Friday was headlined by Florence and the Machine, after the Foo Fighters pulled out due to Dave Grohl’s broken foot. It was a day filled with rain, mud and incredible music and I felt the highlights were most definitely James Bay, Catfish and the Bottmen, Peace, The Libertines and Florence and the Machine (who was literally on another level).
James Bay took to the Pyramid Stage early on Friday afternoon. He was met by a huge crowd and was accompanied by many famous fans, including One Direction’s Niall Horan. Bay played a selection of songs from his album “Chaos and the Calm” including hits such as “Hold Back the River” and “Let it go”. Bay’s set featured many melodic tunes and an array of easy to listen to songs which set the audience up for an exciting weekend of live music. His voice possessed a maturity which proved his right to be on the main stage and promised many future Glastonbury sets. James Bay followed his performance on the Pyramid Stage with a short set on the BBC Introducing stage on Saturday.
After an episode of food poisoning, Catfish and the Bottlemen conquered the Other Stage on Friday afternoon. Catfish and the Bottlemen opened with their hit song Kathleen which immediately got the crowd singing. Catfish and the Bottlemen seem to create a buzzing energy full of youthful promise and their crowd was mostly filled with loyal and supportive fans- especially shown in Friday’s pouring rain. It’s my second time seeing Catfish and the Bottlemen (I saw them play Reading Festival last year before the release of their debut album, “The Balcony”) and it’s amazing to see their popularity flourish after the release of the album. The Welsh band played a set full of upbeat indie tunes which showcased the skills of the band and put them in a perfect position for potential future festival sets. Catfish and the Bottlemen are definitely ones to watch as they could potentially be headliners of the future as a result of their catchy songs and dedicated fan base. Despite the rain (and the weather stricken instruments), the band played a set which got the crowd excited and left the listener with lingering catchy hooks. Van McCann even stopped the set in order to get a fan’s CD which showed not only their care and appreciation of and towards their fan base but also reminded the listener of the band’s journey to where they are now and their support of new music. Catfish and the Bottlemen are definitely not to be missed. They could possibly be the next big thing and they’re most definitely well on their way.
There was much speculation as to what would happen to Florence and the Machine’s early evening Friday 19:15 set after she was ‘promoted’ to headliner, as a result of Dave Grohl’s (Foo Fighters) broken foot, and the set remained a secret with only a few knowing. I’d heard many potential names floating around the site all day ranging from Ed Sheeran to an acoustic Foo Fighters set. The set was played by The Libertines, who are currently making a comeback after a recent break from music, and they were openly welcomed by thousands of elated fans. Doherty and co delivered a set packed full of hits from the past 18 years and it served as a hint of what fans could expect at other headline events such as Reading and Leeds Festival (August 28th-30th). The onstage relationship between Doherty and Barat- proved by their microphone sharing after Doherty’s microphone stopped working- made the audience feel at ease and comforted by their return. Their short notice set was well received and set the audience up for Florence and the Machine.
But overall, Flo stole the show. Florence proved her headliner worthiness by producing a spectacular set mixing songs from her new album “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” with classic Florence and the Machine songs such as “Shake it out” and “Spectrum”. The audience particularly enjoyed Florence’s cover of “You’ve got the Love” (The Source featuring Candi Staton) and it was being sung around the festival site over the whole weekend as a result of its catchy tune and lyrics (in which the audience had mostly known prior to her set). Florence possessed an incredible onstage energy and presence which radiated positivity and created a somewhat spiritual feeling in her performance which made the set feel perhaps even magical. The set has launched Florence and the Machine into a new era of performance and set her miles above the other acts at the festival. Florence is of course a worthy headliner of Glastonbury as a result of her constant devotion to the festival over the last few years. The band reminded the audience of the reason that they were able to headline the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury in the first place by paying homage to the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl with a cover of “Times like These” which got the whole crowd singing. Florence Welch’s onstage energy caused her to put on a spectacular show- worthy of any headline spot- and saw her dancing (despite her recent broken foot) and running around the stage sporadically and at one point even getting into the audience and singing with/to fans. The highlight of the set was “Dog Days are Over” in which Welch encouraged the audience to swing pieces of clothing above their head and temporarily leave their problems behind them whatever they may be. Florence did this also and removed her shirt before exiting the stage to a constant roar of audience applause. Florence is not to be under estimated, as her Glastonbury set proves, and she will undoubtedly be a staple feature in many of the major festivals over the next year or so.