Stormzy is tearing up Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, making history as the first British rapper to headline the festival.
Wearing a stab-proof vest, he strode onstage to Know Me From, his verses punctuated by flames and fireworks.
“Energy!” he shouted as he led the crowd in the song’s call-and-response chorus, “Where do you know me from?”
Three songs in, before First Things First, he flashed up a series of crime statistics on the video screens.
Later, he invited a dancer on stage to highlighted how racism and privilege are present in all walks of life – even in ballet, where shoes have only just became available in different skin tones.
In his introduction video, the 25-year-old showed a clip of Jay-Z giving him advice for the set, and explaining how it would inspire black children to see him on the Pyramid Stage.
“Culture moves the world,” Jay-Z said. “When you step on that stage, you’re going to see it because they are really ready for it.”
Stormzy is the first black British solo artist to headline the Pyramid Stage and, at 25, the second-youngest headliner in history – David Bowie was 24 when he topped the bill in 1971.
The set is being broadcast live on BBC Two, Radio 1Xtra and online.
Ahead of the show, Stormzy said he was “overwhelmed with emotions” and that playing at Worthy Farm was “the most surreal feeling I’ve ever experienced.”
Before Stormzy’s set, the main stage saw performances from George Ezra, Lauryn Hill and Sheryl Crow.
Crow, returning to the festival for the first time since 1997, sounded fresh and energised as she rattled through hits such as My Favourite Mistake and Every Day Is A Winding Road.
She hit an incredible high note during Can’t Cry Anymore, and posed for selfies with the audience. “You’d better get some sunblock on,” she told one fan, as the temperatures on Worthy Farm reached 28C.
Crow’s 12-year-old son even acted as an unofficial roadie, helping her swap guitars between numbers, and joining his younger brother to play percussion on Steve McQueen.
“My kids are having their first Glastonbury experience,” Crow said. “I think they’re enjoying it a little too much.”
The crowd swelled for Bastille’s early-evening set, which saw lead singer Dan Smith throw himself around the stage with scant regard for his personal safety.
Wearing a smiley face T-shirt- which was somehow less smiley than his actual face – Smith seemed to be having the time of his life, on songs such Pompeii, Happier and current single Joy.
“I know it’s a cliche and everyone says it, but this is the best festival in the whole world,” he said.
He recalled that, when he came to the 2008 festival as a fan, he spent the whole day watching bands he didn’t like, in order to see Amy Winehouse and Jay-Z.
“I’m sorry if we’re that band for you,” he said, as self-deprecating as ever.
Lauryn Hill allayed many fans’ fears by showing up (almost) on time, and staying largely faithful to the melodies and arrangements of her biggest hits.
Slightly raspier than you might remember, she delivered affecting, soulful performances of To Zion and Ex Factor, as she celebrated the 21st anniversary of her first – and so far only – solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
“It’s kind of crazy because I’ve kind of been in my own time-warp,” she said of playing the album, while teasing fans that she had been working on new material.
Her set ended with a mass singalong to Killing Me Softly, which she took to number one as part of the Fugees.
“You’re hired,” she smiled at the crowd as she left the stage.
Last on the Pyramid Stage before Stormzy was George Ezra, playing on a stool after injuring his ankle while running a couple of weeks ago.
His lack of movement didn’t seem to matter to the crowd – suddenly featuring a large number of small children – who danced and sang along to his freewheeling good-time pop songs, with particular highlights including Paradise and set-closer Shotgun.
The festival continues on Saturday with performances from Janet Jackson, Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Sigrid, Wu-Tang Clan and headliners The Killers.
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