Glastonbury 2011: Jo Whiley on this year’s must-see acts

The Radio 2 DJ shares her festival memories and tips for the weekend

Firstly, and most importantly: what to pack?

Boots, poncho and sun hat should pretty much cover all bases with the ever unpredictable British weather. Then it’s time to survey the smorgasboard of bands on offer and work out a vague plan of attack.


Anyone who’s been to a festie will know the nightmare of the gig clash when two of your favourite bands are playing opposite ends of the site. Oh for wings on those wellies!

Those wellies must have seen some sights…

I’m afraid many of my outstanding memories of Glastonbury are weather-related, like Radiohead unleashing fireworks as they performed No Surprises beneath an apocalyptic sky of lightning and bullets of rain.

At the end of which I was given a piggyback by John Peel as we finished the show and headed into the night on what felt like our last night on earth.

Other memorable Glasto moments?

Neil Diamond and a cast of thousands singing Sweet Caroline on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Lady Gaga revealing more, I’m sure, than she intended on the Other stage while dismounting a motorbike.

Flaming Lips unleashing gigantic balloons into the audience while friends and fans danced onstage as an assortment of furry animals – what a showman Wayne Coyne is.

Who are your high hopes for this year?

U2, Coldplay and Beyonce will pull out all the stops to thrill everyone senseless: expect fireworks, sequins and huge huge songs. But it’s not just about the biggies.

The joy of the festival is that you get to see so many brilliant bands on the farther flung stages. I’m looking forward to seeing Friendly Fires, Fleet Foxes and Noah and the Whale all having a little ‘moment’ but performances by Janelle Monae, Chase and Status, Darwin Deez, The Vaccines and Wild Beasts might end up being much talked about.

What about the more, erm, leftfield acts?

I’ll definitely be heading for the Pyramid stage early on Sunday to catch Port Isaac’s finest, Fisherman’s Friends, waking everyone up with a rousing shanty or two. See you down the front – I’ll be the one with the pint of scrumpy!

Which other festivals are worth a visit?

I shall be going to Bestival on the Isle of Wight to see Public Enemy, PJ Harvey and Robyn. And also to see the Village People who will be judging this year’s fancy dress theme – rock stars, pop stars and divas!

As for the newer acts on the bill: Ed Sheeran will be playing along with Maverick Sabre, Foster the People and Dry the River are all artists I’d recommend if you happen upon them at any of the festivals you go to.


Jo Whiley presents Glastonbury highlights on BBC2 with Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne and Mark Radcliffe