PILTON, England (Reuters) - Motown legend Stevie Wonder closed the Glastonbury music festival on Sunday with a set that spanned his long and successful career, delighting a huge crowd of some 100,000 cheering revelers.
The 60-year-old dedicated his performance to Michael Jackson, who died almost exactly a year ago, and Wonder performed a moving harmonica version of the late King of Pop’s “Human Nature.”
He also performed hits including “Superstition” and his own take on Beatles classic “We Can Work it Out.”
The artist invited Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis up on to the stage and sang his famous track “Happy Birthday” to celebrate the festival’s 40th year.
It was a high point on which to close an event which this year basked in glorious sunshine for four days, and Wonder’s musical prowess and interaction with the fans helped ease the pain of England’s loss to Germany at the soccer World Cup.
Earlier in the day tens of thousands of people crowded around giant screens erected for the big match, only to see their team crash out 4-1.
Summing up the ebullient spirit among Glastonbury-goers, John Hutcheon refused to allow the loss to mar the music.
“There is definitely more to life than football,” said the 24-year-old from Hull.
This year raincoats and rubber boots were replaced by bare chests and bikinis as temperatures soared.
Around 150,000 people danced to acts including Gorillaz, Muse, Radiohead, Scissor Sisters, Shakira and Snoop Dogg, as well as hundreds of less famous names playing across a bewildering array of stages and venues.
Eavis, who founded the event in 1970 when 1,500 punters paid a pound each to attend what was then known as the Pilton Pop Festival, said he had had the best birthday ever.
“I’ve never enjoyed myself so much,” said the softly-spoken 74-year-old, describing his Saturday night when English rockers Muse were joined on stage by U2 guitarist The Edge for one of this year’s highlights.
“I didn’t feel tired, I had such a buzz off it, and I was very proud of what I’d created. For four or five hours it was total magic.”
He added he had already identified three headline acts for the next festival, but declined to name them.
Glastonbury is one of the music world’s most coveted slots for performers because of the size of the crowds and reputation it has built over the years.
The 2010 edition has not all been easy, however.
Gorillaz were brought in at the last moment to replace U2 as the opening act, and, despite performing with the likes of Lou Reed and Bobby Womack during their Friday slot, they failed to win the crowd over.
But rappers Dizzee Rascal and Snoop Dogg, a surprise set by Radiohead, Kylie Minogue’s brief guest appearance with Scissor Sisters and Colombian singer Shakira’s sizzling set helped lift the mood through Saturday.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Charles Dick