Hacienda Classical, plus professional acid casualty Bez, open Glastonbury with a blast of 1990s optimism

Hacienda Classical, on the Pyramid Stage 
Hacienda Classical, on the Pyramid Stage  Credit: getty/Ian Gavan

The 2017 Glastonbury Festival officially commenced with a minute's silence. Or a minute's near silence, anyway, no one having apparently informed the Carribean band audibly jamming backstage whilst several thousand revellers stood in quiet contemplation of victims of recent tragic events in Manchester and London.

Steel drums notwithstanding, it was a genuinely impressive sight, a field full of party animals giving respectful pause before the party really got started.

Peter Hook Credit:  Ian Gavan/Getty

It fell to Manchester’s Hacienda Classical to officially open proceedings on the Pyramid stage to really rather glorious effect. It's an enjoyably zany collaboration between former Hacienda club DJs Mike Pickering and Graeme Park with the 70 piece Manchester Camerata Orchestra and a small electric band.

They play Acid House and Madchester rave hits of the 1980s and 1990s with the strings and horns fleshing out the original synth parts. When I saw them last year at the Royal Albert Hall I felt the orchestra was a bit of a gimmick almost completely overwhelmed by the electronic elements. But it all somehow made more sense over a giant PA under open skies in a field in Somerset.

Bez has arrived! #haciendaclassical #glastonbury #freakydancin #bez

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Bez from The Happy Monday’s got the biggest cheer of the morning when he came on to lead the crowd in silly dancing. The 53-year-old acid house veteran lunatic still surely holds the prize for strangest celebrity occupation in the land. He's essentially a professional acid casualty. But he was amongst his people here.

It was impossible not to smile as the hillside erupted into a joyous singalong with Ultra Nate’s 1997 hit Free. “You're freeeeeeeee…  to do what you want to do” bellowed an audience of all ages in fancy dress and face paint, floral headbands and silly hats. And, for one weekend a year at least, the song’s optimistic message felt like the truth.