Sir Paul McCartney draws crowds of fans to surprise Glastonbury warm-up gig
Sir Paul McCartney has drawn crowds of fans to an intimate Somerset music venue as he delivered a surprise performance the night before his Glastonbury headline set.
The gig at the Cheese and Grain entertainment venue in Frome, Somerset was announced on Thursday evening, causing traffic chaos in the town as fans attempted to grab a coveted ticket.
The lucky few who managed to secure a spot queued behind barriers while an entourage of local people who missed out waited in the hope of catching a glimpse of the former Beatle.
Self-professed superfan Jane Lamb stood opposite the venue holding a Beatles scrapbook she had made aged eight in the hope Sir Paul would come out and sign it after his show.
The 68-year-old from Frome said: “This is one of four scrapbooks I made between the ages of eight and 10. I’m hoping if I don’t get to see him at least I have this version of him. I didn’t manage to get tickets, I was close.”
She said she hoped he would come out after the gig to speak to fans as she feels he is “that kind of guy” despite his success.
Lamb recalled that the last time she saw Sir Paul was at an intimate concert in York in 1972, but admitted she did not ask for an autograph at the time as at age 18 she felt she was “far too cool to ask for such a thing”.
The former Beatle will become Glastonbury Festival’s oldest ever solo headliner when he takes to the stage on Saturday, exactly a week after celebrating his 80th birthday.
Lamb added: “I think it’s amazing he is headlining Glastonbury at his age. I have heard people say his voice has gone but I don’t think it has.”
Sir Paul is following in the footsteps of Foo Fighters and Wolf Alice playing at the Cheese and Grain before his Glastonbury headline set.
Sarah McDonald was among some of the lucky few who were going to attend the surprise performance with her family after she was first in the queue for tickets.
She said: “We’re excited to see him, we’ve been listening to Paul McCartney all day.”
Jackie and Martin Moss and their grandchildren were among the crowds trying to catch a glimpse of the singer after missing out on tickets.
The couple explained that they had attempted to get tickets after the shock gig announcement on Thursday but described scenes of gridlock in the town.
She said: “The roads were rammed, the place was gridlocked, the police had to arrive as you had to come in person and gets tickets.”
Jackie also described the Cheese and Grain venue as “very intimate” and “quite ordinary” but noted that having the festival’s co-organiser Emily Eavis as a patron seems to drive the big stars to the establishment.
Musician Robbi Desport also admitted he was “disappointed” not to get tickets to the gig as he said he had always been “massively inspired” by the Beatles.
The 38-year-old father, who plays in the band Sad Dad Club, said: “We play a few of their songs in our set, we’re all huge fans but my dad is the mega mega fan. I grew up listening to their music all the way through my early years and I have passed the buck on to my youngest daughter so hopefully that’ll continue.”
He added: “When you look at him I don’t see someone who is 80, he is really taking care of himself, he looks after himself very well, all power to the guy.
“I think it’s so beautiful, he is putting on a show like this and I think it’s great for Frome.
“I’m hoping Macca is going to come out here and do an acoustic just for one number knowing there are people out here, that’s the type of guy he is.”
At the event security staff were asking ticket holders to seal their phones in opaque bags so no recordings or pictures could be made during his surprise performance.
Sir Paul’s set on Saturday will be his second time topping the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage bill after a performance in 2004.
The music offering this year also features headliners Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar, with Diana Ross filling the Sunday Teatime Legends slot.