Despite FOMO, Secret Shows Are A Magic Part Of Glastonbury

Glastonbury festival might be a wonderful utopian universe powered by good vibez, Shamanic willow-rubbing hippies and nitrous oxide, but it’s also the ultimate location for FOMO. I’m talking about the pain of missing those famous secret sets, of course. Take Pulp’s clandestine outing in 2011 now widely agreed to be the finest show of the entire festival. Were you there? Did you hear about it beforehand? I was too late and missed seeing one of my favourite bands play a historic moment. Even Kate Moss was turned away. Bummer. The day before I was having a late afternoon snooze in my tent when a friend put ‘Lotus Flower’ on a laptop nearby, a gentle lullaby weaving its way in it dreams until… it struck me. Cripes! This was live! We ran like Mo Farrah on hot plates and managed to get to the Park Stage for most of Radiohead’s secret set. It was the weekend’s zenith.

That was a vintage year, though. Other festivals have seen outings from Keane, The Dead Weather, Mumford & Sons, The Last Shadow Puppets, Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand. Each year the same discussion rears its head. Should these ‘secret guests’ just be written into official schedules so that fans can actually see their favourite acts? Pulp could easily’ve filled the Pyramid Stage in 2011 and their billing at the Park Stage meant tons of people couldn’t even glimpse Jarvis Cocker’s high kicks. If you’re the one who stumbles across Rihanna playing Kumbaya in the Healing Fields or Kate Bush appearing at a Block 9 rave, it’s alright for you. But what about the rest?

Emily Eavis has said The Park won’t be hosting secret sets this year, but told NME there’d be “little surprises all over the site, as ever.”

There’s always people that want to do late-night and surprise sets, and that will always continue, but we’re not going to programme them in the same way we have, just health and safety-wise

The rumours are rife, and range from the imaginable (Beady Eye, Last Shadown Puppets) to the not-a-chance-in -hell (Daft Punk, David Bowie, Prince). Hopefully I’ll eat my words when I get to the site this weekend.

Anyway, we want to know your secret set experiences. Do you think they’re a good idea? Have you been burned by FOMO? Who are you hoping to see?

Pick up NME’s Ultimate Preview Special to read the interview with Emily Eavis and loads more