The UK’s top Rap and Grime artists steal the crown at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
Watching Stormzy perform ‘Crown’ in front of a crowded mainstage at the biggest Greenfield festival in the world was a sight to behold. It stands as just one of the many highlights from his profound set, but it was the moment where it was vividly clear he earned his place amongst Glastonbury royalty. It was especially moving considering he was the first black, British solo artist to headline the Pyramid Stage. The explosive passion, energy and guest performances from previous headliner Chris Martin as well as fellow grime artist Dave certainly made it a night to remember.
Stormzy proved himself worthy, yet despite being at the forefront as the headliner there were other grime artists that raided this year’s festival too. On the ‘Other Stage’, after recently appearing on the main stage, Dave dominated the crowd with an impetuous response in the high position of main support. Even on the lower stages served up some fantastic offerings, in particular Kojey Radical. The ‘Gully Blues’ stage were mesmerised by his boundless energy. There were also some memorable performances from Tion Wayne, Octavian and many others.
Grime has never been so prominent at Glastonbury. In 2017, the last time the festival was held, Stormzy sat on main support for the ‘Other Stage’ – exactly where Dave was this year. There wasn’t one grime artist to be seen on the main stage. The transition this year is almost unbelievable; having grime artists in some of the most prestigious spots in the festival is history.
‘Why does this matter?’ you may ask. Well, they certainly made an impact and proved social significance. There were some other fantastic artists this year but many were going through the motions. They’ll do the same show when they fly over to the next country. It’s perfectly acceptable but the grime artists gave the audience something more unique for their Glastonbury show.
As a collective they proved that it is not just another festival by including the audience and reflected on references to our culture. Dave got a member of the audience to rap on stage with him. Kojey Radical started moshing in the audience bringing the energy to them down below. Stormzy got trending by encouraging the crowd to chant against Boris Johnson and even had a customised outfit of a stab proof vest made by Banksy himself. It felt like they were representing everyone from the people at home watching on their television screens to the 200,000 people in attendance.
At the end of the day, grime did what it set out to do. Whether it was to everybody’s taste or not, you have to admire their authenticity and the impact it’s having on British culture. Nothing can compare to watching artists strive on their home turf spilling their hearts out during a performance. They believe in the direct messaging they promote to parliament, the attitude and the growth of an everlasting movement. You should too.
Words: Jack Bartholomew