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BBC reveals most-viewed Glastonbury sets

Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest TV audiences at this year's festival, which broke records across the BBC's digital platforms

By James Hanley on 28 Jun 2022

image © Andrew Allcock

Sets by Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest UK TV audiences at this year’s Glastonbury festival, the BBC has revealed.

McCartney’s Saturday night Pyramid Stage headline performance saw him joined by surprise guests Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, in addition to performing a virtual duet with John Lennon.

The former Beatle’s near three-hour set averaged 2.7 million viewers on BBC One and peaked at 3.9m, while Ross’ 75-minute Sunday legend slot had an average audience of 3.1m, peaking at 3.8m.

According to Broadcast, the broadcaster’s coverage of the festival’s Friday night, which saw 20-year-old Billie Eilish becoming Glastonbury’s youngest ever headliner, attracted 1.2m. Its Sunday evening coverage averaged 1.4m prior to Kendrick Lamar’s headline appearance, which garnered 570,000 viewers.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival”

The BBC has also confirmed record breaking figures across its digital platforms for its coverage of the 2022 festival.

Content was streamed 34.1m times on BBC iPlayer, including 23m streams live – the highest on record for a BBC programme brand – and was played 2.3m times on BBC Sounds.

Streams rocketed 116% on BBC iPlayer and 205% on BBC Sounds from the most recent festival in 2019, up from 15.8m and 765,000 respectively.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival this weekend with a dedicated Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer, 6 Music’s All Day Glastonbury coverage, performances from the biggest artists on demand on BBC Sounds and over 35 hours of coverage across our TV channels,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

There were secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra

Other acts at the 210,000-cap 22-26 June extravaganza included Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. There were also secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis paid tribute to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness, in this year’s official programme.

“I’ll miss him so much,” wrote Eavis. “He should have worked for years and years but he was sadly taken before his time. I am very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The past weekend is believed to have been the UK’s biggest ever for live music, with more than one million people attending concerts.


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