Glastonbury is this month! And this year we’ve got Muse, Adele and Coldplay to look forward to. But not every Pyramid Stage headliner goes down in history. Click forward for 13 you might have missed.
THE LEVELLERS, 24 June 1994. Back before the place had phone signal, winnebagos and serviceable toilets, The Levellers were the ultimate Glastonbury band. Call it ‘folk punk’ or call it ‘crusty’, but the merry ‘One Way’ band summed up the festival’s alternative spirit. They’d just released their eponymous third record.
SKUNK ANANSIE, 27 June 1999. “I can’t believe we’re headlining the last Glastonbury of the 20th Century!” wailed Skin as her band bestrode the Pyramid Stage. “Neither can we,” was the shrugging response of plenty of the crowd, but their politicised stadium punk proved a more durable match than many people expected.
ROD STEWART, 30 June 2002. Sunday night is the night is golden oldie night. And they don’t get much more golden (well, bronzed) than Rodders. He was entering his Great American Songbook period, but he still got his hits out. “We weren’t sure whether to play it, because it’s not very cool,” he said of ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ “But it’s part of my history, so bugger it.”
ARCTIC MONKEYS, 22 June 2007. The big question was whether after just two albums, the Monkeys had sufficient chops to pull this off. None of them had even been as punters, but they needn’t have worried. They owned the thing, they covered ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, and they brought Dizzee along for B-side ‘Temptation Greets You Like A Naughty Friend’.
STEVIE WONDER, 27 June 2010. The good vibes that Wonder brought to the festival when he finally made it were unsurpassable. “I believe God is about the perpetuation of life, not the destroying of it,” he said. “If I could see I could really kick some ass!” At the close of the festival’s 40th year, Michael Eavis joined him onstage to sing along with ‘Happy Birthday’. A perfect moment.
BEYONCE, 26 June 2011. After her husband Jay-Z triumphed two years before, it was only a matter of time before Hurricane Knowles would hit Worthy Farm. And when she did, it was something spectacular, beaming as she surveyed thousands doing the ‘Single Ladies’ dance in wellies, and declaring, “Glastonbury, we are all rock stars!”