Glastonbury Festival 2022: what did Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky say in his message to festival-goers?

Glastonbury attendees were welcomed to the first full day of music by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has opened the weekend at Glastonbury with a rousing virtual speech.

Mr Zelensky spoke to revellers on the big screens at The Other Stage at the world-famous music festival based in Somerset, shortly before UK indie band The Libertines opened the stage.

In his speech, the Ukrainian leader told festival-goers that Glastonbury was “the greatest concentration of freedom” in the world, adding that people should “spread the truth” about the Russian invasion of his country.

Mr Zelensky’s virtual appearance at the festival comes as  excitement grows over the first UK performance later this weekend at Glastonbury for Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band who resoundingly won the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed thousands of festival goers in a special recorded message. (Credit: Getty Images)

What did Volodymyr Zelensky say at Glastonbury? 

To a crowd of thousands who had gathered in front of The Other Stage as The Libertines prepared to kick off the first full day of music, Mr Zelensky appeared via video link on the big screens.

Speaking in English, he said: “Greetings Glastonbury!

“The festival resumed this year after a two-year break. The pandemic has put on hold lives of millions of people around the world, but has not broken.

“We, in Ukraine, would also like to live the life as we used to and enjoy freedom and this wonderful summer.

“But we cannot do that because the most terrible thing has happened -  Russia has stolen our peace. But we will not let Russia’s war break us, and we want to stop the war before it ruins people’s lives in other countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America - they are all under threat now.

“That is why I turn to you for support.

“Glastonbury is the greatest concentration of freedom these days. And I ask you to share this feeling with everyone whose freedom is under attack.

“Spread the truth about Russia’s war. Help Ukrainians who are forced to flee their homes because of the war. Find our United24 charity platform. And put pressure on all the politicians you know to help restore peace in Ukraine.

“Time is priceless, and everyday is measured in human lives. The more people join us in defending freedom and truth, the sooner Russia’s war against Ukraine will end.

“Prove that freedom always wins! Thank you. Slava Ukraini.”

What has been said about Zelensky’s Glastonbury speech?

Following the message, the weekend’s openers The Libertines performed their set with frontman Pete Docherty leading the crowd in a chant of the leader’s name.

Following the conclusion of the set, his bandmate Carl Barat said: “The Zelensky thing was quite surreal, I won’t lie.

“It’s a strange collision, but it made sense.”

When are Kalush Orchestra playing Glastonbury?

The Ukrainian influence will be felt throughout the weekend at the UK’s largest music festival.

In one of their most major performances since the Eurovision Song Contest, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra are set to take to the Glastonbury stage.

Ukraine won the 2022 event

The band will perform on the Truth Stage on Friday night.

It has been used across the world as a rallying call for the Ukrainian crisis, with their first ever UK performance sure to be an emotional one.

Ukraine had attempted to push to host Eurovision in 2023, however the European Broadcasting Union has ruled that the country will not be able to hold the event due to security concerns.

The UK is now favourite to host next year’s edition, with Glasgow, London and Manchester among the proposed host cities.