Orbital say they won't be at Glastonbury 2023 but "maybe next year" in 2024

Orbital say they won’t be at Glastonbury 2023 but “maybe next year” in 2024

Orbital silhouette • Credit: Orbital Instagram

“Everyone wants to do it”…

Orbital have now confirmed that they won’t be playing at Glastonbury 2023, but are hopeful for a possible performance at the Festival in 2024.

While speaking to Rolling Stone UK, in an interview published yesterday (22nd February), the rave legends said: “We won’t be there! The problem with Glastonbury is that it’s become such a global thing,” Paul explained. “Everyone wants to do it. Everyone wants to clear their diary in case they can get it, and it becomes so oversubscribed. It means it’s tricky getting the slot you’re happy with. Maybe next year we’ll be there!”

Rumours of the band returning to Worthy Farm have been abundant for quite some time after according to various sources, back in 2020, Orbital’s Phil Hartnoll reportedly said in a Resident Adviser exchange that the duo were set for playing what would have been Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary – before it was forced to cancel due to the worldwide pandemic.

Orbital, whose band’s name is taken from Greater London’s orbital motorway, the M25 (which was central to the rave scene during the early days of acid house), have been critically and commercially successful, known particularly for their live improvisation during shows which were initially influenced by early electro and punk rock.

The band won an NME award for Vibes Best Dance Act early in 1994, but it was their headline appearance at the Glastonbury Festival on the 25th of June 1994 that brought them the most attention. Q magazine classed it as one of the top 50 gigs of all time, and in 2002 included Orbital in their list of “50 Bands to See Before You Die”. 

Crucially, the expanded TV coverage of the 1994 Glastonbury Festival by Channel 4 meant that Orbital’s set reached a huge audience, in what is regarded as a pivotal moment. Speaking to The Guardian in 2013 about the gig, Paul Hartnoll commented: “I didn’t know how much of an impact it would have. Being young myself, I just thought, ‘It’s about time – of course we should have acid house at Glastonbury’. It used to annoy me. I just used to think it should be happening.”

Along with the band’s memorable set at Glastonbury in 1994 when they headlined the NME Stage (now known as the Other Stage), the duo previously headlined that same stage in 2002, 2004, and most recently in 2010. They also played on the iconic Pyramid Stage back 1995 – prior to Pulp who headlined that year’s Festival after stepping in for The Stone Roses.

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Staying on the line-up and rumours topic, Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan appears to have confirmed the band for playing Glastonbury this year after saying on his radio show that “Glastonbury is gonna be iconic”.

The news comes after the American hard rockers have been strongly rumoured for a Saturday night headline performance at the 2023 edition of the Worthy Farm-held event for quite some time, which has so far only officially confirmed one headliner in Elton John.

Aside from John, who will be taking to the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday night of the Festival, no other acts have yet been officially confirmed for Glastonbury 2023 – although Arctic Monkeys are the top talked-about contenders for headlining the iconic Stage on the Friday night.

Speaking of self-confirmations; Blondie drummer Clem Burke has recently confirmed that the band are going to be playing Glastonbury 2023.

In a similar instance, Kelly Jones of Stereophonics revealed that he will be performing at Glastonbury this summer with his new project Far From Saints.

Gabrielle Aplin confirmed she will be playing the Avalon Stage while speaking to Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2, and Becky Hill, however, didn’t quite self-confirm but did hint at a possible Worthy Farm performance this June.

Elsewhere, Florance & the Machine re-ignited hopes in fans for a potential performance at this year’s Festival, after leaving plenty of room for a Glasto performance in their summer tour dates, in addition to Pulp, who likewise revealed the dates of their summer reunion tour while also leaving a space to fit in a possible Glastonbury performance this year.

Another act which has a gaping Glasto-shaped gap in their recently announced tour schedule is Kraftwerk, who confirmed they’ll be active in the summer by announcing two new shows in Ireland, scheduled for the end of June – leaving them wide open for a possible gig at Glastonbury Festival, which is set to take place earlier that month.

Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Flea got fans pondering about Glasto after retweeting a sketch of the Pyramid Stage created by renowned artist Stanley Donwood, and The 1975 are also mentioned once again in the Glastonbury context after speculation started building throughout the web when the Cheshire band confirmed new tour dates which featured the infamous Glastonbury-shaped hole.

It is worth noting though that Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis did say last year that all three headliners for the 2023 Festival have already been booked. Therefore, some of these rumours are obviously to be taken for what they are, rumours – and any insider claiming to know anything about anything, either has access to unreleased information or is outright mistaken.

Other acts who were rumoured for playing at the Festival (and the Legends Slot in particular), but now look rather unlikely to do so include Stevie Nicks, Robbie Williams and Bon Jovi (whose guitarist Richie Sambora recently teased the “possibility” of the band playing at Glastonbury 2023), as well as Roxy Music, who up until not long ago were one of the most strong contenders for this year’s Legends.

However, speaking to NME recently about the possibility of appearing at Glastonbury, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera said: “I’ve had friends texting and emailing, saying: ‘I see you might be playing Glastonbury!’ To which my reply is: ‘Well, tell me about it, because I’ve got no idea.’ I’ll wait to see what happens there. Who knows? I don’t.”

Another band who was rumoured for a slot on this year’s line-up but now looks unlikely to appear at Glastonbury 2023 is Britpop legends Blur, whose drummer recently went on record to say they haven’t been asked to play this year.

Meanwhile, the Spice Girls, who have also been mentioned countless times over the past years in the Legends Slot context, are unlikely to be playing Worthy Farm in 2023, after Victoria Beckham ruled out a Glastonbury appearance as part of a Spice Girls reunion, following long-time speculation fuelled by her former band mates.

Additionally, Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice, also revealed in an interview last year with BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary, that the Spice Girls “have actually been asked” to play at the Festival – but said that they “won’t be doing it next year [2023]”.

The Legends Slot, often seen as being the 4th headliner slot of the Festival, takes place on the last day of Glastonbury on the Sunday afternoon.

Previous Legends who took to the Pyramid Stage to perform at the coveted slot include Diana Ross (2022), Kylie Minogue (2019), Barry Gibb (2017) and Jeff Lynne’s ELO (2016), to name a few.

Stay up to date with all the latest artists that have been officially confirmed, self-confirmed or are rumoured for Glastonbury 2023 via our daily updated line-up & rumours list.

Pyramid Stage prep at Glastonbury 2022 • Credit: Neil Bremner


In other news, earlier this week Glastonbury Festival announced that it is donating 10 sets of tickets, each with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake appeal with Oxfam.

DEC member charities, including Oxfam, are working in Türkiye (Turkey) and Syria with local partners to support survivors of the earthquakes and by entering, you’ll be helping them to reach as many people as possible with clean water, food, sanitation, shelter and other urgent support.

Entries are now open and will be accepted until 12 noon on Wednesday 8th March, with a £10 donation guaranteeing one entry – and although there is no limit on the number of times one person can enter, only one prize per entrant will be given. Free entry (without making a donation to the earthquake appeal) is also available by post.

Prior to the Oxfam raffle mentioned above, the Festival also helped raise over £116,000 in aid of the Trussell Trust in a partnership auction to help support people facing hardship across the UK.

The money was put up in a series of 10 eBay auctions run by the food bank charity to raise funds for their network of over 1,300 food banks scattered across the country.

In this instance, similar to the Oxfam appeal, auctions offered 10 pairs of tickets which included once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for fans at the Festival.

The total from all ten Trussell Trust auctions amounted to £116,738 – with the “cheapest” pair of tickets selling for £10,200, which included the chance to watch a set from the Other Stage viewing platform.

Glastonbury 2023 takes place from Wednesday 21st to Sunday 25th of June 2023 at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset.

Although tickets for the 2023 event sold out late last year [2022], there will be resales of any unpaid and/or cancelled tickets that will take place later in the Spring (around April time).

As part of Glastonbury’s ongoing efforts against ticket touting, anyone who would like to attend this year’s Festival will need to have registered in advance.

As in previous years, registration remains free of charge and only takes a few minutes at glastonburyregistration.co.uk.

Those who have already registered in the past can also check their existing registration here

In addition to the upcoming ticket resales, some other opportunities for getting to Glastonbury include working at the Festival, volunteering and entering competitions – once these options make themselves available.

To learn more about registration, the sale process and how you can maximise your chances of getting Glastonbury 2023 tickets, click here.


Glastonbury Festival would very much like fans to be aware that there are people out there who will try and sell fake Glastonbury tickets to unsuspecting, willing and innocent potential purchasers.

Although Glasto-veterans who have been going to the Festival for quite some time may recognise these scams for what they are, newcomers might not.

Therefore, please remember that tickets are only sold on one site, which is: glastonbury.seetickets.com.

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