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The Essence of Glastonbury: 10 Albums to Prepare for the Festival

Not all of us had the chance to buy a Glastonbury ticket, but play these 10 albums loud, and your bedroom will feel just like the festival.

Glastonbury festival
Shutterstock/Marietta Peros

Every year, music lovers rampage to find tickets for Glastonbury, one of the best music festivals in the world. The 2024 festival is shaping up to be another incredible week filled with music legends performing timeless albums, but not all of us were lucky enough to find a ticket.

If you missed out, it’s not the end of the world. Some will argue that live events are the best way to listen to music, but blasting songs from your speakers is just as effective.

With a star-studded lineup including SZA and Jungle, there is an overwhelming amount of talent at Glastonbury 2024. Whether you’re hyping yourself up to attend or simply want to hear some quality music, these are 10 albums to capture the essence of Glastonbury from the comfort of your home.

Dua Lipa – Radical Optimism

The latest album from superstar Dua Lipa is a must-listen for all pop lovers. Following 2020’s Future Nostalgia, the singer continues down the ’80s revival path with a batch of dazzling dance-pop songs. Singles like “Houdini” and “Training Season” are up there with the greatest hits of the decade, showing off Dua’s talent for writing catchy choruses with some added psychedelic flair.

Although the album doesn’t quite reach the heights of Future Nostalgia, there are too many highlights to discredit it. Dua Lipa has proven herself a masterful performer, so even the weakest points from Radical Optimism are bound to sound like pop perfection in person.


Two years after SOS, it still stands as one of the best R&B albums of the decade. SZA is a mastermind of soul music, delivering silky-voiced verses over a range of bright and summery instrumentals. Although the lyrics can be deeply personal, she disguises every poetic confession under groovy melodies and hypnotically catchy production. After such a long hiatus, SZA is a must-see performer at Glastonbury Festival this year.


Making their home at the Other Stage, IDLES are determined to shatter the crowd’s ears at Glastonbury. TANGK is the latest album from the dance-punk outfit, showcasing just how loud and aggressive the band can get. With enough bass to cause an earthquake, earplugs are a necessity for a performance as intense as IDLES. Blending punk aesthetics with a strong political message, TANGK is the perfect album for mindless dancers and lyrical analysts alike.

Disclosure – ENERGY

Dance music rarely gets enough coverage at festivals like Glastonbury. While rock and pop dominate, Disclosure will invade the Other Stage to make sure electronica gets its shine. ENERGY is about as catchy as dance music gets, with the duo bringing in a party of guests to bask in the fast-paced rhythms and infectious synth work of their sound. As a whole, ENERGY is the complete package, offering everything from hip-house tracks with Common to dance-pop hits with Kelis.

Jungle – Volcano

Jungle are impossible to dislike. Volcano is proof of that: a 14-track odyssey into the world of disco no listener could resist dancing to. Aside from the viral sensation “Back on 74”, the album has so much to offer, crammed full of funky bass lines and infectious hooks. There are few albums out there quite as summery, catchy, and feel-good as the highlights on this record.

Justice – Hyperdrama

After an eight-year hiatus, French house duo Justice is back with an explosive new album and a spot on the West Holts stage at Glastonbury. Hyperdrama sums up everything great about Justice: endless grooves, angelic vocals, and enough sample-chopping talent to rival legends like Daft Punk. If you’re missing that explosive electronic sound from the early 2010s, look no further than this modern classic.

James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart

Not every festival act can be upbeat. Bringing a dose of sadness and heartbreak to the festival, James Blake will take to the Woodsies Stage with emotional ballads and piano-driven showstoppers. Above all else, Friends That Break Your Heart is the perfect album to get in the mood for Blake’s performance at Glastonbury, offering his signature blend of melancholy storytelling and soft, dreamy production.

Sampha – Lahai

Sampha is a must-see performer at this year’s festival. The singer made his surprise comeback last year with Lahai, a vibrant testament to his skills as a musician. Without a doubt, this is Sampha’s finest work yet, and an album perfect for Glastonbury.

Whether you like vintage soul or modern electronic, there’s a little bit of everything on Lahai. The R&B legend fuses a dozen genres for another grand and emotional expression of the soul. Straining his voice on dramatic highlights like “Dancing Circles”, Sampha’s music was made to be heard live.

Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia

Representing Ireland at the festival, Fontaines D.C. is ready to rival IDLES for the loudest show at Glastonbury with tracks from this album. With thundering drums and ferocious guitar riffs, the post-punk outfit shows off their style at its most intense on Skinty Fia, shouting for the listener to dance along to every raging banger.

Ghetts – On Purpose, With Purpose

Hip-hop has never had the biggest spotlight at Glastonbury. Every year, the odd rapper takes to the stage, but the genre rarely gets the shine it deserves. Nevertheless, London’s Ghetts will represent rap music to the fullest. After releasing his latest album in February this year, festival-goers are guaranteed a ferocious show.

On Purpose, With Purpose is the perfect introduction to the rapper’s eclectic sound. An hour-long highlight reel of bass-heavy hits and soulful interludes, Ghetts flexes his versatility with ever-changing sounds and constant quality. For fans of lyrical depth and catchy choruses alike, the MC captures the grit and poetry of hip-hop with this essential album.

What else is at Glastonbury?

Every musician at Glastonbury is worth a listen. From icons like Shania Twain and PJ Harvey to modern greats like Jessie Ware, every act deserves your time.

For a dose of alternative, Alvvays and The Last Dinner Party are two of the best rock bands working today. If you’re in the mood for some pop, look no further than Janelle Monae and Cyndi Lauper. And to catch up on your rap music, Danny Brown and Little Simz have catalogs full of classics to catch up on.

There’s a reason we named Glastonbury one of the main festivals to add to your summer plans. Every stage is packed with talent; no act should be overlooked. Even if you missed out on a ticket, there’s enough music in the lineup to fill up your playlists for the whole year. Whether you love the 10 albums mentioned or crave more, there are countless musicians to help you capture the essence of Glastonbury.

Written By

Evan Baxter-Carr is a student journalist and novelist from Glasgow, Scotland. He is currently enrolled at the University of Strathclyde, heading into his fourth year studying English, creative writing, and journalism.

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