IDLES 'F*** the King' chant at Glastonbury sparks BBC controversy

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-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Rock band IDLES stirred up controversy with a series of political statements during their explosive Glastonbury performance - including leading the crowd in a mass chant of "F*ck the King". Taking to the Other Stage the Bristol-based band also labelled Nigel Farage a "fascist" in scenes that were broadcast live on the BBC on Friday night.

Later in the set a black dinghy filled with what appeared to be small children surfed the crowd during a pro-immigration song. The five-member band, fronted by pink-haired singer Joe Talbot, performed a string of hits during their Friday night headline set against a backdrop that read "Ceasefire now", a reference to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The stunts made it onto the BBC's iPlayer coverage, despite the station being subject to strict impartiality rules, reports the Mirror. A BBC spokesperson told the publication: "Like in previous years, our live streams and programming reflect the artists' performances as they happen." Try WalesOnline Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features.

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However, the controversial antics were applauded by viewers who watched the set go out live on BBC Four on Friday night. "This'll upset the right people. On the BBC. God I love IDLES," one viewer praised. "IDLES the band that you are," another said, praising the group for "making tens of thousands of people in the crowd chant 'f*ck the king' and 'ceasefire now' as it was broadcasted on the BBC".

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IDLES caused shockwaves with Glastonbury set -Credit:No credit

"IDLES have clearly thought of every way to completely send the heads of the BBC into an absolute spin in an hour set list," another viewer said. It was later disclosed that the inflatable life raft launched into the crowd during IDLES' performance, which carried dummies representing migrants, was actually a piece by Banksy. This was confirmed by an IDLES' spokesperson who said the group was not in on the act until it unfolded. The spectacle occurred as the band played Danny Nedelko, a song with opening lines that celebrate immigrants.

IDLES weren't the only ones making bold statements at Glastonbury 2024's opening day. Damon Albarn and Charlotte Church also took their moments on stage to voice political messages. Damon Albarn made a surprise appearance during Bombay Bicycle Club's set, receiving a warm welcome from the audience. He used the platform for a political call to action.

"It's very nice to be here thank you - thank you to Jack and everybody," he said. "Three things - you have to show me how you feel about it - are you pro Palestine? Do you feel that's an unfair war? The importance of voting next week - I don't blame you for being ambivalent about that, but it's still really important." A suggestion was made by one audience member, that it maybe time to re-think the globe's leadership, quipping: "And thirdly - maybe it's time we stopped putting octogenarians in charge of the whole world?"

Charlotte Church sings
Charlotte Church at Glastonbury -Credit:PA Wire/PA Images

Stepping up onto her platform, Charlotte Church shared a solidarity message and sang out "free Palestine" with the audience. She started off by addressing: "Hiya babes - lots of love from Wales my darlings." Recognising the host of talent likely present in the crowd she stated enthusiastically: "I sort of want to give you the mic today... there's so much untapped singing potential in you guys which we're going to explore."

Leading them into a singing frenzy infused with elements of improvisation, she said: "It's Friday at Glastonbury, all the adventures you're going to have and the things you'll see, music, dance and sing. The spirit of expression... and now you can say that you performed at Glastonbury, sing it to me now."

Passionately ending her performance Charlotte belted out: "And I'm going to give some love and feeling to Palestine. To all the people and all the mothers and the children - we are thinking of you, we carry you in our hearts." The crowd joined in with a united chant: "Free free Palestine, free free Palestine, free free Palestine, free Palestine." Simultaneously festival organiser Emily Eavis stood in silence on the Pyramid Stage for seven poignant minutes advocating for peace. For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter.