London – With a few days until the gates open at the UK’s premier festival, Glastonbury goers are dusting off their tent pegs, checking the wellies don’t leak and consulting that marvelous donations-please resource, www.clashfinder.com. The latter may be a pre-requisite for the informed fan, yet faced with a bewildering choice of live music spread across a seriously large expanse of field, it still leaves you with a conundrum. In fact it’s a sure-fire certainty that the band you always wanted to see are playing at the precise time as that other act you were meaning to catch but somehow haven’t gotten round to. There is also the small matter of an extremely muddy 20-minute walk separating the two.
Get over it. Band clashes are a high class problem when there is this much audible temptation on offer. Anxiety is as fruitless as checking premature weather forecasts; indeed the Glastonbury weather is so localised you need to take it day by day. Similarly with everyone from circus performers to nightlife purveyors halting your progress as you trawl from stage to stage with your list of must-sees, the best policy is to have a schedule but not to fret over it; rather, take some time to wander around the site and see who you might happen upon as well. Surprises can be just as pleasing as plans.
So, focusing on new and emerging acts, here are a few to embed in that schedule, or keep in mind as you meander on the lookout for surprises. Early arrivals on Wednesday can head down to the Green Futures field, home of all things eco, to catch a full programme on the homely Toad Hall stage; singer-songwriter and criminal lawyer, Andrew Maxwell Morris, is a must-see at 20:00. Things pick up on Thursday with more stages coming to life and the cream of this year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition occupying much of the Rabbit Hole. Winner London’s Declan McKenna, runners-up Shields from Newcastle and BestNewBands Round 1 choice, fragrant singer-songwriter Lucy Kitchen, can be seen along with finalists MoD and Princess Slayer.
The festival sparks into full life on Friday as the crowds flock to the main stages. On the biggest of them all, the Pyramid, Alabama Shakes and James Bay both look worth an afternoon visit while across on the Other Stage, The Vaccines, will be ready to rock. Earlier in the day, the Other hosts Catfish and the Bottlemen and I fear the first of many decisions coming on as indie-rockers The Districts concurrently play the John Peel stage. If you opt for the latter you can stay on and check out Chet Faker straight after. Other Friday highlights include Hinds on the John Peel, Run the Jewels on West Holts while Sharon Van Etten, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals and Rhodes all appear on Emily Eavis’ Park stage.
While the larger stages are the natural habitat of bigger and longer established performers, some newer names who get to play the Pyramid are George Ezra and Courtney Barnett (Saturday) and Hozier (Sunday). The Other Stage has its fair share of breakthrough acts with Ben Howard, Young Fathers and Swim Deep among those featured on Saturday while on Sunday Future Islands, Palma Violets and SOAK are high up the list. Always a showcase for eclectic acts on the dance spectrum, West Holts stage hosts an engaging mix of new and old; FKA Twigs and Hiatus Kaiyote (Sunday) stand out. Look out for last year’s Emerging Talent finalist, Izzy Bizu, on the Silver Hayes stage on Saturday too.
William’s Green is a stage always worth a stop by and Palma Violets, Swim Deep, Courtney Barnett and Nadine Shah all stand out on a strong Saturday line-up. Father John Misty and Ibeyi appeal on the Park Stage on Saturday while The Staves make a welcome return there on Sunday. As ever the John Peel stage offers a solid three days of indie flavoured rock with Sleaford Mods (Saturday) and Lianne La Havas, Alvvays and Mini Mansions (Sunday) already in the notebook. ETC finalist Lucy Kitchen presents a leftfield choice as JP stage opener on Sunday too. This year the Acoustic Stage is mainly showcasing the more seasoned performers but The Shires look worth an early Sunday afternoon stopover while among the smaller stages, the Avalon stage always has an imaginative line-up. We like the look of Bear’s Den and Keston Cobblers Club on Sunday, for instance.
Glastonbury opens on Wednesday 24th June and closes with rock legends, The Who, as the final act on the Pyramid stage on Sunday 28th June. Check the full line-up here but don’t lose any sleep over all those clashes!
Those without tickets can of course enjoy Glastonbury via extensive coverage on BBC TV and Radio in the UK, with over 90 acts also available on BBC iPlayer.
Photography by Jason Bryant.
Tony’s great passion in life is music and nothing gives him more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. His association with Best New Bands brings great opportunities for this. He also writes for Consequence of Sound and is a judge for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition.
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