The Glastonbury Festival of 2014 rolled into the history books this weekend as festival goers make their way out of the muddy fields of Worthy Farm. Here are some of the highlights of the main stage that electrified UK audiences.
Although Glastonbury has not been known for metal bands, Metallica thundered onto the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night with their pounding thrash metal numbers like For Whom the Bell Tolls, Creeping Death, and Master of Puppets. Metallica frontman James Hetfield thanked Glastonbury organizers on stage for the opportunity to bring metal to the traditionally hippie-loving crowd at Glastonbury and encouraged producers to book more heavy bands in the future.
Controversy surrounded the 25-year-old band even before they lit up the main stage. Their performance was nearly overshadowed by a petition seeking the band’s removal from the festival over James Hetfield’s association with a bear hunting documentary. But the masters of heavy had the last laugh on the delicate Banksy crowd. Prior to their appearance on stage, the big screen splashed a self-title Glastallica video which featured a tribute to recently deceased actor Eli Wallach and the faux-slaughter of a group of English fox hunters who were ambushed by the grinning and winking band members dressed in bear costumes. Metallica fans loved it as the band jumped on stage and opened up with their heart-pounding Creeping Death. Although their stage performance was pyrotechnically lite compared to past appearances, Metallica still proved beyond a head-banging doubt the enduring popularity of heavy metal that justified their headline status.
Dolly Parton was the clear fan favorite of the Glastonbury Festival, drawing the largest crowd for her set which lasted just over an hour. The 68 year old country singer brought her bright southern charm to England’s cloudy skies as she wowed the huge audience with fan favorite numbers like 9 to 5 and Jolene. Always a versatile instrumentalist, Parton showed off her saxophone chops by ripping out a flawless Yakkity Sax, the theme song from the much-beloved UK television show Benny Hill. Before her set, she was presented with a special award that celebrated 100 million sales of her albums worldwide. Her 42nd album, Blue Smoke, has became her highest charting solo album to-date, reaching number six on the US and UK charts. Parton left the Glastonbury main stage with her crowd-weeping I Will Always Love You, one of the world’s best selling singles of all time.
Indie-ravers Kasabian headlined Sunday night on the Pyramid Stage with their popular electro-fueled dance numbers like Club Foot and Eez-Zeh. The Brit-pop band first played at the Glastonbury Festival 10 years ago in the opening act. Now, they headlined. The Leicester group, fronted by aficionado of cool Tom Meighan, has been one of the UKs most popular bands in the last decade, producing a mind-boggling four number one albums, including their most successful album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which spent 143 weeks, almost three years, on the UK charts.
On Friday night, indie symphonic artists Arcade Fire brought their top-charting album Reflektor to Glastonbury’s main stage after an electric storm delayed their opening. The Canadian band’s stage act, at times colorful, at times surrealistic, complemented their guitar driven melodies with hits such as Neighborhood #3 and The Suburbs.
British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, known for her emotive soprano range and heart-tugging vocals, showed off her expressive vocal talents on Other Stage on Sunday night with hits like Starry-Eyed and Burn. Over 940,000 UK television viewers watched her electric performance, the largest TV audience during the BBC’s Glastonbury Festival coverage. Her dubstep guru collaborator and former-boyfriend Skrillex headlined Friday night at Glastonbury on Other Stage, showing off his world-class electro-rhythm production talents in what many fans have dubbed a masterpiece of musical innovation. Ellie Goulding collaborated with Skrillex on his 2011 EP Bangarang and accompanied the production artist on world tours in 2012.
An army of bleary-eyed festival goers pack their tents and begin their long muddy exodus and sanitation workers begin the herculean task of cleaning up piles of trash the size of Mount Snowdon at Worthy Farm. As memories of the highlights of the 2014 Glastonbury Festival dry up, fans are already looking forward to the storm of talent on the main stage that will highlight Glastonbury 2015.
By Steve Killings