The US Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in America reverberated across the Atlantic Ocean Friday during the 50th anniversary of the legendary Glastonbury music and arts festival that drew 200,00 music fans who braved extreme weather and transportation problems to hear megastars including Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar.
Glastonbury, considered along with Coachella and Burning Man as a premier global destination, is “the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world,” according to its organizers, and is renowned for its superstar lineups, audience capacity and live music, circus performers, theater, movies and more.
But politics intruded at around 6pm U.K. time as the news reverberated around the festival, triggering “a chorus of condemnation” from the performers, according to The Guardian.
“Today is a really dark day for women in the US and I’m just gonna say that ’cos I can’t bear to think about it any longer in this moment,” lamented the 20-year-old Eilish as she introduced her hit Your Power. “This song is dedicated to that I guess…”
In her set, American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers called on the crowd that booed the mention of America, to share her outrage. “Who wants to say, ‘F—— the Supreme Court’? One, two, three…”
She asked if any Americans were in the audience, which drew boos from the crowd, then added: “Who wants to say, ‘Fuck the Supreme Court’? One, two, three…”
Biggest and muddiest
The biggest and most notable of the European music festivals, Glastonbury is known as one of the most diverse (and muddiest) performing arts festivals in Europe.
From its humble beginnings in 1970, when it lasted just one day and tickets sold for £1, the festival has become a template for all the festivals that followed, with music fans from around the world flocking in rain or sunshine to Worthy Farm in Somerset, England. This year, festival founder Michael Eavis opened the gates for the belated 50th anniversary celebrations after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Daring outfits, marriage proposals, celebrities, families and people of all ages were part of this year’s event despite travel disruptions due to rail strikes and flights cancellations. Also, as the Daily Mail reports: “The mud synonymous with the iconic festival is set to make an appearance, with thunderstorms and torrential downpours” predicted for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) also urged festivalgoers to be mindful of monkeypox as case numbers in Great Britain continue to rise.
Billie Eilish and President Zelensky
This year’s festival is being headlined by Gen-Z pop star Billie Eilish, the youngest solo artist to headline the festival, Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney, rapper Kendrick Lamar, Diana Ross and many others spanning musical genres and generations.
Also Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, made an appearance on the Glastonbury screens to urge attendees to put pressure on “all the politicians you know” to “help restore peace in Ukraine.”
“Spread the truth about Russia’s war,” he said. “Help Ukrainians who are forced to flee their homes because of the war,” he added before the rock band the Libertines opened proceedings.