The top 10 Glastonbury performances of all time

Fireworks are set off in front of the festival and a sign saying 'Glastonbury'

The festivals kicks off on June 22nd - Credit: Glastonbury Festival

In celebration of Glastonbury 2022, we take a look at some of the best musicians to grace the Somerset stage in the past 52 years.

The first festival just outside of Glastonbury took place in 1970. Known as the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival, it cost just £1 to attend and included a headline performance by Tyrannosaurus Rex, later known as T. Rex.

Nowadays, the Festival has evolved to accommodate 200 000 visitors and numerous acts from across the globe. It still holds on to its summer vibe and compliments the magic of the area. To kick off Glastonbury 2022, we have picked our favourite performances from the history of the festival for your enjoyment.

The Pyramid Stage at night with a packed crowd celebrating

The Pyramid Stage in all its glory - Credit: Glastonbury Festival

10. Lewis Capaldi - 2019

Kicking off our list is one of the most unusual entrances onto the stage in recent Glastonbury history. Lewis Capaldi has made a name for himself not just as a great Scottish singer-songwriter, but for a great sense of humour. After a scathing interview by Noel Gallagher where he named Capaldi as one of the problems with modern music, the Scotsman wasn't afraid of biting back.

Before he swung into a great set in 2019, Capaldi opened with a clip of the interview alongside less-than-flattering images of himself. He then walked out in full Oasis get-up, much to the crowd's amusement. The outfit was completed with a Noel Gallagher t-shirt which he then continued to perform wearing.

Watch the full opening here:

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9. T-Rex - 1970

As mentioned above, the first semblance of Glastonbury occurred in 1970. Originally, The Kinks and Wayne Fontana were meant to headline the inaugural event but were replaced at short notice. Tyrannosaurus Rex (as they were then known) took up the mantle and kicked the festival off the way it then continued. Michael Eavis remembers that Marc Bolan "played on and on and on as the sun was going down. All the hits, the full works, and it sounded fantastic". 

The crowd celebrates waving flags as the sun sets

2022 is sure to be another hit festival - Credit: Glastonbury Festival

8. Kylie Minogue - 2019

Kylie is beloved across the globe and she was meant to headline in 2005. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to pull out for treatment. 14 years later, she was able to honour the booking and performed on the Legends stage. Rammed with amazing numbers from her best hits, she truly wowed the crowd and went down in history as one of the best acts at Glastonbury.

7. The Killers - 2004

The Killers are now synonymous with modern rock and roll, currently touring the UK and showing off their talents as a legendary Vegas band. It's hard to think they were once wet behind the ears and performing in the New Tent. Yet don't be fooled by the stage name, as the video below will attest, they were swarmed by a multitude of excited fans singing along to Mr Brightside and more. They even got to return more recently (on a bigger stage) and were greeted with the same love.

6. Beyoncé - 2011

One of the biggest pop stars was responsible for one of the greatest pop performances in Glastonbury history in 2011. At the time pregnant with her first child, Beyoncé pulled out all the stops and performed her greatest hits such as Single Ladies and Crazy Love, as well as covers such as Sex on Fire. You can feel the atmosphere coming off the crowd in the video below.

5. Stormzy - 2019

The first black British artist to headline Glastonbury, Stormzy took to the stage for what is rumoured to be the most expensive performance in the festival's history. It even included a stab-proof vest designed by the infamous Banksy. His performance was truly legendary and instilled his place as a figurehead in Grime. 

4. Radiohead - 1997

25 years ago, Radiohead played one of their hardest gigs at Glastonbury. The crowd was on side, but the technology was not. "Everything broke on stage," said Ed O'Brian, guitarist and songwriter. "It turned into the worst night of our lives. I don't think we ever wanted to play another concert again." 

Though this may have been the case behind the scenes, the music they could create was truly haunting and memorable. They were a big change from other 90s popular music and instilled themselves as one of the biggest names in music, even now.

3.  David Bowie - 2000

Live performances by David Bowie had become uncertain by 2000. Previous shows had included free drum'n'bass sets or metallic screeching... but not this time. Walking on in something akin to a Moroccan bathrobe, Bowie launched into a set of his greatest hits that caused the crowd to go wild. Changes, Life on Mars, Under Pressure, the list goes on! This was one of those concerts that people say they wished they had seen and we can't blame them.

2. Paul McCartney - 2004

It took until 2004, 44 years after The Beatles were formed, to get Sir Paul McCartney on to the Glastonbury stage. It's hard to believe, but it was also his first ever UK festival performance. He was never going to disappoint - what with helping write the songbook of the 20th century - and launched into a packed set of classics. 

Set to return this year on the Saturday, we are sure to get much more enjoyment from Paul very soon.

1. Pulp - 1995

In the top spot we have another performance that should never have happened. After The Rolling Stones pulled out last minute in 1995, the crowd only found out who was replacing them when Pulp walked on to the stage. The whole set has an electric atmosphere with front man, Jarvis Cocker, acting as relaxed as can be whilst owning one of the largest stages in the world. His rapport with the crowd was fun and memorable, as was the music that night. Another performance you wished you could have seen first hand.