It’s impossible to separate Glastonbury from politics. You can’t turn a corner at Worthy Farm without catching a glimpse of activism, and a huge part of the festival’s appeal is its constant push for social change. 2016 was defined by word spreading of the Brexit result, a mixture of shock and defiance from fans and performers. 2017 takes a different turn. After the botched June election, which left the Tories weaker and Labour resurgent, there’s a sense of optimism filling the fest. Jeremy Corbyn’s turning up to introduce Run the Jewels. Hilarious flags are everywhere, poking fun at Theresa May’s naughty trips to fields of wheat are everywhere. And Ed Balls is staying for the whole weekend. Here’s how politics is taking over Glastonbury in 2017:
Turn any corner at Glastonbury and you’ll probably overhear the chant, ‘Ooooooh, Jeremy Corbyn!’. Struck to the tune of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’, it’s become Glastonbury’s go-to anthem.
2Radiohead, Glastonbury 2017
Performers are making their political voices heard, too. On Friday’s (June 23) headline set, Radiohead included a couple of digs towards Theresa May. Frontman Thom Yorke sarcastically repeated the words “strong and stable” during ‘Myxomatosis’, before telling the current Prime Minster: “See you later, Theresa. Just shut the door on the way out.”
3Saturday: Kate Tempest plays the West Holts
Rapper and poet Kate Tempest didn’t mince her words during her set. Performing on the West Holt’s stage, she said: “Strong and stable into ruin… Murdoch headlines leeches for the letting of our blood lost, blame it on the migrants suffocated in containers, blame it on the Muslims or whichever current favourite takes the weight of our collective hate and keeps the nation safe. Privatise and privatise and private, let the nurses burn.”
4Ed Balls, Glastobury
Politicians love a trip to Glastonbury. Ed Balls was on site yesterday (June 23), alongside wife and fellow Labour MP Yvette Cooper. Thankfully Balls wasn’t seen dancing.
Witty signs, placards and flags are everywhere this year. Most are taking aim at Conservative party slogans that backfired.
Placards aren’t just campaigning for Corbyn, they’re addressing big issues like climate change and nuclear disarmament.
Wunderkid Declan McKenna has been vocal about getting young people to vote. He just voted for the first time: “It was kind of frustrating. I live in the safest Conservative seat. It wasn’t ideal for me. But I was happy, sad and confused about the result.”
Jeremy Corbyn’s huge speech on the Saturday (June 24) took aim at Donald Trump. “Build bridges not walls,” he said, in a jibe to the US President.
Of the many, many pro-Corbyn signs, this might be the nicest.
But for every sweet-hearted Corbyn placard, there was a gross anti-Tory statement too.
11Jeremy Corbyn flag at Glastonbury
Almost every flag raised during Corbyn’s Pyramid Stage speech carried a political message.
Corbyn was everywhere, even before he turned up on the Pyramid Stage.
Glastonbury is the go-to place for spreading peace and love, but after a series of geo-political events, there was a message of defiance. This was the first Glasto since Brexit and the rise of Trump, and that’s been reflected this year.
Anyone without a political placard could always head here.
15Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury 2017
Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance at Glastonbury defined day two (June 24). He introduced Run the Jewels on the Pyramid Stage, before speaking at Leftfield. Sadly, he didn’t make a surprise appearance during Stormzy’s set.
16John McDonnell at Glastonbury 2017
Labour were in full force at Glastonbury. As well as Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell paid a visit to the farm.
17Mike Williams and Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury 2017
NME editor Mike Williams spoke to Corbyn during his Glasto visit. Asked if he was tempted to run through a nearby field of wheat, he replied: “I’m totally shocked that anyone would run through a wheat field and damage wheat. It’s a terrible thing to do.”