Damon Albarn comments on elections and Palestine in Glastonbury surprise

Damon Albarn asked the crowd whether the war in Gaza was “unfair” and suggested Joe Biden was too old to be US president as the Blur frontman made a surprise appearance at Glastonbury Festival.

The singer was invited on stage by Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman as they performed on the Other Stage on Friday evening, while festival organiser Emily Eavis joined seven minutes of silence calling for peace at the Pyramid Stage.

Albarn came on stage to accompany the indie band for their song Heaven, on which he features for their latest album.

He was met with cheers of approval by a crowd of thousands as he made three political statements.

“It’s very nice to be here thank you – thank you to Jack and everybody,” Albarn said.

“Three things – you have to show me how you feel about it – are you pro Palestine? Do you feel that’s an unfair war?

“The importance of voting next week – I don’t blame you for being ambivalent about that, but it’s still really important.

“And thirdly – maybe it’s time we stopped putting octogenarians in charge of the whole world?”

The latter appeared to be a reference to the 81-year-old Mr Biden, who has faced fierce criticism over his performance in a debate against Donald Trump.

Meanwhile at the Pyramid Stage, Eavis rang a gong to commence seven minutes of silence and share a message of “unconditional love” in front of a crowd dotted with over a dozen Palestinian flags.

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Artist Marina Abramovic led the seven minutes of silence at the Pyramid Stage (Yui Mok/PA)

The moment of silence at Worthy Farm’s headline stage was devised and led by Serbian conceptual artist Marina Abramovic – who called on the crowd to “be present”.

“When (Sir) Michael (Eavis) and Emily invited me to come here to the Pyramid Stage at the most important music festival in the entire world I was terrified and I was honoured,” the 77-year-old artist told the crowd.

“What I’m proposing is something never done in any of the festivals for music’s entire history – I’m proposing you seven minutes of silence.

“The world is in a really shitty place… we can actually all together give unconditional love to each other… we can change the world.”

Only noise from other stages nearby could be heard from the crowd during the silence, which ended with cheers as Abramovic thanked the audience.

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Music fans waved Palestinian flags at the Pyramid Stage (Yui Mok/PA)

Elsewhere on Friday, pathways to the West Holts stage were closed off while pop group Sugababes performed due to the number of people who had arrived for their set.

A sign read “WEST HOLTS FULL please seek alternative” as festival-goers were redirected by staff wearing hi-vis jackets.

Later on Friday, Dua Lipa will headline the Pyramid Stage to treat revellers to a selection of her hit songs including Houdini and Training Season from her third studio album, Radical Optimism, released earlier this year.