Unforgettable moments at a music festival: the best from the last 10 years

By Miles Hardman

The 2013 festival season is well under way, with Glastonbury making a return after a year’s break and T in the Park continuing Scotland’s run of glory on the back of their Wimbledon success. We’ve seen the Rolling Stones make their Worthy Farm debut and frowned at Alex Turner’s dire Elvis impression, but these are just two festival moments among a plethora of others; some hilarious, some heart-breaking and some utterly inspiring…but all of them unforgettable.

So, here are some truly memorable moments from the last decade.

Muse – ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, Glastonbury 2004

Glastonbury has had its fair share of iconic headline sets over the years, but it’s Muse’s 2004 slot that stands out as one of the most incredible. From Matt Bellamy’s Kurt Cobain-inspired lab coat to his crazed ‘shuffle dance’, this gig in particular helped the Devon trio become the live powerhouses they are today.

Though ultimately bittered by tragedy, nobody who witnessed closing number ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ in the flesh could forget the song’s psychotic five-minute outro. Bass guitars flying across the stage, screeching feedback and Bellamy saluting the crowd from an overturned amplifier were all in order to complete a night of pure rock n’ roll.

Jay-Z, Glastonbury 2008

The announcement of a Jay-Z headline set at Glastonbury in 2008 came as a massive shock to many critics and festival goers alike. None perhaps more so than Oasis songsmith Noel Gallagher, who publicly proclaimed his distaste for a hip-hop artist topping the bill.

Apparently unnerved by his Gallagher seal of disapproval, Jay-Z sent Glastonbury into an entirely new direction, proving that it was not only guitar bands that had the knack (or the support) to take on such a monumental challenge. Not only was the set an astounding success, the rapper even incorporated a cover of ‘Wonderwall’ into proceedings. Not a bad feat to win over Glastonbury and prove one of the Gallagher brothers wrong in a night.

Brian May and My Chemical Romance, Reading Festival 2011

Artists love to broaden their horizons, but apparently none more so than national treasure Brian May. In the same year that he recorded a track with everyone’s favourite punch bag, Dappy, the Queen guitarist joined rock band My Chemical Romance for their encore at Reading festival.

Performing ‘We Will Rock You’ and the band’s biggest single ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’, many are still in denial that it was actually Brian May sharing the stage with an emotional Gerard Way, but the latter has since laid any doubts to rest. Comparing his band to Queen, Way suggested that My Chemical Romance could come back from years of ridicule to become the best band in the world. Needless to say, they disbanded earlier this year.

Tupac, Coachella 2012

In probably the most surreal manner ever, Coachella 2012 has one of the most memorable and talked-about festival moments ever.

As fans of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre watched the duo perform with the likes of 50 Cent and Eminem, nobody quite expected the posse to be playing with Tupac that night. As the late rapper came back from the dead by 3D hologram, a mixture of astonishment and euphoria engulfed the crowd as the group performed two of his tracks. This is surely as memorable as they get.

If you have any other festival moments you think are missing from this list, let us know in the comments below.


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