WITH more than 200,000 people watching hundreds of acts over more than 90 stages, Glastonbury is not only the biggest music festival in Britain, but among the best in the world.

And alongside the likes of Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and Diana Ross were some of Oxford’s best-loved bands – who each received a rapturous response, making this belated 50th anniversary installment the best yet.

Read more: Oxford's musical legends' couldn't hide their joy and relief to be back at 'magical' Glastonbury - and absolutely nailed it

City bands Foals, Supergrass and Glass Animals drew massive crowds to the festival’s second stage, with Foals headlining it with a thunderous Friday night show.

Saint Etienne, staring Oxfordshire frontwoman Sarah Cracknell, also made a long-awaited return, while adopted Oxford singer-songwriter Piney Gir – a regular at Truck Festival in Steventon – joined one of the biggest shows of the weekend, providing backing vocals and percussion to former Oasis star Noel Gallagher and his Flying Birds on the iconic Pyramid Stage.

Rising star Willie J Healey, from Carterton, appeared with incendiary punk act Idles and played a DJ set with the Bristol band – one of a number of DJs from the county to play late night sets on its myriad of dance stages and sound systems.

Oxford Mail:

Gaz Coombes of Supergrass at Glastonbury Festival. Pictures by Tim Hughes

Wheatley band Supergrass were the first big Oxford act of the weekend, frontman Gaz Coombes telling the crowd “We’re going to try and bring some sunshine,” as they served up a classic set of their biggest tunes – with crowd-pleasers Caught by the Fuzz, Alright and Richard III.

The band had been set to play in 2020, but the festival was cancelled for the first of two years due to the pandemic. Gaz previously told the Oxford Mail he’d been gutted to miss it – especially as the weather had been amazing.

Oxford Mail:

Supergrass take a bow

Introducing their song Strange Ones, the dapper frontman, dressed in smart long coat, cap and sunglasses, bubbled with excitement as he told the crowd: “There’s a place where the strange ones go – it’s called Glastonbury. I ... love it!”

They ended with Sun Hits the Sky as the mercury rose on a glorious weekend where sunburn replaced trench foot and welly rash.

Glass Animals, who met at St Edward’s School, also looked overjoyed to be there. The alternative rockers delighted a packed field in blazing sunshine with a set of dreamy electro-pop, watched from the side of the stage by actor Woody Harrelson – a huge fan.

Oxford Mail:

Dave Bayley of Glass Animals

The band are the first from the UK to reach the top of Spotify’s global singles chart with their 2020 single Heat Waves – also the second longest-charting song in Billboard Pop Airplay history at 48 weeks. The song, with its refrain “Sometimes, all I think about is you, Late nights in the middle of June”, could’ve been written for that sun-kissed moment.

“Oh my God!” yelled former Jericho lad Dave Bayley – very much the anti-rockstar in round-rimmed specs and nursery-like white dungarees embossed with cherries. “Thank you guys so much... that was absolutely amazing!”

Oxford Mail:

Glass Animals bring tropical vibes

But it was Foals who were on everyone’s lips, with the most incendiary show of the weekend.

It was dark, moody, punchy and loud... with a killer light show and explosions of purple clouds of confetti.

The now three-piece of stacked frontman Yannis Philippakis, guitarist Jimmy Smith and drummer Jack Bevan served up a structured set which rose through the spiky My Number before dropping for the blissful widescreen Spanish Sahara – Yannis telling the crowd to get down low, as everyone crouched down.

Oxford Mail:

Foals smash it from the Other Stage

Yannis It then built to a thermonuclear crescendo with Inhaler, Black Bull and What Went Down. The visceral rock came with more explosions and Yannis leaving the stage to dive into a broiling crowd illuminated by red flares.

They finished on classic Two Steps, Twice from first album Antidotes... known to Oxford fans from their sweaty early shows at the city’s much-missed Cellar club. Even then we knew they’d be here some day soon.

Oxford Mail:

An explosive set by Foals

And it won’t stop there. Next stop, the Pyramid Stage, after all, they were infinitely more exciting than anything on it this year, and emerged – like the festival itself – bigger, bolder, stronger... and frankly unstoppable.

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