At its most vibrant in years, embracing genres outside the typical oeuvre of alternative rock and pop, Glastonbury 2019 offered its spotlight to a grime kingpin and thousands of other artists. Louis Griffin explains why Glastonbury was voted Best Festival at The Mic Awards 2019.
The Glastonbury Festival has been around for close to fifty years. In fact, 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of the festival, and so one might expect the 49th Festival, in 2019, to be a slightly quieter affair. Not so. The festival seemed to be at its most vibrant in years, with the embracing of genres outside of the typical oeuvre of alternative rock and pop. Grime made an appearance in its biggest way to date, helped in no small part by Stormzy's kingmaking turn on the Pyramid Stage. For many this was the highlight of the whole weekend: politically charged while bearing all the hallmarks of a moment that will be talked about for years to come.
Elsewhere, The Killers reminded us all why they continue to reign supreme over the popular arm of rock, with a set that seemed to contain nothing but hits, and a karaoke-esque encore, with assistance from Johnny Marr and the Pet Shop Boys. A touching legends set from Kylie Minogue on Sunday afternoon, made poignant by the fact that she was forced to cancel a performance at Glastonbury fourteen years ago due to breast cancer. She has since overcome the illness, and she did the same with any suggestion that she might be past her prime, with a set of solid gold hits, and a Nick Cave cameo.
Finally, The Cure rounded off Sunday night with a curious set, full of undeniable alternative hits, but equally offset by their reluctance to act up to the occasion and Robert Smith's shy stage demeanour. Luckily, the sheer number of singalong tracks they deploy saved the day, resulting in a fitting closing end to the festival.
And that was just the Pyramid Stage; it's in the nature of Glastonbury that there's always a thousand other things to be doing and music to be watching, at any one time. Elsewhere, the weekend saw a triumphant set from Lizzo, an emotional debut from IDLES, and sheer fury from slowthai. Glastonbury remains the cultural pinnacle of the festival season, catering for the bleeding edge of the new, and the familiar comfort of legends galore. There's no other UK festival that comes close, and even worldwide there's no obvious contender (Coachella…really? No contest).
So yes, Glastonbury retains its crown for the foreseeable future, no matter how many naysayers claim that it's past its prime, or somehow has lost its way. Because Glastonbury is an institution, and as long as it remains so, it will continue to attract the best and brightest in music for the next 50 years too. One can only imagine what Emily Eavis has planned for 2020.