Why Baaba Maal's morning Pyramid slot was the perfect Glastonbury moment

The ideal early afternoon for a Glastonbury still recovering from the night before

Jack Shepherd
Saturday 25 June 2016 14:53 BST
Baaba Maal
Baaba Maal

The real talking points from Glastonbury are never the headliners. Sure, when you get home, everyone will want to know how Adele was, but it's almost guaranteed that if any festival-goer had to choose a highlight it would be someone/thing completely unexpected.

Enter Baaba Maal, the Senegalese singer who recently found a new audience thanks to a song with past-headliners Mumford & Sons. Most of the muddy campers standing before the Pyramid stage watching his 1.40pm slot were unaware of Maal previously, including myself.

Yet coming on stage with a flowing roster of other supremely talented musicians, he managed to absorb the crowd in his group's funky drum beats and rocking guitars. Whilst a bit camera shy, it mattered little, as Maal engaged mass wave-alongs, the clouds passing just in time for the crowd to be lit up by the sun.

After 15 minutes or so, everyone down the front was fully on board, those further back happy to dance along and sing when commanded to do so by their maestro. Later on in the set, a man having a fantastic time - pointing at his mug filled with a brown concoction of some form - flashes up on the two huge screens either side of the stage, the crowd bursting into laughter.

It's these moments that define what Glastonbury is: a moment of unison between all those watching while a genuinely talented musician - whose showmanship is more than enough to engage the crowd - captures everyone's attention.

Sure, very few people knew the words, but for a lunch time slot, it was ideal for those cracking open their third cider. The perfect early afternoon moment for a Glastonbury still recovering from the night before.

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