Friday was a beautifully sunny day to start the festival’s big stages. Prior to the day’s biggest acts – the not-so mystery act the ChurnUps, dance star Fred Again, and a Fomo-inducing final clash between Arctic Monkeys, Wizkid, Kelis, Hot Chip, Fever Ray and a Chemical Brothers DJ set – the day kicked off for many with a certain lustrously-curled motivator.
Joe Wicks kicked things off early with an on stage fitness session, with the Theatre and Circus area providing a health kick for young and old festivalgoers alike.
Sharleen Spiteri spoke to Alexis Petridis at a Guardian Live event at the Cabaret stage ahead of Texas’s show later in the day. Spiteri proved enjoyably ferocious and foul-mouthed about her experience of being a woman in the music industry, though as a fan she had never seen any difference between her heroes Joe Strummer and Debbie Harry. “I never really differentiated between female and male pop stars … I have never thought: ‘I’m a woman in music’. It is a tough fight, going up against the men, but it isn’t any different than if you’re stacking shelves in Tesco – it’s the way of the world.”
At lunchtime, Guardian photographer Jonny Weeks stumbled across Glasto Latino’s infectious energy.
The weather shone on sun-worshippers this year, as forecast rain failed to materialise, but shaded areas are at a premium on the Glastonbury site – as this popular tree proved this afternoon.
Star Feminine Band were the ideal festival opener. At 11.30am, with the sun already high, this troupe of teenage girls from Benin exuded radiance with a sound that bundled highlife, bubu, rumba and local waama rhythms together, carrying their messages of optimism and the empowerment of African women.
As the evening set in, LA quartet Warpaint brought their atmospheric, prowling, funk-led sound blowing in like a desert wind.
Sparks netted an A-list helper in Cate Blanchett, who recreated the shapes she cut for the video for their single The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte.
With one of the biggest crowds in Other stage history, Fred Gibson, AKA Fred Again’s high-energy pad-popping blend of house, drum’n’bass, mournful and engaging vocal samples, and visuals on a giant vertical screen, unified a young audience who had been left behind by the pandemic.
Several days of will-they-won’t-they laryngitis speculation stoked anticipation for Arctic Monkeys’ big Friday nighter – the Sheffield lads’ brilliantly odd blend of barnstorming indie rock and crooned ballads couldn’t unite the entire Pyramid crowd, but it shows how unwilling they are to cleave to what’s expected of a big British band.
Meanwhile, in a demonstration of the sheer scope of Glastonbury’s musical remit and A-list clout, one of Africa’s biggest stars, Wizkid, closed the proceedings at the Other stage.
Then, deep into the night, thousands descended on the “naughty corner”: the south east section of the site featuring the monolithic Iicon stage and the anti-capitalist grotto of Shangri-La.