17-year-old Nottingham student playing Glastonbury says it's 'a dream come true'

Dan Ottewell first played the musical festival in 2023
-Credit: (Image: Dan Ottewell)

When Dan Ottewell was eight, he performed on a small stage at the Glastonbury music festival as part of a 'kids band' that had been set up by his schoolfriend's parents. It was 2015, and he said visiting the festival for the first time 'didn't blow' his mind, 'but rather nuked it.'

He didn't predict that nine years later, now seventeen, he'd be invited to play five sets at the festival two years in a row, becoming the only solo under 18 in Glastonbury's history to do so. Born and bred in the Derbyshire market town of Ashbourne, Dan has just finished his course in Music Technology at Confetti College in Nottingham.

However, music isn't just something he's picked up as a hobby in the past few years. Dan was thirteen during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and in a time when many were lacking motivation and binging Netflix, he saw an opportunity.

He said: "I recorded loads of demos in my room and sent them out to all of my favourite artists. I was really surprised, but they eventually all ended up replying to me.

"After that, I made an EP and got asked to play Rough Trade, becoming the youngest person to play a major Nottingham venue. I found a really nice community in a lot of my favourite bands and artists who have ended up supporting me."

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At the age of sixteen, Dan was invited to play Glastonbury 2023, something he says had always been a dream since his first appearance at the festival eight years prior. He said: "Getting the gigs and coming back to the festival was definitely a full circle moment.

"It’s been my dream ever since I was little to perform at Glastonbury, so to be able to play last year and be invited back is a dream come true. I’ve worked hard all year to get here and I'm so glad it's paid off.

"I've made sure to go back to the stage I played on when I was eight to say hi to everyone, because I do feel super lucky to have finally played the festival, especially as much as I have.

The East Midlands artist had only been originally booked to play two sets at Glastonbury 2023. When he got there, that turned into three.

Dan Ottewell has just finished his course at Confetti College in Nottingham, where he regularly played gigs at the affiliated venue Metronome
Dan Ottewell has just finished his course at Confetti College in Nottingham, where he regularly played gigs at the affiliated venue Metronome -Credit:Dan Ottewell

This year, that number rose to five, something Dan hadn't anticipated. But he says the experience of playing multiple sets last year has taught him a lot. "I’d played at some festivals before but because Glastonbury is so big I had to do a lot more planning.

"It taught me a really good lesson because there was a real chance it would've all gone wrong. But we still managed to see and meet some really great bands.

"It was really exciting, and I was so happy because I got to see Elton John, and then straight after ran to another stage to play. Having that experience at sixteen was mad because there was so much going on.

"I spent most of my time there just taking it all in.

He may be bringing in audiences miles away in Worthy Farm, Somerset, but Dan's roots are still very much in Nottingham. He says he believes his time at Confetti College and playing around Nottingham's venues has set him up for his current endeavours.

"I've really been given the space and the facilities to do what I want to do. The advice I've got from tutors and friends around the city has really helped me become a professional musician, so that's been great.

"And I've just finished my course with a triple Distinction star, so I'm very happy about that.

As Dan looks ahead to the future, the sky is the limit. He's been breaking boundaries for the past five years and hasn't even turned eighteen yet.

For now, though, Dan's focus will solely be on his five sets at Glastonbury 2024. He says he isn't nervous, but after all, he has been drawing in audiences at the farm since he was eight.