About 175,000 people were lucky enough to enjoy Glastonbury this weekend, those of us who weren’t as fortunate had to watch the televised highlights on BBC, and were treated to a variety of wonderful performances over the three days.

Here’s a daily list of some of the best moments from the festival and if you missed any of these, they’ll be available on iPlayer for the next few days.


Glastonbury opened with the usual wide selection of artists to choose from; festival-goers knew they were in for a treat.

One of the first acts of the day were the Charlatans, who played the Other Stage at 11am and treated the audience to their distinct blend of indie and psychedelia.

Also on the day bill we had the hugely talented Alabama Shakes, a band who have unfortunately drifted into relative obscurity over the past year but who will hopefully return to the public eye after this.

They were followed on the Pyramid Stage by Mary J Blige (making her Glastonbury debut), and her set was nothing short of phenomenal. The ‘Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’ had total command over her audience, and sang a heartfelt rendition of her recent hit, Doubt.

Incidentally, some of the best acts on Friday were dance artists. On the West Holts Stage there were two blazing back-to-back performances from Caribou and Hot Chip, both of whom refreshingly used a backing band.

Jamie xx (of the xx) also played a great set, and had the audience transfixed with his newly developed blend of soul and electronica. This song seemed to perfectly encapsulate what Glastonbury is all about.

There was some rock n’ roll redemption on the Pyramid Stage in the form of Motörhead (who delivered a somewhat lacklustre set in comparison to their usual performances) and the Libertines.

The Libertines were messy and passionate, just like we remember them, and there was a definite feel of nostalgia in the air as they stumbled through the hits from that magical first album.

Headliners Florence + the Machine, however talented they may be, certainly didn’t have the audience as stimulated as the Foo Fighters would have had Dave Grohl not gone and broken his leg.

There was also an interesting collection of artists playing the Acoustic Stage, with the Proclaimers and Christy Moore ending the evening on a folky high.


The audience were treated to three consecutive performances on the Pyramid Stage from the Waterboys, George Ezra and Burt Bacharach.

These artists were the perfect choices for the daytime slot, and added even more sunshine to the day. 87 year old Bacharach’s voice understandably sounded croaky and aged, but this added a degree of personality and humanity to these renditions from the man’s astronomical back catalogue.

Over on the West Holts Stage soul newcomer Gregory Porter took the crowd by storm- he really is one of the purest and most talented singers performing at the minute.

On the same stage we had Todd Terje & the Olsens who were followed by the Mothership Returns, which is basically a big funktastic collection of some of the greatest funk artists in history – George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic and the Family Stone.

In the evening on the Park Stage was Mavis Staples followed by Spiritualized, and Suede headlined the John Peel Stage.

There wasn’t a great deal of memorable performances on the Saturday night, and only Pharrell Williams seemed to deliver a consistently entertaining set.

One particular highlight was when he invited some of the children in attendance onstage to join him in a lively version of Happy.

There is nothing wrong with having a hip-hop artist at Glastonbury, it’s about time it was accepted as being as valid an art form as rock and pop (many music snobs will still continue to think otherwise).

It was however a mistake to bill Kanye West as the Pyramid headliner, as he delivered a rather uninspired set.

He broke up fairly mediocre versions of his tracks with outlandish declarations of being “the greatest living rockstar”, and even threw in a laughably awful version of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Of course, it was just Kanye and no backing band on the stage, with a lightshow designed to make him look mysterious and messianic.

Comedian Lee Nelson’s stage rush was as welcome as when Jarvis Cocker’s did it to Michael Jackson at the BRITS in 96, it felt like a necessary injection of humour into all the self-mythologisation.

Kanye is a great lyricist no doubt, but not nearly to the extent he thinks he is.


Sunday was undoubtedly the best day of the weekend, and festival-goers surely felt torn as to which artists to go and see.

Northern Irish native SOAK impressed revellers at the Other Stage in the early afternoon, and was followed by another Irish artist, Hozier, on the Pyramid Stage.

Hozier’s songs have truly entered into the public consciousness over the last few months, and it was refreshing to hear the audience sing along with such a new artist.

Patti Smith followed with what was definitely a personal highlight, as well as performing an absolutely rocking set, she invited the Dalai Llama onstage to celebrate his upcoming birthday.

He delivered a moving speech that highlighted the importance of compassion and community, the two key ingredients of Glastonbury.

Patti’s voice has never sounded more raw; she sang with venom and passion in equal measure, and proved that she still has a lot to give as an artist.

Lionel Richie then took to the stage and delivered perhaps the best performance of the weekend.

Something of a wedding singer he may be, but there’s no denying how entertaining this man can be when he really gets going.

From start to finish, his set was a pure expression of joy, playing through a vamped-up mix of Commodores and solo hits.

This performance of Dancing On The Ceiling in particular made the audience go wild, and featured a very cheesy but nonetheless ingenious few seconds of the synth riff from Van Halen’s Jump.

Top class, Lionel.

Later in the evening the inimitable Mark E. Smith & the Fall and Goat took to the Park Stage, as well as the stunning FKA Twigs on the West Holts and Belle & Sebastian on the Other Stage.

Revellers even had the option of seeing Donovan at the Acoustic Stage and the Buzzcocks at the Left Field, too much to bloody choose from!

Later on the Pyramid Stage, the two undisputed Kings of Mod Rock, the Who and Paul Weller, delivered two solid sets that included some of their best songs.

The Who have sounded better (Pete Townsend hilariously admitted this at the end of the night), but the power of these songs nonetheless carried and ended the festival on a much bigger high than the Stones did last year.

In one of the best performances of the night was the Chemical Brothers, who played an absolutely frenzied set on the Other Stage that included one of the wildest light shows in recent memory.

This song gives some indication as to how good their set was, but you’d be better watching the whole gig.

In fact, you’d be best watching the whole festival (available for another week on iPlayer).

Click here for the best clips from this year’s event.

Until next year!

Séan Kaluarachchi