Ukrainian techno, UK drill and Tony Christie: 30 acts not to miss at Glastonbury 2022 – The Guardian

Whether it’s Kendrick Lamar’s hugely anticipated headline slot, soul music singalongs or late night DJ sets, here are our picks from the hundreds of acts playing Glastonbury
It’s a vintage year for headliners with three artists (Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar) who cover pop’s entire map between them, but Kendrick Lamar’s set is absolutely unmissable. The whole world will be watching: this is the first time anyone has heard material from new album Mr Morale & the Big Steppers played live, and hearing Lamar’s rhythm-chopping, forensic, self-lacerating flow is quite simply one of the great experiences in any art today.
Pyramid stage, Sunday, 21.45
Whether it’s Blur and Oasis in 1994, Coldplay in 2002 or Dua Lipa in 2017, one of the most special feelings at Glastonbury is when a rising star seizes their moment. This year that’s sure to be Sam Fender, playing the sunset slot before Billie Eilish on the Pyramid stage on Friday night. He may only have two albums but they’re rich with material to unite the generations and get flags waving: big-hearted in the manner of Bruce Springsteen or the Killers, with a stinging political bite.
Pyramid stage, Friday, 20.15
Another young artist set to be a universal crowdpleaser: her facility for lighter-waving ballads is unmatched by anyone in her peer group, but she can turn her sadness into anger on a dime, suddenly raging through bouncy pop punk.
Other stage, Saturday, 18.45
Headlining Glastonbury 1999 above Coldplay, Muse, Underworld and more, it’s easy to forget how massive Skunk Anansie were, but they remain the perfect festival band: their punk attitude reaches the back of the crowd, offset with power ballads of uncommonly raw and articulate emotion.
Other stage, Saturday, 14.15
Glasto always does right by the older generation, and this year is no exception with Herbie Hancock leading into Diana Ross on the Pyramid stage on Sunday. Seventy-nine-year-old Tony Christie, meanwhile, will be leading some hearty singalongs to blow any chinstrokers into the next field.
Acoustic stage, Saturday, 17.30
More richly satisfying singalong moments here, for The First Cut is the Deepest and Angel of the Morning, but the US soul legend also has excellent new material to perform from 2019 comeback album The New Adventures of PP Arnold. Her voice still defines lamentation like few others.
Avalon stage, Sunday, 15.20
There aren’t enough artists in pop’s relatability era who feel as if they’ve been beamed from an entirely different galaxy but Yves Tumor is one of them. Operating somewhere between indie rock and psychedelic soul, and resembling a goth Mad Max, they are also one of the best songwriters working today.
West Holts stage, Saturday, 16.15
On tour while their homeland is ravaged, there will be a fierce poignancy to this set by the anthemic Ukrainian group. Blending techno with the flutes and keening vocals of their country’s folk music, in 2021 they had one of the all-time great Eurovision entries with the ratcheting hardstyle mania of Shum. Give them a huge welcome.
John Peel stage, Saturday, 11.30
Even the most staunch anti-hippy starts burbling about cosmic energy once they set foot on Worthy Farm’s leyline-strewn Elysium, often helped along by sets such as this one. Thackray is one of the stars of the UK’s vibrant contemporary jazz scene, whose polyrhythmic voyages and danceable wigouts will have you pondering the ineffable.
West Holts stage, Sunday, 12.30
Glastonbury isn’t the most mosh-friendly of festivals but there’s always something to bring hordes of boisterous boys from out between the hippies, and this year it will be Turnstile, blending punk funk and cock rock with excellent shouting from frequently topless commander in chief Brendan Yates. Don’t miss Amyl & the Sniffers just before them, either.
John Peel stage, Sunday, 18.30
Pop’s ship of Theseus, who had every founder member eventually replaced, is rebuilt with the original lineup of Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhán Donaghy. Their close, earnest harmonising has potency, and their catalogue – spanning high-street cocktail bar slammers to wistful bedroom pop – still stands up strongly.
Avalon stage, Friday, 21.35
Their buzz was grown at last year’s festivals and now the Isle of Wight indie duo will run a victory lap – expect this to be one of the most overstuffed and happily bouncing crowds of the festival.
The Park stage, Friday, 14.00
We tipped them as the festival act of 2022 at the start of the year and we’re going to do it again: Gabriels, whose gospel-neo-soul is powered by the astonishing voice of Jacob Lusk, are the kind of act that leaves people open-mouthed and gabbling about to their pals all weekend.
The Park stage, Saturday, 14.00; Lonely Hearts Club, Sunday, 18.45
Now settling firmly into national treasure status, the Beautiful South vocalists arrive for an acoustic set of not just that band’s hits, but a string of duo albums full of rousing, wryly witty character studies.
Acoustic stage, Friday, 21.30
The kind of casually omnipotent booking that only Glastonbury can make: way down the bill, DJing for an hour inside the fire-breathing Arcadia spider, is one of the world’s biggest and best dance artists. You imagine this will be an opportunity for him to veer from Vegas bangers, though two decades in the game have made him an inveterate crowdpleaser.
Arcadia, Saturday, 01.00
From the Chemical Brothers and Orbital back in the day, to Overmono and Bicep this year, pairs of ordinary-looking blokes making extraordinary dance tracks are a repeat attraction at Glastonbury. Two Shell are another, rightly earning huge buzz in 2022 for their gloriously unstable techno, drum’n’bass and speed garage productions.
Wow, Sunday, 21.00
The urge to drink all your provisions on the very first night will be tough to resist at this perfect warmup: nine hours of immaculately curated, high-speed dance music, from Sherelle’s footwork flexing through to drum’n’bass cutie pies Piri & Tommy, south Asian splicings by Manara, Yung Singh and Ahadadream, and then anything-goes chaos from Chippy Nonstop back to back with Pxssy Palace. In fact, this one stage – way down at 12th on the listings and a new addition this year – has a lineup of adventurous rap and dance across the weekend that’s better than most entire festivals, a demonstration of the still-mindboggling quality and variety at Glastonbury.
Lonely Hearts Club, Thursday, 18.00-03.00
One of the most hardworking acts at this year’s festival with three gigs, there is no excuse not to check out Nova Twins: a blast of cybertronic industrial noise-rock in the vein of the Prodigy, with much strutting, preening and guitar theatrics from the British pair. One of their appearances is as part of the Earache Records showcase on the Truth stage, the most reliable spot in Glastonbury for hellraising noise: Wargasm, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Bob Vylan also appear.
Truth stage, Thursday, 21.45; Greenpeace, Friday, 12.30; BBC Music Introducing, Friday, 18.50
In another only-at-Glastonbury bit of programming, sandwiched between dance anthems from Annie Mac and John Digweed are Gong, providing a different kind of transcendence. The prog greats may no longer have founder Daevid Allen after his death in 2015 but the keepers of his flame are skilful and cosmically aligned – including Kavus Torabi, who also plays at the festival with snooker legend and Gong’s most famous fan Steve Davis.
Glade, Friday, 23.00; Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi play Glade Dome, Saturday, 01.30
Back to induce wonderment or perhaps existential crisis in the inebriated is the Iicon stage, with its huge head and even bigger kick drums. The lineup is tip-top throughout but don’t miss LSDXOXO, a master of extremely dirty jacking house and relentless techno.
Iicon, Friday, 02.30
Parents at Glastonbury can be divided between those soberly attending to their children and those with a weekend off who are wild-eyed by Thursday lunchtime. Bridging the worlds of parental responsibility and raving are Floorplan, the father-and-daughter duo of Robert Hood and Lyric – another Iicon booking who use house and techno as a path to a spiritual community.
Iicon, Sunday, 22.45
Tucked away for 40 minutes on Saturday afternoon is one of the most enduring voices in American indie-folk music: Veirs is 12 albums deep into a catalogue that spans naive children’s ditties to brutal songs of divorce. Her next album uses (relatively) heavier and louder backings, but this acoustic performance will show off the pristine quality of her songwriting.
Acoustic stage, Saturday, 14.30
A back to back set can sometimes lack direction – ah, but what about a four-way back to back set with four women drawn to the most effulgent end of the techno spectrum? Who knows where this will head, but it’s surely one of the most surefire big nights out to be had at this year’s fest.
Genosys Sound System, Friday, 00.00-04.00
Anyone with a sore head should apply the aural cool towel of Caroline on Sunday afternoon: the sprawling post-rock band deal in lulling, long-form songs with soothingly grounded patterns of repetition, but there’s enough melancholy and bite to keep it from being mere background music.
William’s Green, Sunday, 16.30
NYC Downlow remains the hottest ticket at Glastonbury, in every sense – you will have to endure a long queue to get in, and once inside you’ll be sweating almost instantly. The queer nightclub remains the best place on site to truly cut loose – I once looked up to find Owen Jones dancing in a cage – and Todd Edwards, the Daft Punk collaborator and father of UK garage, will offer a suitably euphoric soundtrack.
NYC Downlow, Saturday, 01.00
Fumez is one of the most sustained and important proponents of UK drill and British and Irish rap in general, using the Plugged In freestyle series he hosts to zoom into the lyrical dexterity of the country’s MCs, interspersed with reaction shots of him looking so impressed that he’s incurred a bout of indigestion. With unnamed special guests, this is a rare and sure-to-be-unhinged live showcase – his last one in London was banned by police before it even began.
Gas Tower, Saturday, 22.00
Saturday morning at Glastonbury can require people to dig deep: you’ve been there for three days already and there’s two of the biggest nights of the year still to come. Yasmin Williams, then, will realign your party chakras with some of the most purely beautiful music all weekend: cascades of fingerpicked guitar form eddies of bright, poignant melody.
The Park stage, Saturday, 11.30
The amount of bass emanating from this year’s Glastonbury is impressive: new stage Firmly Rooted is focused on sound system culture, Arcadia and Wow have drum’n’bass takeovers on Sunday, and there’s of course the Notting Hill Carnival parading through the site. One bass event not to miss is a live set from Mad Professor working with the late Lee Scratch Perry’s material: two masters of echo and space communing across the ether. Another similarly poignant-but-vibrational moment will be drum’n’bass supergroup Sasasas playing following the death in February of their bandmate Skibadee.
Glade, Sunday, 16.30
This crew of DJs with south Asian heritage have quickly become heroes to a peer group so often shut out of the mainstream cultural conversation in the UK, as well as the dance music underground. They plunder obscurities from, say, Punjabi pop but also draw on bass-driven British dance styles and right across the genre map – expect phones to be held aloft for some hopeful Shazam-ing.
Platform 23, Friday, 23.00
Sometimes Glastonbury can be almost too fecund with different styles of music and after a pileup of psytrance, brass bands and underground hip-hop you need a palate cleanser. Enter Horsegirl, whose indie-rock is thoroughly straightforward in terms of pure sonics, but whose mix of naive vocals and stern guitars has a subtle serrated edge. Will sound great if it’s raining, too.
William’s Green, Friday, 17.30