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Politics jostles with music for the Glastonbury limelight

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Politics is never far away from pop at Glastonbury – Sir Paul McCartney flew the Ukrainian flag, Billie Eilish used her set to react to America’s abortion ruling, and climate activist Greta Thunberg was a surprise addition to the billing.

Former Moloko singer Róisín Murphy – who performed as a solo artist at the festival’s West Holts Stage – told Sky News British music is a powerful political force which really comes to the fore at Glastonbury.

“The UK music scene is full of vibrancy and it’s always been dynamic and always been an agent of change – you feel that here.”

The words of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were the first sound to be heard on the Other Stage before any music on Friday.

And Ukrainian artists, such as this year’s Eurovision-winning rappers Kalush Orchestra and techno dance stars Go_A, were invited to perform as war rages in their homeland.

Taras Shevchenko, who plays keyboards & percussion for the electronic dance music act, said they had welcomed the chance to let people know why Ukrainian art and music needs to be protected.

“For us every festival, every show that is possible for us is a way to save and to show our culture, and Glastonbury festival is a perfect place for that.”

So are the performers making a better job of tapping into the public mood than politicians?

Read more:
Greta Thunberg appears at music festival to urge society to take action against climate change crisis
Billie Eilish blasts Roe v Wade abortion ruling
Kalush Orchestra perform first UK gig at Glastonbury Festival

Labour MP Jess Phillips – at Glastonbury to speak in the Crows Nest area – said members of the House of Commons should take note.

“Anyone in politics who is arrogant enough to think you can’t learn something from, for example, Emily and Michael Eavis, who have put on this event to global audiences, putting out messages that people can feel in their hearts rather than just in their heads…you’d be a fool not to think there’s some magic in that we should try and learn from.”

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