There can’t be many politicians who’ve had their name chanted at a festival, but then Jeremy Corbyn isn’t most politicians. Not since the appearance of the Dalai Lama in 2015 has such reverence been expressed towards a festival guest and this year’s starstudded guestlist of Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and David Beckham has been somewhat overshadowed by a 68-year-old man from Islington. In fact, even Michael Eavis – the festival’s usual demi-deity – has been relegated to second best. His name is on more T-shirts than any headline act this year and posters across the site proclaim ‘JC 4 PM’. Corbyn-mania is in full flow and it’s all rather lovely.
Though he doesn’t arrive until Saturday, punters have been singing his name since gates opened on Wednesday. When he does finally here through, things really step up a gear. Following a train trip down filled with selfies with festival-goers he heads straight to the Greenpeace field for a lovely vegetarian lunch. Boldly wearing white trousers to a festival, he’s then off to the Worker’s Beer Company tent to serve up some socialist pints to wide-eyed punters before the main event – his Pyramid appearance.
“At last we have a leader to put in place all the issues we have been campaigning for these past years,” says Michael Eavis by way of introduction before Jeremy hands him a personalised copy of the Labour Party manifesto. Then, to one of the biggest main stage crowds in living memory – and much larger than Friday night headliner’s Radiohead – he delivers a hugely emotional speech, touching on everything from the Grenfell Tower tragedy to tackling racism, homophobia and sexism, education, the environment, healthcare as a human right and family trips to Glastonbury Tor as a kid. He even manages to throw out a casual Donald Trump diss when he describes a poster on the festival site that has a message for the US president; “Build bridges not walls.” The cheers and chants during the show are loud and proud and Jeremy looks every inch the leader as he thanks the UK’s young for their support. “Let’s look to build a world of peace, human rights, justice and democracy,” he says and thousands upon thousands yell in agreement. And he does all this with Brad and Johnny watching from the side of the stage. Even movie stars have fallen under this man’s spell. It’s a joy to watch.
He finishes up with a quote from Shelley and there’s not a dry eye in the field. “Rise like Lions after slumber/In unvanquishable number/Shake your chains to earth like dew/Which in sleep had fallen on you/Ye are many-they are few.” The weekend’s most powerful set – and one of the most poetic too. Number 10, he sees you.