Label volunteer, Leah Langley, writes about the recent cancellation of Glastonbury Festival 2021, reminiscing some of the famous Glastonbury sets of the past.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Glastonbury 2021 was added to the list of events that are cancelled this year on January 21st. The festival’s 50th anniversary had already been cancelled in 2020 amid the COVID-19 crisis, and this year is no different with the crisis delaying it once more. A statement released on Twitter by founders Michael and Emily Eavis read:

“With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us.”

“In spite of our efforts to move Heaven & Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.”

The cancelling of the festival has seen many people reminiscing on some classic Glastonbury highlights, and here are just a few that have had people talking:

  1. The Killers are well known for their song ‘Mr Brightside’, and when the band performed in the New Tent in 2004, crowds could be heard for miles as they sung along. Although I was only 7 years of age at the time of their performance, it is a set that I have heard about for many years and so it must have been quite something! The band enjoyed their set so much that they even returned to Glastonbury in 2017 for a secret encore.
  2. Stevie Wonder is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest musicians and, in 2010, he was one of the most anticipated headlines ever at the festival. His set included performances of some of his classics, as well as dropping some surprises along the way, with videos of his set giving away the type of atmosphere that he brought with him. This is one of my favourite sets to re-watch from time to time and just watching him on stage shows why he was meant to headline Glastonbury.
  3. An unforgettable Glastonbury moment belongs to the queen of pop, Beyoncé, with her set in 2011, which gives me chills when watching videos of it. Along with her classics, ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)’ and ‘Crazy in Love’, Beyoncé ended her set with a medley of Destiny’s Child hits. Beyoncé is an all-time legend and her presence on the stage is something that no one will ever quite match.
  4. Kanye West took to the stage in 2015. His set included forgetting the words to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and, following comedian Lee Nelson invading the stage, having to restart ‘Black Skinhead’. Kanye is received with mixed views by the public, and although he is not one of my favourite artists, it is hard not to feel sorry for him when watching his set back. This set is talked about as both a disaster, but also as another triumphant victory for hip-hop at Glastonbury.
  5. Stormzy had the headline slot in 2019, having arguably one of, if not the most, expensive Glastonbury set. Stormzy is one of the most downhearted individuals, in my opinion, and watching his set was something that I thoroughly enjoyed as it was clear just how much this meant to him. This set made Stormzy the first Black British Solo Artist to headline at the festival, using it to showcase grime to the world.

In my opinion, I think there are many moments of Glastonbury that resonate with different people for different reasons. Whilst I wholeheartedly support the postponement of the festival, I will be sad to not watch the show whilst curled up on my sofa this year. Whilst there is an undoubtable sadness that the festival must be halted once more, we can only expect to see many more remarkable moments when it can return one day.



Header designed by Annabel Smith – Assistant Head of Design

Article Edited by Matthew Rousou – Label Music Editor


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