Entertainment

Rage Rocks Glastonbury: Billie Eilish and Phoebe Bridgers React to Supreme Court’s Abortion Ruling

Bille Eilish made history not just as the youngest person to headline the main stage at England’s Glastonbury Festival on Friday night, she was the first-ever born in the 2000s. (Her 21st birthday is this December 18, if you were thinking of getting her something.) And as The Guardian noted in their rave review of the performance, she’s the first “kind of pop star that tweenage girls scream at” to headline the event that debuted way back in 1970.

But some of that was overshadowed by news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s move to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, leaving women’s body autonomy in the hands of increasingly reactionary state legislatures, unprotected by federal law. Word hit the U.K. at around 6 p.m. local time.

From the primary Pyramid Stage, Eilish introduced her song “Your Power” with a downbeat prologue: “Today is a really dark day for women in the U.S. and I’m just gonna say that ’cause I can’t bear to think about it any longer in this moment. This song is dedicated to that, I guess,” she said. 

Phoebe Bridgers, who performed earlier on the John Peel Stage, was a little more blunt. “Who wants to say, ‘Fuck the Supreme Court’?” she reportedly asked the crowd. She also commented that while the festival was “super surreal and fun,” she was also “having the shittiest day.” Bridgers, who has spoken about having an abortion in the past, concluded by saying “fuck that shit. Fuck America and all these irrelevant old motherfuckers trying to tell us what to do with our fucking bodies. Fuck it.”

Also, Joe Talbot of the band Idles said the decision brought the United States “back to the stone ages” during his time on the festival’s “Other” Stage. 

Eilish was, in the words of The Guardian’s music critic, “appealingly confident” during the show, with an infectious enthusiasm. She took to the Pyramid Stage following performances by Sam Fender, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Wolf Alice, Crowded House, Rufus Wainwright, and Ziggy Marley

Saturday night Sir Paul McCartney has the prime slot, and Kendrick Lamar follows suit on Sunday. (You can look at the whole giant schedule here, and ponder how you’d plan your weekend. Sunday’s got a real toughie: catch scorching hot British saxophonist Nubya Garcia or living legend Diana Ross? Can’t be two places at once!) 

Speaking with NME prior to the gig, Eilish gave a typically honest take on what it’s like to be positioned alongside Lamar and McCartney: “it’s bonkers.” She added, “I remember Kendrick headlined a festival I went to when I was 14, and I couldn’t believe he was headlining this small festival because he was so huge. And now I’m headlining the same festival as him and Paul McCartney … are you kidding me?”

Eilish continued, “The Beatles were what raised me. My love for music I feel 95 per cent owes to the Beatles and Paul. It’s insane to think about.”

True heads already knew the first song Eilish learned was “I Will” off of The Beatles’s White Album, one of Paul’s songs. She’s also covered George Harrison’s “Something” and, with her brother Finneas O’Connell, performed Paul’s “Yesterday” at the 2020 Oscars. 

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