Elton John is getting set play Glastonbury Festival for the first time in his long and glittering career, together with The Arctic Monkeys and Guns N’ Roses for its 2023 edition. However, the Worthy Farm event has yet to play host to some of the biggest names in music.
There can be no doubt that Glastonbury has huge star pulling power, having welcomed the likes of Jay Z, David Bowie, Radiohead and Bruce Springsteen to the Pyramid Stage during more than 50 years of fun in the (often muddy) fields of Somerset.
Festival organiser Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily have earned a reputation for putting together festival line-ups that reflect the very best of pop, rock, world music, and more latterly comedians. Along with the many thousands who attend the festival in person, the acts are enjoyed by a television audience of millions around the globe.
But some music fans will wonder why their favourite acts have never performed on the Pyramid Stage, and as Glastonbury Festival 2023 approaches, we’re taking a look at five of the very biggest acts who have never played at Worthy Farm. Later in the piece we will also review some of the other big names that have successfully filled the Glastonbury legends slot and are unlikely to be forgotten.
What we now know as Glastonbury Festival first began in 1970, when English rockers Led Zeppelin were at the peak of their powers, and yet the Eavis family never managed to persuade the mighty Zep to play at Worthy Farm. It seems hard to believe that two British institutions so seemingly well suited to each other as Glastonbury and Led Zeppelin never formed a partnership and, alas, it seems unlikely to ever happen with the band making no plans to play together again.
Hits like Running Up That Hill have stood the test of time and Kate Bush has even enjoyed a surge in popularity among young music fans thanks to her songs being used on the Stranger Things soundtrack, and she would surely go down a storm at Glastonbury. But the 64-year-old singer suffers with anxiety about performing on stage and very rarely makes live appearances. Her only tour took place in 1979, taking her around the UK and Europe for six weeks, but it ended in May of that year and she never made it to Glastonbury to perform at the festival.
The sound of We Are The Champions or We Will Rock You booming out of the Pyramid Stage speakers and out across the rolling hills of Somerset would be a highlight of any English summer, but Queen guitarist Brian May has said that Queen will never play Glastonbury Festival. The reason for Queen’s reluctance to play at Worthy Farm is that May holds strong views on badger culling, having been an ardent campaigner against culls for many years. Meanwhile, dairy farmer and Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis has said he is in favour of culling “in certain circumstances”. Ever heard of a load of badgers getting in the way of a rock concert? You have now.
Rumours are already circulating that Taylor Swift is being pursued for a headline performance at Glastonbury Festival 2024, and she may well be able to see her boyfriend there if she does. Taylor has recently gone public about her relationship with Matty Healy of English pop rock band The 1975, who are also apparently being courted for a slot at Glastonbury next year. If their relationship holds out, love might blossom in the fields of Somerset in 2024!
Emily Eavis says that she wrote Elton John “quite a long letter” to persuade him to play at Glastonbury Festival, and the Rocket Man singer admitted he is “a little intimidated” by the prospect of playing at Worthy Farm. But a deal was struck for the 76-year-old singer to incorporate a Glastonbury headline slot into his last ever tour, and attendees and viewers around the world should be in for a treat. The performance will be the final UK show of the last tour of Elton’s incredible career, and he has promised a unique set featuring several special guests.
Of all these acts I think Queen surprised me the most – what about you?
Biggest Star Headliners of the Glastonbury Legends Slot
One of the biggest questions on everybody’s lips is ‘will Madonna appear on the Legends stage in 2024?’ No-one knows and if it happens it will likely be a last minute announcement as she likes to make an entrance!
We picked some of the best Legends Slot headliners and these are names that do epitomise the word ‘legend’.