"She Loves You" or "Satisfaction"? Pop’s greatest rivalry will be reignited at Glastonbury when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones go head-to-head once again.
Fans must choose between Sir Mick Jagger leading the Stones through their long-awaited headline set on the festival’s Pyramid Stage, or the Beatles (albeit in Bootleg form) trawling through their catalogue of classics.
Formed in 1980, The Bootleg Beatles are famed for delivering a near-perfect facsimile of the Fab Four’s hits.
The tribute band will headline the Acoustic Tent on Saturday night, taking the stage at 9.50pm, twenty minutes after their arch rivals begin their set.
Festival-goers are advised to get an early spot for the “Beatles”. The band pulled the largest crowd ever seen at the acoustic stage when they performed at the venue in 2010.
The Bootleg Beatles promise a 30-song, hit-packed chronological set, opening with "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the Beatlemania years, before building through the band’s “flower power” period to a finale of "Hey Jude".
The Stones have slipped two “new” songs, "Doom and Gloom" and One More Shot, into a crowd-pleasing set featuring "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction" and "Brown Sugar". Special guests are also promised during the Stones’s performance.
Andre Barreau, “George” in the Bootleg Beatles since their formation in 1980, believes the impersonators have the edge.
He said: “The Stones have original members which we don’t. But if you pile up the best of the Beatles and the Stones then the Beatles song pile is higher.”
“We’ll give it a bash. I don’t know what the Stones are bringing but we’re going to have our own orchestra on stage.”
Despite playing the Acoustic Tent, the “Beatles” will take steps to ensure they won’t be drowned out by Keith Richards’ riffs.
“We’re plugging in,” said Barreau. “We’ll really crank it out. It’s Glastonbury so we can do the rockier Beatles songs like Helter Skelter.”
The Stones are wary of allowing the BBC to broadcast all of their two and a quarter-hour greatest hits set live, but Barreau, the last “original” member of the Bootleg Beatles, said: “We won’t ban cameras. You can film as much as you want.”
Lennon and McCartney’s song "I Wanna Be Your Man" gave the Stones their first hit in 1963. But the London R&B group was cleverly marketed as the “bad boy” counterparts to the Beatles’s be-suited teen idols as a competitive rivalry accompanied both bands ascent to global fame.
There are alternatives for Glastonbury-goers who have little interest in either set of 60s revivalists. Dance duo Chase & Status headline the Other Stage on Saturday night, with Public Enemy and Fuck Buttons also competing for attention.
The weather, forecast to be mixed over the Glastonbury weekend, may prove the Bootleg Beatles’ trump card. “If it rains everyone will want to get under the canvas with us,” Barreau said.