The Glastonbury secret set rumours we want to be true

The official Glastonbury line-up is confirmed. But what about the secret sets?

While this weekend’s annual music festival may already be well underway at a muddy Worthy Farm, rumours continue to fly around as to who will be turning up incognito to perform the now traditional secret sets.

Last year’s Glasto featured James Bay, Slaves and the newly reformed Libertines in unannounced slots, while previous years have featured surprise showings from the likes of Alt-J, The 1975 (which was memorably brought to a brief halt after one over-enthusiastic fan threw a can onstage), and firm Glasto-favourites Radiohead, who played a storming set in 2011 during some of the worst weather of that year’s festival.

Here, then, are seven potential stealth gigs at this year’s festival that we really hope to see…

Mumford & Sons

Headlining at Glastonbury 2013 despite having only two albums under their belt at the time, Mumford & Sons have been something of a festival staple since 2007, two years before they had even released their debut album.

It is highly rumoured that the folky quartet are to make a cameo appearance during Shura’s slot, despite the promising electronic wunderkind repeatedly denying that they are to share the Other Stage this Saturday.

Likelihood? High. Whether they appear alongside Shura or not, it would be uncharacteristic of Marcus Mumford and the gang not to show some kind of face, even if it is to be a more intimate gig along the lines of their 2014 set.

Add the fact that they’ve recently finished working on a mini-album with award-winning Senegalese singer-songwriter Baaba Maal, who is confirmed to appear on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday, and you basically have everything but an official confirmation of their appearance.

Adele (on a smaller stage)

adele belfast

The world-conquering, notoriously festival-shy soul singer is one of the main headliners of this year’s Glastonbury, where she will be performing this Saturday night on the Pyramid Stage. Adele has been spotted enjoying previous festivals in her downtime away from touring, however; could a smaller, guerrilla-style set be on the cards?

Likelihood? Don’t bet on it. Bearing in mind Glastonbury’s recent adoption of tougher health and safety measures, do you really think they’d allow the risk of plonking the world’s biggest act anywhere but the main Pyramid Stage?


Thom Yorke Radiohead Amsterdam

With a notable gap in their touring schedule, coupled with the quiet release of their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, in May, fans are hopeful that the seminal Oxford five-piece will show up to rock the farm this year.

Likelihood? Reasonable. While they haven’t performed a secret gig since 2011, Radiohead and Glasto have a good relationship: their 1997 performance is frequently cited as one of the greatest live performances ever. With the recent successful release of their first studio album in five years, a surprise Glastonbury showing could well be on the cards.

The Strokes

The Strokes

Rather unfairly written off as one-hit wonders, the New York indie icons’ surprise release of EP Future Present Past represented the band’s first fresh material since 2013. With 2016 marking the 15th anniversary of their game-changing first album, Is This It, could they yet make an appearance at this year’s festival?

Likelihood? Highly doubtful. In their near-two decades long career, The Strokes have yet to make a Glasto appearance. In fact, within the last eight months, the band have only played two gigs, while lead singer Julian Casablancas (who appeared solo at Glastonbury 2010) recently admitted that he is not all that keen on doing the festival circuit.

Still more chance than The Wombles though. Hopefully.

James Murphy (DJ set)

lcd soundsystem

With LCD Soundsystem officially back after seemingly calling it quits back in 2011, frontman James Murphy (who actually performs the vast majority of albums solo, yet performs live with a wide array of his musical chums) is expected to perform some sort of solo DJ set before the main event this Sunday night on the Other Stage.

Likelihood? High. Murphy has previously done solo DJ sets at the festival, and provides the perfect respite from many other “DJs” who seem to merely turn up with a USB stick and wave their hands in the air. With Sunday’s slot marking LCD Soundsystem’s return to Worthy Farm after a six-year absence, fans would be seriously disappointed if he didn’t do the same this year.

Arctic Monkeys


arctic monkeys

We all know by now that Alex Turner is playing this Saturday, alongside buddy and sometime Rascal Miles Kane in their newly re-energised supergroup, The Last Shadow Puppets. However, has he also brought along his old AM comrades in the tour bus?

Likelihood? It’s a nice thought, but don’t hold out too much hope for this one. After all, Turner’s focus is understandably placed on his other band at the moment, who have just recently released their second album after an eight year wait. It’s unlikely he’d want to divert attention away from The Last Shadow Puppets for the time being, especially as they’ve been largely off the UK touring circuit since 2009.

Still more chance than The Wombles though. Hopefully.

Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin

Electronic mystery man Alex D. James is well-known for his surprise Glastonbury sets, having last appeared in 2014. With new EP Cheetah expected next month, don’t be shocked to if the elusive DJ pops up this year.

Likelihood? Reasonable. He certainly likes to keep us guessing, and a secret set from Aphex Twin would be a very welcome treat.


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