Performers entertain Glastonbury festivalgoers in Somerset, southwest England
Pilton (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Elton John was set to close out Britain’s legendary Glastonbury Festival on Sunday, bringing down the curtain on the annual spectacular with what has been billed as his final UK performance.
The 76-year-old pop superstar is winding down a glittering live career with a global farewell tour, having played his last concerts in the United States in May ahead of a final gig in Stockholm on July 8.
The singer-songwriter has said he “couldn’t be more excited” to make his debut at Glastonbury, Britain’s best-known music festival hosted on a farm in southwest England for five decades.
He will take to the main Pyramid Stage on Sunday night, with fans eagerly awaiting the identity of four “collaborators” set to join him who have yet to be announced.
A festival goer awaits Elton John on day five of the Glastonbury festival
“Elton’s a legend,” PhD student Giles Briscoe, 26, told AFP as he headed to the stage hours ahead of the set, wearing a replica of the iconic baseball outfit John wore at his famous 1975 concerts at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
“The fact that he’s going to perform on such a big stage, at such a historic moment of his career, is such a big event.”
Theatre producer Ben Monk, 30, had been staking out a spot in front of the stage since early morning. It was a “very special day in Glastonbury history”, he told AFP.
“Why would we miss it?”
- Eclectic ethos -
John’s husband David Furnish revealed that the four different guests will feature on stage, promising the show would differ from the global icon’s sets on his marathon Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour over recent years.
Britain's Sophie Ellis-Bextor performs on the Pyramid Stage on day five of the Glastonbury festival
“This one is very special. It is not just another day in the office,” Furnish told Sky News.
He also revealed that John would not stop making music after the tour ends next month. He will start work on a new studio album later this year.
John’s UK swansong caps days of big-name performances in front of more than 200,000 fans at Glastonbury, including veteran US rockers Guns N’Roses, who were making their debut at the long-running festival in the coveted Saturday night headline slot.
They rocked through their extensive catalogue during a two-hour-plus set playing hits including “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “November Rain”.
Singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam (commonly known as Cat Stevens) performs on the Pyramid Stage
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, whose band played a so-called secret slot Friday, joined them onstage to help play a special rendition of “Paradise City”.
Other acts playing this year included UK indie giants Arctic Monkeys, singer Lizzo, rapper Lil Nas X, post-punk icon Blondie and “rickroller” Rick Astley, highlighting Glastonbury’s eclectic ethos.
On Saturday a supportive crowd sang along as Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi, who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, struggled to finish his set.
He announced he would take a break, after previously cancelling gigs to recuperate over health concerns.
- No mud -
Dairy farmer Michael Eavis first organised the festival in 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died, and fans who came to see acts including Marc Bolan and Al Stewart paid £1 each for entry and received free milk from the farm.
The festival is also known for hosting thousands of small acts and leftfield events across the huge Worthy Farm site
It was held intermittently in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that it really began to acquire its current cult status.
While able to draw the biggest performers from every genre and generation, it is equally known for hosting thousands of small acts and leftfield events across the huge Worthy Farm site, as well as for often rainy and muddy conditions.
That has not proved a problem this year, with Britain in the midst of a prolonged dry period leaving much of the country scorched.
More than 100,000 standard tickets for this year’s festival sold out in just over an hour, despite the price rising to £335 ($427) this year.
Fans dragging tents, rucksacks and booze began flocking to the site Tuesday, ahead of gates opening the following day and the live music kicking off on Friday.