Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Elton John’s farewell at Glastonbury breaks festival record for viewing figures

Billed as his final UK performance, Elton John’s three-hour set was watched by more than 7 million people on Sunday (25 June)

Nicole Vassell
Monday 26 June 2023 13:32 BST
Glastonbury: Spectacular fireworks bring close to Elton John's final UK performance

Elton John’s farewell set at Glastonbury was the most-watched performance in the festival’s history.

The 76-year-old superstar gave the headline performance on the Pyramid Stage on Sunday evening (25 June) in his final UK performance.

Broadcast live from Worthy Farm, the three-hour show was watched by 7.3 million viewers across the BBC and claimed nearly 50 per cent of the audience share, according to

In comparison, these viewership numbers are three times that of the views for Paul McCartney’s show in the same slot last year.

These figures also eclipse the number of people who watched Guns N’ Roses on Saturday night (1 million) and Arctic Monkeys on Friday night (1.5 million).

John’s set was already notable for having attracted a significantly large crowd at the festival site, with aerial footage showing thousands of people standing together.

Though the official number of those who watched on-site is not yet known, current estimates place it as one of the best-attended sets of all time, potentially taking over the 100,000 who watched Dolly Parton on the same stage in 2014.

Elton John (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Some people began queuing for a prime position in front of the stage at 4am – some 17 hours before the “Rocket Man” was due to perform.

John dazzled the audience with renditions of some of the most popular songs from his six-decade-spanning career, including “I’m Still Standing”, “Candle in the Wind” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.

Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up
Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

He also invited several guests to share the stage with him, including Rina Sawayama, who filled in Kiki Dee’s part in the performance of the 1976 hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.

Reactions across social media praised John’s showmanship and the arrangement of songs chosen to showcase his glittering career.

Singer Beverley Knight was among those to praise the artist, describing John’s legacy as “immeasurable”.

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson shared a picture from the festival and captioned it with: “Thank you Elton, you’re beyond incredible. You give everything. What a show! Glastonbury was the perfect audience for your last UK show. F***…Last UK show … Love you.”

Paul McCartney, meanwhile, was spotted standing at the side of the stage during John’s set, filming the singer during “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.

You can keep up with all things Glastonbury as the festival wraps up here.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in