As a politically fired-up Glastonbury 2017 ends, co-organiser Emily Eavis has said: “It has to be the best one yet.”
Ed Sheeran was due to be the Sunday night headliner, completing a line-up that saw Radiohead, Foo Fighters and – in a secret set – the Killers take to the stages of Worthy Farm over the three-day festival.
The spirited atmosphere was helped by an absence of torrential rain and thick mud, but also by the heightened political temperature.
After an impassioned speech by Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday afternoon drew a bigger crowd than Friday-night headliners Radiohead, on Sunday it was the turn of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell. He attacked Conservative government policies, which he said had directly led to the tragedy at Grenfell Tower where at least 79 people lost their lives.
Grenfell was also a focus of Stormzy’s Saturday night set as, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of the tower, he told the crowds: “In light of recent events at Grenfell Tower, we are urging the authorities to tell the fucking truth, first and foremost. We’re urging the authorities to fucking do something first and foremost.”
“We’re urging the fucking government to be held accountable for the fuckery, and we ain’t gonna stop until we get what we deserve.”
Heightened precautions and police presence following the attacks in Manchester and London Bridge meant that festival security costs reached around £1m per day.
This will be the last Glastonbury for two years, with a fallow year planned for 2018 to give the land – and the neighbours – a break. However, Michael Eavis, founder of the festival, said that despite it being hard work, he was “already regretting” the choice to take a year off, and said that while it was 100% confirmed, “there’s one band I want to re-form – if they re-form, I’ll change my mind”.
He would not give anything else away, but added: “It’s not One Direction.”
“It gives us a chance to reflect and everybody has a chance to recover and come back with fresh ideas,” said Emily. It was after the fallow year in 2006 that the festival came back with two new areas, the Park Stage and the new edition to the south-east “naughty corner”, the dance area Block9.
Michael and Emily Eavis were adamant the festival would return again in 2019, and confirmed they had already booked acts for their 50th birthday in 2020.
“Half a century,” he said. “It’s an incredible feat, actually. We’ve been through so many struggles to get here.” Despite his five decades curating Glastonbury, Eavis said he still had a wishlist of bands he was hoping to entice to the festival.
Fleetwood Mac are one, but “they’ve got so many managers”.
“We can’t get them to agree a price,” he said. “Stevie Nicks would be good. Maybe we’ll get here her on her own.”
He admitted he was also still holding out for a Smiths reunion: “I haven’t told them that yet – that’s next week’s job.”
The wheels are also already in motion for a smaller festival away from the Worthy Farm site, which will happen “possibly in 2021. Eavis described the new festival venture, to be called The Variety Bazaar, as the “last big gamble of my life”.
He added: “We have no plans to stop doing the festival here, but we want to try something in another location away from the farm. It’s still very much in the planning stages, but we’ve got to be brave enough to have a go.”
Festival-goers who were soaking up a final blast of Sunday sunshine said they had been rejuvenated by the political spirit of this year’s Glastonbury and expressed their sadness they would have to wait a whole two years to return to the farm.
“People are a lot happier this time, last year you definitely felt the effect of Brexit,” said George Blackman, 26. “People were sombre, this time they’re talking about Jeremy and Labour, they’re more optimistic.
“I’m incredibly disappointed about it not being on next year. It costs a lot but it’s totally worth it.”