Olivia Dean pays tribute to grandmother and Windrush generation at Glastonbury

Singer Olivia Dean dedicated her song Carmen to her grandmother and other members of the Windrush generation as she neared the end of her set on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.

The neo soul singer, 25, who was named the winner of the BBC Introducing artist of the year award last year and whose album Messy earned her a Mercury Prize nomination, followed rock band Squeeze, who opened Friday’s Pyramid Stage performances.

Wearing a T-shirt with her grandmother’s face on it, Dean said: “She came to this country when she was 18, never been on a plane… she had my mum quite young, my mum had me and I’m a product of her bravery.

Olivia Dean dancing on stage, dressed in a vest featuring a photo of her grandmother and a short minikilt
Olivia Dean performing on the Pyramid Stage (Ben Birchall/PA)

“So this song is for my granny, to the Windrush generation, for any immigrant, anyone’s who’s brave enough to move.”

Dean wiped away tears and commented on “what a beautiful day” it was before she played her last song of the set, Dive.

Later, 28-year-old British-Albanian singer Dua Lipa will headline the festival and is expected to play hit songs including Houdini and Training Season from her third studio album, Radical Optimism.

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis told BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show there will be “no big surprises” at this year’s event, but she did say Coldplay’s Saturday headline slot will be a “huge moment”.

American R&B singer SZA will headline on Sunday, while country star Shania Twain will play the coveted Legends slot.

Earlier, Eavis defended the festival line-up amid criticism that there is a lack of rock bands, telling the PA news agency: “I think the line-up reflects what’s happening in the music world at the moment – there aren’t a lot of new rock acts to choose from, if I’m honest.

Emily Eavis shouts to the crowd
Emily Eavis opened the gates to start the festival (Yui Mok/PA)

“Hopefully that will emerge again, my heyday was 1995 with Pulp and Oasis and Radiohead… and that was great, but music changes all the time and right now this is where we’re at.

“Every year, we’ve been criticised for being too rock, too grime, too hip hop, too pop… it’s just part of our year.

“Generally it’s not from the public… everybody’s really happy and excited to be here.”

Glenn Tilbrook dressed in a checked suit, playing a black guitar
Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze as the band opened the Pyramid Stage on Friday (Yui Mok/PA)

This year’s festival is taking place in the week before the General Election, and Eavis said: “I feel a bit like we’ve stepped out of the election, even though it’s next week.

“We were working on having voter registration booths, but then the day moved.

“It’s a big one for us, we’ve never had a pre-election festival.”

Dua Lipa dressed in leather jacket and shorts while singing on a stage with dancers
Dua Lipa was a star performer at this year’s Brit Awards (James Manning/PA)

Glastonbury organisers have also decided the Euro 2024 football tournament will not be broadcast at the festival – with England set to face Slovakia in the last 16 at 5pm on Sunday.

Eavis said the festival set up a screen to watch fixtures during the World Cup in 1998, but times have changed.

“We used to have a screen here as no-one had any means of finding out what even the result was because we were so cut off from the outside,” she said.

“Now everyone’s connected, and I think, you know, it’s a music festival.

Four men dressed as the Beatles, including colourful customs, facial hair and glasses
Glastonbury revellers dressed as the Beatles (Yui Mok/PA)

“I’m sure if people want to see it enough they can check for results or whatever on their phones.

“But hopefully I’m encouraging people to put their phones away and forget about the outside world.”

Music fans at Glastonbury enjoying Friday’s line-up could be met with the “occasional light shower” but the day will mainly be “dry and bright”, according to the Met Office.

Temperatures are expected to reach high teens to low 20Cs over the weekend.

A woman dressed in a fluffy hat and coat, hot pants and vest, silver boots, carrying a blow-up flamingo
Festivalgoer Saira Biruta was dressed in a flamingo costume (Yui Mok/PA)

Thursday’s festivities included a tribute to the late DJ Annie Nightingale, the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1 who died in January at the age of 83.

Festival founder Sir Michael Eavis was among Thursday’s performers and was met with rapturous cheers by a crowd of thousands as he appeared in a wheelchair on the Park stage.

Elsewhere, just days after the birth of his fourth child, Joe Wicks led a fitness session and set his sights on taking his workouts to the Pyramid Stage.