Best Glastonbury Set to Watch

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IDLES (2019)

Dotted amongst the various other memorable acts who had performing slots at Glastonbury last year, IDLES‘ set really stands out. With lead singer Joe Talbot exhibiting a furious energy, whilst guitarist Mark Bowen dances around the stage intriguingly in his underwear, it’s impossible to look away. And that’s without considering the powerfully moving music they produce on stage, which in itself creates an incredibly captivating experience.

Their set is one that’s easy to watch on repeat as there’s never a dull moment. It’s one of the few sets on the Glastonbury channel that is able to capture the passion, energy and emotion felt by both the band and the audience. The anger and desperation in Talbot’s voice as he sings of austerity in a typical post-punk manner is impossible to ignore, and is entirely replicated by the crowd. It’s so clear how much fun they are all having in the crowd, watching what will no doubt be a massively iconic set in the near future.  – Georgie Holmes

Dolly Parton (2014)

The undisputed Queen of Country, Dolly Parton, rocked out the Pyramid Stage in 2014 performing her hits from ‘9 to 5’ to ‘Jolene’, Parton puts the cool back in country. The best part of the show is Parton whipping out a variety of rhinestone covered instruments such as the guitar, fiddle, saxophone, violin and more. Parton sets the tone perfectly as within 2 minutes into her opening song, ‘Baby I’m Burnin’, there are fireworks and the crowd are screaming and chanting because they know they are in the presence of greatness.

However, the reason a Dolly Parton performance is so memorable isn’t because of the iconic tracks, but because of how infectious Parton’s personality is. We can listen to Parton tell her antidotes about growing up as a country girl all day and how her family were “horny hillbillies” and that’s why she is a child of 12. Not only is she a comedic genius but when she sings ‘Coat of Many Colours’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ your heart starts to break for the ones you love and lost. The ability for a performer to evoke so many emotions from a single performance is the sign of greatness and nothing will ever top the legendary Dolly Parton. – Morgan McMillan 

Lionel Richie (2015)

There have been so many iconic sets at Glastonbury Festival. The Foo Fighters in 2017, Kylie Minogue in 2019, Stormzy in 2019, Dolly Parton in 2014, The Cure in 2019, and Florence and The Machine in 2015; just to name a few from only the past decade. A personal favourite of mine, though, has got to be Lionel Richie in 2015.

The legends slot is always one of the best spots of the whole weekend (it has that name for a reason), hosting such musical icons as Barry Gibb, Paul Simon and Brian Wilson, and it’s for sure always got a massive crowd. The vibes of the Lionel Richie set were just immaculate, with everyone looking like they were having the absolute time of their lives, including Richie himself. I’m not even a massive Richie fan myself, but god if that set isn’t one of the best I’ve ever seen even if just for audience participation alone. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the look of pure joy on his face as a crowd of 80,000+ strong glasto fans sing ‘Hello’ back to him in perfect unison. It’s fun, it’s sweet, it’s oddly emotional; it’s Glastonbury. – Alice Fortt

David Bowie (2000)

God, if there is one Glastonbury set I’d stream every single day until I die, it’s David Bowie’s legendary set from 2000. It’s historically the best Glastonbury performance ever, it just is the best one. Although Bowie had never always been the untouchable demi-god that we know him to be in the present day and neither was Glastonbury the Wimbledon of music. The festival and the artist grew simultaneously, Bowie’s first performance at the festival in 1971 was to roughly 10,000 people but his 2000 performance was to over 120,000 people! And rightly so. Even though Bowie fell ill with laryngitis the week of the festival, to say the performance back in 2000 went ‘alright’ is an understatement. Beneath a postcard picture of Worthy Farm, Bowie emerges onto the stage sporting an Alexander McQueen frock coat based on the ‘bibbity-bobbity’ hat that he wore 30 years ago during his first Glastonbury performance. 

The opening song ‘Wild is in the Wind’ is followed by ‘China Girl’ before ‘Life on Mars?’ and the immaculate ‘Absolute Beginners’. The crowd isn’t one of screams and iPhone cameras. It’s a sea of eager fans, some young and some old, dedicating their full attention to Bowie as he unites the festival through the ever so iconic ‘Rebel Rebel’ and perhaps his most famous and sentimental record ‘Heroes’. – Olivia Dellar

Coldplay (2016)

When it comes to live performances, there are few artists who can put on a show as grand as Coldplay. They’ve headlined Glastonbury more often than any other artist, but their 2016 performance is surely their best. As well as performing their hits – complete with a vibrant, colourful backdrop in keeping with their album A Head Full of Dreams, they dedicated the second half of their set to other performers.

Their tribute to Viola Beach, a young band who tragically passed away in a car accident earlier in the year, was incredibly poignant; Chris Martin told the audience that Viola Beach reminded Coldplay of themselves earlier in their career, and they performed their song ‘Boys That Sing’. They were then joined by Bee Gees legend Barry Gibb, who provided a heartfelt rendition of ‘To Love Somebody’ before launching into an energetic performance of ‘Stayin’ Alive’. As they faced the final curtain, Coldplay welcomed Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis onto the stage to sing the Frank Sinatra classic, ‘My Way’ – it was a truly wonderful way to end an unforgettable set that will undoubtedly go down in history as one of their best ever performances. – Becky Davies

Biffy Clyro (2017)

The Scottish alt-rockers proved their worth on the one and only Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury three years ago through this insanely beautiful performance. Not only does the set include back-to-back bangers such as opening with the *then* new corker of a track ‘Wolves of Winter’, but the crowd doesn’t fail to bring the energy needed to match Biffy Clyro‘s on-stage presence. You know a band means business when they walk on stage all without tops on, ready to raise the roof whilst playing to one of the band’s biggest crowds to date.

Notable songs of the performance include; the incredibly anthemic ‘Biblical’, my personal favourite ‘Bubbles’ and the juxtapositionally melodic ‘Re-Arrange’. Even just watching the set back is enough to make you wish you were there as the sun shines down but the clouds fold over the sky as the band play and the audience watches on. – Katie Evans

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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