Glastonbury 2014 reflected the diverse national roots entering the pop mainstream

Sophie Ellis Bextor pops back to Glasto after 4 years
Sophie Ellis Bextor pops back to Glasto after 14 years

With 200,000 people, or a veritable city, airdropped into a huge farm in Somerset, promising performers of all persuasions were going to attract a crowd.


As acknowledged by Sophie Ellis, pop and disco have once again found their places at Glastonbury, allowing audiences and acts to bond over some classics to sing along and dance to. Eager faces of all ages could be seen lip-synching to every word along with Ellie Goulding, Bryan Ferry, Caro Emerald and Dolly Parton.

It was wonderful to see the return of lighter mainstream genres, popular for good reason that they are great to let your hair down to, singing and dancing along, rekindling happy memories.

Fans to be themselves

Summer Camp pay respects to the beats of Blondie and attitude of Mika in a delightful set.
Summer Camp pay respects to the beats of Blondie and attitude of Mika in a delightful set.

Compared to some harder dance genres that have dominated the charts, pop and disco say “I like this whatever you think” and are free of the self-consciousness of rap and hip-hop, and today’s pop fans can be themselves without prescribed dress, moves and lingo codes.

Evident this year was the rise of the DJ to rock star status, as Sasha, DJ Pierre, David Morales, Shy FX, Above and Beyond and many more entertained large crowds.

United by music

Music showed its power to stay on top of life, with audiences consuming whole performances of new unknown acts, instead of demanding the hit songs of even headline acts on the Pyramid stage. There was a return of the former spirit of a music festival, with audiences united by the music.

Ellie Goulding shows her axe prowess
Ellie Goulding shows her axe prowess

Legendary acts still drew crowds but couldn’t rest on their laurels. Dolly Parton enthralled audiences with not just her hit songs but witty banter of a hilarity that the younger generation may not have anticipated. Dolly gauged her audience with as much panache today as she would have in her hey day.


New chart topper Kiesza put in a choreographed performance to her two hit songs Hideaway and Giant in My Heart, but also wooed people with slower covers of What is Love? and Halleluiah.

Instant hit - Kiesza
Instant hit – Kiesza

Language no barrier

Colombian band Bomba Estéreo and Stromae showed that language was no barrier to good dance and instantly audience-grabbing pop music, by drawing in passers by with magnetic stage presence, while singing in their native tongues.

Traditionally pop stars’ audiences are predominantly devoted fans, however, Ellie Goulding, won over new admirers. Goulding displayed what could be called “female stadium long haired rock” – very different from the male form of course. Meanwhile Bryan Ferry and the Yoko Ono band rekindled the early days of Glastonbury with some 70s classics.

Bomba Estereo - Li Saumet from Argentinia
Bomba Estereo – Li Saumet from Argentinia

Popular female artists Caro Emerald and Lana Del Rey kept the girl power flame alive on main stages, while female led Summer Camp showed how irresistible arty pop rock is, by performing an infectious set in the musically strong William’s Green tent.

Eyes for Gertrude were playing when Tony Hardy of Consequence of Sound was going past:

“In between, I stopped by to listen to Eyes For Gertrude, who were one of my Emerging Talent picks. The duo’s voices sync beautifully; the first all-warm country tones, the second offering English purity. Taking sounds from the routines of daily life and reaching for higher ground with determination, EFG offers quirky, observational songs, illuminated by delicious vocal flourishes — definitely the start of a green affair.” –Tony Hardy

Defrosted architecture

Architecture played its part as usual, with DJ booths in Block 9’s London Underground, NYC and Genosys, Shangri La’s Heaven and The Blues, which looked like a shantytown. As Flanders and Swann said: music is defrosted architecture.

Popular new male vocalists such as Jake Bugg and Sam Smith brought their dulcet white blues tones to the line-up.

Stromae - peux chanter le phonebook and it would still be magnifique
Stromae – peux chanter le phonebook and it would still be magnifique

The Sonic stage hosted the newer digital-based acts, with some filling out their sound with live instruments, and these reflected the international stage of today’s mainstream music scene. Bajofondo played strings, Bomba Estereo brought Latin, Stromae did camp French pop and Kiesza brought new house all under one roof.

Backstage bar

Backstage bars provided a variety of entertainments, from the Seniors behind the Acoustic stage, Kangaroo Moon in the Green Room Bar and a Venezuelan DJ from Bristol called Django playing new house and garage, in the Sonic backstage bar.

Nate Valentino, a musical guide to Glastonbury takes in Sasha, one time #1 DJ in world who performed the Glade stage.
Nate Valentino, an international DJ, swung by a set by Sasha, one time #1 DJ in world, who performed the Glade stage.

Enjoying the festival as a punter for the first time was Nate Valentino who had prepared a detailed itinerary of performers to see and meet to inform his next DJ sets such as; Sasha, MNEK, Foxes, Kiesza, Bomba Estéreo, Above and Beyond, Ella Eyre and he was won over by Dolly Parton’s command of the Pyramid stage.

Article submitted by Sophie Sweatman

Here’s Sophie Ellis Bextor bringing the crowd together to join in with Murder on the Dancefloor.

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