BBC Radio 1 presenter Jack Saunders has spoken to Headliner about his top tips for Glastonbury 2023, what sets the festival apart from all others, who this year’s mystery Pyramid Stage act ‘The ChurnUps’ really are (Foo Fighters?), and lots more.
Presenting live performances and highlights from across Glastonbury 2023 on Radio 1 and iPlayer, Saunders and the BBC will once again be capturing as much of the festival as possible for those watching and listening from home. Taking place from June 23-25, Glastonbury 2023 will see Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, and Elton John headline the Pyramid Stage, with the festival shaping up to be the biggest outing its illustrious history. And as such, the BBC has once again had to up the ante in its extensive coverage.
To find out more about the work that goes on behind the scenes, Headliner caught up with Saunders for a chat about the job of being a BBC presenter at Glastonbury, some of his most memorable moments from down the years, who he expects to deliver the biggest moments of the weekend, and whether or not ‘The ChurnUps’ could make for one of the greatest mystery artist appearances in the festival’s history…
What will your Glastonbury 2023 look like?
At Glastonbury this year I’m going to be on the TV again alongside Jo Whiley, Lauren Laverne, Clara Amfo, and bringing everyone at home every single highlight possible from across the weekend. This has been happening for many years now and continues to be the most stellar music coverage of any festival or any music experience across the planet. The way the BBC brings Glastonbury to life truly made me want to go to the festival in the first place, so it’s a huge privilege to be there alongside those legends.
What is the Glastonbury experience like for you as a broadcaster?
People always say to me, ‘you’re so lucky you get to go to Glastonbury’! And I am at Glastonbury, but I’m not doing Glastonbury like everyone who has bought a ticket is doing Glastonbury. There is a huge amount of prep work and research that goes into each day to make sure you’re not only clued up on all the performances and performers, but you’re across the things that have happened the previous day at the festival. So it’s making sure we have all the knowledge and a comprehensive guide to allow us to bring to life exactly what is happening at the festival at that given moment, and then cross reference that with other events or performances from Glastonbury. Everyone wants to be at this festival, all eyes are on it and it always brings about moments of joy and happiness. But it’s a lot of work and not a lot of watching of music.
How many years have you been covering Glastonbury for?
Since 2019. Obviously we missed a couple of years due to Covid but I’ve done three with the BBC. 2019 was with Radio 1; I was bringing the festival to life for the Radio 1 audience, so they were crossing over to me every half an hour with updates and we were doing this game of me having to trade up a button and seeing what I get by the end of Glastonbury… and it ended up being a pair of stage soaked pants from Laurie from the band Slaves, now known as Soft Play… he literally took them off in front of me live on Radio 1, and being speechless is not a great thing on radio, but I was very much left speechless. That was my first year and a great induction with the BBC.
Then I was lucky enough to get to do the first one out of lockdown on the TV. I’d grown up watching all those great BBC presenters and it made me want to be at the festival. I specifically remember that Beyoncé performance and the buzz from the presenters and it looked like such an amazing moment. It’s been a really lovely journey for me and I’m very grateful. It’s one of the best jobs in the world.