Festival season is nearly over and the fun comedown is already sinking in. But before we look forward to doing it all again next year, let’s take a look at the best – and most defining – festival moments from 2017 so far.
Corbynmania taking over Glastonbury
What started at a Libertines gig made its way to the queues of Glastonbury, Worthy Farm’s annual silent disco and even threatened to overshadow Radiohead’s Friday night headline set. Yes, we’re talking about the ubiquitous “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” chant set to the tune of White Stripes‘ ‘Seven Nation Army’.
But Corbynmania at Glastonbury didn’t just consist of chanting alone. The Corbz himself even made an appearance, arriving to a hero’s welcome and proceeding to draw one of the biggest (if not the biggest) crowds in Glasto history when addressing the Pyramid Stage faithful. The first of two back-to-back speeches, Corbyn stressed the power of music in lifting people out of poverty, slammed Trump, then introducing hip-hop Run The Jewels to the stage. What a bloody rockstar.
Corbyn’s appearance underlined the rejuvenated political optimism among the young that was on rich display in the build-up to June’s election. The atmosphere at Glasto this time around was definitely polar opposed to the Brexit comedown that was the festival site the year prior. Now we can’t wait until Jez’s Pyramid Stage headline set in 2018.
Corbyn fan accosting David Cameron at Wilderness
It’s hardly a secret that Oxfordshire’s Wilderness is one of the more middle-class festivals that the home counties have to offer. I mean, come on, it’s a festival that boasts hot tubs, ponies, champagne tents and even ham in shot glasses (yes, this is actually a thing now). But with former PM and repeated self-declared Smiths fanatic David Cameron attending this year, the socio-economic standing of the event was taken to a whole new level.
Even at a festival like Wilderness though, Cameron was not safe from the trolling public, as evidenced by celebrity chefs chanting the Corbyn song at him and Corbynistas photobombing his festival snaps. The Tories recently announced their very own festival (which sounds like posh hell on earth) and, to be fair, it’ll probably be the only place where ol’ Dave will be safe from public mocking.
Rap-loving kid going bar for bar at Coachella
There’s little more annoying than the person next to you screaming every lyric into your ear when you’re trying to watch your favourite artist at a festival. The only exception is when that individual is an adorable little kid who just happens to know every single word to Migos and Drake tunes. Then it’s actually heartwarming and quite brilliant.
At Coachella this year, this blonde kid went viral after being filmed spitting bars on his dad’s shoulders. NFL star Odell Beckham even tracked him down for a selfie, while Migos invited the youngster to star in their next music video. Not a bad start to his fledgling career from the artist soon to be known as Lil Blondie.
The epic Visions Festival dog show
East London’s Visions Festival takes place every year, bringing the biggest and most exciting names in alternative and forward-thinking music to various venues around Hackney. However, an even bigger highlight is the dog show that usually precedes the fest.
This year’s dog show raised the bar even further, introducing a special Twin Peaks contest to mark the return of David Lynch’s noir cult classic. There was a dog log lady, a canine Laura Palmer and a pup called Cooper dressed as a slice of cherry pie. Damn fine!
Arcade Fire‘s intimate secret set at Primavera
Picture this: you’ve just arrived at a festival in sunny Barcelona, you can see the ocean in the distance, the queues for the bars are still of a reasonable length and Arcade Fire have just started a surprise set, playing material that the rest of the world hasn’t heard yet.
That’s what happened on the opening afternoon of this year’s Primavera. Arcade Fire had just dropped their album’s title-track ‘Everything Now’ earlier in the day and had been selling the vinyl at the festival, just in case you happened to have brought your record player along. Things hadn’t quite reached peak Arcade Fire yet and a frenzy seemed to take over the Prima crowd, with everyone trying to cram in to see the Canadian band’s intimate gig. There were even fans watching from the bridge overlooking the impromptu stage.
As well as new material, the group also paid tribute to David Bowie. During ‘Reflektor’, frontman Win Butler told the crowd: “I miss David Bowie so much. Wherever you are, god bless.” Hear, hear.
The naked guy from Foo Fighters‘ Glasto set
Before playing ‘My Hero’ during the Foos’ Glastonbury headline set, Dave Grohl spotted a fan with his genitals out in the crowd and dedicated the song to him. Speaking to NME in the cold light of day (and under the condition of anonymity), Grohl’s naked ‘hero’ said of how his family took his newly-found infamy: “They found it pretty funny, they’ve said it’s up there with my biggest achievements.”
What a moment. Definitely a story to tell the grandkids, right? Or maybe save this specific one for when they’re a little older.
Grime taking over the US
If 2016 was the year that grime finally got its dues in the UK then 2017 festival season was the time that the genre truly broke America. Stormzy called his Coachella debut one of the “best” shows he’s ever played, while Skepta’s Governors Ball set in NYC was a massive triumph. Mans never been in the USA when it shut down, ey?
This teacher marking homework during Liam Gallagher‘s Glasto set
Festivals pose a lot of difficult questions: are you going to watch the headliner or head over to the dance tent nice and early? Are you going to leave late Sunday night to avoid the massive queues and black bag apocalypse that is Monday morning?
But for one individual at this year’s Glastonbury the big question was: Am I going to watch Liam G or manage to fit some work admin in? The correct answer? Both, always both. As you were…
Frank Ocean reinventing the festival headline set
Never one to conform to norms or expectations, Frank Ocean’s festival sets this summer have attracted rather mixed reviews. Performances at the likes of Parklife Festival in Manchester, Lovebox in London and LA’s FYF Fest have seen the star building his own stage set-up in the middle of the audience, delivering introspective headphones-on performances with Spike Jonze providing live visuals. The R&B singer may have angered some fans by not simply playing the hits (some songs he restarted repeatedly until he got it just right), but in doing so he has managed to elevate the festival headliner setting to new artistic heights.
Theresa May running through fields of wheat at Glastonbury
When the words escaped the Prime Minister’s mouth, you knew they were going to be the source of joyful mocking for years to come. The naughtiest thing she had ever done was running through fields of wheat as a child? Oh, the rural hijinks. Oh, how she had lived.
A fun past-time at Glastonbury is often spotting some of the best and most bizarre flags. Past years have been won by flags claiming that Gary Lineker “shags crisps” (he doesn’t, supposedly), but 2017’s coveted prize has to go to this pictorial reimagining of May’s naughty confession. It’s so perfect that it made us go all weak and wobbly at the knees.
Childish Gambino‘s homecoming at Governor’s Ball
Despite growing up in Georgia (and having his own TV show about hometown Atlanta), Donald Glover’s coming of age as Childish Gambino (his soon-to-be-retired rap moniker) perhaps owes as much to New York City, where he went to university and lived for the most part of his early career.
Glover’s set at New York’s Governor’s Ball, his only US festival of 2017, worked as a victory lap for his career-best album ‘Awaken, My Love!’, with the artist himself looking “like a guy having the time of his life”.
Radiohead finally giving in and playing ‘Creep’
Despite repeatedly dissing their own biggest hit and describing fans that request it at gig as “anally retarded”, Radiohead seem to have reconciled themselves with ‘Creep’.
“It’s a good song,” guitarist Ed O’Brien said in a recent interview. “It’s nice to play for the right reasons. People like it and want to hear it. We do err towards not playing it because you don’t want it feel like show business.” Thom Yorke added: “It can be cool sometimes, but other times I want to stop halfway through and be like, ‘Nah, this isn’t happening’.”
Luckily at both Glastonbury and Coachella this year, they did manage to stomach the track for the entirety of their live rendition. For some at Glastonbury, like Ed Balls for one, it was a much-needed break from some of their more “dirge-like” songs. Balls’ words, not ours.
Lorde being so great that she reduced herself to tears
Lorde’s played a lot of festival this summer: Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and Radio 1’s Big Weekend among them. But, perhaps unexpectedly, her greatest outing came at Rock Werchter in Belgium where she played a rather intimate set and delivered an emotional speech before one of the songs, talking about “learning how to be alone”.
NME‘s Andrew Trendell wrote of the performance: “It’s a rare privilege to see one on the finest performers of the planet in such a setting. Stripped of the huge perspex box set-up that dominated the stage at Coachella and Glastonbury, Lorde stands before us with a much more direct and intimate performance. She’s a stone’s throw away, dancing like nobody’s watching, treating the audience like friends.”
King Kendrick ruling Coachella
With Beyonce’s Coachella headline appearance getting pushed back a year on account of her being very rather pregnant at the time, it was on Kendrick Lamar to step up and claim the festival’s crown for 2017. Thankfully, he didn’t disappoint, delivering a set that was heavy on tracks from his brilliant recent album ‘Damn.’ There were some big guests (Future, Travis Scott and Schoolboy Q among them) but no-one could steal the show from Kung-Fu Kenny.
The edible insects on the food menu at Roskilde
Even though we’re in probably the golden era when it comes to festival food, it can all still become rather predictable after a while. Buddha bowl for the first night, falafel wrap to line the stomach on Saturday followed by some mac and cheese with a puntastic name on Sunday afternoon.
But you know what’s not a bit boring? The food at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival. NME‘s Helen Thomas went this year and treated herself to a burger topped with wax moth larvae mayo plus a lemonade with 15 crickets in it. Rather her than us…
Jon Snow maybe or maybe not chanting “Fuck the Tories!”
We’ve all been there, waking up in a sweat-boxed tent and not really remembering everything you did the night before. Only in this situation, you’re Channel 4 news fave Jon Snow and your indiscretion has made it into the pages of the right-wing red-tops.
So how do you deal with claims that you got a bit drunk at Glastonbury and chanted “Fuck the Tories!”. Well, you issue a vague statement about having “no recollection” of whether the incident happens or not. Jon Snow literally knows nothing.