Glastonbury: Billie Eilish and Ukraine Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra rock festival

Eilish is the youngest ever solo performer to headline the Pyramid Stage

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Billie Eilish said it was a "dark day" for American women during her headline slot at Glastonbury Festival — just hours after US judges overturned a ruling giving women the constitutional right to an abortion.

The multi-Grammy winner, who became the youngest solo act in history to top the bill on the Pyramid Stage on Friday, made the comment midway through a crowd-pleasing set, which kicked off with hit Bury a Friend and ended with Bad Guy and Happier Than Ever.

Without directly referencing Friday's US Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, Eilish said: "Today is a really dark day for women in the US.

"I'm just going to say that because I can't bear to think about it anymore in this moment."

She then dedicated Your Power, a song about abusing power, to the subject.

Billie Eilish performs in the headline slot on the Pyramid Stage. Getty Images

Near the end of the set, she told the crowd that she was "so undeserving" of headlining.

"Thank you for letting me do it," she said. "I am so honoured to be here."

Eilish closed the first full day of music at the festival in south-west England, which returned for its 50th anniversary two years later than planned after Covid-19 scuppered the 2020 and 2021 events.

Other acts on Friday included Wet Leg, Arlo Parks, Primal Scream and Eurovision 2022 winners Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine.

Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra perform on the Truth Stage in the Shangri-La area of Glastonbury Festival. EPA

The band, whose song Stefania earned them the winner's title at the singing contest in Turin last month, spoke about their hopes of their war-ravaged country hosting next year's Eurovision competition.

The European Broadcasting Union announced it had ruled out Ukraine as host, saying "severe" risk of air raids in the country alongside the "high" risk of mass casualties contributed to the decision.

Eurovision winners traditionally host the competition the following year.

Glastonbury festivalgoers watch a recorded message from the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. EPA

"So right now there (are still) a lot of discussions (going on) in Ukraine. Maybe Ukraine will be invited (to host Eurovision)," Kalush Orchestra fontman Oleg Psyuk told Press Association. "And we altogether hope Eurovision will be in Ukraine."

The BBC said it was in talks with the European broadcasting union about hosting the event in the UK, with the country's Sam Ryder finishing runner-up to Kalush in Italy.

Before the first performance at Glastonbury on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed via videolink to the crowds, urging them to spread the truth about Russia's invasion.

"Glastonbury is the greatest concentration of freedom these days and I ask you to share this feeling with everyone whose freedom is under attack," he said in a recorded message that drew cheers.

Paul McCartney headlines on Saturday, a week after his 80th birthday, while Diana Ross and Kendrick Lamar top the bill on Sunday.

— Additional reporting by Reuters and PA News

Updated: June 25, 2022, 9:53 AM
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