The Gallaghers and Glastonbury Festival – a look back at a special relationship

Performers become as attached to the Glastonbury Festival experience as the music lovers who flock to watch them. Liam and Noel Gallagher’s close relationship with Worthy Farm has spanned almost three decades and their fondness for the festival is something the training brothers seem to agree on.

There is no doubt that they are both keen to perform in front of a Glastonbury crowd. They would each have been on the bill for the canceled 2020 lineup. Now speculation is rife that an Oasis reunion could take place on the Pyramid stage in 2022. What an explosive night that would be!

Going back in time, Liam and Noel made their Glastonbury debut in 1994, when Britpop was emerging as a force to put pop music back on the map. Pulp and Blur also first performed that year, when the big names were Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Levellers and Johnny Cash. As always, Michael Eavis had his eye on the future and the stars of tomorrow.

READ MORE: How Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage Became a Global Music Icon

With only their debut single Supersonic under their belt and the sequel to Shakermaker released a few days earlier, the band took to what was then the NME Stage (later the Other Stage) for a short but impressive Sunday set. afternoon which confirmed they were on the verge of something big. They played the singles and introduced tracks from their yet-to-be-released debut album, ending with what became the band’s trademark cover of The Beatles’ I Am the Walrus.



Liam Gallagher owns the main stage at Glastonbury, performing with Oasis in 1995

A year later, Oasis had burst onto the scene and were back on the farm to headline Friday night on the main stage at the 25th anniversary festival. The band’s LP Definitely Maybe topped the charts and people were starting to take Liam seriously when he declared them to be the best band on the planet. It was a triumphant show that last year was shared in full as one of the BBC’s Glastonbury 50 shows.



A surly Liam Gallagher in a white parka performs at Glastonbury 2004
A surly Liam Gallagher in a white parka performs at Glastonbury 2004

Only a number of artists have headlined Glastonbury twice, but in 2004 Michael invited Oasis back to close the Pyramid Stage on Friday night. Liam swaggered in a giant white parka and the crowd roared, but neither he nor Neil were happy with how their biggest hits turned out – another rare thing the brothers agreed on.

Critics called their performance “dull and uneventful” – hardly the words a musician wants to hear. Liam recently revealed that he was testing in-ear monitors on stage, which stifled his connection with the audience that night.



Noel Gallagher and his girlfriend Sara MacDonald stroll backstage at Glastonbury 2003
Noel Gallagher and his girlfriend Sara MacDonald stroll backstage at Glastonbury 2003

Noel has since become an avid Glastonbury bettor, although he has the privilege of a backstage pass to all areas. He is quoted in the book Glastonbury 50 by Michael and Emily Eavis saying, “There are literally hundreds of festivals in the world, and I should know because I’ve played most of them, if not all of them. The funny thing, though, is that there’s really only one festival in the world – in the truest sense of the word, anyway. Glastonbury is bigger than Christmas. Glastonbury is more fun than New Years. Glastonbury can be brutal. Glastonbury can be magical.



Surprise, surprise... Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye opens the other stage at Glastonbury 2013
Surprise, surprise… Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye opens the other stage at Glastonbury 2013

However, it is Liam who has been a regular performer at the festival lately. In 2013, he and his band Beady Eye woke up a hungover crowd with a surprise concert on the other stage at 11 a.m. on Friday mornings, opening the main musical performances of the festival weekend.

There was no official announcement, but “secret concert buzz” had whispered across the fields and people flocked to find a Beady Eye banner hanging across the stage. Liam’s surly demeanor and a fiery mix of new material and classic Oasis were just what they needed to start the day.



With a beautiful voice, Liam Gallagher performs a solo show on the Other Stage in 2017
With a beautiful voice, Liam Gallagher performs a solo show on the Other Stage in 2017

Four years later, in 2017, Liam returned to the Other Stage as a solo artist on Saturday afternoon, still surly and belligerent, but also pensive. He closed his set with a moving Don’t Look Back in Anger, carried by the crowd and dedicated to the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the Manchester Arena bombing.

Michael Eavis has a thing for Liam and was thrilled when he agreed to headline the 2018 Pilton Party – the much more intimate show he and his daughter, Emily, put on to thank festival workers and the community. local people for their support and raising funds. for the projects of the village of Piton.



The Farmer and the Performer: Michael Eavis of the Glastonbury Festival, pictured with Liam Gallagher in 1998
The Farmer and the Performer: Michael Eavis of the Glastonbury Festival, pictured with Liam Gallagher in 1998

Returning to the Pyramid Stage in 2019 for the first time in 15 years, Liam played a 45-minute gig on Saturday night in front of headliners The Killers. Packed with Oasis classics, its setlist stormed to a spectacular finale with four in a row – Cigarettes and Alcohol, Wonderwall, Supersonic and Champagne Supernova.

This made all the languages ​​of an Oasis meeting speak again. Surely only Liam and Noel performing together once more could recapture the magic of their first Glastonbury headliner 27 years ago?

Jan G. Gilbert