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Glastonbury 2023: Arctic Monkeys will play after all – but who are The Churnups? | Ents & Arts News

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The Arctic Monkeys will play their headline set at Glastonbury Festival tonight, despite fears that illness would force them to pull out, co-organiser Emily Eavis has confirmed.

The Sheffield rock band top Friday’s bill on the prestigious Pyramid Stage, but after cancelling a gig in Dublin earlier this week, fans had been left wondering whether their Glastonbury set would go ahead.

However, Eavis has now allayed fears, speaking to BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball from the Worthy Farm site on day one of performances, she replied to a question on whether they would be playing by saying: “They’re on,” which was welcomed with loud applause.

Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner was suffering from laryngitis

She went on: “It was a little bit close there for a minute and we were thinking about whether we should have a serious back-up plan in place, but no, thankfully they’re on, so that’s great.”

Arctic Monkeys, who are currently midway through a world tour, had been due to play Marlay Park in Dublin on Tuesday but were forced to cancel the show as frontman Alex Turner was suffering from laryngitis, following three consecutive shows at the Emirates Stadium in north London.

Apologising to fans on social media, a statement said: “Alex is suffering from acute laryngitis, and following medical advice, has been ordered to rest.”

Laryngitis – which is when your vocal cords become swollen or irritated – comes on suddenly and gets worse during the first few days. It usually lasts for one to two weeks, according to the NHS website.

When asked if the band were still set to play earlier in the week, Eavis told reporters on Wednesday: “I think we are going to be alright.

“They’ve cancelled that [Dublin show], he’s recovering. I’m sure we’re going to be alright.”

She added: “We’ve got a couple of backup plans if not. We’ve always got backup plans for everything.”

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Gates open at Glastonbury

Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders and Nick O’Malley are expected to take to the Pyramid Stage at 10.15pm tonight and play for one hour.

It will be the third time the Brit, Mercury and Ivor Novello award-winning band have headlined at the festival, following shows in 2007 and 2013.

Who are The Churnups?

Meanwhile, another question hanging over Friday’s set list is who are the mystery band The Churnups?

Glastonbury has a history of surprise sets and unconfirmed slots, and this strangely-named group in a prime headline slot are causing a particular stir.

They are billed on the Glastonbury poster to play the Pyramid Stage before rock duo Royal Blood, whose set leads into the Arctic Monkeys.

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, Dave Grohl of the band Foo Fighters performs at the Rock in Rio music festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Foo Fighters will perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)
Foo Fighters previously pulled out when Dave Grohl injured himself before the 2015 event

Speculation it could be Foo Fighters was fuelled earlier this month after the American rockers posted a thank you letter to fans on social media, which included the line: “It feels so good to see you, churning up these emotions together.”

The band are currently on a world tour, but are now on a scheduled gap between gigs following their last performance in the US on 18 June, and they are not due to pick up again until 6 July in Canada.

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The band previously headlined the festival in 2017, after pulling out of Glastonbury 2015 when frontman Dave Grohl fell off the stage at a gig in Sweden and broke his leg.

Foo Fighters announced their new drummer, Josh Freese last month, following the death of Taylor Hawkins who died in a hotel room in the Colombian capital, Bogota, during the band’s South America tour in March 2022.

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Who else could it be?

Other theories for the mystery act’s identity include Britpop band Pulp led by Jarvis Cocker, who are currently on tour, and whose name could be seen as a definition of ‘to churn up’.

Others have speculated it could be fellow Britpopers Blur, fronted by Damon Albarn, with the band also currently on a reunion tour.

Other headline acts at Glastonbury this year include Guns N’ Roses, Elton John and Lana Del Rey.

Glastonbury Festival is taking place at Worthy Farm, in Pilton, Somerset, until Sunday.

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