Seventeen at Glastonbury 2024 review: an unforgettable spectacular as the K-pop stars make history

 (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
(Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

It was impossible to look at the Pyramid Stage on Friday afternoon and not feel a pang of sympathy for boyband Seventeen.

Used to selling out stadiums in their home country of South Korea (and beyond), they drew a relatively tiny crowd for their Glastonbury debut – far smaller than Olivia Dean, who packed out the entire area not half an hour before.

Fortunately, though modest, the crowd’s screams made it feel like there were many more there to witness this historic occasion.

Though the name Seventeen might be a new one for many, the band is one of the biggest to perform at Glastonbury this year – and the first K-pop act ever to do so.

Since they formed in 2015, they’ve conquered the globe, racking up millions of album sales and hundreds of millions of streams with their brand of hyper-catchy pop.

Accordingly, the crowd at the Pyramid Stage was a hysterical mess of girls clutching signs, dressed in bright colours and ready to scream until all nearby eardrums burst.

The band didn’t disappoint. All 13 of them (confusingly Seventeen comprises 13 members, split into three groups) took to the stage and delivered a performance that felt calibrated to put a smile on anybody’s face, fan or not.

And they seemed acutely aware of how notable this performance was. “We are just extremely honoured to be here,” one of them announced as the set kicked off.

Wisely, they eschewed deep cuts in favour of the hits, delivered in the Korean/English linguistic mix for which K-pop is famous. In rapid succession, we were treated to the uptempo Maestro, Ready to Love, and SOS, the three groups seamlessly switching on and off stage for each number – followed by a bass-heavy version of Lalali that rattled the eardrums and sternum.

Switching tempo, they then launched into an aggressively staged version of Hot, whose call and response at the song’s chorus (easy to remember, “hot hot hot”) was enthusiastically embraced by the crowd. And of course, there was God of Music – whose cheery strains could be heard bleeding out of every speaker in the UK last summer and which the crowd chanted word-perfectly.

There was the choreography. K-pop is famous for its immaculately drilled dance sequences, and Seventeen lived up to their star billing: watching them step, strut and dance across the stage was like witnessing a hive mind in action.

After an hour of increasing delirium, Seventeen finished things off with a mammoth version of their 2016 hit Very Nice, which had hands reaching for the sky and the crowd dancing along with abandon... so much so that Seventeen stretched it out over four different encores.

“We’re Seventeen,” one of them called as the hour wrapped up and a flag was brought out by one of the band (reading ‘Seventeen right here, making history at Glastonbury’). “Remember us!”

It’ll be hard to forget them. Something this feel-good should be prescribed by doctors worldwide.

Seventeen and other Glastonbury gigs can be watched on catch up at BBC iPlayer