George Ezra starts Sunday channeling a similar vibe to that of Jake Bugg, making vintage sounds mainstream. He delivers something of an American-pop cross over which is modern enough to pull in the crowd, whilst equally rooted in less commercial sounds which allows for a wider audience base. Whilst the crowd lap up every moment of latest single Budapest for me it’s the melodic Cassy O’ which highlights his vocal power and leaves me wondering how a 21 year old creates such a mature sound. Meanwhile Listen To The Man delivers deep lyrics about not listening to external pressures and Stand By Your Gun verges to a more mainstream rock sound proving Ezra’s diversity.
In a not so secret set The Kooks deliver a mix of best loved songs and newer numbers to a capacity John Peel crowd. The sunshine means that those on the fringes of the tent waste no time dancing and singing along to the likes of She Moves in Her Own Way and Seaside. Nevertheless the newer tracks prove that The Kooks have not lost form, and Forgive & Forget and Bad Habit prove that their September release of their next album Listen, will be worth doing as its title dictates. Meanwhile despite the mixed reception to their Junk of The Heart album, today’s airing of the title track sees it slip neatly into a set of well crafted tracks.
Offering perhaps the most unorthodox set of the day Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, sees Yoko start the set with a political rant about fracking before moving into her trademark yelping and groaning. It’s uncomfortable and yet when she’s performing works about losing her daughter in a custody dispute in Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand in the Snow), you’d expect nothing less. It fact, it’s Yoko’s ability to challenge norms about what’s expected of female singer/songwriters, and moving against the tide with her avant-garde number which make her continually relevant. She leaves me hoping other female musicians are doing similar in their 80’s and challenges the norms.
Of course, there’s only one person that anyone is talking about on Sunday; the legendary Dolly Parton, who wastes no time highlighting why she should have been given a headline slot. The Pyramid Stage is busier than any of the three headline acts, and the abundance of wigs and balloon boob outfits add the the party atmosphere. From the classics Jolene, 9 to 5 and Coat of Many Colors to the new songs like Blue Smoke (which is incredibly infectious) to the gospel Bon Jovi reinvention Lay Your Hands on Me she’s able to command the crowd and confirm why she is the queen of country. Amidst the self-deprecating quips about her wig, and the pantomime sax rendition there’s a real sincerity to Dolly that other have tried, yet failed, to replicate. There’s an earnest nature to the self made millionaire perhaps best highlighted by her new number Mud Song, written especially for the festival which quite frankly stinks more than any of the long drops. Nevertheless she confirms at 68 she still rules the roost and though it’s a set which could have gone on for much longer, she crams enthusiasm and passion into every ounce of her set.
With the festival now transformed with the new long drops, and countless other wonderful sites and sounds from elsewhere on the site, though the critics will always argue that the line up’s have been better and the festival is ‘not what it used to be’ but for me I leave with a reconfirmed understanding of why Glastonbury is the greatest festival on earth. Despite prior trepidation at my first solo stint on Worthy Farm, I leave with new friends and a reconfirmed passion for activism and music and sense of invincibility that only Glastonbury is able to create.