Glastonbury virgins: the festival's first-timers

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The Independent Culture

Gwilym Gold, lead singer Golden Silvers

"We are the winners of this year's New Talent competition, when an unsigned band gets to play at Glastonbury. Our manager put us forward without telling us. Then we had to go down to Glastonbury a couple of months ago and do this little 20-minute set in front of judges, when they picked us. We are now playing on the Other Stage but we weren't expecting to play on such a big stage. We have too many songs to choose from, actually, but we will perform our debut single, 'Arrows of Eros', out next month.

"Any tricks to entice the crowd? A big fire show planned but I don't want to say more than that and give it away. I don't want to spoil the mystery. To perform at Glastonbury is not beyond our wildest dreams, to be honest.

"If you are a singer/musician, hopefully it wouldn't be beyond your wildest dreams, otherwise your wildest dreams must be pretty tame. This is going to be our biggest gig yet – but we have supported Mystery Jets and The Wombats on tour. I want to watch Leonard Cohen, Mystery Jets and Buddy Guy on the Jazz World Stage."

Joe Van Moyland, lead singer, Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong

"This is the first time my band has performed at Glastonbury. It is such a big festival and we are a bit nervous because we have only just passed the 100-gig mark. It is a big deal for us but the day is going to be so hectic because we are arriving from a gig in Norway. We are just going to have to get our heads down, really. But every gig that we play gets better. We have had to grow up in public since we got signed last summer. We are going to do what we always do... go on stage and make a racket.

"I don't have a clue how many people will be in the audience; we are playing on the Other Stage around lunchtime. Not many people go to look at the earlier gigs. For me it is not the first time ever I have been on stage at Glastonbury. Last year I was the drummer with The Pipettes on the Pyramid Stage – but it's a dream for every band to play at Glastonbury."

Dizzee Rascal

"I feel good. I'm looking forward to my first time at Glastonbury. It's the biggest festival. It's the first time I've been invited. It took me to go on stage with the biggest band without permission for them to invite me to perform in my own right – Arctic Monkeys invited me last year. Maybe they've come to realise I'd suit the Glastonbury audience because I've been doing the indie thing for a while now. I'd never been to Glastonbury before – these festivals aren't really for me, I don't really go to festivals, I don't do the camping thing. When I play on Friday there will be a lot of excitement. I've got three albums' worth of hits and visuals."

Matt Berninger, The National

"I've never been. It's the big kahuna of festivals, right? It's a legendary, big, epic, famous festival – we'd heard about it and always seen the muddy pictures, so it will be nice to put a foot in that water. I just hope we don't intimidate all the other bands with our majestic heart-crushing songs. We're bringing chocolate for everyone. We do what we do. We still tread the stage, close our eyes, and pretend we're inside a club at night-time. We don't do anything bigger than normal. I think our songs can fill a space without us having to soup them up. We just opened for REM so we got used to that. Ninety per cent of people had never heard of us, but we left an impression.

"We won't get to Glastonbury until the Sunday, the day we play. Neil Diamond is playing on Sunday on the big stage so hopefully I'll see him, but I think Leonard Cohen is playing at the same time as we are. It'll be fun. Yeasayer are also from Brooklyn but I've never seen them live, and I really love their record so I'd like to see them. It's nice to see a festival featuring Neil Diamond, Panic at the Disco and us. Bringing in a big hip-hop artist sounds like a smart move to me. There are a lot of festivals who've done that. It's a good idea."

Edwyn Collins

"It's my first time at Glastonbury. I've never been asked before. I used to say rather strong things about festivals. One of my best songs actually goes, 'Yes yes yes it's the summer festival, the truly detestable summer festival.' But I'm nice and mellow these days. I'm so happy to be playing live again. Singing with my band means everything to me. At this stage of my life I don't need to win the masses over. But I hope they love me nonetheless. I don't know. I don't really know what to expect. The Park Stage has a really good bill. I'm in good company. Are there young people at Glastonbury? Or are they all old, like me? Fun for all the family."

George Craig, lead singer of One Night Only

"I'm going to wear my sparkly white jeans or my gold satin jeans when we play our first ever gig at Glastonbury on Saturday. I'm not joking! I've got lots of amazing jeans. I'm only 17 and I never imagined I'd be playing Glastonbury. I have never even been to Glastonbury, let alone performed there. It dawned on me the other day that we were actually really doing it. It is all a bit surreal – especially because I am so young. The bigger the show, the more excited we get. We just love performing live and I think it will be a moment we will never forget. We will play to our advantage. Well, I've got my ways and then we have got the songs as well.

"We have to leave for Holland straight after our gig, but I am going to watch my brother James play as he is the drummer in Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong. I will manage to sleep the night before even though I'm excited. I will get up really early and have a cup of tea and walk around to soak up the atmosphere before we perform on the Other Stage on Saturday."

Johnny Flynn

"It felt really good to be playing at Glastonbury until the other night when we got attacked on our way back from a gig in Stockholm. Four guys ran after us and started to punch us. The cellist, Joe, has had his arm dislocated and he can't play at Glastonbury now. He will still come with us but we will have to do without him on stage. Other than that I am pretty excited. I've never even been to Glastonbury before, so I don't know what to expect. I prefer smaller festivals, because logistically, if you are a small band with no help, bigger festivals can be a nightmare. You have to carry everything such as the drums and the amps across fields on your own. And with no tour bus, we are roughing it a bit. But it will be fun. I always try to respond to the environment when we play. What is really nice after a few days is that everybody at the festival has been on some kind of journey together. People feel unified and I like to acknowledge that fact while on stage. I'm interested in the spiritual aspect of the festival; the idea that it's on a holy site and it takes place around the time of the summer solstice, which is a good time to have a big gathering."

Katie Melua

"I've never been asked to perform at Glastonbury before. I am playing on the Avalon Stage. I'm used to playing in front of more people. I played to 60,000 people last week at a festival in Oslo. The fact is my music isn't indie rock, which a lot of Glastonbury-goers are used to.

"Glastonbury is such an institution and I think it is everyone's dream to play here. I've tried to go there every year for the past 10 years as a punter – but every time something has come up and I haven't been able to. I'm so happy to be finally going, plus I get to play there, which is pretty cool. Yes I'm a big star, but it is amazing to do smaller gigs, because this is how I started out. It is more intimate and you get to see people's reactions much more clearly. To go from one extreme to the other means that you never get bored, and that is one of the keys to staying in the industry. I can't wait to watch Leonard Cohen but I'm gutted because MGMT, my favourite band, are playing on Saturday and I won't be there."