Are Radiohead about to make a secret appearance at Glastonbury? That’s what the internet thinks after Glasto head honcho Michael Eavis brought their name up during a Q&A in Oxford.
At the session at Oxford University’s SU, with Eavis wearing his traditional denim shorts despite the posh surroundings, he was asked what exactly his role within the festival team is (skip to around the 40 minute mark in the video below). In response, Eavis began talking about his team who book the bands, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out the line-up.
“How about Underworld? Do you like Underworld?” he asked the students, before asking the same of “The Foals”. “They’re from Oxford, aren’t they?” he remarked, swiftly continuing: “Radiohead, do you like Radiohead?”
Could it be that Eavis has just let slip one helluva secret? He could, of course, merely have mentioned them because, like Foals, they too are from Oxford. History, however, gives us hope that this is a case of the former, rather than the latter. Let’s examine the evidence.
Radiohead are no strangers to the secret set
In 2011, the band played a “surprise” set at Glastonbury’s Park stage. Of course, the whole world and its mother knew what was going on long before so it wasn’t all that much of a surprise in the end. The year before, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood headed to the same stage for an unannounced set. If Radiohead are playing at Glastonbury this year, they won’t be on at the Park – there’s been no secret sets there for a few years now due to security and safety fears. But, as this all shows us, they’re not adverse to a little cloak and dagger or spontaneity.
They’ve got a convenient gap in their tour schedule
Radiohead’s first tour in years hits the UK tomorrow before heading on to Europe, but they’ve got a couple of weeks off before and after Glastonbury. That means they’ve plenty of time to get back from Reykjavik’s Secret Solstice Festival (where they play on June 17) and head down to Worthy Farm before they need to make the trip to Switzerland for Openair St. Gallen on July 2. PLENTY OF TIME. There’s even time to throw in a few rehearsals so they can play even more songs they haven’t aired in years.
There’s still a few “special guest” slots on the line-up
“Until the full lineup is released, this Clashfinder is publicly edited and based purely on guess work”, reads the unofficial Glastonbury Clashfinder, every Glasto-goer’s salvation. At this point, it’s nowhere near the legit, reliable source of information it will be when the festival’s underway, but let’s take a look at what it says anyway. Amongst all the confirmed acts, there are a few special guest slots still to be filled. Of course, the festival haven’t announced the entire line-up yet – that’s coming through in drips – so those could be filled by slightly less FOMO-inducing artists. For the optimistic amongst us, it’s a sign that there’s still hope. The realists, however, will be waiting until closer to the festival to make any judgements using this evidence.
Michael Eavis is the king of getting the rumour mill churning
Everyone paints Eavis as this endearing old farmer who’ll tell you all the festival’s secrets if you just ask. But what if he’s actually a very cunning businessman who knows exactly how to make everyone talk about his festival? No one thinks when he’s dropping hints about who’s going to headline next time that maybe he’s just bullshitting all of us and, for all he knows, 2018 will be topped by Chas & Dave, Ariana Grande and a hologram of Michael Jackson. Maybe he hangs up the phone on the media and wanders around his farmhouse, laughing to himself about how clever he is, puts on the kettle and waits for the headlines and social media debates to start rolling in. The point is Eavis slyly dropping Radiohead’s name in this Q&A might seem like an innocent slip of the tongue by a man renowned for such incidents, but it could easily just be his idea of a joke, a red herring to distract us all, a way to ensure Glastonbury is the centre of conversation once again. Looks like you win again, Michael.