Glastonbury is a musical fiesta that unfolded amidst the rolling hills of Worthy Farm. It’s known for huge headliners and the best crowds. But while we were expecting great acts like Elton John and Guns N’ Roses, it was the surprise performances that made Glastonbury 2023 so special! Let’s break down the best and most electrifying surprise acts and appearances that shaped Glastonbury 2023.

1. Foo Fighters’ surprise set

The Foo Fighters, led by the charismatic Dave Grohl, pulled off one of the most exciting surprises of the festival. The American rock band, rumoured to be the mystery act for the Pyramid stage, confirmed the speculation when they emerged on stage to the rapturous applause of the anticipating crowd. Grohl’s banter with the audience and the band’s hits, including “All My Life” and “My Hero”, added to the exhilarating energy of the festival​.

2. Paul McCartney’s brief cameo

best surprise acts glastonbury 2023
Source: Raphael Pour-Hashemi – MaccaLyricsRFH051121

Sir Paul McCartney, who headlined Glastonbury the previous year, made a surprise cameo during the Pretenders’ performance on Saturday night. Although his appearance was brief, the iconic thumbs up he gave to the audience before exiting the stage was a priceless moment that added a touch of magic to the night​.

3. Lewis Capaldi’s emotional set

Lewis Capaldi, who had been battling mental health issues, delivered a heartfelt performance that resonated with the audience. His set was marked by his struggles with Tourette’s syndrome. However, during his biggest hit, “Someone You Loved”, the crowd took over the song as his voice broke, offering an unexpected moment of collective empathy and support​. It even had the mum of a teen with Tourette’s in tears, as the singer drew awareness to the condition.

4. Lana Del Rey’s dramatic exit

Lana Del Rey’s performance was undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable moments of Glastonbury 2023. The singer-songwriter’s set was cut short at midnight due to her late arrival. What followed was a tense interaction with the stage management and her eventual escort off the stage by security, adding a dramatic twist to the festival’s narrative​.

5. Rick Astley’s energetic debut

Rick Astley’s debut at Glastonbury was a surprise treat for fans. The veteran pop star, clad in a salmon-pink suit, energised the Pyramid stage with his 80s classics and unexpected covers. His rendition of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and Harry Styles’ hit single “As It Was”, showcased his diverse musical talent, adding a fun and unexpected twist to his set​. He also performed alongside Blossoms to pay tribute to The Smiths!

Glastonbury 2023 was a great experience for festival-goers, full of of unexpected moments and surprise acts and performances that prove once again why it’s one of the world’s most beloved music festivals. Who would have thought Rick Astley would have performed a Harry Styles hit and alongside Blossoms!? Although announced headliners make you eager and excited, it’s these surprise acts and performances at Glastonbury 2023 that make it an unforgettable experience.