It feels like just a few moments ago – but also, in a way, 23 years ago – that Glastonbury 2019 was first getting underway. And now, just like that, it’s all over. I am writing this surrounded not by the soft chatter and gentle smell of my 135,000 neighbours, but by near-empty fields and the sight of rucksacks bobbing in the distance.
Thankfully, the festival went out with a bang. The Cure, Janelle Monae and Christine and the Queens headlined on various stages – a veritable Sophie’s Choice, but whichever decision you made would have been the right one – and artists such as Miley Cyrus, Dave, Billie Eilish and, of course, David Attenborough, performed earlier in the day.
Here, for the final time, are the biggest talking points from the closing day of Glastonbury 2019. Adios, Glastonbury. We’re off to sleep for five days. AP
Listen to a Miley Cyrus song on the radio and it will sound right at home: catchy, stylish and silkily produced in a generic pop style that helps it fade from memory almost instantly. A pleasure, then, to hear those cookie-cutter hits reinvigorated with the magic touch of this born performer. The big surprise – and there were a few – came when teen star Lil Nas X popped out with Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, to perform the viral country hit “Old Town Road”. They’ve done the same stateside, with tedious regularity, but this one was a genuine shock, partly because it never should have translated in the UK.
It did, and when Lil Nas came out as gay later that evening, it became a retroactive Pride Month celebration. JM
There’s something quite stunning about watching 17-year-old Billie Eilish perform with such absurd, swaggering confidence. Case in point: she made the baller move of opening her high profile slot yesterday with her one huge hit: Bad Guy (which peaked at number two in the UK Single’s Chart and has been almost inescapable this summer, despite being more whispered threat than warm, lazy pop), leaving the casual Eilish listener with not much left to look forward to, Fuck the casual listener, she seemed to say. You’re an Eilish stan now. AL
Dave’s biggest fan
As I was marching past the Other Stage trying to find the West Holt Stage for Janelle Monae – although it feels as though I live here now, I still haven’t even vaguely got my bearings, and thus like to allow at least two hours for what should be a half hour walk – I noticed something strange. Every single person I passed was absolutely beaming as they watched what was happening onstage. Are they all on drugs, I wondered? Possibly, but there was another reason too – south London rapper Dave had pulled a fan onstage, after spotting that he was wearing a Thiago Silva football shirt, to help him perform his AJ Tracey track of the same name. And the fan was killing it, rapping every word with as much gusto and stage presence as any seasoned professional. Take a bow, Alex. AP
In the mega-utopia of this giant festival, NYC Downlow is perhaps the most radical nook. To enter – if you have the patience to brave the tightly patrolled queue – is to be flung somewhere craven and delirious, a dream within a dream. Soundtracked by the site’s most generous and tactile DJs, drag artists command the stage and topless punters let their sweat mingle. It’s hard to put a finger on why it clicks: the sound system, cosy-but-uncramped capacity, salacious staff and free-spirited clientele just hit the sweet spot. JM
Janelle Monae moshing with the West Holts crowd
It seemed as though Monae’s headline set on the West Holts stage – a tight, charismatic performance rife with messages of black power, female liberation and queer rights – was over. The crowd began to pour away. But then something magical happened: Monae returned for a gloriously frenetic rendition of ArchAndroid track “Come Alive (The War of the Roses)”. When she did this at Glastonbury eight years ago, she climbed down from the stage and placed one foot over the barrier between her and the crowd as a security guard clung onto her.
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Tonight, she went several steps further – quite literally – wading far out into the crowd and participating in an enormous mosh. They could have mobbed her, but she emerged unscathed. This truly was a safe space. “What you just saw you will never see again,” she yelled at the top of her lungs, straight into the camera. There’s little doubting that. AP
There was something blissful about Sunday at Glastonbury this year: after two days of disorientating, throat-scraping heat, the weather mellowed: everything was bathed in golden sunlight, with a light breeze. A wonder past Sunday morning sets, where people actually sat down as they listened to blissful country or church choirs, saw me end up in a craft tent, mindlessly embroidering a piece of fabric as I chatted to a friend, and I felt truly, gorgeously relaxed. AL
Jessie Buckley singing “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)”
Buckley’s eminent talent was already obvious a decade ago when she appeared on the BBC talent show I’d Do Anything, so it is hugely gratifying to see what a couple of years she’s had. Not least among the achievements is starring in this year’s brilliant Wild Rose, an independent musical drama about a young country singer fresh out of prison. On the Park Stage as the sun peaked out from behind the clouds, Buckley sang songs from that film to a sleepy but enthralled crowd. The best bit came at the end, with “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)”: as she sang “a shoebox of dreams hid under my bed”, Buckley looked out at the crowd and added in her Irish lilt, “This is definitely one”. By the end, she was very nearly in tears. AP
See more of our Glastonbury 2019 coverage here
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