Charlotte Church sings ‘free Palestine’ with Glastonbury crowd

Charlotte Church sang “free Palestine” with a crowd of hundreds as she led an improvised number with the audience during an intimate and politically charged appearance at Glastonbury Festival.

The Welsh singer’s performance at Worthy Farm comes months after she said police had to check on her because her safety and that of her family has been threatened after she took part in a pro-Palestine march in London.

The 38-year-old, who strongly denied claims of antisemitism at the time and voiced her support for Jewish people, joined Billy Bragg’s Radical Round Up at Worthy Farm’s Left Field stage on Friday.

Wearing a long red dress, Church also had a keffiyeh, a traditional Arab headdress which has become a symbol of Palestine, over her shoulder.

Charlotte Church on stage
Church wore a traditional Palestinian headdress over her shoulder (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Hiya babes – lots of love from Wales my darlings,” Church said as she greeted the crowd.

“I sort of want to give you the mic today… there’s so much untapped singing potential in you guys which we’re going to explore.”

Church told the crowd she would lead them in collaborative vocal improvisation, seeing her improvise lyrics over a chorus of humming from the audience.

“It’s Friday at Glastonbury, all the adventures you’re going to have and the things you’ll see, music, dance and sing,” Church’s improvisation began.

“The spirit of expression… and now you can say that you performed at Glastonbury, sing it to me now.”

The song ended with Church singing: “And I’m going to give some love and feeling to Palestine.

“To all the people and all the mothers and the children – we are thinking of you, we carry you in our hearts.

“Free free Palestine, free free Palestine, free free Palestine, free Palestine.”

The song ended to rapturous applause.

Charlotte Church on stage
Church greeted the crowd with ‘love from Wales’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

Taking a light-hearted tone with the crowd, Church’s second performance in the hour-long set was another improvisation, this time with her fellow musicians on stage including Bragg and 26-year-old Scottish singer Bow Anderson.

“Everybody take a deep breath… ah smell that cow shit,” Church said as she warmed them up for the performance.

Church told the crowd at the Left Field stage that music and protest “have always been deeply interwound” as she began her third performance – a rendition of civil rights gospel song We Shall Overcome accompanied by a musician playing a shruti box, an Indian wind instrument similar to an accordion.

Her final track saw her sing Amazing Grace a cappella to the crowd.

Before she started it, she jokingly said: “This is a song pretty much everyone knows the words to – so it’s either Delilah or… no, it’s not Delilah.”

Charlotte Church on stage
Church was joined on stage by Bow Anderson and Billy Bragg (Ben Birchall/PA)

Bragg’s Radical Round Up is a regular feature at Glastonbury and the singer-wongwriter joined in with Church’s pro-Palestine message as he ended one of his songs by calling out “ceasefire now” as well as for the return of Israeli hostages.

Anderson, playing Glastonbury for the first time, debuted a ballad called Two Houses about parents separating from her perspective as a child, among a collection of new music.

The Scot smiled during her performance as she spotted a sign in the crowd which read: “I (heart) wee Bow.”

Bragg, who sang a song about trans rights among other hits, jokingly declared to the crowd he would like to start a rumour.

“Last year it was don’t eat the fish fingers,” he said.

“This year’s… I’m spreading the rumour that I definitely saw Noel Gallagher and Phil Foden in Silver Hayes yesterday having a pint of shandy.”

Foden temporarily left England’s Euro 2024 campaign in Germany for the birth of his third child, but Bragg joked he had “come home for a weekend of Glastomania”.

“I want to dedicate this to him and what we call the ‘male Lionesses’,” Bragg added.

Amending his hit A New England, Bragg sang: “I don’t want to change the world, I’m not looking for New England, I’m just looking for another girl.”

“Or just a decent midfielder,” he added in one verse.

“Or someone to link up with Harry Kane,” he leapt in for another.