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Media captionHighlights of Stormzy’s set at Glastonbury 2017

When he strides onstage on Friday night, Stormzy will make history as the first British rapper to headline Glastonbury Festival.

His ascension to the top of the bill has been rapid – he’s only released one album – but the sense of anticipation is immense.

“I think it’s going to be amazing,” says fellow grime star Ghetts. “I think it’s going to be a shut-down.

“It’s probably the most energy that Glastonbury has ever seen. I know that sounds like a big statement but, trust me, it’s going to be crazy.”

“It’s like a moment in history,” agrees Stefflon Don, who plays the John Peel tent on Sunday.

“Stormzy always brings it with his live shows and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the Pyramid stage.

“I think and hope it will go down as one of the most memorable, iconic Glasto performances.”

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  • “If he does say anything outside of his music, it’ll be something that’s been very well thought-through. It won’t just be an off the cuff statement.

    “He’s a great spokesperson for the people he represents, the people he knows are underserved, and not listened to.

    “There are other artists in the world that have outbursts, who speak out of turn, but with Stormzy it never feels like an outburst, it feels like this is something he really wants to address, and I guess if he decides he wants to address something on Friday night it’ll have a huge impact.”

    Image copyright PA Media
    Image caption The star is likely to play hits including Big For Your Boots and Vossi Bop, and maybe some of his earlier freestyles

    Stormzy isn’t the first British rapper to play the Pyramid Stage – Skepta, Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal all paved the way, and grime has had a presence at the festival ever since DJ Cameo brought a whole crew of key London MCs including Trim and JME to the Roots Tent back in 2005.

    There have been some lean times since then, but 2016 was a watershed year, with a day-long line up on the Sonic Stage featuring Kano, J-Hus, Nadia Rose and Novelist, which prompted a slew of articles about Glastonbury’s Grime Takeover.

    This year, though, British rap and hip-hop can be found in every corner of Worthy Farm, whether its Dave and Loyle Carner on the Other Stage, Octavian and Stefflon Don in the John Peel tent or AJ Tracey and Lady Leshurr in the Silver Hayes area.

    Door ‘booted open’

    “I remember doing Glastonbury as part of Roll Deep in 2010,” says DJ Target. “Tinie Tempah was on before us, then Bashy and Giggs. We were all on the East Dance stage and it kind of felt like that was our area within Glastonbury.

    “And now – I just flipped through the line-up, and I’m literally going to be having 20-minute treks across Glastonbury to see everyone I want to see. They’re sprinkled throughout the whole festival, and in some stages they’re top or second-to-top billing. It’s going to be hard work to catch them all – but that’s a great problem to have.”

    “What we’ve seen over the last few years, each milestone that’s been reached, you go, ‘Wow, is this as high as it can go, or is this another massive door that’s been booted open?’ and it’s mostly been the latter.

    “Every time something like Stormzy headlining happens, it inspires the next artist to believe it’s achievable.”

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    Festival organiser Emily Eavis, who booked him for the slot, has no doubts about his readiness.

    “When I saw him play the 2017 festival on the Other Stage, I knew straight away that the next time he played he would be headlining the Pyramid,” she said.

    “The reaction in the field was unbelievable. He’s got such a presence and the energy is incredible.”

    According to Julie Adenuga, though, there’s one thing his performance will be missing.

    “He told me he doesn’t like dancing because he’s too tall,” she laughs.

    “I think he’s just too shy, but there’s no space for shy when you’re headlining Glastonbury!”

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