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Oh, Jeremy: Politics goes pop at ‘wokest-ever’ Glasto

The Labour leader's name – sung to the White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' – was the unofficial anthem of the most politically charged Glastonbury in years

By Jon Chapple on 26 Jun 2017

Jeremy Corbyn, Michael Eavis, Glastonbury Festival 2017

Corbyn (left) and Eavis on Saturday

image © Anna Barclay/Glastonbury Festivals Ltd

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know that last weekend saw 135,000 people descend on Worthy Farm in Somerset for the return of the world’s largest greenfield music event, Glastonbury Festival.

Aside from the big names in contemporary music and performing arts that have, since the early ’80s, been the festival’s trademark, Glastonbury 2017 served up a slate of distinctly political programming – ‘Was this the wokest Glastonbury ever?’, asks The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman; ‘staying woke’ meaning being aware of, or acting on, perceived social injustice – with the buzz around Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn arguably eclipsing that of musical headliners Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.

Writes Alexis Petridis:

Politicians have been turning up to Glastonbury for years, but this year the leader of the opposition was among the most hotly anticipated attractions: when he arrived on site, his Land Rover was mobbed by fans. In fact, it was hard to escape Corbyn: if Glastonbury 2017 had an unofficial anthem, it was his name sung to the tune of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’.

You heard “oh, Jeremy Corbyn” everywhere: at the silent disco, during Radiohead’s Friday night headlining set, midway through the Other stage appearance by rapper Stormzy, who gamely joined in. When Corbyn finally gave a speech – in a stunning piece of billing that could only happen at Glastonbury, he appeared between hip-hop duo Run the Jewels and Southampton’s foremost R&B loverman Craig David – the crowd brought the entire area around the Pyramid stage to a standstill: in some of its furthest reaches, you occasionally got the sense that some people were eager for him to stop talking so they could get on with the more pressing business of singing “oh, Jeremy Corbyn”.

The BBC’s music reporter, Mark Savage, says the leader of the opposition – who earlier this month denied prime minister Theresa May a parliamentary majority – was, with a few exceptions, “given a rockstar welcome” by the left-leaning Glastonbury crowd, receiving “loud cheers for comments on equality (‘We need to challenge sexism in our society, and homophobia, and any form of discrimination that goes on’) and refugees (‘Let’s support them in their hour of need and not see them as a threat and danger”‘).”

Performers, too, got on board with Corbynmania: Unlike the sombre atmosphere at last year’s event, amid which Britain voted to exit the EU, many artists seemed buoyed by his presence, with Radiohead optimistically predicting a Corbyn premiership (“See you later, Theresa. Just shut the door on your way out”), while spoken-word artist Kate Tempest mocked May’s ‘strong and stable’ slogan by accusing the prime minister of leading the UK “into ruin”.

Satirical candidate Lord Buckethead, meanwhile – who stood against May in her Maidenhead seat on a platform of, among other policies, nationalising Adele –  got a bigger cheer than the band he introduced, Sleaford Mods.

If Glastonbury 2017 had an unofficial anthem, it was Corbyn’s name sung to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’

However, despite the best efforts of Michael Eavis, festival founder and Corbyn supporter, his man doesn’t look any closer to Downing Street: May this morning formed a deal with to stay in power with the backing of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, meaning Eavis’s dream of UK nuclear disarmament is off the agenda for the foreseeable future.

Glastonbury Festival will return in 2019, following a ‘fallow year’ in 2018 to give Worthy Farm a chance to recover. Or, if you’re Daily Star ‘journalist’ Sabrina Dougall, Glastonbury 2018 has been CANCELLED because of a TIDAL WAVE of rubbish:


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