Years & Years’ Olly Alexander says he cried backstage at Glastonbury after much praised prejudice speech

The singer told fans to "shove a rainbow in fear's face" during the band's performance at the 2016 festival

Years & YearsOlly Alexander has said he cried backstage after making a much praised speech about prejudice at Glastonbury 2016.

The trio performed on the Other Stage at the Worthy Farm festival that year – which also took place on Pride weekend – and during their set the frontman took the opportunity to address fans. “Now, as a queer person, as queer people, we know what it’s like to be scared,” he said.

“We know what it’s like to live with fear; it’s part of our every day. Now, tonight, Glastonbury, I would like you to ask you to join me on Pride weekend, and say ‘No thank you, fear’. Just say, ‘Bye, fear, bye’, to literally shove a rainbow in fear’s face.”


Speaking to the Guardian, Alexander said he felt “lower than he’d been in months” afterwards. “It happens,” he said. “A falling off a cliff. The pendulum swings.”

He continued to explain that before finding recognition with Years & Years he thought “that if you were famous and successful, it would mean that you just felt happy all the time”. “That you would become, like, this mystical creature that people just adored,” he added. “And so you would adore yourself.”

The singer also revealed that he “felt like I’d won the lottery” when Years & Years scored a Number One album with their 2015 debut ‘Communion‘, but “at the same time I still felt like the same person I’d always been.” “And all the things that I associated with depression, and my anxiety – those periods of feeling really low – they were still there,” he explained. “And I was so annoyed at myself.”

Recently, Alexander said he was told not to mention he was gay when the band first signed their record deal. The advice was given to him during media training, which he went on to ignore.


Years & Years recently released their first track from their highly anticipated second album. ‘Sanctify’ precedes the official first single, which is on its way “soon” according to a press release.