FEATURE : A Perfect Vision: Glastonbury 2020: Looking Ahead to Its Fiftieth Anniversary




A Perfect Vision: Glastonbury 2020

IN THIS PHOTO: Fleetwood Mac are a big name on people’s lips regarding possible Glastonbury headliners next year/PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Looking Ahead to Its Fiftieth Anniversary


WELL, then!


IN THIS PHOTO: Revelers at this year’s Glastonbury Festival/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

One is still calming down from the excitement of Glastonbury and everything that prevailed! The Cure closed the festival with an electric and memorable headline set on the Pyramid Stage and there have been ample highlights. From Stormzy storming his headline set on Friday to Kylie Minogue’s emotional return on Sunday – she performed a hit-loaded set that delighted a packed audience. It was great to see her back at Glastonbury and, since she was unable to headline in 2005 (after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis), she definitely delivered. There was a great headline set from The Killers on Saturday and notable sets all around the site. People loved The Chemical Brothers and Foals but, to me, if was the women who really delivered the biggest sets. Apart from the likes of IDLES and The Cure, everyone from Christine and the Queens, Lizzo; Kylie Minogue, Kate Tempest and Billie Eilish gave these hugely impressive and confident sets. It is hard to decide which was best but I am seeing loads of people raving about Sharon Van Etten’s set. By all accounts, it was thrilling, impassioned and moving. I loved Kylie Minogue’s slot but I also loved Lauryn Hill and Janelle Monáe’s sets and, to be fair, there were so many other women at Glastonbury who provided stunning moments. The BBC reported on some of the women who dominated the last day at this year’s Glastonbury:

Billie Eilish, Janelle Monae and Christine And The Queens played across the site, bringing with them messages of liberation, empowerment and acceptance.

Monae, who headlined the West Holts stage, delivered a potent mix of sex and politics, encouraging the crowd to embrace their sexuality by declaring: "Say it loud, I'm dirty and proud".

A field away, Christine and the Queens' Heloise Letissier was also preaching tolerance, pronouncing the Other Stage "a safe space - because if there's no judgment, then anything can happen".

Both artists identify as queer or pansexual - and their placement at the top of the bill felt like an affirmation.

"I have to say it's quite emotional for me to be here," said Letissier, "because I didn't grow up used to winning. It feels like I'm winning something here and it scares me a little bit."

Earlier on the same stage, teenage newcomer Billie Eilish opened up with her hit single Bad Guy - a song that turns the tables on sexual politics - her every word reflected back by hordes of delirious fans.

The 17-year-old had been bumped up the bill, having originally been booked for the John Peel Stage, before her career took off at the start of the year.

"Damn, there's a lot of you," she declared, but Eilish was supremely comfortable playing to thousands - even lying flat on her back to sing When I Was Older.

She was watched from the side of the stage by fashion designer Stella McCartney (who dressed the star in a jumpsuit themed around The Beatles' Yellow Submarine) and festival organiser Emily Eavis, who, on the basis of this performance, could be eyeing Eilish up as a future headliner.

The one person who wasn't satisfied was Eilish herself. "There've been a lot of technical issues, which is why I look angry," she told the audience before she played Bury A Friend. "I've been angry the whole show. Thank you for not leaving. You could have."

The line-up of strong female performers on Glastonbury's closing day also included Kylie Minogue, Stefflon Don and Miley Cyrus”.

No matter who you were there to see or what you deem to be the standout sets, it is clear this year’s Glastonbury lived up to the hype and left everyone feeling very happy. The great weather helped and, as the clearing up continues, there are many looking ahead to next year. It might seem premature but, given Glastonbury turns fifty in 2020, it is inevitable there will be speculation regarding bookings. What can we expect from next year’s festival? I do think, given the wave of female acts who helped score some of Glastonbury’s best sets, gender equality will be on the lips. This year saw the bill comprise 58% men and 42% women but, following this year’s success and the fact 2019 is seeing so many female artists create wonderful albums, I do feel Glastonbury will hit that fifty-fifty gender split without much trouble. In terms of the make-up of 2020’s event, I do think there will be the same genre split. It is impossible to accommodate every style of music but, this year, Metal was represented and there were some great Country artists. With young Pop artists like Billie Eilish and Miley Cyrus playing, there was that platform for the newcomers - but there was plenty of room for the icons. Maybe there was less Folk and Jazz than you’d hope for but these genres were a lot better represented then recent years.

I think so much talk will revolve around the headline acts. Whilst I shall not dive in and ask whether 2020 will see a female headliner, I think the epic sets from Kylie Minogue, Lizzo and Sharon Van Etten will give organisers food for thought. The fiftieth anniversary is a pretty special thing so I think the headliners will be the biggest yet. There are rumours that Fleetwood Mac will play and they have dropped the odd hint lately. It is surprising the band has not yet played and I do think they will be favourites for 2020. One suspects that planning and discussions have already started for 2020 and I know there will be some sort of longlist in the office of Michael and Emily Eavis. It is almost a dream in regards who should play and, whilst Stormzy made history by being the first black Rap artist to take to the stage, I do not think next year’s Glastonbury will feature Grime or Rap – purely because it is a landmark year and, even though Little Simz would be a great headliner, one has to draw the line. I would love to see Paul McCartney headline and, alongside Fleetwood Mac, you have two of the biggest artists of all time. Maybe someone huge like Kylie will headline but I sort of feel she should have been asked to headline this year. I am seeing replies on the BBC Radio 6 Music feed – as they posed the questions as to who should headline – and some interesting names have come up: Depeche Mode, Madonna; Carole King and Bruce Springsteen are among them (any of them would be great; the choice is a very tricky one!).

 IN THIS PHOTO: Might Depeche Mode be in the running for a Glastonbury 2020 slot?/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

It is an alluring proposition but there has been talk that, maybe, Kate Bush will play. I saw BBC Radio 6 Music tweet the possibility but I think, although it would be a dream, it is a long shot. For a start, she has not played a gig outside of London for decades and it is unlikely she will ever play a huge gig again. Bush has never indicated a desire to play Glastonbury, so I do think it is unlikely. That said, you never know with her and she has that ability to surprise! I do think we are still taking in all this year’s festival offered so it might be a bit premature to start guessing. Many people will already be saving up and I do feel like the line-up will be incredibly strong. It would be nice to think that the strongest and most popular acts from this year – including Billie Eilish, Lizzo and IDLES – might get another shot next year higher up the bill but there is so much talent emerging that it will be hard fitting everyone in. It makes me wonder whether, at fifty, whether a fourth day will be added or there will be new tents. It was tricky cutting people from the bill this year and one feels a lot of great names had to miss out because you cannot accommodate everyone. Maybe, for the special anniversary, Glastonbury will extend the celebrations and there is a chance for four headliners.


IN THIS PHOTO: Kate Bush in 1978 (many would like to see her headline Glastonbury in 2020 but the possibility is a very slim one)/PHOTO CREDIT: Gered Mankowitz

Perhaps that is me getting carried away, but it would definitely be an idea. Not only will the line-up next year be blockbuster and busy but there will be celebrations and new features around Worthy Farm. I do wonder whether, as Glastonbury Festival turns fifty, there will be commemorations and a sort of archive section where one can see the classic performances through the years. Even though my dream headliners for 2020 would be Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and Beyoncé (in that order), I know everyone will have their own views and suggestions. I think 2020’s event will bring in people who have never been to Glastonbury and, as it was jammed this year, will a lot of people miss out or be turned away? One cannot do much about the space and adding more but you can imagine just how fevered people will be when tickets go on sale. I am pretty keen to go there and, if there are some headliners that grab my fancy, it seems like a no-brainer. If you want a jump on getting a ticket, have a look here and there is information about how to register for a ticket. I feel there should be at least one female headliner because this year lined up a raft of possible inclusions. I do not envy the organisers because it will be the most hotly-anticipated festival line-up ever and you cannot please everyone.

Regardless, this year’s joy and spectacular fireworks will not be forgotten in a hurry and so many Glastonbury first-timers will be hooked and are determined to come back next year. Who can resist the temptation to look forward and envision what might be?! It is intriguing indeed and I feel next year’s Glastonbury will be the biggest yet. I feel 2019’s line-up was a step up from 2017’s (last year was a fallow year) so the festival continues to strengthen and diversify. Will we have another surprise booking like Stormzy who makes history or will we get an all-legends line-up as headliners? People are already talking about next year’s festival and I cannot blame them really. It has been a spectacular year for Glastonbury and the people who attended will carry those memories for the rest of their lives. It was a wonderful celebration and, to me, a togetherness and message of self-love came out. Stormzy brought people together and opened eyes with his blinding set whereas Lizzo wanted people to love themselves and unite. I do think that, in a difficult year, Glastonbury was a perfect tonic and release for many – it is a shame we have to return to the real world for a while. Maybe we should not jump ahead to 2020 and start compiling our dream festival bill/poster but, after such a successful and wonderful year…

CAN anyone blame us?!