Unless you were stuck under a Pyramid Stage-sized rock (or left stranded by rail strikes) without access to – well, anything – you would have attended the Glastonbury 2022 music festival and witnessed some truly world class performances.
The world’s greatest festival is made history last year, not least by celebrating its 50th anniversary. Billie Eilish, 20, became the youngest-ever headliner when she took to the stage on the Friday, whilst Sir Paul McCartney, who turned 80 last year, the oldest when he closed out the weekend.
Those were obviously the headlines. But something felt slightly different last year – perhaps for the obvious reason that absence doth make the heart grow fonder. Glastonbury hype had been percolating without release since 2019.
But Glastonbury 2022 wasn’t just about the headliners. Foals – who played a stellar secret set at the last Glasto. Kendrick Lamar. Lorde. Little Simz. Primal Scream. St Vincent. The list goes on. A smorgasbord of indelible acts, each one of them more than worth a few night of camping squalor to see.
The list of secret sets kept coming too. Secretglasto’s Twitter account – which has successfully predicted secret sets in the past – is successfully predicted an appearance from Bastille. George Ezra, following the then-recent release of Gold Rush Kid, also popped in for a set after a photo circulated of his slot at the John Peel Stage.
But enough with the big names. Here’re some gems you may not have heard of before, that really shone in that famous Glastonbury sunshine.
East London’s Hak Baker entered Glastonbury 2022 having just completed a series of pub shows. After a couple of beers and his trusty old guitar though, playing The Other Stage on the Saturday proved no more challenging to the singer-songwriter. If ever there was a time for people to buy into his music and relatable tunes, it’s now. Hak’s songs about being broke (relatable), the general shithousery of the police and getting through life’s troubles with a smile on your face proved an oddly prescient addition to the 2022 Glastonbury lineup.
Amyl & the Sniffers
Amyl & the Sniffers weren’t top billing at this year’s festival, even though they are still probably Australia’s greatest punk outfit to this day. Hungover and mud-soaked punters trekked over to the John Peel Stage on Sunday evening, only to be ripped open and woken up by their raucous sound. Freaks to the freaks to the freaks to the freaks to the front.
Dry cleaning might just be a distant memory at most 2022 music festivals, but last year saw Dry Cleaning (the band) emerge as fresh as a warm basket of laundry. One of those bands whose debut album came out during that shitty lockdown period, 2022 was the year they unleashed themselves on the world with aplomb. They played The Park Stage on Friday afternoon.
Slightly softer this one. But then again, we could all do with a few gentler moments to catch our breath at festivals. Not that Matilda is by any means sluggish. Her vocals hit you like a summer breeze, her songs well-formulated and entrancing. Matilda in fact came runner-up in the 2020 Glastonbury Emerging Talent award. She’s certainly emerged further since then, and rocked Glasto’s stage on Friday lunchtime.
Conversely, if it’s something powerful – even spiritual – that tickled your fancy, Gabriels proved more than worth a listen. Led by the vocals of Compton’s Jacob Lusk, a gospel singer and choir director, the L.A. trio proved just the tonic to lift attendees on the Saturday.
Fontaines D.C. were the stellar Irish band to see at last year’s Glastonbury music festival, following their critically acclaimed Skinty Fia released in April. But take a moment to look back on Just Mustard if you missed them – the superbly intense, even eerie, post-punk rockers from Dundalk. Their album released just before the 2022 festival, Heart Under, was equally sublime.
The Silver Hayes Stage was home to some great and groovy names in 2022: Overmono, Avalon Emerson, TSHA, to name just a few. London duo Two Shell, however, really made a name for themselves with their interesting brand of electronic music that straddled somewhere between techno and hyper-pop.