Brit-winner Tom Walker has had a pretty manic Glastonbury, playing a grand total of six sets across the festival.
Unfortunately, being so in demand – playing intimate surprise sets on smaller stages ahead of the main event on Sunday – means he hasn’t had time to catch much of the other music.
He told Sky News he was disappointed to miss out on Stormzy’s “game-changer” headline set on Friday, but that he would be making up for it partying with friends and watching some other acts following his final performance.
“We got here Thursday and I think this is gig number six, it’s been pretty hectic. And I went out with all my mates on Thursday night and stayed out till 6am so it’s been a long weekend but a fun one.”
Walker, who has soared to fame this year, winning the best British breakthrough artist award at the Brits and seeing his debut album, What A Time To Be Alive, hit the top of the charts, said it was “amazing” to be playing the famous John Peel stage this year after playing to “about 300 people” at the small Rabbit Hole stage in 2017.
A committed Glastonbury fan – and one who still camps – Walker says he always tries to buy a ticket each year, to make sure he gets in even if he doesn’t get to play.
“I’m honoured to be playing at Glasto again. I played at the Rabbit Hole again [this year] as well and it was so full they had to close it down because it was becoming a health and safety risk, which is just mental,” he says.
“Every year I’ve bought a ticket because I don’t want to miss out. I did get cancellation insurance this year… I’ve got no idea if I’ll get it back but I’ll give it a go.
“A couple of my mates were thinking about it but it does say Tom Walker on the ticket and has a picture of me, so don’t think it would have happened.”
Which brings us on to the singer-songwriter’s new famous namesake: Tom Walker of Love Island fame.
“I’ve heard about this Love Island Tom Walker but the thing is about him, he’s younger than me, so I’m the original.”
Is the original Tom Walker a Love Island fan?
“I’ve watched the first episode but it’s every night… it’s six days a week for like 10 weeks or something. It’s a big commitment when you’re on tour. I don’t have that much spare time, to be honest.”
Love Island Tom Walker has been booted off, I inform original Tom Walker, and didn’t have the best reputation on the show.
“Is he giving me a bad name?! B*stard!”
Walker has just arrived back on site at Glastonbury when we speak, having left Worthy Farm mid-festival to play a gig in London.
He’s managed to see Jorja Smith, who was “amazing”, but says Stormzy’s set, which he had to watch back due to it clashing with one of his own, was the one he wishes he’d been there for.
“It was the same last year as I missed Foo Fighters,” he says. “I’ve seen bits and bobs but not as much as I’d like to, but you don’t get to play at Glastonbury every day, so you can’t really moan. It’s not really bad, is it. ‘Oh no, I’ve got so many gigs at Glasto, what a shame’.”
Speaking about Stormzy, who made history as the first black British artist to headline the festival, Walker says: “I thought he was incredible. It was a game-changer, it just had everything – the ballet, the BMXs, bringing loads of surprise guests up. He just looked so stunned and overwhelmed by the reception of the whole thing as well and it was so nice to see. I’m absolutely buzzing for him.”
Glastonbury is as known almost as much for its surprises and weird and wonderful experiences as it is the music. So having been here three times, what is Walker’s strangest?
“Brexit year, they had this sign of Boris Johnson that looked like a skeleton. By the end of the weekend after Brexit was announced everybody had picked mud off the floor and chucked it at the start. It was like this living art installation of anger. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen at Glastonbury.”