‘I want my ashes sprinkling here’: gen Z on why Glastonbury is cooler than ever | Glastonbury 2022

With headliner Paul McCartney turning 80, heritage acts from Tony Christie to Crowded House on the lineup and tickets costing almost £300, are there any young people left in the throngs who trek to Pilton? We track down voices from the elusive generation Z.

Izzy Rowland, 24, Sheffield

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? I’m volunteering with Shelter. But Glastonbury is just so special.

How was it? Busier – everyone is getting back on it: people have had the three years off, they’re ready to party and more willing to talk to each other, after having been silenced during the pandemic.

Do you think everyone here is old? Younger people are coming, but it’s not attracting 18-year-olds. It’s kind of a uni, post-uni crowd; Leeds and Reading are aimed at the younger ones.

Is Glastonbury still cool among gen Z? It will never, ever not be cool.

What should Paul McCartney do to celebrate his 80th birthday? Come party with me! I saw him in 2004, when I was a wee babby.

Will you be at Glastonbury when you’re 80? 110%! Make it 85! You’re going to have to come and sprinkle my ashes here.

Which act or musician would you have most liked to have seen at a past Glastonbury? Freddie Mercury and Queen. Or Bowie!

Which generation would you have been born into, if you could choose? I’ve always wanted to be 20 in the 80s – so a 60s baby.

What’s your favourite bit of your outfit? I’m wearing a trans flag because I feel the trans community are so hard done by. My brother is trans. I love him so much. I’m wearing this in solidarity.

Benjamin McMullan Gen Z voxpops. Glastonbury Festival 2022. Worthy Farm. London. Photograph by David Levene 23/6/22
‘I’ve been covering my hair up’ … Benjamin McMullan. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Benjamin McMullan, 18, Bristol

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? I’ve been working in a cafe in the Glade. Getting tickets for this is not easy – they’re hundreds of pounds!

What do you make of it? It’s amazing. It’s the people that make Glastonbury different – the atmosphere.

Do you think everyone here is old? You’ve got such a massive mix, a lot of older people, but I’m not fussed – I’m here for the music.

What should Paul McCartney do to celebrate his 80th birthday? Get his top off – I’m kidding! But it is quite hot.

Will you want to be at Glastonbury when you’re 80? If I can get a ticket.

Which past act or musician would you have most liked to have seen at Glastonbury? David Bowie headlined in 1971 – I would have loved to have seen him.

What’s your favourite bit of your outfit? It’s gotta be the hat – it’s my friend’s. My hair’s a bit long so I’ve been covering it up.

Raya Joshi
‘I can chat with nearly everybody, all ages’ … Raya Joshi. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Raya Joshi, 17, Horningsham

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? I just wanted to go have fun after Covid. Since Covid shut down my social life, I wanted to get back out there.

What do you make of it? I’ve been trying to look for tunes, really. I love to dance. I don’t know any of the acts, I’m just going with the flow.

Do you think everyone here is old? Not so much, because I can chat with nearly everybody, all ages. It’s kind of great. There’s lots of 17-year-olds.

What should Paul McCartney do to celebrate his 80th birthday? Party hard.

Will you want to be at Glastonbury when you’re 80? Yeah, that’s going to be fun.

Which past act would you have most liked to have seen at Glastonbury? Probably Fatboy Slim in his prime.

Which generation would you have liked to be born into, if you could choose? I would like to have been 20 in the 2000s. I feel that’s the perfect age for a festival.

That Gagoshidze, 24, Somerset

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? It’s my first time here. If it wasn’t for my friends, I’d have no idea.

Is Glastonbury cool for gen Z? This generation is probably the most desperate to go back to situations where there’s large crowds, because they went into their first year of university just as Covid happened.

Tamta Gagoshidze, Sophie Kininmonth and Hera Bradly.
‘I would have liked to have seen the Rat Pack’ … from left, Tamta Gagoshidze with Sophie Kininmonth and Hera Bradly. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Do you expect to be at Glastonbury when you’re 80? I don’t see myself making it that far. I’m very accident prone!

Which past act would you have most liked to have seen at Glastonbury? I would have liked to have seen that Coldplay performance, around their Mylo Xyloto.

Which generation would you have liked to be born into, if you could choose? I would have liked to have seen the Rat Pack in their prime.

What’s your favourite bit of your outfit? The fact that this top is backless so I can get more air through.

Ben-Lui Simpkins and Gwen Sufferby.
‘Enjoy the generation you’re in’ … Ben-Lui Simpkins and Gwen Sufferby. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Ben-Lui Simpkins, 18, Bristol

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? Gwen and I are playing at the Avalon Cafe stage with our band Afraid of the Dark.

What do you make of it? We sat up there on the hill and saw the whole thing, all lit up – it is a city.

Is Glastonbury cool? Oh yeah! When friends find out that I am playing Glastonbury, it’s very much: “Oh my God!”

What should Paul McCartney do to celebrate his 80th birthday? Go see some drum’n’bass.

Will you be here when you’re 80? Yep, as long as I’m still interested in music.

Which past act would you have most liked to have seen at Glastonbury? New Order would have been great.

Which generation would you have liked to be born into, if you could choose? I’d say enjoy the one you’re in.

What’s your favourite bit of your outfit? We’re making flower crowns right now.

What is the most useful thing you’ve brought to Glastonbury? We’ve got a watermelon pool float as a bed.

Tia Taylor-Gordon, 19, from Sheffield for Elle Hunt vox pops on generation z. Glastonbury Music 2022
‘I was shocked to find a cinema’ … Tia Taylor-Gordon. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian

Tia Taylor-Gordon, Sheffield, 19

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? It was on my mum’s bucket list, and she bought my ticket. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, really.

What do you make of it? I didn’t expect so much to do – I was shocked to find a cinema. You’re just not going to get around all of it.

Do you think everyone here is old? Compared to Leeds or Reading, which is mainly young people, it’s very diverse, which I do like.

How should Paul McCartney celebrate his 80th birthday? I think he’s doing well celebrating it by coming to Glastonbury!

Do you expect to be at Glastonbury when you’re 80? Yeah, that would be cool. Maybe I’ll take my children and my grandkids.

What act from the past would you most like to have seen? Oh, Beyoncé, definitely.

What is the most useful thing you’ve brought to Glastonbury? We’ve got a little trolley that we’ve just shoved all our alcohol in. We’ve saved a fortune. She’s called Lydia, after my great-grandma.

‘It’s a relief to be here’ … Sophia Thomas.
‘It’s a relief to be here’ … Sophia Thomas. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian

Sophia Thomas, 24, London

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? It’s my first time. A group of five of us got together and decided to try for tickets this year. We bought them when they originally went on sale for the 2020 festival. Originally I was like, “I’m going to get to see Taylor Swift” – now she’s not even here. But all the buildup to it is so exciting.

What do you make of it? First of all: it’s a relief to actually just be here. The weeks before, not knowing when to start camping; the journey down, camping and getting a spot. It’s a lot bigger than I expected. I knew the festival ground was going to be huge but we’re pushing 20,000, 25,000 steps a day. We’re walking so far and that’s without the music even starting yet.

Is Glastonbury cool for gen Z? I think people of any age want to experience live musicIt’s nice seeing older people. When we go to gigs we feel old, but here we feel quite young. I don’t get how people are caring for themselves here as well as tiny little babies.

What should Paul McCartney do to celebrate his 80th birthday? Down tequila on the stage!

Which generation would you have liked to be born into, if you could choose? One without climate change issues? One without a shitty government? So: never! Or, the early 80s, so I could have had the late 80s and early 90s music.

What’s your favourite bit of your outfit? My froggy hat. Love it. It’s so cute!

What is the most useful thing you’ve brought to Glastonbury? Wet wipes. I don’t think I need to say why.

Ryan Smith, 21 from Bournemouth (left) and Charlie Lock from Glasgow (right) for Elle Hunt vox pops on Generation z. Glastonbury Music 2022
‘I knew it was going to be big but not quite this big’ … Charlie Lock, right, with Ryan Smith. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian

Charlie Lock, 21, Glasgow

What’s brought you to Glastonbury? I am playing with my band, Walt Disco. It’s my first time at Glastonbury. I’m excited, and very honoured.

What do you make of it? I knew it was going to be big but not quite this big.

Do you think everyone here is old? It feels like a festival for everyone, which is nice.

What should Paul McCartney do to celebrate his 80th birthday? I’d get really really drunk and invite everyone to come and get drunk with me. I’m 80, you know?

Do you expect to be at Glastonbury when you’re 80? Maybe performing at the Pyramid stage.

What is the most useful thing you’ve brought to Glastonbury? Pistachios, to sustain myself.

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