The festival scene and live music in general has suffered greatly since the pandemic began. The early signs in the UK suggest that we'll be able to return to some form of normality as the year goes on, with a full programme of festivals on the cards for next summer.
Enter the RSL Virtual Music Festival...
Our annual fest is just around the corner, so to get in the mood we're casting our minds back to our top 5 music festival moments from the past few years. See if you can spot your favourite, and stay tuned to our social media for more info about how you can get involved.
David Bowie - Glastonbury 2000
Bowie is a natural born performer who sought to provide his audience with a live spectacle that encompassed a number of styles and art forms beyond purely singing.
Bowie's creative output was constant throughout his life, but he did spend less time in the public eye as he grew older. This didn't diminish his star power, though, as proved by his headline set at Glastonbury 2000. Just as rapturous crowds followed his early days as he toured across the UK, America, and beyond, his later performances were met with a similar sense of awe and enrapture.
If the frock coat in this clip isn't enough effortless cool for you, then the eerie reimagining of the introduction to one of his biggest hits, 'Let's Dance', might just be enough to convince you of Bowie's star power. It's definitely one of the all-time classic Glasto performances. 'Let's Dance' can be found on our grade 4 drums syllabus with the iconic hits and big snare sound making it a hugely fun piece to play for drummers of all ages!
Beyoncé - Coachella 2018
Part of what distinguishes Beyoncé as a once in a generation artist is her versatility and strengths in a number of fields. She is a fabulous singer, of course, but she is an impressive performer and dancer, while she has also captured the imagination of many through her acting roles in ‘Dream Girls’ and the ‘Lion King’ to name a few.
Perhaps the pinnacle of her performing career was her 2018 headline set at Coachella. She was alleged to rehearse for a whopping 11 hours a day in the lead up to the event, and it was this preparation that was the subject of the Grammy award winning documentary, ‘Homecoming’ which is available to stream on Netflix.
Fancy following in Queen Bey's footsteps? Now you can! We've included the single ‘Halo’, which became her most streamed song of all time on Spotify, on our grade 6 female vocals syllabus. You can also find ‘Love On Top’ on our grade 5 Electric Guitar syllabus. With acrobatic vocals and an abundance of key changes to keep instrumentalists scrambling for the next chords, this catchy pop tune about love is far from your average, straightforward 4 chord ditty!
Jimi Hendrix - Woodstock 1969
If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that live performance is the beating heart of music that helps to mould the next generation of musicians and immortalise those performers currently at the top of their game. This certainly happened when Jimi Hendrix took to the Woodstock stage in 1969.
Jimi Hendrix is the cover star of our Debut Electric Guitar grade book.
The world’s highest paid rock musician at this point, the band’s performance bordered on under-rehearsed, and the new additions never completely clicked. Jimi even moved the performance from Sunday night to Monday morning at 8am in front of a swelling crowd of around 40,000.
Despite the apparent shambolic organisation, the band played an unforgettable set, culminating in Jimi’s now iconic rendition of ‘Star Spangled Banner’, the American national anthem. He played it with heavy distortion, soaring between high and low notes to reflect the pain and suffering caused by the American military, making a remarkable political statement without using a single word.
Stormzy - Glastonbury 2019
There's something about Glastonbury and iconic cultural moments, and they don't come much bigger than Stormzy's unfogettable headline set back in 2019. He made history as the first black solo British artist and grime star to do so, drawing praise from all corners of society for his performance.His meteoric rise to music's top table dragged grime into the mainstream and cast a spotlight on a number of social justice issues.
You can find 'Standard' by Stormzy on our Grade 3 Drums syllabus so you can relive this epic night in front of your own kit. Check out the video below to see how this one sounds!
Harry Churchill - RSL Virtual Festival 2020
We couldn't talk about our favourite festival moments without mentioning the inaugural Virtual Festival we held last year! There were so many great performances from all over the world. We received entries from the UK, Portugal, Mexico, China, Australia and many more! It was a truly international affair - in fact, we received so many performance videos of such high quality that we had to add another day to accommodate everyone.
You can see all the videos from last year on our IGTV or Facebook page, but check out Harry Churchill's set that closed our opening day last year. His set mainly consists of his Grade 4 pieces, while he also revisits some of his favourite songs from Grade 2 & 3 as well as an improvised blues jam. His favourite guitarists are Brian May, Slash and Stevie T – good choices, eh?
Let us know your favourite festival moments over on social media!