The Edit Blog

Glastonbury 2019: The acts dominating social conversation

ARTICLE BY William Hobson
READ TIME: 3 mins
27th June 2019

Glastonbury, one of the world’s biggest and most successful music festivals, has returned for another year. ‘Only’ around 200,000 experience it in person, but, whether you’re stomping about in a field or watching back home on telly, there’s one place we all congregate to talk about it: social.

With everyone taking to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more to discuss the artists who perform, it becomes the ultimate review portal for every song choice, stage show selection, and key change. Win social and you win Glastonbury.

Edit has examined social data surrounding the legendary festival since 2016 to discover what, when, and who we talk about most. Plus, how receptive we are to each headliner and whether the famous Pyramid stage really is the most popular place at Worthy Farm.

Will history repeat itself?

By measuring the volume of social posts and the sentiment behind those updates, Edit has found that the main, Pyramid stage headliners got nearly 80,000 people talking across 2016 and 2017. In contrast, Other stage (aka the second stage) headliners only reached a total post volume of almost 15,000 posts. So, there’s significantly more social noise about the bigger acts, but that’s not the interesting part.

Though not drawing the same crowds, the smaller stage receives greater positive post sentiment than the famous Pyramid stage, with 90% of social activity supportive, compared to the 85% positive sentiment around the main stage headliners.

Want some examples?

Adele triggered the most conversation in her headline year, performing on the Pyramid stage in 2016. With a post volume of nearly 20,000 and a 92% positive post sentiment score, the female solo artist managed to unite almost all opinion.

Amount of social noise created by artists:

Similarly, French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens has picked up 100% positive sentiment across social media in the build-up to this year’s festival while headlining a smaller stage.


2017 a low point for main stage headliners

2017 saw very mixed reviews from the Pyramid headliners, with Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran receiving an average of just 74% positive post sentiment, suggesting that headlining Glastonbury doesn’t guarantee a warm reception.

The instalment was proven to be a low year for the festival (as far as social media reaction went), especially when compared to editions either side, with 93% positive sentiment across the 2016 Pyramid headline acts and similarly high positive sentiment across the 2019 main stage headliners.

The same trend can also be noticed across the Other stage headliners, with sentiment towards the 2016 artists more heavily positive than those who headlined in 2017 (94% vs. 89%).

Across the entire festival, 2017 saw a huge rise in social activity from the previous year, with a greater post volume (145k vs. 138k) across social channels. Notably, though, 2017 saw the solo comeback of the ever-controversial Liam Gallagher, guaranteed to get people talking, and a short on-stage appearance from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn amid General Election mayhem.

The good feeling improves with the weekend

Social data demonstrates that Friday is the most talked about day across the weekend, with Stormzy’s 2019 performance, in particular, engaging the highest social volume for this year’s event. Friday also registers the highest positive post sentiment towards the Pyramid artists, with good feeling generally targeted towards the early-weekend headliners.

However, 2016 actually saw Saturday garner the highest social interaction of the weekend, with almost 20,000 posts geared towards headliner Adele, almost double that of Muse on the Friday and 50% more than Coldplay on the Sunday.

In contrast, though, post volume tends to peak in favour of Saturday’s Other stage headliner, with more people found to be posting about the mid-festival act rather than those performing on Friday or Sunday.

With regards to post sentiment, though, the good feeling peaks with the Sunday acts. Positive sentiment averages at 93% on the ‘day of rest’, while Friday is shown to receive the lowest sentiment on average, coming in at 87.7% positive.

A changing Glastonbury?

Glastonbury has been shown to change with the popular music scene, and the social data supports this. With a Pyramid stage slot, 2019 sees Stormzy become Glastonbury’s first grime headliner, a symbol of the evolving festival. And the London-born rapper has already registered over 3,000 social posts, well ahead of far more established rock bands The Killers and The Cure who are closing out over the weekend.

However, offering a main stage slot to ‘less traditional’ Glastonbury artists has become more commonplace in recent years. Popular music artists Adele and Ed Sheeran have both also successfully headlined the coveted Pyramid stage in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Interestingly, each of the singers were the subject of higher post volume and positive post sentiment than iconic band Foo Fighters, highlighting that sometimes change is good.

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