Has Kate Bush ever played Glastonbury?

Bush has famously avoided live performances over the course of her career due to the anxiety she faces on stage

Tom Murray
Thursday 23 June 2022 10:39
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Resurfaced video shows Kate Bush making chaotic cup of tea

Glastonbury is back this weekend after a three-year hiatus. But the music festival isn’t the only thing making a comeback.

This year’s festival coincides with a resurgence in popularity for Eighties artist Kate Bush, whose single “Running Up That Hill” broke records to top the UK charts 37 years after its release.

The 1985 song found a new audience after it was featured prominently in the latest season of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things, released on 27 May.

The singer’s renaissance has Glastonbury attendees wishing for a Bush cameo, perhaps as one of the secret sets, and they’re now wondering if she has ever performed at the Worthy Farm festival before.

Bush has actually never performed at Glastonbury – and she is highly unlikely to make an appearance this year or in future. She has performed live very rarely over the course of her career due to the anxiety she faces on stage.

Kate Bush: Before The Dawn live at The Hammersmith Apollo, 2014

Her only tour, the Tour of Life, ran for six weeks in April and May 1979 across the UK and Europe. As such, “Running Up That Hill” has only been heard live a handful of times. She played it at The Secret Policeman's Third Ball in 1987 accompanied by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.

Bob Mercer, the late music industry executive who signed Bush, told The Guardian that touring was "just too hard ... I think [Bush] liked it but the equation didn't work ... I could see at the end of the show that she was completely wiped out."

Most recently, Bush returned for a 22-night residency, named Before the Dawn, at the London Hammersmith Apollo between 26 August to 1 October 2014. The star told BBC 6 Music at the time that she was “nervous every night” of the residency.

Kate Bush

“The most difficult thing for me was to be continually in the now because I naturally tend to race ahead in my mind... But I was so terrified that if my mind wandered off that when I came back I wouldn’t remember where I was,” she said.

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The singer also turned down an invitation to perform at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony in London.

In a new interview about “Running Up That Hill’s” resurgence on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Bush spoke about the meaning of the song.

“I really like people to hear a song and take from it what they want. But originally it was written as the idea of a man and a woman swapping with each other. Just to feel what it was like, from the other side,” Bush explained.

She also detailed why she prefers the original song title, and why it was changed.

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