The three main headliners might be booked, but there's always 'secret gigs' and surprise guests...
It’s that time of year again: the annual rumour mill of who is going to be making appearances at Glastonbury, plausible or otherwise. Although the three Pyramid Stage headliners have been revealed – Muse on Friday, Adele on Saturday, and Coldplay rounding things off on Sunday – there are literally several hundred other slots to be filled on the numerous other stages.
The Sunday afternoon ‘legends slot’ has also already been confirmed, with ELO set to entertain the crowds. However, there are always rumours flying around during the festival itself as to who’s going to be making low-key, surprise appearances. The reformed Libertines did so last year, appearing at the Pyramid Stage. So, are there any major names that might do this in 2016?
Radiohead are the perennial favourites to play at Glastonbury in any given year. Not only are they working on a new album, but they’re also on a brief world tour that has a noticeable Glasto-shaped hole in its intinerary. It’s always possible, but Thom Yorke and co. might be a little too big to perform on anything except the main stage…
It’s a similar deal with The Stone Roses. The Manchester legends reformed in 2011 to play a number of high-profile reunion gigs and bolted on a short European tour, and late last year they confirmed they would be playing some more British summertime shows in 2016. They’re playing the Eithad Stadium in their home city, as well as headlining T In The Park.
The Stone Roses' singer Ian Brown
The Roses, of course, have unfinished business with Glastonbury, when John Squire’s broken collarbone meant they had to cancel their headline slot in 1995. It’s perfectly plausible that they’d play one of the secret slots sub-headlining the main stage, but the band’s ego might be dented if they came back to Glastonbury in any other context than as outright headliner.
Another high-profile reunion in 2016 has been Guns N’ Roses, though the group often seems like an ongoing soap opera than a functioning band these days. The band members – including guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan for the first time in 20 years - are putting their differences aside to play a handful of reunion gigs at Coachella.
However, given lead singer Axl Rose’s notorious tendency to keep audiences waiting for hours after their advertised show times and Glastonbury’s need for total efficiency, it makes little sense to book G’n’R as anything other than headliners. And all those are booked already. But, you never know…
A more plausible name for a big surprise set would be Ed Sheeran. Since he wrapped his massive world tour in support of X, one of the biggest sellers globally over the last two years, he’s maintained that the next headlining slot in Britain he would do would be Glastonbury.
However, in the past he’s said he wouldn’t consider it until he’d made at least four albums, ruling him out until at least 2020 on current rate of output. On the other hand, his stage set-up is very mobile and doesn’t take a lot of setting up, and he managed a secret slot at the much smaller Latitude Festival in 2015. It’s possible.
Finally, Fleetwood Mac are always rumoured to play Glastonbury. Every. Single. Year. Incredibly, the evergreen legends have never actually played the festival! However, that doesn’t look like changing in 2016, with the band remaining silent when asked about it. So don't hold your breath.