It’s a perennial theme, ‘Glastonbury is not what it was’ – yet surely this is the highest compliment possible. For such a huge festival Glastonbury is surprisingly nimble at moving and reflecting the pop times. A sprawling microcosm of pop culture in the west country. Who wants to be where it ‘was’- pop culture has to be in fast forward from Grime to Thurston Moore’s brilliant post Sonic Youth set to sequined pop finery – this is Glastonbury 2017.
There’s a new mood.
This year is no different. There is a different mood. A different crowd. Post election the youth have awaken politically and musically and the festival captures this new spirit of under 30 culture. The preeminent themes are grime – the best new music in the UK which is erupting across the site from the Sunday night Boy Better Know slot to other acolytes of the fast moving scene that is now the cutting edge off mainstream. Only Glastonbury can embrace this and set it next to Napalm Death and Katy Perry and make sense of it all.
In 2017 listening to music is not about being loyal to a band or a guitar its about music and its glorious spread across many forms. The other key moment this year is Jeremy Corbyn’s 4pm appearance on the main stage introducing outspoken hip hop duo Run The Jewels – if there is a moment that perfectly captures modern Glastonbury then its this. Corbyn is like a underground indie band who suddenly cored a number one hit. He will do his slot of Billy Bragg’s Leftfield stage and then em,brace the huge crowd capturing the underlining optimism of the new generation who are fast forwarding away from the musical, cultural and political deadweight of older generations.
Just some of the highlights…
From the perfect country twisted pop brilliance of first aid kit to Stockport’s drone pop lullabys from Blossoms to the timely Beatles celebration of the bootleg beatles with their pepper land sinfonia which would be naff in any context but so perfect here – the festival zigzags everywhere.
There is the brilliant pure pop of Charli XVX, Stormzy bringing the cutting edge grime
stormy and then liam gallagher celebrating his great upcoming solo album with an hour of rock star swagger to the warped and atmospheric brilliance of british sea power, to the final embracing of punk rock in the shape of Dropkick Margie’s and the youthful abandon of Slaves there is so much breathtaking diversity that it could be argued that this is the best Glastonbury bill ever.
And that’s not counting the tripped out brilliance of king gizzard or flaming lips or the polemic sheer brilliance of LTW faves Sleaford mods and the grizzled debonair velvet voiced mark lanegan or the freak rock of bo ningen, temples and moon landings
Katy Perry – pure pop razzmatazz always sits well at Glastonbury – on stage that big it takes a p[op star glow to reach the back of the field and its always interesting to see how they can make fast forward hint singles work in the live arena.
Cabbage – Upcoming Manchester crew are on the verge of the big breakthrough and their wonk pop will create a sweat pit.
Yanis Varoufakis and Elif Şafak, Left Field, 1.30pm – the charismatic former finance minster of Greece in debate – classic Left filed fare that should get the mind racing.
Barry Gibb, Pyramid stage, 4.45pm
The last surviving Gibb brother will surely get a raucous reception that embraces his decade long classic pop career – so many brilliant songs that will deserve the reception they get. Glastonbury is always great for these classic slots.
Grime powerhouses, Other Stage, 10.15pm
The high point of the festival with the core Grime collective owning the Other Stage with a music full of rhythm, imagination and lyrical shrapnel that captures the modern city so perfectly.