Sir Elton John to headline Glastonbury in last UK gig of farewell tour after 52 years on the road
Sir Elton John is to headline at next year’s Glastonbury Festival in his final ever gig in the UK on what has been billed as his farewell tour after more than 50 years on the road.
The Rocket Man singer will play the Pyramid Stage on the last night of the popular, sold-out event at Worthy Farm in Somerset, which runs from 21-25 June 2023.
Sir Elton said he “couldn’t be more excited” to be appearing at Glastonbury 2023.
Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis has promised it will be “the mother of all send offs”.
The veteran megastar has been performing around the world as part of his marathon Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour which began in September 2018 before it was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “As the end of my Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour comes into view, there is no more fitting way to say goodbye to my British fans.
“They have been beyond brilliant, and have supported me through all the highs and lows of my career.
“Every week I speak to new artists on my radio show and Glastonbury is often cited as a pivotal moment in launching their careers – the festival’s genuine, enthusiastic support for the best emerging talent is something I’ve long admired.
“I’ve been talking to Emily Eavis about it over the last few weeks and I can’t wait to embrace the spirit of the greatest festival in the world. It’s going to be incredibly emotional.”
Ms Eavis said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to let you know that the one and only Elton John will be making his first ever Glastonbury appearance, headlining the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday night next year.
“This will be the final UK show of Elton’s last ever tour, so we will be closing the festival and marking this huge moment in both of our histories with the mother of all send offs.
“We are so very happy to finally bring the Rocket Man to Worthy Farm.”
The veteran singer’s 300-plus date worldwide run is due to conclude next summer and will mark his retirement from touring after 52 years.
So far it has seen him perform across Europe with shows in Milan, Paris and Frankfurt, and he also recently ended the North American part of the tour at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The final leg will include dates in Australia, New Zealand and European shows next year.
Throughout the tour, the megastar has treated fans to elaborate shows filled with extravagant costumes, spectacular visuals and classics from his catalogue including Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, Your Song and hit recent number one single Cold Heart, which was a collaboration with pop star Dua Lipa.
In 2018, he announced his farewell world tour after deciding to bow out of live performing to spend more time with his two children.
The singer has had a glittering career that has seen him release a hit single in every decade since the 1970s, and notch up worldwide record sales of 300 million.
This year at Glastonbury Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar headlined, with Diana Ross performing in the traditional Sunday Legends slot.
Sir Paul’s Saturday headline slot on the Pyramid Stage saw the former Beatle become the festival’s oldest solo headliner, performing a week after he celebrated his 80th birthday.
Alan Cumming gives back OBE over links to ‘toxic’ British Empire
Alan Cumming has given back his OBE, expressing concern over its links to what he describes as the “toxicity” of the British Empire.
The actor said he had made the decision to return the award after listening to conversations about the future of the Royal Family after the Queen’s death.
Cumming was made an OBE in 2009 as part of the Queen’s birthday honours, being recognised for acting, as well as the work he does to campaign for LGBTQ+ rights in the US.
He said at the time that he was “shocked and delighted” to be given the honour.
Writing on Instagram on his 58th birthday, he said: “The Queen’s death and the ensuing conversations about the role of monarchy and especially the way the British Empire profited at the expense (and death) of indigenous peoples across the world really opened my eyes.
“Fourteen years ago, I was incredibly grateful to receive it in the 2009 Queen’s birthday honours list, for it was awarded not just for my job as an actor but ‘for activism for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community, USA’.
“Back then the Defence of Marriage Act ensured that same-sex couples couldn’t get married or enjoy the same basic legal rights as straight people, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ensured that openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people were barred from serving in the military.”
He added: “Thankfully, times and laws in the US have changed, and the great good the award brought to the LGBTQ+ cause back in 2009 is now less potent than the misgivings I have being associated with the toxicity of empire (OBE stands for Officer of the British Empire).
“So, I returned my award, explained my reasons and reiterated my great gratitude for being given it in the first place. I’m now back to being plain old Alan Cumming again. Happy birthday to me!”
Cumming is best known for his roles in Goldeneye and the Spy Kids trilogy, as well as for his stage work, with his credits including Cabaret, for which he won a Tony Award, and Endgame.
Sandi Toksvig says archbishop told her progress on same-sex marriage in Church of England will be ‘glacial’
The Archbishop of Canterbury has conceded progress on same-sex marriage in the Church of England would be “glacial”, Sandi Toksvig has said.
The comedian revealed she had met Justin Welby for a “long-promised coffee” and the meeting had been “calm and considered”, but the church‘s current position was “untenable”.
In a video she said it was clear the “Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step”.
They met after she expressed her dismay last year that Mr Welby had reaffirmed the validity of a 1998 declaration by the church that gay sex was a sin.
The archbishop has recently said he welcomed the Church of England’s proposals to bless same-sex married couples, but said he would not personally carry them out due to his “pastoral relationship for the whole communion”.
“Yesterday I went to have coffee, tea, actually, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not a sentence I thought would ever come out of my mouth,” Toksvig said in her video.
“From our very calm and considered conversation yesterday, it is very clear that the State’s Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step.
“Justin was keen for me to see that they are moving forward, but conceded that any progress, as I would see it, if it happens at all, will be glacial.”
She said it was also “very clear” opposing factions of the worldwide Anglican Communion were being “in part held together at the expense of the human rights of the LGBT+ community”.
“It’s not okay. And I said so,” she said.
Toksvig asked Archbishop to come out as gay ally
She continued: “I asked Justin if he could just come out. I don’t mean to make a surprise announcement about his sexuality, but come out as a gay ally.
“Basically, to come up for love, love for all without exceptions, and not the current Orwellian position, where it would seem we are all created equal, but some are more equal than others.
“I hope that will happen, but I do not intend to wait upon the church.
“In the next few weeks, I will be reaching out to the LGBT+ community and all our allies to see what can be done.
“The present position is untenable. In the meantime, please. Let’s all come out for love.”
Church apologises for ‘shameful’ treatment of LGBTQI+ people
Last week the church formally apologised for its “shameful” treatment of LGBTQI+ people.
It came after it said it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to get married in its churches, but would bless same-sex civil marriages for the first time.
Kanye West a ‘danger to my children’, Jewish comedian David Baddiel says
Allowing Kanye West to start tweeting again would be “dangerous for Jews” and “dangerous for my children”, David Baddiel has told Sky News.
The Jewish author and comedian also said he considers the musician to be racist.
West is currently suspended from Twitter for tweeting an image of a swastika hours after praising Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
The musician, 45, posted the grossly offensive image only two weeks after being allowed back on the site following a previous ban.
Baddiel said he understood why Twitter owner Elon Musk might consider another reprieve for the rapper.
“Kanye being let back onto that platform seems to be part of Elon Musk trying to make (it) less dominated by the progressive left,” Baddiel told the Beth Rigby Interviews programme.
“I’m not bothered about those arguments. I’m bothered about what is dangerous for Jews. What is dangerous for my children.
“I do think it’s dangerous. I think it’s actively dangerous.”
Regarding West’s motivation, Baddiel said antisemitism is “often seen by people as punching up”.
He continued: “So they don’t see it as racism, because what they see is that Jews are powerful.
“So Kanye will say things like, Jews are in control of the music business, I’m finally throwing off the shackles of how Jews won’t let me speak about this, because they’re in control.”
West has previously accused record producer Sean “Diddy” Combs of being controlled by “the Jewish people” in a post on Instagram.
Baddiel went on: “It comes from a sense of, this is a rebel yell against a race that is controlling us, and the problem with that is it doesn’t sound like a far-right person saying ‘look at these scum, I’m just going to kill them’.
“It sounds like someone fighting the good fight. And that is actually what Hitler, who Kanye has said he’s an admirer of, that is also how Hitler sounded to some people.”
In an interview with the conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, West said: “I like Hitler.”
West retains the ability to influence people, Baddiel said. “Kanye, because he’s a brilliant hip hop artist, has got a really powerful voice,” he pointed out.
Asked whether West is racist, Baddiel said: “I think what he said is antisemitic. And I think antisemitism is racism. Yes.”
Baddiel also discussed his recent apology to the ex-footballer Jason Lee, for the way he portrayed him in sketches in his 1990s television series Fantasy Football League.
“As I became more aware of racism directed against me, as well as being hurt or upset by that, or thinking this is weird, this clearly really racist thing – that I am guilty of the same thing,” he said.
“And that brought it home to me over time, over much too much time, that I should apologise to Jason Lee.
“When I (made a) documentary, I thought I should go and film a face-to-face apology. And thankfully Jason was up for doing that, and it was really difficult. He didn’t in any way let me off.”
Baddiel said he “felt terrible”, “totally felt terrible”.
He told Beth Rigby: “At the end of it, I went up to him, and I just said, look, sorry again, and thank you for seeing me.
“And he just shook my hand and said, no, it’s done now.
“Meaning we’ve done it now, and we can move on. Which is important for me, and important for him.
“It was difficult. It should be difficult.”
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