“A modern Norwegian echo of the great Kate Bush.” Aurora casts her wild, whimsical magic over Glastonbury with a faultless sunset performance

Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora’s Glastonbury festival set is a special, unforgettable experience

(Image: © BBC)

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As the setting sun settles in a glowing haze over Glastonbury's Park stage, the ground becomes slowly infiltrated by fans in flowing frocks, Fleetwood Mac T-shirts and fairy wings; these are Aurora Aksnes' people.

“Aurora for me is what a pop star should be,” Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes recently told NME, “what the next wave of pop stars should look like; someone that has the songs, but is a real person who dares to speak what they believe in, who gives a shit about the world.”

She may not draw the day's biggest audience, but the Norwegian singer-songwriter’s effect on the congregation gathered for her is immediately profound, the atmosphere shifting to intrigue under her curious presence, as her excitable face appears on screen in a slightly-jarring sunflower-shaped star.

Fairy-footing her way onto the stage in a bellowing ice-blue skirt, she makes her entrance sprinkling compliments over the front row with her Disney-like sweetness, before breezing into the emotive opener Some Type Of Skin from the newly-released album What Happened To The Heart? For many, today's set is a chance to hear her new tracks live for the first time, and what tracks they are: the Kate Bush-coded When The Dark Dresses Lightly producing twirling arms from the crowd during its waggish, thumping chorus, while the hypnotic opening lines of A Soul With No King call to mind Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love, and Starvation’s dance club-beats offer an entirely new element to her more art pop-centric sets.  

Throughout the performance, Aurora’s angelic yet powerful voice is startlingly consuming, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the emotion of it all, especially when she offers a dedication to the children of Palestine and those who spend their lives suffering with secret inner turmoils. In another striking moment, before the jaunty Cure For Me, she waves the Pride flag and declares, “We don’t need a cure for who we are!”. 

The 28-year-old singer never spends too long veering into the darkness and troubles of the world, however, reminding us all to stay positive with her marvellous sense of humour - at one point, she even pretends to flash her breasts to the crowd with a mischievously wicked grin. Elsewhere, she compares the ‘unnatural’ feeling of singing in front of people to shitting in public, as she welcomes everyone to “enjoy what they see.”

For her set's closing track, the uplifting Giving In To Love, Aurora spins and prances, running across the stage like a pixie in flight, before including her band in a final bow and thanking them for being so excellently part of what she does. 

Though deserving of a far bigger audience (albeit that it did slowly build as the set progressed), those in attendance experienced something very special here. Something whimsical, powerful, soul-stirring and even a little batshit, her eccentric talents a modern echo of greats such as Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, her performance is undoubtedly one of the best sets of the festival's first day. 

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.