Paul McCartney fans get up early to claim Glastonbury front row spots

By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

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Paul McCartneyImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The star last played Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage in 2004

Eager Paul McCartney fans have already staked their claim to front row spots for the star's Glastonbury headline set on Saturday night.

Festival-goers gathered at the barriers early in the morning, with sandwiches and snacks to keep them going before McCartney walks on stage at 21:00 BST.

"I've been training for it like a marathon," said Kate Appleby.

In order to avoid giving up her spot, the 29-year-old has been practicing ways to avoid toilet breaks.

"Lots of pelvic floor exercises, lots of clenching," she laughed. "It'll be worth it."

"I've been slightly dehydrating myself so hopefully it will be no problems," added fellow fan Henry Thurgood.

Image caption,
Jess Day (left) and Kate Appleby (right) travelled from the Lake District to see Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish
Image caption,
Henry Thurgood bought a Sgt Pepper outfit especially for Glastonbury

The 27-year-old, from Wincanton in Somerset, has come dressed in a replica of McCartney's Sgt Pepper's costume, which he believes will help him reclaim his spot if he does have to step away.

"If anyone's got a chance of filtering through the crowd, hopefully this will be my ticket through."

More from Glastonbury

McCartney, who turned 80 last week, is due to play for two-and-three-quarter hours on Saturday night.

It will be his second time headlining the Pyramid Stage - in a concert that was delayed from 2020, after Glastonbury was cancelled in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He warmed up for the show with an intimate gig in the nearby town of Frome, playing to 800 people on Friday evening.

The £25 tickets sold out instantly, and dozens of unlucky fans turned up simply just to hear the music spilling out of the Cheese and Grain venue in the pouring rain.

The star arrived on stage just after 6pm, playing to an audience that included Olivia Harrison, Judd Apatow, Brian Johnson from AC/DC and pop star Olivia Rodrigo.

His 27-song set opened with The Beatles' I Want To Be your Man, and included a career-spanning selection of hits, from Blackbird and Get Back to Band On The Run and My Valentine.

Ahead of the final track, The End, the star said: "OK so there does come a time when we've got to go and it coincides with the time you've got to go.

"Most of all we want to thank you for coming along and having a ball with us tonight."

Image source, MJ Kim/2022 MPL Communications Ltd/PA Wire
Image caption,
The warm-up gig at the Cheese and Grain was a sell-out with people gathered outside
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
McCartney's last headline slot won an NME Award for musical event of the year

McCartney's last Glastonbury appearance, in 2004, came after a day of heavy rain that left fans soaked to the skin.

But his arrival was greeted with an almighty cheer, and he responded with a joyous greatest hits set, that left the sound of Hey Jude echoing around the festival site hours after he left the stage.

"Paul won the day for me," festival founder Michael Eavis said after the concert. "He hugged and kissed me afterwards but I should have kissed him."

Sir Paul later told Clash magazine: "It was a good night for us. It was a blast, and the audience seemed to love it. It was like, 'Yeah man! People have come together!' Very uplifting."

Other acts on the bill for Saturday include Noel Gallagher, Haim, Ghetts and Megan Thee Stallion.

The Pyramid Stage opened shortly after midday with West African supergroup Les Amazones D'Afrique - whose sunny, laid-back grooves conveyed powerful messages about women's rights, genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Joy Crookes was up next, and called a halt to her second song, Trouble, to encourage the audience to dance.

"This is Glastonbury, don't be shy!" she exclaimed.

Ukrainian band Go_A drew a big crowd to the John Peel Stage, who formed giant circles and danced around to their blend of dance music and Ukrainian folk melodies.

The first night of the festival was headlined by US pop star Billie Eilish, whose uncompromising and powerful set drew one of the Pyramid Stage's youngest-ever audiences.

Like several US musicians at the festival, she used her performance to protest against the US Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion in America.

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