Glastonbury 2023: 16 Highlights You Might Have Missed

Lana Del Rey, Lewis Capaldi, Rina Sawayama and Lizzo all gave Glastonbury some of this year's biggest stand-out moments.
Glastonbury 2023
Glastonbury 2023
Getty/Joseph Okpako/Shirlaine Forrest/Joseph Okpako/Harry Durrant/Jim Dyson

With a seemingly endless list of artists to keep up with in the space of one weekend, it’s understandable that some of the big moments from this year’s Glastonbury festival might have passed you by.

Headliners Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses and Sir Elton John all had cause for celebration over the weekend as their sets were all a success – but what about some of the acts lower down the bill, not to mention those who performed for crowds away from the iconic Pyramid Stage?

Well, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some of the stand-out moments from this year’s festival, aside from the headlining acts…

1. Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis got things underway on the Park stage

Well, it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without an appearance from Michael Eavis, would it?

2 Texas kick things off in truly joyful fashion

A sunny Friday afternoon is arguably one of the most coveted spots on the Pyramid Stage – with everyone still full of energy and Glastonbury spirit with the whole festival still ahead of them.

Texas were arguably the perfect act to fill that slot on this year’s line-up, delivering a hit-packed set that more than delivered on joy.

Frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri also took the opportunity to praise co-organiser Emily Eavis for supporting female musicians, after Glastonbury was met with criticism for this year’s all-male headliners.

3. Cate Blanchett joins Sparks on stage

Who doesn’t love an A-list guest appearance at Glastonbury (just ask Sir Elton John, who brought out no less than four musicians during his set on Sunday night).

Recreating her appearance in Sparks’ The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte music video, Cate Blanchett showed off her moves as she hit the stage in a bright-coloured suit and headphones.

4. But she wasn’t the only Oscar winner to appear during that first day

Yep, that was Tilda Swinton making her Glastonbury debut on Friday afternoon.

She joined composer Max Richter for a series of dramatic readings during his set on the Park stage.

5. Kelis reminds everyone why she’s a living legend

While Arctic Monkeys brought things to a close on the first night over on the festival’s main area, the party was only just getting started with Kelis over on the West Holts stage.

Her set was filled with non-stop hits from across Kelis’ decades-long career, reminding everyone why she’s endured more than two decades in the industry – and what a legendary performer she is.

6. The significance of Raye’s spot on the Pyramid Stage was certainly not lost on her

After a tricky few years at her old label, Raye began achieving solo success in 2022 when she began her career as an independent artist – and a performance on the Pyramid stage was a testament to the work she’d put in.

“I went through creative messes and nasty things behind the scenes, heavy things,” an emotional Raye told the crowd.

“I was told that I would never have a fan base big enough for anyone to care about an album. And now, at Glastonbury, in front of the Pyramid Stage, I’m performing my debut album!”

7. Rick Astley becomes the surprise star of Glastonbury 2023

Not only did Rick Astley put a smile on everyone’s faces with his own set – which included covers of Harry Styles and AC/DC, alongside the hits you’d expect – he and Blossoms later teamed up for a surprise show that no one saw coming.

The unlikely supergroup performed a set consisting solely of Smiths covers that ended up running a full half hour over – not that anyone watching seemed to mind.

8. The Pretenders’ surprise guests just keep on coming

Another of the weekend’s surprise performers (even if the BBC did let the cat out of the bag a little early) were The Pretenders.

Over the course of their set, they were joined by guitarist Johnny Marr and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

And just when the stage couldn’t look any more packed with great musicians, out came Sir Paul McCartney, who had been watching the whole show from the side of the stage.

9. The crowd help Lewis Capaldi through a difficult moment

Mid-way through his set on the Pyramid Stage, he admitted he was finding things rather difficult, as he was experiencing Tourette’s tics and struggles with his voice.

“I’m going to be honest everybody, but I’m starting to lose my voice up here, but we’re going to keep going and we’re going to go until the end,” he explained, admitting he was “annoyed” at himself.

“I just need you all to sing with me as loud as you can if that’s OK?”

That was certainly not a problem for the crowd, who were more than up for showing their support to Lewis, particularly as the set came to a close with his signature tune Someone You Loved.

“I’m really sorry. I hope the Eavises will have me back on, even though it’s been a bit of a shit show,” he shared later.

“I feel like I’ll be taking another wee break over the next couple of weeks. So you probably won’t see much of me for the rest of the year, maybe even. But when I do come back and when I do see you, I hope you’re still up for watching us.”

It’s important to note that even if he did find parts of his Glastonbury set difficult, Lewis was still on fantastic form – not just hitting all of the right notes, but keeping the crowd entertained with his trademark sense of humour.

10. Måneskin serve up some old school rock ‘n’ roll – complete with a crowd surf

Despite apparently being warned not to, Måneskin couldn’t resist a bit of crowd surfing during their set on the Woodsies stage.

At one stage, guitarist Thomas Raggi was still playing while atop the audience, which is pretty rock ‘n’ roll if you ask us. And, of course, frontman Damiano David more than brought it, too.

11. Lizzo delivers a performance worthy of a headlining slot

No one brings the joy quite like Lizzo, and her Glastonbury performance felt like a victory lap after a hugely successful couple of years for the US singer.

We’re just going to say it – this felt like a headlining performance, and that’s really what it should have been.

12. Rina Sawayama appears to call out labelmate Matty Healy

Rina Sawayama made her long-awaited Glastonbury debut in 2023, with a set that showcased exactly what makes her one of this country’s most exciting new acts.

During her set, she introduced her 2020 cut STFU! by explaining that it was a song inspired by the microaggressions she’s experienced in her life as an East Asian woman living in the UK and working in the music industry.

So tonight, this goes out to a white woman that watches Ghetto Gaggers, and mocks Asian people on a podcast,” she said. “He also owns my masters. I’ve had enough!”

Although she didn’t mention the 1975 singer by name, the two share a record label, which Matty has been a shareholder in since earlier this year (having previously served as its director), and her comments reflect numerous controversies he has been at the centre of in the past year.

HuffPost UK has contacted Matty Healy’s representatives for comment.

13. Christine And The Queens brings his latest album to life

The French star’s performance on the Woodies stage was not just your standard festival set, but a piece of true avant garde theatre, complete with costume changes, monologues and set pieces.

Chris’ all-out performance style is truly inimitable, and his Glastonbury show brought his latest album Paranoia, Angels, True Love to life in a way we can’t imagine many other contemporary artists being able to pull off.

14. Even having her sound cut didn’t stop Lana Del Rey

While Chris brought his unique brand of drama to the Woodsies stage, Lana Del Rey’s first UK performance in four years was getting underway on the Other Stage.

Lana won over the crowd very early on with her headlining set, but admitted she was having to rush through it after she made it onto the stage half an hour late.

As a result, her sound was cut with six songs still to go – although that didn’t stop her fans carrying on with an enthusiastic rendition of Video Games all the same.

15. Yusuf/Cat Stevens couldn’t have been a more ideal act for that Sunday afternoon slot

Let’s face it, by the Sunday afternoon of Glastonbury, sometimes festivalgoers are quite simply ready to pack the whole thing in and go home after days of nonstop music, partying and… well… whatever else it is that people get up to at festivals.

Yusuf/Cat Stevens was the perfect act for the coveted Sunday afternoon “legends” slot, though, winning praise for his stage presence and warmth.

16. Lil Nas X gave us choreo, fashion and fun like only he could

Just in case there’s anyone out there still in doubt about Lil Nas X’s star power, we implore you to go and watch Lil Nas X’s Glastonbury set and tell us who out there is doing it quite like him?

In short, Lil Nas gave us everything you’d want from a high-profile festival set – hits, choreography, jaw-dropping outfits and even the odd stunt for good measure.

The fact he managed to warm up the stage for a music legend like Sir Elton John only shows just what a star the Industry Baby singer is – and we can’t wait to see what he’s cooking up for us next.

Check out more Glastonbury highlights on BBC iPlayer.


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