Glastonbury’s most iconic moments we just can’t forget

Glastonbury has blessed us with some of the most breathtaking performances – whether good or bad – we’ve ever seen as the world’s premier music festival.  

Whether you bought tickets for Glastonbury 2020 or had planned to watch at home, you’re likely distraught that the Worthy Farm antics are taking a break this year due to the coronavirus outbreak throwing a spanner in the works for the festival’s anticipated 50th anniversary celebrations. 

But at least we have the memories until we can make new ones, right? 

From David Bowie’s show-stopping set back in 2000 to Jeremy Corbyn becoming an unexpected Glasto hero, here are the moments from the past 50 years that we just can’t forget… 

Beyonce’s entire headline set (2011) 

Can you believe Queen Bey was actually pregnant with Blue Ivy when she headlined Glasto in 2011? And in the early stages too where she had to keep down morning (all day) sickness and everything. Iconic. 

Bey gave us ev-er-y-thing on that Pyramid Stage from the big curly hair to the glittering gold blazer, a live band, all the hits and that highly questionable, very random guest appearance from trip-hop icon Tricky.

And she was one of the few women in Glasto history to ever do it too. 

Ugh, take us back. 

Jay Z performing Wonderwall after Oasis trash him (2008) 

We have images of Noel Gallagher dropping f-bombs and smashing guitars over his TV as he watched Jay Z perform Oasis’ biggest hit on Glastonbury’s main stage. 

How can we put this? … Noel wasn’t exactly thrilled when Jay was announced as the first rapper to ever headline in 2008. 

He told BBC News: ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you start to break it then people aren’t going to go. I’m sorry, but Jay Z? No chance.

‘Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go “Kylie Minogue”? I don’t know about it. But I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.’ 

Actually, it was Noel who couldn’t be more wrong as Jay Z absolutely smashed the performance and the crowd lapped up his cheeky rendition of Oasis’ Wonderwall – guitar and all. 

This picture of Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher (1995) 

These days, they call each other sweet terms of endearment like ‘d*****d’ but, there actually was a time when Robbie and Liam had some form of bromance. 

In 1995, they were pictured hanging off each other while having the time of their lives among the Glasto masses.

Robbie rocked a red Adidas tracksuit with bleached blonde hair signalling his new bad boy chapter after recently quitting Take That. And Liam kissed his cheek. 

Their relationship turned sour soon after, resulting in years of epic feuding. But they’ve made up now so we’re fully expecting a recreation of this brilliant moment at some point in the near future. 

Kylie Minogue makes it to Glasto after breast cancer battle (2019) 

There’s possibly never been a more satisfying moment in Glastonbury history than seeing Kylie Minogue on that stage after her breast cancer battle. 

The Spinning Around singer had been due to headline back in 2005 but was forced to pull out to undergo cancer treatment, prompting Basement Jaxx to step in and replace her. 

It wasn’t until 17 years later, when Kylie finally reclaimed her rightful place on that Pyramid Stage and it was truly worth the wait. 

The BBC later announced that Kylie’s performance was the most-watched Glasto set in history surpassing Ed Sheeran. 

When Pulp were promoted to headline slot after Stone Roses pulled out (1995) 

It was an actual nightmare for Stone Roses when poor John Squires broke his collarbone in a cycling accident in San Francisco, forcing the entire band to pull out of their much-anticipated headline set. 

But Pulp saved the day literally in the final countdown as they were suddenly promoted to the coveted headline slot, just a few hours before Stone Rose were due to take the stage. 

A literal s**t storm (1998) 

We kid you not, there was an actual explosion of poo in the dance tent and it was quite a situation. 

The tent flooded with six inches of mud prompting organisers to have a eureka moment and attempt to suck it all out with a toilet pump. 

Only, the operators accidentally set the machine to blow so, you guessed it, poo began flowing everywhere. The tent was so consumed with feces that it had to be closed off for 24 hours while being disinfected. 

You’re extremely lucky on this occasion in that there are no photos of the unfortunate incident but we trust the mental visuals are enough. 

Lewis Capaldi roasts Noel Gallagher (2019) 

Oh, the brave soul. Last year, Lewis arrived on the Other Stage rocking a t-shirt with Noel Gallagher’s face on it in a heart after weeks of throwing jibes at each other on social media. 

He also played footage from one of Noel’s interviews on the big screen, in which he said: ‘There are songs, but not recently, music is f***** **** at the moment. Who’s this Capaldi fella?’ 

A very bold move, indeed. 

Adele dropping f-bombs left, right and centre (2016) 

It’s Adele so it was never going to be the cleanest Glastonbury set but our girl really set the bar with this one.

The Someone Like You singer dropped 33 swear words during the course of her 90-minute performance despite admitting that she’d been warned about her language prior to the live broadcast on the BBC. 

She was only surpassed the following year by Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl who intentionally wanted to beat her record – he swore 44 times during the band’s headline set. 

Stormzy’s history-making performance (2019) 

The Vossi Bop rapper became the first black British solo artist to headline Glasto last summer – and he did after releasing just one album, wearing a bulletproof vest with the Union Jack flag on it designed by none other than Banksy.

During the performance, Stormzy shouted out dozens of names of almost every black British artist he could think of, invited special guests Chris Martin, Dave and Fredo, and got the 135,000-strong audience to shout: ‘F**k the government, f**k Boris.’ 

Who else could? 

Dave brings out Alex (2019) 

Undoubtedly one of the most heartwarming moments in Glasto history. 

It was Dave’s moment of glory, the chance to perform one of his most popular tracks so far on his own. 

But instead, he chose to pick one lucky fan from the crowd to do the honours of spitting the complex lyrics of Thiago Silva.

Enter a young Alex Mann who, at the age of 15, stomped that Glasto stage with all the confidence of a seasoned performer and barely missed a bar of the song. 

But of course, he wasn’t a seasoned performer, just a regular (and very lucky) teen wearing a bucket hat and Thiago Silva football t-shirt, ready for a weekend he’d never forget. 

Glasto gold. 

Rolling Stones rock the Pyramid (2013)

After decades of turning offers to headline, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts finally gave in and graced the Pyramid Stage in 2013.

It was a truly momentous set as the tireless band performed for 90 minutes and

Dolly Parton’s legend slot (2014) 

Our beloved Jolene hitmaker filled the prestigious Legends slot on the Sunday and it did not disappoint.

From her rapping about the mud to playing the Benny Hill theme song backwards, Dolly gave fans what they wanted and more. 

But hearts really skipped a beat when the country legend performed her original version of I Will Always Love You, popularised by Whitney Houston for the Bodyguard soundtrack. 

Jeremy Corbyn wins the crowd (2017) 

Glastonbury is one of the few events of the year where you can leave politics – and your inhibitions – in the car park and enjoy a weekend of guilt-free fun and frolics. 

But festival-goers couldn’t have been happier to see then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn grace the Pyramid Stage.

He delivered uplifting messages of unity and threw shade at Trump earning boos from the crowd like a pantomime. 

But all in all, the audience loved it and Corbyn-mania was in full effect. 

David Bowie returning 30 years later (2000)

Bowie commanded the headline bill all for himself at the second ever Glastonbury festival in 1971. 

Even better for festival-goers, tickets were free after the inaugural Glasto cost just £1.

The Space Oddity hitmaker then returned almost 30 years later to share the bill with Travis and The Chemical Brothers, after a decade or so of shunning greatest hit sets. 

The two-hour headline set is considered to be the most legendary of them all as Bowie ran through gems such as Under Pressure, Life On Mars?, Heroes and Let’s Dance. 

It wasn’t until a few years ago that the full performance was made available for new audiences to discover. 

Sir David Attenborough steals the show (2019) 

Hearing Sir David’s dulcet tones on the Pyramid Stage must have been the perfect tonic for hungover festival-goers and we are jealous of all those who were lucky enough to be in his presence.

Sir David made a special appearance at Glasto last year to thank the festival for going plastic-free and he received the rock star reception he fully deserved. 

Whale noises on the big speakers have never sounded so beautiful. 

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