If there was any doubt about the unofficial title of “World’s Greatest Music Festival”, Glastonbury 2022 let it rest. The glorious and long-awaited return to dignified farm turned out to be one of the most colorful, eclectic and seemingly crime-free events we’d ever seen. From the moment founder Michael Eavis opened the gates to the festival, a significant part of the public mood was palpably lifted.
Of course, it helped that the shortest thunderstorms cleared almost as quickly as they came. The wellies and raincoats came out on Friday, and by Saturday afternoon they seemed to disappear, tucked away in tents and replaced with sunscreen and sunscreens. The Libertines kicked off in typically raucous style, followed by the visceral poetry of Kae Tempest and the rousing, sardonic indie rock of Wet Leg. There was previously an upbeat set by Australian/New Zealand band Crowded House on the Pyramid Stage Wolf Alice – who got to Glastonbury on the skin of their teeth due to a canceled flight from LA – delivered a thumping rock show built around the sublime vocals and lyrical candor of frontwoman Ellie Rowsell.
“It’s when Wolf Alice slows things down — fully appreciating the nuances of Rowsell’s gossamer voice — that they’re at their most powerful,” the independent‘s Patrick Smith said in his review† “’Lipstick on the Glass’, from the 2021 Blue Weekend, sits beautifully alongside the intoxicating rush of ‘Bros’. Moments later, bathed in orange light, she sings ‘you f***ed with my feelings’ on ‘Safe from Heartbreak’. Arms wave in unison, like the soothing sounds of ‘How Can I Make This OK?’ wash over a swooning multitude.”
In her Glastonbury debut Phoebe Bridgers performed beautiful renditions of songs such as “Motion Sickness,” inspired by her past relationship with troubled musician Ryan Adams, and “Sidelines,” which she dedicates to her decidedly trouble-free boyfriend, lovely Irish actor Paul Mescal. She’s joined by Mercury Prize winner Arlo Parks to close out the set, not long after Parks performed her own sunflower-filled gig at the aptly named Park Stage. Other highlights come from the always outstanding St. Vincent, Little Simz and Sam Fender who proved his future headliner status at the Pyramid.
Then it was time for Billie Eilishwho recorded her history as the youngest Glastonbury headliner ever (20 years and six months old) in her stride. In a five star review† the independent’Critic Mark Beaumont praised the Gen-Z icon for music that is “much closer to the actual teenage experience of 2022…fame comes with insecurities, sex is regrettable and drugs, if any, are generally prescribed.” with anxiety.”
The sun rose on Saturday, bathing Worthy Farm in a golden haze, just in time for Joy Crookes to make her Glastonbury debut on the Pyramid Stage (without pressure), followed by a riotous performance with Self Esteem’s John Peel and her fantastic, feminist backup dancers. On the other stage, Metronomy handed out sweet summer pop, followed by indie band Glass Animals and their tireless frontman Dave Bayley. Celeste soothed everyone’s hangovers with her sultry, jazz-inspired West Holts pop. Those who were at the Pyramid Stage, meanwhile, were treated to a dazzling set of returning Glastonbury favorites, Haim, who shared their sun-kissed California pop with confidence and humor.
Right after that it was Gen-Z pop star Olivia RodrigoIt’s time to shine, and she did. Dressed in shiny laced boots, she stormed the other stage armed with nothing more than a purple microphone and an album of pop punk hits. “These are the most people I’ve ever seen in my life,” she said, watching the thousands of people in awe. Yet she walked this uncharted territory by covering her idol Avril Lavigne’s 2003 hit “Complicated” and then casting British star Lily Allen as a surprise guest.
In one of the many moments at Glastonbury where artists – including Phoebe Bridgers, rock band IDLES and headliner Eilish – called the Supreme Court for overthrowing Roe vs Wade, Rodrigo and Allen started with an uninhibited and pertinent interpretation from Allen’s 2009 single “F*** You”.
“I’m devastated and terrified” [by the recent ruling] and because of this so many women and girls will die and I wanted to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who showed us at the end of the day that they really don’t care about freedom,” Rodrigo announced. “This song goes out to Judges Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh. We hate you!”
Glastonbury is always a good time for celebrity spotting, and this year was no exception. Jessie Buckley was spotted dancing in Park’s backstage bar while the Haim sisters hung out with Alexa Chung. Noel Gallagher held court in the Rabbit Hole, while movie star Sienna Miller stood in hospitality behind the Pyramid Stage chatting with friends. Former headliner Chris Martin was out with his longtime partner, Hollywood star Dakota Johnson, and One Direction fans went wild with sightings of former members Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan.
forward Paul McCartneyHeadlining, Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds took over the Pyramid Stage for a raucous sing-along of some of Oasis’ biggest and best hits. Then it was time for the man himself: the Beatles legend, Wings frontman, solo artist. Two epic guest stars appeared in quick succession: Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. “Literally in tears. Best performance I’ve ever seen. Not even drunk,” read the emotional email from Mark Beaumont, before giving his… significantly clearer, beautifully written review†
Then suddenly it was Sunday at Worthy Farm. Jazz fusion legend Herbie Hancock provided the perfect early afternoon set at the Pyramid, while at the same time George Ezra – in possibly the least-secret set Glastonbury has ever seen – appeared on the John Peel stage for a rousing sing-along. Critic Mark Beaumont described: Diana Ross‘s Legends slot in the Pyramid as “a set that’s as much a 100,000-strong support group as it is a celebratory sing-along,” in part because Ross struggled to hit the right notes.
“It’s still a magical shudder to be in the presence of such a supernaturally famous and universally loved pop icon, and the masses of Glastonbury perm wigs aren’t letting this one escape without a fight,” he said. noticed. “They help carry her first wave of Supremes hits – ‘Baby Love’, ‘Stop! In The Name of Love’ and ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ – which are thrown out early as a death wish from a Legends slot. They’ll even do that on Ross’ failed attempt at starting a sing-along coda on the soft soul ballad “I’m Still Waiting.” The star and her songs get all the love; the performance itself is of secondary importance.”
Irish band Fontaines DC tore up the Other Stage with a plethora of moshpits and then, back at the Pyramid, Manchester heroes Elbow put on a crowd-pleasing set of their biggest hits, from “One Day Like This” to “Grounds for Divorce” and “My sorry captains”. There was much to relish in the nostalgic stakes, whether it was the triumphant reunion of Sugababes and American trio TLC on Friday, indie favorites Scouting for Girls on Saturday, or teen pop idols McFly from the Noughties on Sunday. Lorde worshiped solar energy on the Pyramid Stage, until the sun went down, and before long Kendrick Lamar‘s closing headline set.
And what a performance. With a glittering crown of silver thorns, the DAMN rapper calmly walked to the main stage, before propelling himself into one of the most dynamic, exciting and virtuoso headline shows Glastonbury has ever seen. Alternately flanked by a troupe of male dancers and ballerinas in red chiffon dresses, he never missed a beat amid the slick choreography that created seamless transitions between each track. He was ruthless on “Humble”. Mysterious on “LUST”. Unstoppable on “King Kunta”. By the time he came to refer to the overthrow of Roe vs Wade, furiously repeating “Godspeed for women’s rights,” it seemed safe to assume that the hairs on everyone’s necks were standing on end. What a spectacular and incendiary way to end the night.