Glastonbury: The five best performances of 2022
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
Our favourite five moments from Glastonbury 2022 featuring IDLES, Kendrick Lamar and more.
After a three-year gap, Glastonbury Festival returned in late June 2022 better than ever. As with every other year, there was a lot to take in.
Thankfully the BBC did a great job in capturing sets across several stages (you can catch up on performances on the BBC iPlayer from your favourite artists for the next 30 days) allowing those who missed out on tickets to experience the action from the comfort of their living rooms.
Here are our top five performances over the weekend.
5. First Aid Kit (Friday, Other Stage)
Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit provided a delightful late-afternoon hour-long set on the festival's opening day. I remember discovering their single ‘Emmylou’ a decade ago on 6Music and being blown away at the mature sound coming from the extremely talented singers Johanna and Kiara Söderberg. Ten years on, they've proven themselves to be even better.
Here they performed a flawless set featuring a healthy dose of numbers from 2012’s breakthrough The Lion’s Roar, 2014’s Stay Gold and a couple of new tracks thrown in for good measure. Absolute bliss!
The band finish their set on ‘My Silver Lining’ and you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck rise as they to and fro with the crowd.
You can watch First Aid Kit's performance of 'Angel' on the BBC Music YouTube page.
4. IDLES (Friday, Other Stage)
Back in February, I saw IDLES for the first time at Glasgow’s Barrowlands venue, viewing first-hand the powering post-punk Bristol band in action. On Friday, I turned my soundbar up as high as I could and pretended I was there watching them again. I moshed against my couch during Joy As An Act of Resistance’s opener ‘Collossus’, chanted along word for word with ‘Danny Nedelko’ and headbanged to closer ‘Rottweiler’.
Despite being overly political, IDLES are also one of the most fun bands you can see. Whether you’re there in person or not, you really feel part of the experience. BBC’s coverage did well to cover the crowd carnage at the Other Stage as bodies collided into one another without a care for pretension.
When IDLES invite singer-songwriter William J Healey onto the stage for a punk cover of The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’, then sending him into the mosh pit for his first crowd surfing session.
3. Amyl and the Sniffers (Sunday, John Peel Stage)
Watching the Amyl and the Sniffers Sunday set I was completely transfixed by the movements of frontwoman Amyl Taylor. She theatrically bounced around the stage with an infectious punk energy and charisma, channelling the forgotten spirit of ’77. Whilst a small mosh pit formed at the front, the confused faces of many others in the crowd early on were also noticeable, appearing shocked and awed by the pulsating rock ‘n’ roll on show.
Ten minutes in, the Aussie singer tells the crowd to “get rowdy!”, encouragement further provided as the band quickly crashed through their pub rock tunes from 2019’s self-titled debut and 2021’s Comfort to Me. By the end of the hour, their mission is complete. The “sweaty little freaks” in the audience are finally on board, more and more bodies swinging, crashing and fewer sh*ts given. Raw, pulsating punk rock at its best.
“F*** every c***” proclaims Amyl as if she's wanting to start a fight in a Glasgow chippy at 3am. The band launch into the pummeling rock of ‘Guided by Angels’ and halfway through the set, it's clear that the crowd have finally awoken.
You can watch their performance of 'Knifey' on the BBC Music YouTube page.
2. Kendrick Lamar (Sunday, The Pyramid Stage)
“They judge you, they judge Christ, Godspeed for Woman’s rights” repeats a bloody-faced Kendrick Lamar, the passionate demise of one of the greatest Glastonbury headline sets this century. If I’m being honest, the Compton rapper’s latest album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers did fall a little flat for me when it was first released but this performance has ensured I’ll definitely be revisiting it!
Immediately bursting into his performance with tracks from 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, the headline set was off to a winner and the crowd were visibility in the palm of his hand all evening as he guided them through his excellent four albums.
Tracks like ‘Alright’, ‘DNA’ and ‘Humble’ are chanted back with exuberant gusto, Kendrick, cutting about with a Christ-like crown, effortlessly carrying the set without stutter or a moment’s dullness. Two-thirds through the set, he appeared overawed by the crowd’s praise as he stared back slowly nodding his head. A stunningly visual performance and the best hip-hop headliner yet (sorry Jay-Z and Kanye).
With blood dripping down his face, Kendrick’s repeated woman’s rights refrain (above) felt like a powerful defiance to the recent US Supreme Court’s decision on constitutional abortion rights. An iconic end to the festival.
1. Sam Fender (Friday, Pyramid Stage)
Amazingly, Friday was the first time Sam Fender had played Glastonbury, yet I couldn’t help but have that feeling that it should’ve been him headlining that evening ahead of Billie Eilish. It was almost 12 months since we first heard ‘Seventeen Going Under’, a single that’d go on to become a Tik-Tok favourite and top 10 hit. The album of the same name completed many publications (including ours) albums of the year lists in December. Due to this success, the crowd appear more excited than usual and they’re not left disappointed.
Playing to a sea of black and white Newcastle United jerseys and flags, the Geordie Springsteen and band belt out anthems from 2019’s Hypersonic Missiles and last year’s Seventeen Going Under. It lands perfectly and wonderfully. Mark my words, Sam Fender will headline Glastonbury before he is 30.
Near the end of the set, Sam Fender takes a seat to play a piano draped in Newcastle colours. He sips a swig of Newcastle Brown Ale and has a moment to compose himself before delivering a heartfelt version of male suicide fight-back song ‘The Dying Light’. It was a moment so perfect, revealing a live substance to his performance to rival the sing-along anthems.
There was A LOT to take in over the weekend, but performances from Foals, Phoebe Bridgers, Fontaines D.C. and Saturday night headliner Paul McCartney are worthy of special mention.
You can watch full sets of artists on the BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days.
What was your favourite moment? Let us know on Twitter @BFloodlights!