2016 rally in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Eavis said the issue on which he agrees most with Corbyn is nuclear disarmament. “He really believes in it, like I do. The UK’s nuclear weapons cost an absolute fortune, and make us a target. Why? For four boats? It’s ridiculous; it’s so absurd. Corbyn is on the same page with me on that one. He’s going to fight it out, I think.”

But Eavis also championed Corbyn’s anti-austerity stance. “Social justice and elevating the status of working-class people, that’s all an important exercise. Education, hospitals, social care – these are all huge issues that can’t be swept under the carpet. The Tories have ignored them, and the Labour party as well – the Blairites. It’s all changed now.”

Jeremy Corbyn and grime MC JME.
Jeremy Corbyn and grime MC JME. Photograph: i-D

His daughter Emily, who manages much of the festival’s operation, also threw her support behind Corbyn. “It’s great to see somebody who’s engaging young people so much,” she said. “It’s been a really full-on few years, culminating in Brexit and Trump. It felt like the whole world was shifting dramatically to the right. I think that this is a breath of fresh air – people are like, ‘No, enough, we’re not going to let it happen.’”

Corbyn’s introduction of Run the Jewels adds rap music to the various musical genres he has aligned himself with. As well as getting support from UK grime MCs such as Stormzy, Novelist and JME during his campaign, Corbyn was pictured on the cover of hard rock magazine Kerrang! alongside frontmen from the bands Creeper and Architects, and appeared on stage at the Wirral Live music festival during a set by indie band Reverend and the Makers.

Run the Jewels are scheduled to perform on the Pyramid stage at 4.15pm on 24 June, with Corbyn appearing just beforehand. Other leftwing figures already scheduled to appear at Glastonbury include shadow chancellor John McDonnell, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, and campaigning songwriter Billy Bragg.

• Read the full interview with Michael and Emily Eavis


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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