It might be hard to believe, given the happy, broken, burnt state of festival-goers (myself included – this report comes to you from a two-hour-long shower queue), but technically, yesterday was the first proper day of Glastonbury.
Already, though, from Spanish singer Rosalía proving herself a worthy future headliner to Stormzy‘s electrifying set, there have been myriad “I was there” moments. The weather was balmy, the atmosphere barmy, and the entertainment on point.
There were celeb sightings aplenty, too. Billie Piper, Emilia Clarke, Rupert Grint and Professor Green were spotted by The Independent’s team on the ground.
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Click through the gallery to see the best photos from Glastonbury 2019
Most exciting by far, though, was the dad from My Parents Are Aliens having a whale of a time at King Princess.
The festival has outdone itself with the food stalls, too – veggie and vegan festival-goers usually have to put up with a weekend of falafel, but there are options here from just about every corner of the world. And plenty of options for those who enjoy a bacon roll, too.
Basically, it’s been worth missing Love Island for. Here are the biggest talking points from Friday at Glastonbury:
Let’s Eat Grandma‘s performance
William’s Green is one of Glastonbury’s tinier tents, and what a treat to see two of the sharpest songwriters on the bill annex it for anarchic ends. Primed for battle at dual keyboards, the outré-pop duo of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth sweep from avant-garde handclaps to an improbably touching Macarena dance.
They play like teen icons letting loose for their mates: it’s not a fine-tuned routine but a reckless spectacle, full of beseeching melodies and synths wired in to the wavelength of an epiphany. They move freely in that zone between euphoria and melancholy – the way it feels to pinpoint an emotion you’ve been swimming inside and to suddenly, unquestioningly own it. JM
Rosalía performing “Barefoot in the Park”
The searing Spanish singer, who puts a modern spin on old-school flamenco, proved that she’s destined for greatness in the John Peel tent.
Bringing the ancient sound of her homeland to a 21st-century audience, the 25-year-old sings mostly in Spanish, but there was a brief foray into the English language in the form of the woozy, off-kilter “Barefoot in the Park” – one of the standout tracks from James Blake’s latest album, Assume Form, to which Rosalia contributed vocals. Purple stars flickered behind her as she sang. Blake didn’t appear onstage, but it is no slight against him to say that Rosalía more than did the song justice on her own. AP
There was so much to enjoy at Stormzy’s genuinely emotional headline set – from flashes of his grateful, dorky smile to the moment he told Boris Johnson to “suck your mum”. But my highlight was the little girl, decked out in a bright red tracksuit, who joined Stormzy for “Return of the Rucksack”.
She first took to the stage completely on her own, as a young voice read out a quote from Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses. “I hadn’t fully realised just how powerful words could be before this. Whoever came up with the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but word will never hurt me’ was talking about his or her armpit.”
Later, surrounded by more than 20 dancers, she had more attitude than anyone else on stage. AL
The most eco-conscious year yet
Beautifully decorated bins are generously scattered throughout the festival site, each clearly labelled to mark what you should recycle in it. Water bottles are banned from sale, so everyone has brought reusable containers to fill up, and even the toilets and showers are designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Though they attract those with hippy tendencies, festivals are generally no friend to the environment. It is galvanising to see the Eavis clan make such an effort to rectify that. AP
George Ezra’s “Shotgun”
How do you solve a problem like George Ezra? George Ezra, weak of chat and strong of banger; George Ezra, with your terrible persona, tedious anecdotes and frankly silly voice. Why do I keep going back for more, chasing the cider-sweet hit of his summery pop?
The utterly inexplicable presence of a gramophone crackling with deliberately frazzled vocals unfortunately emphasised the most twee and cringeworthy aspects of Brand Ezra – but for all my attempts at smug cynicism, his closing number, “Shotgun” – in all its brass-backed, lads-chanting glory – was impossible to resist. AL
Sheryl Crow singing “All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun”
Sheryl Crow spent very little time on the Pyramid Stage itself for her afternoon performance – the country pop singer chose instead to wade into the crowd for her euphoric old-school anthems. “All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun” was the best of them, rallying us into the first mass singalong of the festival. AP
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