The 50 Best Glastonbury Festival Performances


38. English National Opera, Pyramid, 2004

Ninety-one musicians and 11 soloists woke sleepers midday Sunday under storm clouds as they ripped through Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, cheered on by a muddy mass using rolled-up newspapers as horns.

37. Stormzy, Pyramid, 2019

Faced with tons of anticipation, grime’s biggest crossover hit rose to the challenge with aplomb, giving it Las Vegas show levels; fireworks from start to finish, ballet dancers, fellow MCs and bangers from start to finish.

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36. LCD sound system, Other, 2016

The Brexit vote took place at this festival, and these reformed New York electro rockers proved to be the tonic. The crowd roared with the opening chorus, “It’s us against them, over and over again”. This launched a dynamic, urgent and danceable set.

35. The Smiths, Pyramid, 1984

Glasto 1984 was still mostly about spliff-friendly artists such as Weather Report and John Martyn, so the Smiths’ arrival came as a shock. An enthusiastic invasion of the end-of-set stage during Hand in Glove sealed their place in festival lore.

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34. The Who, Pyramid, 2007

It seems strange now, but keeping up with Kaiser Chiefs, which had drawn huge crowds, seemed tricky for these rock veterans. Although they were lashed by the rain, they did it with aplomb, ripping the guts out of songs like Won’t Get Fooled Again.



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