The Best Moments from Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary Weekend
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The Best Moments from Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary Weekend

June 27, 2022 Share

Last weekend didn’t just mark the end of a three-year hiatus, it marked the revival of one of the world’s most iconic music festivals, the Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary Festival.

Glastonbury’s which started back in 1970 was originally scheduled to celebrate its 50th anniversary back in 2020 however due to the COVID pandemic the celebrations had been placed on hold.

After three long years, it seems we have all made it through the other end of the tunnel with 2022 welcoming the resurgence of live music and festivals worldwide. This year the iconic Worthy Farm was finally able to hold eagerly awaited Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary.

Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image Courtesy of Rolling Stone

With a bill stacked from top to bottom, many festival-goers were guaranteed one of the best editions of the festival with acts such as Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Megan Thee Stallion, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar and Olivia Rodrigo joining the celebrations. 

Now that the festival’s celebrations have unfortunately drawn to a close, we thought we would look back at some of the best moments and most iconic moments from this year’s Glastonbury.

Billie Eilish and Others Share Support for American Women 

Glastonbury's Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image Courtesy of The Guardian

Billie Eilish made history during Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary weekend becoming the youngest ever performer to headline the festival as she closed the Pyramid Stage’s first night. Eilish emerged on the stage after 22:00 opening with ‘Bury A Friend’. The singer marked her territory, strutting the stage like a catwalk as fans sang-along with pitch-perfect renditions of each and every song. The star seemed taken aback by how far she had come since performing at the festival The Other Stage back in 2019.

Eilish who is currently in the midst of the European leg of a World Tour decided to give fans a powerhouse performance with a setlist loaded with fan favourites such as Bad Guy, I Didn’t Change My Mind, Happier Than Ever, NDA and Billie Bossa Nova.

With Eilish being the youngest act to headline the festival at only 20, the singer had more in store for those in attendance than just an explosive performance. The singer used the platform to shed light on an ongoing issue in America with the US Supreme Court overturning what 50-year-old ruling Roe v Wade which allowed women to have the right to abortion. 

The decision means that millions of women will no longer have the legal right to abort with individual states ultimately having to make their own laws following the news. 

“Today is a really, really dark day for women in the US. I’m just going to say that because I can’t bear to think about it any longer” the singer said from the Pyramid Stage before dedicating her track Your Power to those affected by the decision. 

Olicia Rodrigo at Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image Courtesy of Vulture

Eilish wasn’t the only performer to shed light on the decision with indie-folk icon Phoebe Bridgers sharing a similar statement which resulted in the crowd chanting in support. Grammy’s Best New Artist Olivia Rodrigo also protested against the ruling. Rodrigo surprised fans, bringing UK pop star Lily Allen on stage to perform Allen’s 2009 hit ‘F**k you with the duo directing the song towards the US Supreme Court. 

Klaus Orchestra Win Again

Klaus Orchestra at Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image Courtesy of Eurovision

Fresh off the back of winning Eurovisions 2022, the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra made a very special appearance at Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary with what was their first-ever UK concert at the Shangri-La Truth Stage.

While war might be raging on through Ukraine, the seven-piece group gave a performance that was lost on no one, with their blend of traditional Ukrainian folk music and hip hop bringing optimism to all. Kalush Orchestra performed a refreshingly positive set that echoed cries of freedom through their sonic blend of catchy hooks and telenka tunes.  

The group didn’t only entertain those with their rich and loud sound but more so with the visually compelling choreography which involved on-stage breakdancing and multi-coloured outfits with frontman Psiuk encouraging the crowd to get involved. 

Their Eurovision-winning song ‘Stefania’ had been received so well that the orchestra played it twice. 

‘Stefania’ was written by frontman Psuiks mother before the Russian invasion. The song focuses on themes of maternal love and protection with the war ultimately giving the song a new meaning.  Many fans interpret ‘mother’ as ‘motherland’ and the maternal themes are perceived as the loyalty and love for their nation.

The crowd stood in unity with hands clasped over their hearts and faces painted blue and yellow. Kalush’s spectacular performance ended with a long-deserved ovation for what many fans described as a mesmerising, beautiful, powerful and historically special concert. 

Paul McCartney’s Phenomenal Performance

Paul McCartney’s at Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image courtesy of NME

Another massive star to make history at this year’s Glastonbury was The Beatle’s very own Paul McCartney becoming the oldest headline to perform. McCartney headlined Saturday night’s Pyramid Stage in an iconic Beatle collar jacket from the Sgt Pepper days and his signature Hofner bass in hand. 

Britain’s most locked rock legend gave fans a performance for the ages with a setlist containing Beatles Classics, Wings Hits as well as a selection of solo work. At 80 years of age, the rock star showed no signs of slowing down as he stormed through each classic, one after the other with even the crowd struggling to keep up with the pace. 

McCartney rocked through the set with screens on either side of the stage showing clips of Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp from a video shot back in 2012 for McCartney’s tour and following recent controversies, it seems McCartney isn’t phased whatsoever. 

Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image courtesy of End of a Century

McCartney was a man on a mission, originally scheduled to perform at Glastonbury back in 2019, it is safe to say Macca felt the need to give those in attendance a show well worth the wait as he was joined on stage by special guests Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen during. The set consisted of a crazy 36 tracks and ultimately reinforced Paul McCartney as one of the biggest and best rock-n-roll icons of all time. 

Jamie T doesn’t give a flying f**k 

Jamie T at Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image courtesy of Rolling Stone

After a hiatus of eight years, singer-songwriter Jamie T is back. The English indie rock poster boy who signed his first record deal at 19 is finally back and fans are here for it. Following the release of his latest singles The Old Style Bag Raiders and St. George Wharf Tower, Jamie T returned to the festival for what would be his fourth time with his last performance being at the festival The Other Stage back in 2015. 

The Wimbledon star closed the Saturday night at Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary on the John Peel Stage with a performance filled with some unforgettable and some very questionable moments.

The singer who was far from sober, downed cans of Kronenbourg 1664 between songs, unbuttoned his shirt and showed off his belly with the singer at one point turning to the mic to share with fans how he ‘doesn’t give a flying f**k anymore’, with thousands of fans chanting the singer’s name in adoration. 

The indie legend and national treasure was on the top form what was his second live performance since 2015 with the set-list consisting of 13 of the singer’s top hits. It’s safe to say it felt like he hadn’t gone anywhere with fans welcoming back the singer in what can only be described as an incredibly liberating and blazing performance.

Kendrick Lamar Delivers One of the Festival’s Best Performances 

Kendrick Lamar at Glastonbury's 50th Anniversary
Image courtesy of Getty

Kendrick Lamar, who was originally scheduled to debut at the Festival back in 2010 closed this year’s Glastonbury’s 50th-anniversary celebrations with one of his most remarkable performances to date.

Joining the stage alongside 20 dancers, Lamar gave one of his most powerful performances with songs featured from his Pulitzer Prize-winning discography in mostly order of release, taking the audience on a transcendent ride through his 19-year-long career. 

Appearing on stage wearing a crown of thorns, Lamar began with United in Grief. Stood centre stage with all 20 dancers perfectly aligned behind, the black Jesus addressed the conflicts and personal struggles he has found himself up against during his rise to fame. Each dancer portrays a conflict, addiction or mental health problem the singer has found himself plagued by. 

From there, things began to loosen up with the rapper ripping through his back catalogue and admitting to the audience;

‘I like where the energy is at right now Glastonbury, I want to thank every individual out here tonight. I consider y’all family, this shit is special, it means a lot to me. 

Moving through his Discography, Lamar played one of his new tracks ‘Mr. Morale And The Big Steppers’, joining in on the Supreme Court protests, Lamar began to chant ‘They judge you, they judged Christ. Godspeed for women’s rights’ as blood began to pour from his crown of thorns. 

From the intricate choreography to metaphoric imagery, Lamar not only closed the festival in an astounding fashion but also mapped out a blueprint on how to headline the world’s biggest festival in a timeless fashion.

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Author: Eoin McKenna
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