We root around the line-up and take a look at the acts that may not have stood out on first view.
Part of Glastonbury’s enduring reputation is its propensity for composing a line-up that is extensive that a wealth of acts will pass by unnoticed. We’ve sieved through the thousands of acts who will be making the trip to Worthy Farm to highlight ten acts whose inclusion in the festival bill may surprise many. Sifting through the lower rungs of the bill uncovers a slew of rising stars and forgotten flames, those who are on the ascension to the upper levels of cultural recognition as well as those whose days of glory are far behind them.
Metallica will be this years most controversial performers. Photo: Getty Images, Credit: Frazer Harrison
Beyond the endless stretch of humans eyeing up the pyramid stage with binoculars are copious tents and smaller stages which host a myriad of curiosities, from fading pop stars regurgitating their hit songs for the umpteenth time to all manner of odd theatrics, spoken word performances, comedians, circus performances and Happy Monday’s hype-man Bez, who has this year been granted his very own ‘Acid House’ stage. Here then, are ten acts who to varying degrees will surprise festival goers with their very presence at the culturally sacred Somerset site:
Sophie Ellis-Bextor will play hits from the early noughties plus brand new material. Photo: Getty Images, Credit: Stuart C. Wilson
Despite peaking commercially in the early noughties with a string of hits including “Murder On The Dancefloor” and “Take Me Home”, the 35 year-old singer has maintained a steady career, releasing five albums since 2001. A slew of support slots to superstars including the likes of George Michael, Take That, Pet Shop Boys and Erasure have endowed Ellis-Bextor with somewhat of an ancillary status among the UK pop-star contingent. Nevertheless, she soldiers on and her continued efforts have been rewarded with an appearance at this year’s Glastonbury, playing the cosy confines of the Avalon Stage. Passing punters will surely be drawn into the tent once they hear the unmistakeable strains of Ellis-Bextor’s early hits, whilst her newer and rather idiosyncratic take on pop will keep the crowd interested between the big numbers.
Speech Debelle hasn't been disheartened by the lack of success after her Mercury Prize win. Photo: Speech Debelle, Credit: Ian Gavan
Remember Speech Debelle? The London rapper who bucked the trend of Mercury Award winners by fading into relative obscurity just weeks after what should have been her most momentous and career-defining accolade? Elbow, fellow recipients of the Mercury Prize, saw the sales of their album The Seldom Seen Kid skyrocket after their win and they are now sub-headlining the Friday night Pyramid Stage slot underneath Arcade Fire. Yet Speech has not been perturbed by the public’s snub of her work, and the hip-hop songstress has since built up a truly brilliant body of work that provides a uniquely English take on standard American hip-hop tropes. She may be remembered by most for her 15 minutes of fame, but Debelle is a truly exuberant artist in her own right. Witnesses to her Glastonbury performance, her first since 2009, will be rewarded by her languid and conversational flow and light and airy production.
The veteran DJ makes a more low profile return to the festival than in past years. Photo: getty Images, Credit: Samir Hussein
Once a member of the DJ-ing elite, Fatboy Slim, the moniker adopted by Norman Cook, has slid from the hierarchy of electronica as new styles and younger talent reinvigorate the genre into new avenues of hedonistic expression. At 50 years-old, Fatboy Slim qualifies as a heritage act among DJ circles, yet for punters who are searching for a bout of nostalgic electronica and late nineties throwbacks, head to the Silver Hayes stage to see Cook’s headline set as he proves to the youngsters he still possesses those mixing skills to pay his copious bills.
Miss Dynamite is readying a new album and will preview new material at Glastonbury. Photo: getty Images, Credit: Tony Wooliscroft
Another artist certain to attract festival-goers for the sole purpose of grooving to early noughties throwbacks, Ms. Dynamite made her name amongst the UK’s burgeoning ‘garage’ scene. She scored a small array of hits with the likes of “It Takes More”, “Judgement Day” and “Put Him Out” but is surely most recognisable from the chart-slaying 2002 single “Dy-Na-Mi-Tee”. Her inclusion will certainly come as a surprise to many people who would understandably believe her to have vanished somewhere around 2005 yet she has made a recent return to the music biz as a vocalist on the DJ Fresh Versus Jay Fray track “Dibby Dobby Sound” which counts as Ms. Dynamite’s highest-charting single, scoring first position on the UK indie chart. Her Glasto performance will be a celebration of old hits as well as a display of new material that may just act as a precursor the vocalist’s return to the forefront of UK pop.
Keith's daughter Lilly will be receiving much higher billing than her father. [Photo: Getty Images, Credit, Ian Gowan]
Erstwhile acting hoodlum and near-enough British institution, multi-talented maestro Keith Allen will make an appearance at small Rabbit Hole stage during the very early hours of Friday morning, before the festival begins in earnest. Daughter Lilly Allen, who will be appearing on the Pyramid Stage, recently revealed that her father will be bringing a hot tub along to the site, although whether punters will be allowed to have a dip with Keith is yet to be seen. The Allen clan are regular attendees at the event, with Keith first taking his daughter to the festival when she was only six-weeks old. His set, for those determined enough to seek out the tiny stage, promises to be a rollicking performance from the iconic funnyman and personality.
The English National Ballet
English National Ballet will perform at Glastonbury [Photo: getty Images, Credit: Ian Gowan]
Glastonbury is synonymous with a number of things- mud, copious drugs, hippies, Billy Bragg and the middle-classes. But this year Glastonbury will be spreading its ever open-minded gaze towards ballet, with members of the English National Ballet performing as the first act on Sunday’s pyramid stage line-up. What could be better to soothe several days of continuous drinking, narcotics abuse and sleep deprivation than a bout of high-brow dancing before another day of inebriation?
Next page: more acts you never knew were playing Glastonbury