Glastonbury is the UK’s biggest music festival, and one of the largest performing arts events in the world. Over 135,000 people attended the festival this year, braving the British weather to watch artists such as Muse, Adele and Coldplay.
The event draws some of the biggest acts in the world, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to discover new British music. Couldn’t make it to the festival? We’ve hand-picked five of the best acts from this year’s festival that you shouldn’t miss:
Band of Skulls
Blues Rock three-piece Band of Skulls have been performing since 2004. While they have never topped the charts, they have a loyal following and have achieved substantial critical acclaim. Their song ‘Sweet Sour’ won best hard rock song at the 2013 Independent Music Awards.
Goldierocks, host of the British Council’s Selector radio show, described them as a “powerful band, full of guts and rock and roll spirit”.
London-born Jess Glynne’s career began when she was only 15 years old, auditioning for (and later dropping out of) popular talent show The X Factor. She travelled the world after leaving school, returning to the UK to hone her songwriting skills. Now, Jess Glynne is the second woman to have five number one singles in the British charts.
She released her first album, ‘I cry when I laugh’ last year to critical acclaim. Andy Gill for the Independent described it as a “record of heartbreak cauterised by hope”, carrying with it an optimism that set it apart from other records.
Jamie Lawson is an artist from the British port city of Plymouth. Like many modern artists, Lawson found fame online. He started uploading MP3s on the internet before it became popular, achieving airplay on US college radio in the early 2000s. He first experienced chart success in Ireland, where his song, ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’, reached number three on the singles chart.
Now, a decade and a half since he started performing, Lawson is signed to Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man label, and has since toured with One Direction and other major artists. His first album since joining Sheeran, the self-titled Jamie Lawson, topped the UK album charts. This year marks Lawson’s first appearance at Glastonbury - he tweeted before he was due on stage that he “might be nervous”.
Declan won Glastonbury’s emerging talent contest in 2015 when he was just 16. McKenna’s music is quite political compared to many of his peers; his first single, ‘Brazil’, criticised the football governing body FIFA, for allowing the country to host the World Cup. His subsequent release considered the representation of transgender teenagers.
He has been praised by music critics. The BBC described his music as being “extraordinary” for such a young songwriter, and McKenna also appeared on The Selector this year, where host Goldierocks said that his music was “really cool, energetic indie”.