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Damon Albarn makes surprise Glastonbury appearance with Bombay Bicycle Club

Damon Albarn has made a surprise appearance at Glastonbury – addressing politics and the Israel-Hamas war as he turned up on stage to perform with Bombay Bicycle Club.

The band performed on the Other Stage this afternoon, ahead of artists including Anne-Marie, D-Block Europe and Idles.

Blur and Gorillaz star Albarn features on Bombay Bicycle Club’s 2023 song Heaven, and speculation he would join them had been rife ahead of their Glastonbury set.

They had teased a special guest, without revealing a name, and the @secretglasto Twitter account hinted beforehand that the mystery artist “could make Bombay Bicycle Club’s set go by in a Blur”.

Albarn headlined the festival with Blur in 2009 and again with Gorillaz the following year, as a last-minute replacement for U2 due to frontman Bono injuring his back.

After joining Bombay Bicycle Club at this year’s festival, he spoke on stage about Palestine, the general election, and world politics.

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

“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?”

Speaking to Sky News about their collaboration, Bombay Bicycle Club said it had all been unexpected.

“We were never expecting to have him on the record or to be playing a show with him, but… we just kind of asked, and he was really up for it. You don’t ask, you don’t get.”

There wasn’t much time to rehearse, they added, with about an hour to get things right for the live performance. “But, you know, with him, that’s all you need.”

Read more on Glastonbury:
The greatest secret sets of all time – and this year’s rumours

Russell Crowe: Forget the other job – we’re monster musicians

Kasabian, Liam Gallagher, Harry Styles, Kings Of Leon and Pulp are all among the artists rumoured to potentially make surprise appearances on stages around the festival site throughout the weekend.

Bombay Bicycle Club are among the music acts kicking off the first full day of the festival, which will be headlined by Dua Lipa.

Squeeze opened the show early on Friday, with K-pop act Seventeen, Olivia Dean and The Snuts also among the early performers.

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Elsewhere, just days after the birth of his fourth child, Joe Wicks led a fitness session – and set his sights on taking his workouts to the Pyramid Stage.

“You don’t often think about a fitness workout being at a music festival but yesterday I did a workout and about 2,000 people turned up and it was amazing,” he told Sky News, ahead of a second session on Friday.

Wicks says people still want to look after themselves at festivals.

“It’s hard sleeping in a tent so if they’re awake, I’ve said, come and join me, start the day right.”

Coldplay will headline tomorrow, while Shania Twain fills the Sunday afternoon “legends slot” and SZA closes the weekend.

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