Glastonbury 2022: 11 weird and wonderful moments

By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

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Glastonbury signImage source, Getty Images
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Glastonbury returned after a three-year absence, with all of the madness and magic you would expect

"I saw a man with a plant pot for a head coming out of a toilet," said Elbow's Guy Garvey as he played Glastonbury festival this weekend.

"Completely normal for this place."

Ah yes, the festival of festivals was back after two years of Covid cancellations, bigger and barmier than ever before.

Billie Eilish became the youngest-ever headliner at the age of 20, while Paul McCartney, who is exactly four times her age, became the oldest.

There were spectacular performances from Nigerian star Burna Boy, R&B legends TLC, soul icon Diana Ross, and a surprise set from George Ezra that caused utter pandemonium.

Sporty Spice drew huge crowds for a typically-athletic DJ set, and tried to stake a claim on next year's legends slot; while rock band Wolf Alice made it to Somerset with barely an hour to spare when their flight from LA was cancelled.

You can read about all of that elsewhere on the BBC News site... but here are some of the stranger moments you may have missed.

1) Wet Leg's big scream

Image source, Reuters

"Okay, I've been practising my longest and loudest scream," drawls Rhian Teasdale in Wet Leg's scathing indie-pop anthem Ur Mum.

After a count of three, she unleashes a sound of pure sonic force that's become a high point of the band's live shows.

But one woman is no match for 10,000 fans… and when Teasdale's scream was directed back at the stage, it literally blew her off her feet.

Not for the first time this weekend, a band were left speechless by the affection they received from their audience.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

2) Olivia Rodrigo's message to the Supreme Court

Image source, Getty Images

A lot of US artists expressed their anger at the US Supreme Court's decision to end the constitutional right to abortion in America. Billie Eilish called it a "dark day" for women, Megan Thee Stallion said the ruling was "embarrassing" and Kendrick Lamar closed the festival with a powerful defence of women's rights.

But the most visceral response came from 19-year-old Disney star Olivia Rodrigo.

"So many women and girls are going to die because of this [decision] and I wanted to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who showed us at the end of the day they truly don't give a [expletive] about freedom," said the singer.

After huge applause from the audience, Rodrigo singles out the justices by name, saying: "This song goes out to the justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh."

"We hate you! We hate you!" she declared, before inviting out Lily Allen to play her expletive-laden song F You.

3) This bunch of ravers

Cara Flanigan (pictured above, on the far left) started coming to Glastonbury in 2009, when she was 58 years old.

She loved it so much that, earlier this year, she bought a house on the outskirts of the festival so she would never miss it again.

"The estate agent said my house was a mile from the Pyramid Stage as the crow flies, and when I saw that advert, I said to my husband, 'we have to have it'.

Along with her daughter and four friends, she spent the whole weekend watching bands on the Pyramid and Park stages. Billie Eilish "was beyond us", but she loved First Aid Kit and Robert Plant.

"It's amazing to be here watching music in the fields where I normally go for my daily jog," she says.

"We love it, we love the whole thing. I love being here, I love camping - but it is quite nice to go home."

4) Haim's sausage-fest

Image source, Getty Images

Rock band Haim played their first ever show in Los Angeles' famed Canters Deli in 2000 so, to make them feel at home, they decorated the Pyramid stage with giant inflatable salamis (you can see them in the photo above, on the edges of the frame).

Their manager, Camille Goldman, says procuring the sausages was one of the hardest tasks she's ever been given. "It took about 500 emails," she sighs. "There was a lot of discussion about sausage texture."

Spinal Tap prop issues aside, the band's set crackled with pent-up energy. They'd originally planned to play their Grammy-nominated third album Women In Music, Pt. III, in 2020 before Covid struck.

Last year, they played Glastonbury's lockdown live-stream but, as Alana Haim explained on stage, it just wasn't the same.

"Last year we played to a field of cows. It was fun; but this is a bit [expletive] better!"

And after this victory lap, "a new record will be coming," she told the BBC backstage.

5) Is that you, Ma'am?

Image source, Finn / Twitter

One eagle-eyed television viewer spotted a familiar face in the crowd on Friday night.

"The Queen has turned up at Glastonbury to watch Robert Plant," wrote Finn on Twitter, accompanied by hard pictorial evidence. "That disguise is fooling nobody."

Buckingham Palace had no comment… probably. I'm not actually making that phone call, are you mad?

More from Glastonbury

6) Dave Grohl's subtle tribute to Taylor Hawkins

Image source, Getty Images

Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl was Paul McCartney's first surprise guest on Saturday, joining the star to play I Saw Her Standing There and Band On The Run.

It was Grohl's first public performance since the sudden death of his band's longtime drummer, Taylor Hawkins, in March.

He walked onto the stage after McCartney introduced him as "my friend, your hero," and although Grohl never mentioned his old friend, Hawkins was with him all along.

If you looked closely, Grohl had a large letter T tattooed across the back of his right hand. A beautiful gesture.

7) Chris Lowe's vanishing act

Image source, Getty Images

Pet Shop Boys threw a massive party on The Other Stage on Sunday night, playing a greatest hits set that included four UK number ones, a Village People cover and a duet with Olly Alexander from Years & Years.

Strangely, half of the band - namely keyboard player Chris Lowe - was missing in action for the first 30 minutes.

"The other one will reveal himself shortly," said Neil Tennant, but no explanation was given for his bandmates' absence before he eventually turned up, halfway through It's Alright.

So what happened: A backstage quarrel? A dodgy kebab? A misadventure with the 'special Haribo' that guy was selling in the car park?

No - he got stuck behind a malfunctioning video screen.

Although we prefer this explanation from author Scott Innes: "People asking where Chris Lowe is for this set - please try to bear in mind that their main business is the pet shop and it simply has to take priority over their musical sideline."

8) The Flags

Image source, Scott Bryan / Twitter

Traditionally, I write a whole thing about Glastonbury's best flags but, to be honest, everyone was off their game this weekend.

The one that everyone spotted carried the legendary words "this is a work event" - simultaneously immortalising and skewering Boris Johnson's defence of the Downing Street lockdown parties.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Also making an appearance during Crowded House's set on Friday was the infamous "laser kiwi" - which was genuinely proposed as an alternative New Zealand flag in 2015.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But my favourite carried a photo of Derry Girls character Sister Michael rolling her eyes and declaring, "Christ" - a perfectly reasonable reaction to the continued unfolding of events, everywhere, all the time.

Actress Siobhan McSweeney, who brought the constantly exasperated sitcom character to life, even endorsed the flag on Twitter.

"Omg," she exclaimed. "I want all the Irish people at #Glastonbury to gather under this flag, and storm the pyramid stage!"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

9) What are the words again?

Image source, Getty Images

Alt-pop band Easy Life brought a special guest onto the Pyramid Stage, in the form of Brockhampton rapper Kevin Abstract.

The Texas-born musician bounded onto stage full of energy… then promptly forgot all of his words.

"What happened to Kevin? You'd have to ask him," Easy Life frontman Murray Matravers told the BBC later. "It's either the jetlag or the tequila. There was a lot of tequila in the mix.

"But he could have done anything up there and I'd have been happy. The fact that he forgot the words is kind of more legendary than the performance."

10) Where was Harry Styles?

Image source, PA Media

Glastonbury rumours are like "fun size" chocolate bars - always disappointing.

According to the definitely-true document that spread around the site on Friday morning, Green Day were playing a secret set on the BBC Introducing stage, Taylor Swift was going to sing with Paul McCartney and Harry Styles was coming out to play with Billie Eilish.

Predictably, none of it was true… although we did hear a Harry Styles song during Billie's soundcheck on Friday morning. So what happened there?

George Ezra's secret set at the John Peel stage, on the other hand, was very real and genuinely great.

11) A big bunch of 'nanas

Image source, Reuters

Look, Hey Jude isn't Paul McCartney's best song - but somehow, in spite of its saccharine over-sentimentality, it just works. Every time.

The look on people's faces when he struck up the first chord was magical. And when he dragged out that coda for a full five minutes, even the "nah nahs" became "yes pleases".

If you were there, it was impossible not to be swept up in the moment; and a sizeable portion of the audience (myself included) turned their backs on the stage to see what 100,000 people singing in unison looked like.

Nothing could have been better, better, better, better.

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