It’s June, and for many music lovers around the world it’s time to turn your attention to the world’s largest art and music festival – Glastonbury is kicking off once again in England, and tickets were long ago sold out. By the time you read this article, the event may already have happened – but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Television highlights will be plentiful, and every single performance will doubtless be captured and uploaded to YouTube for the enjoyment of everybody.
Literally hundreds – if not thousands – of musicians, artists, poets, and public speakers will be taking to Glastonbury’s many stages over the course of the four-day event, making it challenging to know where to look for the best acts. All the mainstream attention will go to the headline acts, which this year are Stormzy, The Killers, The Cure, and Miley Cyrus, with Janet Jackson and Kylie Minogue enjoying the famous ‘legends’ slots in the early afternoon. Speaking of slots, many attendees treat the event like the floor of a casino. Everybody flocks around the big name acts in the same way everyone heads to the best known, big money mobile slots games. That’s where they expect to find the biggest’ pay off’ of entertainment, and so that’s where the money goes. Ask any experienced online mobile slots player, though, and they’ll tell you that the best prizes are often found where nobody else is looking, and the market isn’t being distorted by all the other players. If Glastonbury were an online casino on mobile, you’d want to know where all the hidden gems could be found, so you could pick up prizes nobody else was looking for. We’ve found them.
From the extensive list of barely-known and completely unknown bands who’ll be performing at the festival, here are the ones who we think are worth going out of your way to find.
Ezra Collective – 2.45pm, Saturday, West Holts Stage
It might be a hipster thing, but jazz has been undergoing something of a revival in recent years, and especially so on the UK music scene. The Ezra Collective has been heavily involved in that revival, but are still considered such an underground act that they don’t even yet have their own Wikipedia page – almost unheard of for an act with a record deal. Despite their name, they have nothing to do with the singer George Ezra.
Not every jazz purist will be pleased with the antics of the Ezra Collective – who bring youthful energy and a lot of lively performance to jazz when they take the stage – but if the genre is to survive and re-invent itself in the 21st century, artists like this are absolutely necessary. It helps that they’re also extraordinarily good at what they do. If you have an ear for jazz – or you’ve always wanted to develop one – there are two performances to choose from at Glastonbury. After their Saturday set, they’re also taking the stage at midnight on Sunday at the festival’s new Wormhole Stage.
Pip Blom, 11.30am, Friday, John Peel Stage
The John Peel stage at Glastonbury is all about locating and celebrating the best and brightest new bands, and Pip Blom fit that description perfectly. You’ll have to get up relatively early (by festival standards) to see them on the first day of music, but so long as they’re on form, it’ll be worth your time. If you’re watching later at home, of course, you can choose to find and listen to the footage at your leisure.
Pip Blom is still basking in the warmth of the reviews that their debut album ‘Boat’ received when it was released earlier in 2019. Their music may not be revolutionary, but it’s been a while since a band played indie rock so unashamedly, without trying to dress it up as something more artistically ‘worthy.’ Pip Blom make the kind of songs you can sing along to as soon as you’ve heard the first chorus – and that makes them the perfect festival band.
My Baby, 5.05pm, Friday, Avalon Stage
It’s hard to know how to describe the sound of My Baby, and it’s equally difficult to pigeon hole them within a genre. The members who make up the band are drawn from all over the world, and so are the influences which define the music they make. You’ll hear traces of everything from country music to modern EDM in their songs, and more than a little 70s funk for good measure. Nobody else who plays at the festival will sound anything like them.
Glastonbury is a kind festival to smaller performers – it often allows them to play twice to ensure they get to entertain as large an audience as possible. After playing at the Avalon stage on Friday, they’ll be back in the early hours of Sunday at the Shangri-La stage, when many of the revelers will have gone to bed. The hardcore festival-goers seeking further entertainment will likely be delighted, and that might be the better set to find online and check out.
The Mauskovic Dance Band, 12 am, Thursday, HMS Sweet Charity
If you really want to challenge yourself with an act that fuses performance art and music together seamlessly, then the act to look out for is the Mausovic Dance Band. Their first set takes places before the festival ‘officially’ begins, and takes place at the hard-to-find HMS Sweet Charity. You’ll likely have more luck locating that on Google than the people out in the fields will. They do however get to play again on the Friday at the West Holts Stage, only ten hours after their previous set ends. We wonder if they’ll bother going to bed between sets?
If My Baby has a fusion sound, The Mauskovic Dance Band have a whole melting pot. Based in the Netherlands, there are hints of afrobeat and art rock in their disco music, which also has a sound which we want to call ‘science fiction rock,’ even though we know that isn’t a real genre. They’re dynamic, eclectic, and exciting in a way that you can only truly appreciate if you’ve seen them – so make sure you do!
Glastonbury photo by Brian Marks with Creative Commons License. https://www.flickr.com/photos/beanmunster/4267158620/