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 SUMMER HEAT
IN BLIGHTY

Blighty is on fire this weekend, almost quite literally, with temperatures soaring to 34°C (that’s 93°F), but also due to what must be the busiest weekend of the year so far. Over in Somerset, the U.K. music industry has decamped to Glastonbury, while P!nk has taken over Wembley Stadium in London, where Wimbledon and the first ever Major League Baseball game are keeping sports fans sated. 

Glastonbury is famous for hit-and-miss weather (Google "Glastonbury mud" and you’ll get the picture), but this year the sun has been out to stay and the mood is high. Friday night headliner Stormzy put on a truly spectacular show as the first black British solo artist to headline the event. The booking was a huge moment for the 25-year-old artist—the second-youngest headliner ever (behind David Bowie)—who has stayed out of the limelight to quietly prepare for months.

 

He didn’t disappoint, putting on a politically charged show that served as a celebration of the U.K.’s strong black culture whilst shining a spotlight on inequality, crime and the disproportionate number of young black youth behind bars. The show, which was rumored to be the most expensive of the event, featured pyrotechnics, flames, a gospel choir, BMX riders, ballet dancers and a cameo from Coldplay’s Chris Martin, as well as plenty of "pinch me" moments as Stormzy looked out in clear disbelief at the huge crowd. 

The fact that the performance was a roaring triumph is testament to his strength as an artist (especially one only on his debut album) and will go down in history as a pivotal moment for British music. Other homegrown talent to have played widely praised and career-defining sets at the event include Jorja Smith, Idles, Lewis Capaldi and Slowthai; there was also a surprise performance from Foals. British music, and culture, is in rude health. 

Today, Years & Years weaved LGBTQ+ activism into their set and David Attenborough made a surprise appearance to announce his upcoming BBC series aimed at fighting climate change. Janet Jackson was hailed for a slick, energetic performance, and The Killers were declared an "anthemic triumph" on Saturday night. Final headliners are The Cure, while Kylie, Miley Cyrus and Vampire Weekend will help close the festival. 

Over in London, P!nk was also representing the best of the US and on 6/30 plays the second of two sold-out shows at the 90k cap. Wembley Stadium. The dates have shifted 150k tickets as part of her Beautiful Trauma World Tour, which has sold more than 1.2m tickets across Europe in total. 

More of the U.S., meanwhile, landed in London in the form of England's first-ever Major League Baseball match (or "game" as they insist on calling it) between the Yankees (the winners) and Red Sox, where the Brits were treated to two-foot long hot dogs, a giant-headed Freddie Mercury and a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Although the game got a royal welcome from Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who turned up to the London stadium to throw the ceremonial first pitch, the jury is out on how enthusiastically the football-loving Brits will embrace baseball on their home turf going forward. (And much to Boston's chagrin, in the U.K. they're all Yanks.) But there’s no question over the fact that cricket fans are currently glued to the match between India and England for the World Cup. Which, at the time of writing, Blighty is the favourite to win. Have a Pimm's on us, folks!

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