Friday at Glastonbury is when the big guns roll out.
As the main stages start to rock, vast swathes of the music industry straps in to really pay attention to what’s going down on Worthy Farm.
One of the big talking points is Stormzy’s opening night set, and between that and The Cure on Sunday, there’s a whole lot of music to get through.
Already this week, we’ve brought you Glastonbury gold from cover stars Jo Whiley, Steve Lamacq and Clara Amfo, as well as BBC bosses Mark Cooper and James Stirling, now it’s time to dig into the line-up.
Here are our picks of who to watch over the weekend, whether you’re in the field or watching at home…
With almost five million monthly listeners on Spotify, Walsall singer Jorja Smith has blown up in the wake of debut album Lost & Found, graduating from BRITs Critics’ Choice winner in 2018, to Best British Female this year. An impressive trajectory began when Blue Lights was released on Soundcloud and racked up 400,000 plays within a month. The track won recognition from big names like Stormzy and Drake. Ever since, Smith has been praised for her modesty throughout her journey to the top and her lyrical abilities. Her West Holts set promises much.
Since the release of her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish has been making waves across the industry. Known for her candid lyrics and baggy clothes, she became the youngest woman to score at UK No.1, at 17 years, three months and 18 days old. The record has 1992,994 sales to date, according to the Official Charts Company. Tipped as a big TV moment by Clara Amfo in the current issue of Music Week, her set should be huge.
Riding the wave of his chart-topping comeback single Vossi Bop, which notched 12.7 million streams in its first week isn’t enough for Stormzy. Now, Crown looks set to join it in the Top 5, ahead of one of the most anticipated Pyramid Stage headline sets in years. Lines such as “Fuck the government and fuck Boris” should go down a storm. Stormzy has been outspoken about politics and the power of black culture in the past, and is continuing to do so in his new music.
He may be slightly lower down the bill this weekend, but Dave’s stock is just as high as Stormzy’s. Having topped the charts with Psychodrama earlier this year, he’s been out on the road delivering its fierce, flawless live show. Expect fireworks from his Other Stage performance.
The Grammy-winning legend will be making one of her famously sporadic appearances on the Pyramid Stage this weekend. This feels like something of a coup for Glastonbury, and you may be able to rely on Hill more than most to bring a touch of unpredictability to the festival.
Mac has been dominating the indie scene for a good few years now, with recent record Here Comes The Cowboy joining classic such as 2 and Salad Days in his cannon. His cheery voice and languid guitar stylings are instantly recognisable. Mac can be found on the Other Stage this afternoon (Friday 28) and is sure to be accompanied by a crowd full of lookalikes, cigarette smokers with rolled up jeans.
With a feature spot on Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings and a debut album in the works, King Princess is fiercely taking on the pop scene, and celebrating the LGBTQ community in the process. Her carefree, comedic persona and performance style should suit Glastonbury down to the ground. Expect tracks from debut EP Make My Bed as well as singles Pussy Is God and Cheap Queen. Growing up in Brooklyn as the daughter of recording engineer Oliver Straus, she says it was inevitable for her to join the industry. She’s right in it now.
Dirty Hit’s Pale Waves starred on our new artists cover in 2018 and continue to make strides. They kicked off with a secret set last night (Thursday 27) and their John Peel stage set will be one to watch, if they can stop reeling long enough from the possibility of being in the vicinity of their goth idols The Cure, that is. The Manchester group’s debut album My Mind Makes Noises came out with critical acclaim in 2018 and a new EP is expected this year.
Slowthai’s gritty, unapologetic style has been hard to ignore for what feels like ages. Tracks like the Mura Masa-produced Doorman demonstrate the breadth and diversity of the Northampton rapper's sound. Music Week research found that Slowthai was the most-tipped act of 2019, too, which isn’t bad going.
At just 19 years old, Jamaican artist Koffee is set to take on the Park Stage at Glastonbury. After emerging in the wake of a viral Instagram video, Koffee soon released her first song, an acoustic track dedicated to runner Usain Bolt. Koffee’s excellent Rapture EP showcases her bubbling cauldron of influences, best heard on the brilliantly-named single Toast. The singer is one of several acts backed by BBC Radio 1Xtra playing across the weekend.
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By Kayla Effner