GLASTONBURY, England (Reuters) - Singer-turned-activist Charlotte Church and Russian punk protesters Pussy Riot kicked off Britain’s Glastonbury Festival with a call for revolution on Friday, though the crowds they rallied seemed more interested in basking in the sun.
Europe’s biggest green-field music festival was in full swing by lunchtime, ahead of a headline performance by Florence and the Machine on Friday night and a highly anticipated turn by U.S. rapper Kanye West on Saturday.
Tim Burgess, frontman of unannounced opening band The Charlatans, said “Morning Sunshine” to a huge crowd on the Other Stage, before launching into hits including “The Only One I Know”.
Soon afterwards, Charlotte Church, who became a classical singing star aged 12 and addressed an anti-austerity march in London this month, interviewed Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina on the Park Stage, hailing them as an “an inspiration for a generation”.
The two, who were jailed for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral in 2012, laid out the 10 rules of their movement, including “Start your new day with a cup of coffee and a good riot”.
As the afternoon progressed, sun gave way to rain - a curse of Glastonburies past.
A huge, if not particularly agitated crowd, turned up at the Pyramid Stage for 24-year old singer-songwriter James Bay.
His set, which concluded with the hit “Hold Back The River”, was watched from the side of the stage by One Direction members Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson, who caused a minor frenzy in parts of the crowd when they flashed up on the screens.
“It was a lot of fun,” Bay told Reuters after the performance.
North-London based group Wolf Alice, whose debut album “My Love is Cool” was released on Monday and is on course to take the number one spot, were due to play later on Friday.
“We did a secret set last night, so I think we’re a little limbered up,” said guitarist Joff Oddie.
The band also leant their support to Florence and the Machine, who moved up the bill after Foo Fighters’ front man Dave Grohl broke his leg earlier this month.
“Big up to Florence, she deserves to be a headliner,” bassist Theo Ellis told Reuters TV.
Some in the crowd said they were disappointed by the Foo Fighters’ withdrawal.
“It’s a shame not to see them, but it’s still Glastonbury, isn’t it?,” said fan Chris Moores.
Editing by Andrew Heavens