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Glastonbury 2024: 12 Magical and Memorable Moments

The 2024 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts has drawn to a close, and everyone at Worthy Farm is feeling a curious mixture of deflation and elation. We saw epic sets from Dua Lipa and The Streets, danced with Peggy Gou, moshed with Kasabian, and (I’m not making this up) saw Ros Atkins play a drum and bass remix of the BBC News theme. But there’s so much going on that you can never catch everything. So here are some of the highlights and memorable moments from a weekend of mayhem.

1. Prof Brian Cox Living His best life

Friday was the day of unexpected reunions. On the Pyramid Stage, Fatboy Slim strapped on a bass guitar and joined his former Housemartins bandmate Paul Heaton for a run-through of their 80s indie hit “Happy Hour.” It was, he later told the BBC, the first time they’d played together since 1988. Inside the Woodsies tent, The xx ended a six-year hiatus with a brief performance of “You’ve Got The Love” during Jamie xx’s headline set. But most impressive of all, particle physicist Prof Brian Cox rejoined Dto play “Things Can Only Get Better” to a packed-out crowd at the Glade Stage. “I haven’t done this song since 1997,” he told us. “So I think it’s in E Flat.” It seemed to go alright… After the show, singer Peter Cunnah told the Prof: “You’ve passed the audition.”

2. Camila Cabello’s Ice Bath

Glastonbury was uncommonly hot this year, and Camila Cabello’s spicy performance raised the temperature even higher. She cooled down the traditional way, with four dancers in dog masks melting Soleros on her naked flesh.

3. An Unlikely Football Hero

Glastonbury has a policy of not showing football matches if they clash with major artists’ sets. So when the Euros scheduled England’s skirmish with Slovakia for 5pm on Sunday, fans were left distraught. Then, one enterprising soul set up a flatscreen TV in one of the camping fields. Word spread and, before long, there was a crowd of hundreds, who greeted Jude Bellingham’s goal with an impromptu chorus of “Hey Jude.” It later transpired that the mastermind behind this coup was none other than One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. The singer had driven to Argos in the morning to buy the TV, a generator, and a dongle to stream the game. Amazingly, it all worked. “It was a little bit touch and go at times, ‘cos the signal kept going in and out,” he told the BBC. “But luckily we got the win. We pulled it off. Made up, made up.”

4. Checkered Flags

If you don’t bring a flag to Glastonbury, are you even really there? “It’s the easiest way to find people – but also spread a little message about whatever you’re trying to talk about,” said Ciaran McDiamond, standing under Ireland’s green, white, and gold on Friday. This year, a lot of people chose to show support for Gaza, alongside a smaller scattering of Israeli flags. But the silly ones were the best: Dua Loompah, or Legalise marinara, or Flagatha Christie. And then there was the banner indicating the location of “Rishi’s leaving drinks,” a sly reference to Thursday’s general election. For most of the weekend, I thought the winner was going to be the flag that declared: “Ban flags.” And then I spotted someone who, in a fit of madness, had strapped a Hetty vacuum cleaner to a broom handle. Well played, sir.

5. I Will Fox You

For a while, I thought Paul McCartney had ruined the idea of having special guests at Glastonbury. When he brought out Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen in 2022, it was almost as if everyone else decided there was no way to top it. Last year, Elton John dashed the hopes of fans who’d heard Britney Spears and Dua Lipa were coming to his show, bringing out a raft of new (but largely unknown) talent instead. But Coldplay weren’t about to admit defeat. On Saturday night, they packed the stage with stars like Little Simz, Femi Kuti, Victoria Canal, and Laura Mvula. Then, at the end of their set, they brought out Michael J Fox – star of Back To The Future – to play guitar on “Humankind” and “Fix You.” “Back to the Future is the main reason we became a band,” said Chris Martin, as the crowd went wild. Which is funny, because it’s also the main reason I built a time machine out of a Ford Focus and a food blender.

6. Dua Lipa’s Manifest Destiny

Dua Lipa is a woman who knows what she wants. When she was a girl, she told the crowd on Friday night, she wrote down the proclamation: “I will headline Glastonbury.” “I was really specific,” she adds after a shy laugh. “I said I wanted to headline the Pyramid Stage on a Friday night, because then I knew I could party for the next two days.” Now, at the age of 28, she’s pulled it off. And how. Her set was a flawless pop spectacle, full of breathless dancing and pounding club grooves. She threw in fireworks and confetti cannons and five costume changes, but what really made it special was knowing how much it meant to her. “I know maybe some of you don’t believe in manifestation, but one thing that’s undeniable is magic,” she said. “This is as close as it gets.”

7. Phone Hacking

Keeping your phone juiced up is always an issue at Glastonbury. The operating system spends so much time searching for a signal that the battery drains like a bath on a hillside. But Simon here, who was spotted by the @Glastolive team on X, had found an ingenious hack: A solar-powered battery hat. Get the patent application in now.

8. Stormzy’s Selfie Policy

Former headliner Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr – aka Stormzy – was one of the many, many celebrities who turned up to see Coldplay’s set on Saturday night. But unlike Tom Cruise and Gillian Anderson and Dave Grohl, who watched from the safety of a heavily-policed viewing platform, the rapper threw himself into the middle of the field – dancing and singing with the other 100,000 fans. Naturally, he was mobbed by people asking for selfies. But he had a clever policy for keeping requests to a minimum: He’d only pose with kids.

9. Little Simz’ Impeccable Poise

Little Simz is the best rap artist in the UK right now. Maybe ever. She took to the Pyramid Stage alone, dressed in a custom Ed Hardy outfit (a biker jacket emblazoned with her name, paired with a black kilt) and had the audience rapt for over an hour, with hits like “Venom,” “Gorilla,” and “Woman.” Her bars came thick and fast. Her poise was impeccable. Her steely gaze was the essence of cool. “I need you to understand that you’re witnessing greatness,” she declared. “I say that not with arrogance, but with confidence. It took me a while to get to the Pyramid but I’m finally here!” A future headliner. No doubt.

10. Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Shocking Confession

“Murder is my best friend,” says Sophie Ellis-Bextor, revealing the hidden darkness behind her shiny pop persona. Oh alright, spoilsport. She’s talking about the success of her resurgent disco classic “Murder On The Dancefloor,” which she performed as a special guest during Peggy Gou’s show at the Park Stage on Saturday. Speaking the following day, she says she’s “so proud” to have been included in the show – which she believes was Glastonbury’s first-ever headline set by a female DJ. “I looked it up, and I couldn’t find anything to contradict it,” she says. “So I thought, I’ll just say it and then it becomes fact.” Appearing at a Q&A at the Scissors bar, she confesses that she’s still not bored of her biggest hit, despite performing it for 23 years. “It’s a very unusual thing to have a song like that come back and have a moment,” she says. “Some people are like, ‘You’ve only got one song,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes! Fine! That’s totally cool’.”

11. Mike Skinner’s Moment of Clarity

During The Streets’ epic set on Saturday, Mike Skinner suddenly saw the future. “Let’s think about mental health and how we’re going to feel like crap on Tuesday,” he told the crowd. Most of us tried to block the thought out. The journey home, in itself, is like reverse karma for the fun of the weekend. So instead, we paid heed to Skinner’s more blinkered advice, from the song “Take Me As I Am.” “That’s future me – I’m glad I’m not that guy!”

12. The Second Sugababes Shutdown

When will Glastonbury learn – you don’t put Sugababes in a corner. In 2022, police had to shut down the Avalon Field after the band’s set drew thousands of fans, clamouring to see the original trio of Mutya, Keisha, and Siobhan reunited. This year, they were upgraded to the 35,000-capacity West Holts Stage. But it still wasn’t enough. Organisers had to restrict access

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