The Glastonbury Festival has not been able to celebrate its half-century of history due to the pandemic, but on its return it is once again an event in England and beyond. Increasingly versatile for his poster; for its festive atmosphere, more notable this time; for its magic. And thanks largely to the BBC’s constant support for two decades: the network broadcasts entire concerts live and with time-delay, although it ensures that signal is not accessible to those of us who don’t live there or pay the tariff that the British fund public institution. We still have plenty of choice on YouTube and the series Glastonbury 2022, five episodes of almost an hour and very well produced by the BBC, arrived on Movistar Plus + already in early August.
Glasto guides a legion of artists through almost a hundred stages: there is something for every taste. The diversity is stylistic, gender (many women lead the new bands) and sexual identity, not so much geographic as Anglo-Saxon rules apply. The festival takes care of the present and honors the past: it brings together today’s stars like Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Olivia Rodrigo or Sam Fender with icons of nostalgia: Paul McCartney, Diana Ross or Pet Shop Boys.
Each issue remains on the screens for posterity. This invites theatricality: that of the musicians who go to great lengths with choreographies, dresses, impossible hairstyles and visual effects, and that of the audience who put on make-up, adorns and disguises, who hoists high flags (from known or unknown countries) . The 210,000 chosen (by lottery among more than a million requests) have kept their tickets since before the plague. The singers invite them to sing their refrains and leave their throats. You all know protagonists.
Nine memorable moments from Glastonbury 2022
Billie Eilish, the youngest at the helm. At 20, the unclassifiable California artist became the first soloist to headline since Adele in 2016, and the youngest in the festival’s history. He finished performances on the main stage, the Pyramid, the first big night, on Friday June 24th.
Paul McCartney, in good company. The Beatle shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen (to interpret Glory Days and I Wanna Be Your Man) and Dave Grohl (with whom he sang Band on the Run). But the most emotional moment came when he had John Lennon appear on screens to perform I Got a Feeling in two voices, thanks to footage provided by Peter Jackson from the 1969 edition of the documentary Get Back.
Jack White and his anthem surprising. The guitarist wasn’t named on the bill, but he appeared to be playing songs from his solo career and his group’s most emblematic song, The White Stripes: Seven Nation Army. That Ooooooo that’s sung in stadiums around the world, and that he always delivers with an old guitar with a sound that’s as imperfect as it is recognizable.
Diana Ross is forever young. The legendary Supremes singer, Motown icon and queen of 70’s disco music put on a glamorous and danceable show. At 78, he joked publicly, “If I can move my body like that at 48… Well, I actually feel like I’m 48.”
Olivia Rodrigo throws darts at the US Supreme Court. The 19-year-old California singer was joined by England’s Lily Allen, 37, to sing the song F*** You (Fuck you, in an uncensored translation), which is “dedicated to the five members of the Supreme Court who she.” have shown that in the end they really don’t give a damn about freedom,” in reference to the ruling in which they overturned the Roe vs. Wade doctrine, which protected abortion rights.
The Magical Harmonies of Lorde. The 25-year-old New Zealand star was joined by British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks and American Clairo to interpret this Stones at the Nail Salon, which she defines as “the anthem of losers”. And the three voices fit perfectly.
Primal Scream: Memories of Britpop Hedonism. The enduring Glasgow band revived the frivolous and arrogant days of Tony Blair’s Cool Britain in the 1990s, also a golden age for Glastonbury. They were (and are) able to fuse rock, electronic dance music and gospel choirs with flying colors. Like in this Moving On Up.
The most sung was: “Don’t look back in anger”. Speaking of Britpop, there was Noel Gallagher, the head of Oasis, performing his solo repertoire and some gems of the remembered Manchester band, most notably that anthem (which reappeared in the demonstrations following the 2017 attacks in that city). the audience sang enthusiastically. The BBC doesn’t have it available on YouTube so we only have this partial shot.
Kendrick Lamar’s crown of thorns. The rapper headlined on Sunday, so he was the one who raised the curtain. He covered his head with a crown of thorns (137 carats, designed by Tiffany), the same one he wears on the cover of his latest album. In his song Savoir, with which he ended his show, he said: “They judge you, they judge Christ. Good luck for women’s rights.”
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