Who Will Headline Glastonbury 2021?
If, like us, you awoke on this fine Monday morning somewhat haggard but actually quite impressed that you and much of the nation rallied together this weekend to make the best of a sad situation and live out Glastonbury's 50th anniversary from the comfort of your own homes, then give yourselves a pat on the back. You did it buddy – take some solace in the fact that you don't need to make that dreaded, existential journey home.
In lieu of the real thing, this weekend the BBC aired The Glastonbury Experience – a whole weekend of previous festival highlights and archive footage, including a fresh-faced Oasis performing on the NME Stage in 1994, a hirsute David Bowie headlining The Pyramid Stage in 2000, Beyonce's iconic 2011 performance, plus that time when Dave was joined by a 'buzzing' fan for 'David Silva'. Just as they had done with most other social occasions snubbed by lockdown, people had to get creative to live out the momentous festival experience and bring Glastonbury – or GlastHOMEbury – back, from recreating the Pyramid Stage to donning some wellies, pitching a tent in the garden and generally getting trolleyed.
The 50th anniversary was supposed to see Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift top a typically vast and eclectic bill, with Diana Ross headlining the Sunday afternoon 'Legends' slot. But now with the GlastHOMEbury festivities behind us, music fans will no doubt be looking forward to news of what to expect for the festival's 2021 return. Though the expectation is that much of this year's line up will be transferred onto next year's billing, Glastonbury is yet to confirm any details on the extent of this. Speaking with BBC Radio 6Music, festival organiser Emily Eavis admitted that "Logistically it’s a little bit complicated because we’d already pencilled in many, many of the acts for 2021, so we’re trying to work out how much we can fit into next year."
On last Wednesday's episode of Table Manners with Jessie Ware podcast, Eavis invited Ware to perform next year, effectively making the singer the first announced act for 2021. But what about the headliners? Even if the Tay Tay, Macca and Kung Fu Kenny triumvirate is to return, the Eavises are sure to be planning something special to make up for lost time. Here are a few of the contenders.
If anyone knows about rumours, it's Fleetwood Mac. Before you scoff at a classic dad joke, the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have been long rumoured to headline Worthy Farm despite never playing there, not least in 2019 when Stevie Knicks and co. told a Wembley Stadium audience that they "Had a big field to play". As of yesterday, Betway have 8/11 odds on the transatlantic icons taking to the Pyramid stage next year.
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewitt's simian collective were recently announced as new additions to Primavera Sound 2021, hinting at a large summer for Gorillaz. 2020 has already seen a string of new material from the band, with a characteristically diverse mix of collaborators, including Skepta, Georgia, Peter Hook, Fatoumata Diawara and the late Tony Allen. Though unfortunately Allen won't be gracing the stage with Albarn, it's easy to imagine a wealth of young talent joining Noodle, Murdoch and the band.
Though never officially confirmed, Aerosmith did drop themselves in it back in January when listing Glasto among 2020 European tour dates in a mailer to their fanbase. As The Mirror has pointed out, the Bad Boys from Boston have a 'Glastonbury-sized hole' in between dates at London’s O2 Arena on June 23 and June 29 at Manchester Arena.
Though admittedly it might seem a stretch at first to imagine an artist so early in her career headline the Pyramid Stage, there seems no end to the rising popularity of electro-pop star Billie Eilish. Come June 2021, the young artist may have a second record to her name, and if so it's not hard to predict critical and chart success to match her debut When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – although admittedly this year has scarpered stadium tours promoting this record. If she does top the bill, she'll be the youngest Glasto headliner in its history, followed by a 24-year-old Bowie and 25-year-old Stormzy.
At the age of 79, Bob Dylan is still full of surprises, having recently dropped new album Rough and Rowdy Ways, which ranked at number two on the US charts and made him the only artist with a US Top 40 album in every decade since the 60s. Also surprising is the fact that 'The Voice of Protest' has never headlined Worthy Farm. If there was ever a show to end Dylan's so-called 'Never Ending Tour', it would be Glastonbury.
Glastonbury will take place 23-27 June 2021. Tickets are currently sold out, however there will be a resale in early October.