Entertainment & Arts

Dolly Parton draws huge crowd to Glastonbury Pyramid stage

Media captionDolly Parton drew a huge crowd for her debut Glastonbury set

Dolly Parton has drawn a huge crowd for her debut Glastonbury set, performing some of her biggest hits as thousands of fans chanted her name.

The audience was larger than that for Friday and Saturday's headliners, Arcade Fire and Metallica.

Parton told the audience: "I've been waitin' a long time for this."

The country singer and cultural icon sang tracks including Why D'You Come In Here Lookin' Like That? 9 to 5, Jolene and Coat of Many Colors.

She wore a white, diamante trouser suit and said: "I'm just glad you came to see me."

Media captionDolly Parton: "I can't do a whole bunch of slow sad songs because everybody's drunk and high"

The singer also performed a song about the mud that she wrote in the early hours of Sunday morning, which included the lyrics: "Mud, mud, mud, mud/Up to our bums in all this crud."

And she wooed the crowd with lots of classics such as Islands in the Stream, 9 to 5 and her encore, I Will Always Love You.

She played for about an hour on the Pyramid stage.

"I grew up in the country, so this mud ain't nothing new to me - and it ain't nothing to you either," she said.

At an earlier news conference, she said: "My daddy was a farmer, I grew up in East Tennessee and we made our living on a farm, so I thought, 'Well this isn't all that different'."

She added: "Mud is mud, wherever you are."

Image caption Parton played the guitar - and also the saxophone - on the Pyramid stage
Image caption Blonde wigs were the order of the day for many fans of the US singer
Image caption Even the security staff joined in the fun with a dance routine to Jolene

Dolly delight

By Mark Savage, BBC News entertainment reporter at Glastonbury

"Somebody said: 'Oh, Dolly you always just look so happy,'" recalled the singer before her Glastonbury debut. "I said, 'that's the botox!'"

Botox or not, the emotion was written across her face as she ended her set on the Pyramid stage.

The country superstar had been greeted by the biggest crowd of the weekend, many dressed in Dolly wigs with fake balloon boobs. One flag in the audience read: "Dolly, take me to your bosom."

They were all there for the original homespun superstar - a performer who's authentically down-to-earth despite the rhinestone banjos and improbable hair.

A carefully honed set list focused on the up-tempo numbers - Baby, I'm Burning, Why'd You Come In Here Looking Like That?, Islands In The Stream - while making space for a few numbers to plug her new album. She even mimed the Benny Hill theme, Yakety Sax, on a tiny diamante saxophone.

Kenny Rogers, who played the same slot last year, struggled with a crowd unfamiliar with some of his biggest numbers. Dolly had no such problems, leading a mass singalong to 9 to 5.

"Wow," she exclaimed. "What an honour. What a thrill. Thank you so much for being such a great audience."

Image caption The English National Ballet made their debut Glastonbury performance earlier on Sunday
Image caption Festival-goers came well prepared for the mudbath
Image caption Kasabian are headlining the festival on Sunday evening

But the 68-year-old said she had struggled to write the set list.

"It was kinda tricky knowing what to do under a festival situation because in my show, as a rule, I usually do a couple of hours but they said, 'You can't do but an hour, maybe an hour and 10.'

"So I thought, I can't do a bunch of sad, slow songs because everyone's drunk and high.

"There's two or three songs they have to hear, like Coat of Many Colors. But we've tried to do a set where we can keep it movin' pretty good, and not bring 'em down too much."

Before her show, the singer was presented with a special award in recognition of selling more than 100 million records worldwide. The singer said she would hang it in her Dollywood Museum in Tennessee.

Her performance has been the talk of the weekend, with several performers jokingly threatening to abandon their performances on other stages to catch the singer in action.

Bands lucky enough not to be in competing slots said they intended to catch the show.

"I think she's an amazing writer, and I'd love to see her in the flesh," said Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon.

Even Lars Ulrich, of Saturday night headliners Metallica, planned to take it in. "I'll have a hangover on Sunday but I want to see The Horrors, The Black Keys and Dolly Parton," he told The Mirror.

"I'm a big fan. We all bow to the altar of Dolly."

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