Which United fans have headlined Glastonbury?

Wednesday 21 June 2023 14:38

The world's most famous music festival opens its doors in Somerset today (Wednesday 21 June), as Glastonbury becomes the centre of the world for five blissful days.

'Contemporary performing arts' is the focus, of course, with Arctic Monkeys (Friday), Guns N' Roses (Saturday) and Elton John (Sunday) set to headline across the weekend.
If you've ever been to Worthy Farm, or watched the festival unfold on TV, you'll know that the festival feels about as far away from the glitz of the Premier League as it's possible to get (though the Pyramid Stage did screen Wayne Rooney and England's games at the World Cup back in 2010!). But many Reds fans will, nevertheless, be in attendance, and a healthy handful of talented supporters are actually performing at Glastonbury 2023.
Moston-born United fan Aitch will grace the Pyramid Stage at 16:00 BST on Saturday, with other Reds like Courteeners, Tom Grennan and Rick Astley also set to play.
United supporters have even headlined Glastonbury on numerous occasions. Here are some of the most famous to top that iconic bill...
North Manchester's Aitch will play Glastonbury 2023.
The legendary Manchester band were one of the most exciting acts at the 1984 festival, delivering a spellbinding set that organiser Michael Eavis later claimed changed the event forever. "We'd been having hippy stuff up until then," he told BBC's Desert Island Discs in 2008. "And suddenly we had The Smiths, who were very cool, and very fashionable. It just changed the whole event. It suddenly became a big pop festival then." We should point out that guitarist Johnny Marr and drummer Mike Joyce are supporters of our cross-town rivals Manchester City. But frontman Morrissey grew up on Stretford's King's Road, just a stone's thrown from Old Trafford, and paid tribute to the Busby Babes in his song Munich Air Disaster 1958. Bassist Andy Rourke – who sadly passed away in May – was also a Red.
One of Manchester's most innovative acts, New Order headlined Glasto in 1987. Both singer Bernard Sumner and former bassist Peter Hook are big Reds, with the latter a regular match-goer. Famously, the band had a UK no.1 with the 1990 football song World in Motion... which was performed with England's 1990 World Cup squad. Less well known is the group's 1989 B-side Best and Marsh, an instrumental track written for a TV show which featured George Best and former City forward Rodney Marsh.
The Smiths' Morrissey (left) has referenced United in numerous songs and interviews.
Another band hailing from the Factory Records stable were Happy Mondays. And like New Order, they were well-stocked with Reds, in singers Shaun Ryder and Rowetta, dancer Bez and drummer Gaz Whelan. They blew into Pilton in 1990, at the height of the 'Madchester' era. The following year, they put on a gig at Leeds United's Elland Road, taking to the stage with the immortal words, "Are you Man U, you?"
Fronted by the City-supporting Gallagher brothers, Oasis headlined Glastonbury twice (1995 and 2004) before their split in 2009. But despite the band's association with Manchester City, there was one committed Red within their ranks when they took to the Pyramid Stage in 1995: guitarist and founder member Bonehead. He left in 1999, but appears on almost all of their classic early recordings. Original drummer Tony McCarroll, who played on Oasis's debut album, 1994's Definitely Maybe, is also a United enthusiast.
Happy Mondays members Bez (second from left), Shaun Ryder (centre) and Gaz Whelan (third from right) are keen Reds.
Another of the massive UK bands to emerge in the 1990s, Radiohead, call distant Oxford their hometown. But guitarist Ed O'Brien is a long-time United fan. He once recalled bumping into David Beckham at the festival, admitting: "Glastonbury attracts a lot people – there's Brad Pitt and there's David Beckham. I'm a big Manchester United fan, so Beckham for me is the number seven. He's not the Beckham of celebrity; he's the footballer. He came over and said how much he enjoyed the gig, and I was a bit of a fanboy. Glastonbury is a bit like your World Cup final, your Champions League final – it's the biggest show you will ever play." O'Brien is probably the only United fan to headline on three separate occasions, in 1997, 2003 and 2017.
Match-going Red Mani joined Primal Scream after The Stone Roses split up in the mid-90s. His new band headlined Glastonbury in 1998. Scream guitarist Robert 'Throb' Young was another keen United follower, before his passing in 2014.
Mani (right) and Ian Brown (centre) of the Stone Roses were due to headline in 1995, before pulling out.
The influential electronic music duo formed after they met at Manchester University in the late 1980s. After gaining huge popularity during the 1990s via no.1 LPs like Dig Your Own Hole and Surrender, they were invited to headline in 2000. One half of the pairing, Ed Simons, is a particularly devoted Red.
Along with Mani, Happy Mondays' Bez and aforementioned Radiohead veteran O'Brien, Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft was in attendance at the Nou Camp when United clinched the Treble back in 1999. His band, The Verve, brought the 2008 Glastonbury Festival to a close with monster hits such as Bitter Sweet Symphony and The Drugs Don't Work.
Ed Simons (right) of Chemical Brothers follows United closely.
The folk-rockers brought Glastonbury to a climax in 2013. Winston Marshall – then the group's banjo player – is an avid Red, and has appeared on MUTV to discuss United on several occasions.
Croydon-born rapper Stormzy played an era-defining set at Glastonbury in 2019. His love for United is well-established: he's a regular at Old Trafford and even made a surprise appearance on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football after our 2-1 win over Liverpool last August. He also held a signing session for his debut album at our Megastore!