Ed Balls says Radiohead’s Glastonbury headline set was ‘dirge-like’

Former Labour politician and Strictly Come Dancing contestant wasn't a fan of Thom Yorke and co

Ed Balls has described Radiohead‘s headlining set at Glastonbury as “dirge-like”.

Friday night (June 23) saw Thom Yorke and co take to the festival’s main Pyramid stage to headline Glastonbury for the third time. NME described the set as “an ‘OK Computer’-filled celebration” as Radiohead paid homage to their classic album, which turns 20 this year.

Now, former Labour politician – and Strictly Come Dancing contestant – Balls has penned an article for The Guardian in which he described going to Worthy Farm for the first time.

Describing Solange as “dreamy” and saying that he also enjoyed Kaiser Chiefs and Stormzy, Balls wasn’t so positive about Radiohead’s performance.

“The atmosphere for Radiohead is funereal,” he wrote. “The end of each song barely acknowledged by anyone other than the hardcore fans at the front. People around us chat through the songs, openly bored at the dirge-like offerings. And yes, there is a good reason why the large screens sit either side of the stage to help faraway audiences stay engaged; if you fill the feed with fuzzy, blurry, psychedelic pap, then it’s no wonder you lose your audience.”

Balls added that he much preferred Major Lazer to Radiohead, saying: “What a contrast to go over to the Other stage and join the energy, excitement and musical wizardry of Major Lazer. It would have had me bouncing on the bed at home.”

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn received what many have called a “rockstar welcome” when he arrived at Worthy Farm on Saturday, before making a number of appearances across the site – including a powerful speech on the Pyramid Stage to one of the biggest crowds that Glastonbury has ever seen.

Glastonbury boss Emily Eavis has since explained why Corbyn was invited to the festival.

“It’s felt like such a long time since you would put a political leader in that place, but it was the right time,” she said. “There are things we’ve been campaigning about here for such a long time. And the history that the festival has with politics and CND [Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament]. It really felt like the right time. It was quite an overwhelming moment, actually. A lot of people were very moved by it. It was something totally special and a complete one-off.”