Florence + the Machine On Wearing Bin Bags, Recreating Hitchcock Movies And Not Getting Too Drunk At Glastonbury

With her cape a-flap on the Avalonian winds and her superhuman uvula vibrating in harmony with the leylines, Florence Welch arrives to save the day. Last week, as Dave Grohl hobbled around on crutches after realizing that sometimes the show just can’t sodding well go on, all speculation on who’d replace Foo Fighters as Friday night headliners – Kylie? Blur? Fleetwood Mac? Um, Circa Waves? – was rendered moot. Many were of the opinion that this was Florence’s year to step up in the first place, so it really was a one-horse race. As she prepares to follow in the hallowed footsteps of last-minute headline step-ins such as Pulp, Gorillaz, Basement Jaxx and – way back in 1970 – T Rex, she gives us her guide to piggy-backing, tent-invading, costume-changing and generally face-palming your way through the weekend, and still coming up smelling like Glastonbury 2015’s biggest hero…

Pace yourself

“If you trick yourself into thinking that you can take it easy if you go there on a Thursday: don’t, because that’s what I did and then I was up until Saturday morning. I was like, ‘Oh I’ll just have one drink on the Thursday night’ and then a friend said they saw me outside the Winnebago on the Friday morning going [woozy voice] ‘I think I had a few more than one drink’. But then I don’t know how to give anyone advice on pacing themselves because I’ve never been able to do it. It’s all or nothing for me. I only know how to do it full throttle.”

Visit the quieter corners

“Go to the Healing Fields, if you are doing it more gently, or go down to Strummerville. Check out the people making sculptures and stuff, that’s fun.”


Don’t piggy back the bands

“I just meet people and I’m like ‘I want to go on your shoulders now’. When I turned up on the Thursday last time, I wasn’t even playing, this was in the year I had off. I was like, I’ll get there on the Thursday, and all of a sudden it was Friday morning and my sister was having to hold me back because I was trying to dive-bomb Haim in their interviews for the BBC. My sister was grabbing me by my legs and pulling me back, like, ‘You are not even here to play! Get back!’ And then I learned Arctic Monkeys were playing and we were trying to get onto the stage but we went through the wrong door and ended up in the front of the crowd in the moshpit.”

Watch the sunrise from the Stone Circle

“Stone Circle Saturday morning, that’s the bit where all the birds start flocking around and you feel like it’s an Alfred Hitchcock movie, except if Alfred Hitchcock movie made a movie about hippies setting fire to things. There’s always the guy who’s done a little bit too much and ends up attacking one of the rocks with a welly. And you’re like, this is kind of psychedelic and cool and also I think it might be the end of the world.”

Dress well, if not sensibly

“Lots of costume changes is good. But then I don’t know … because what happens to me is I have some kind of crazy, embroidered feather thing, but then it starts pissing with rain so you just have to put a binbag over it.”

Don’t take Flo’s advice

“I’m not the most practical person to talk to about advice for Glastonbury – I don’t know how to pace myself, I don’t bring any warm clothes or wet things, I’ve gone to Glastonbury twice without a tent. In fact, I’m useless at giving help. For my first gig at Glastonbury I had to be dragged from someone else’s tent by a friend – this was the year of the apocalyptic mud. It was the first gig I’d ever done on the Sunday, and I obviously arrived on a Thursday, so by the time it came to Sunday I didn’t even know who I was, let alone where I was, whose tent I was in, and a friend had to drag me to the gig which was in the Guardian tea tent. My guitarist had gone completely missing and Suggs was trying to stall for time by doing an impression of Mick Jagger. So basically don’t take any advice from me, and I don’t know how I made it to the Main Stage, because by rights I should’ve been face down in the mud somewhere.”