Entertainment & Arts

Glastonbury: Florence and the Machine step up with headline set

Florence and the Machine Image copyright PA
Image caption Florence Welch has worked her way up the Glastonbury bill over eight years

Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch has delivered an energetic headline set to close the first full day of the Glastonbury Festival.

Florence was moved to the headline slot last week when Foo Fighters pulled out after singer Dave Grohl broke his leg.

Florence's set for the Pyramid Stage crowd included a cover of Foo Fighters' Times Like These, dedicated to Grohl.

Saturday's main attractions include pop legend Burt Bacharach and divisive US rapper Kanye West.

Other acts performing on Friday included heavy rock veterans Motorhead, R&B star Mary J Blige, blues rockers Alabama Shakes and pop star Lulu.

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat's indie band The Libertines played a surprise set after being revealed as the secret act before Florence on the bill.

And Mark Ronson performed on The Other Stage, bringing out Blige, funk legend George Clinton and DJ Grandmaster Flash for his smash hit Uptown Funk.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pete Doherty's band The Libertines had not been officially advertised

Parts of the site have become muddy following several hours of rain on Friday afternoon.

The weather brightened up on Saturday, but more rain is forecast for Sunday.

On the Pyramid Stage, a barefoot Florence Welch sung songs from her three albums, including her singles Ship To Wreck, Shake It Out and Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up).

The free-spirited singer-songwriter, whose latest album has just been number one in the UK and US, spent much of the 15-song set running and twirling from one end of the Pyramid Stage to the other.

Her athleticism came despite only recently recovering from breaking her foot in April.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright AFP
Image caption There had been some debate over whether Florence was ready to headline

"Glastonbury is a place I love so much," she told the crowd. "The first time I came here I had no tent and we played at 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning in a tea tent, but I had this feeling that everything was beautiful and I hope you all feel like that tonight."

Introducing Times Like These, she said: "We would like to dedicate this next song to the legend and all-round incredible human being Dave Grohl.

"We hope through the Glastonbury ley lines this gets to you and you feel better. We're sending you so much love."

She also told the audience that she had wanted a choir with her but had not had time to assemble one - so she asked the crowd to sing along instead.

Her set closed with euphoric renditions of You've Got the Love and Dog Days Are Over, after which she took off her shirt, waved it in the air and ran off stage.


The view from the critics

  • "In the right setting, she is astonishing, channelling so much music and spirit she creates a whole world for her audience to enter into and release themselves." Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick
  • "In the context of the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, there's something infectious about her enthusiasm... She looks like a woman enjoying her unexpected moment, and it's hard to begrudge her." The Guardian's Alexis Petridis
  • "She's the first act of the festival to truly put on a show, with wild, flailing dancing, her trademark elegant hand gestures and loads and loads of running." The Independent's Emily Jupp

The view from the Glastonbury crowd

  • "Really good. I thought she really rose to the occasion. Nailed it." Courtney Bishop
  • "Not a headliner. We saw her a couple of years ago and it was incredible, whereas here she was a bit overwhelmed." Gina Workman
  • "She's my absolute idol and she's amazing. She's the perfect festival act. She just proved herself 10 times over." Laura Miller
  • "I thought she was pretty good. I thought her crowd interaction was top. Maybe she should have been a headliner in a couple of years." Charlie Ford

Set list

  • What the Water Gave Me
  • Ship To Wreck
  • Shake It Out
  • Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
  • Cosmic Love
  • Delilah
  • Sweet Nothing
  • Times Like These
  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • Queen of Peace
  • What Kind of Man
  • Drumming Song
  • Spectrum
  • You've Got the Love
  • Dog Days Are Over
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The rain began falling on Friday afternoon
Image copyright PA
Image caption The weather is expected to improve on Saturday - but more rain is forecast for Sunday

Image copyright PA
Image caption Pussy Riot staged the mock capture of an actor dressed as a Russian soldier

In other Glastonbury news:

  • Professor Stephen Hawking is unlikely to attend the event for an appearance in the Kidz Field as planned
  • Feminist Russian punk band Pussy Riot were interviewed by singer Charlotte Church in The Park
  • A contemporary ballet routine set to the music of David Bowie opened the Pyramid Stage. The performance by the Michael Clark Company included, briefly, three naked male dancers
  • US rapper Azealia Banks has pulled out of her appearance on the Other Stage on Saturday

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