Coldplay at Glastonbury - an Ocean of Lights

1st Jul

An emotive and powerful audience experience.


Opening as the Sunday headline act for Glastonbury, Coldplay entered the iconic Pyramid stage with echoes of a playback of Charlie Chaplin’s impassioned speech from The Great Dictator. This powerful message, more relevant than ever, set the tone for perhaps Glastonbury’s most engaged, experiential and emotive headline set.

After days and days of relentless rain, mud and the harrowing referendum result in the minds of many, the crowd was ready for a finale to lift their spirits and inspire unity and togetherness. They certainly delivered. Coldplay put on a show that saw even their most cynical critics throw their arms up and sing along to their infectious pop anthems. Thus, securing their place as the world’s most successful stadium band.

glastonbury coldplay

To ensure their set connected with their audience and to evoke a sense of involvement (probably something that was needed more than ever at that time at Glastonbury), Coldplay distributed thousands of Xylobands. These illuminating wristbands consist of LED lights and a radio transmitter that allow the bands to be manipulated in time to the music. Not the most innovative piece of wearable technology, but with hundreds of thousands of synced lights waving into the distance, by far one of the most visually effective.

During the 2000 Coldplay hit ‘Yellow’, all the Xyloband synced to yellow creating a goose-bump worthy light show that ensured every member of the audience was engaged, with their hands in the air, to be part of this spectacular event.

This ocean of light was not only visually stunning for the huge Glastonbury crowd, but for millions of viewers that tuned in to the BBC’s coverage at home. The live crowd felt a sense of involvement and unity, whilst audiences at home wished they were there - a great advert for Glastonbury and Coldplay.

Xylobands were invented by Jason Regler, whose Devon based business was in jeopardy until Coldplay placed an order for 16,000 bands for a Madrid show.  As it currently stands, Coldplay have an agreement with Xylobands which governs the design, trademark, patent and intellectual property rights. Thus, Coldplay essentially have a monopoly on the use of Xylobands bands for live music, making their competitors irrelevant when it comes to audience interaction and experience. However, other (non musical) brands have used these wristbands for launches and events. Nike used the wristbands in eight different cities for their Reflective Run Wear campaign. The paths of several runners wearing the Xylobands were captured using slow exposure photography.

Being Coldplay’s fourth time headlining the biggest greenfield festival in the world, it was evident that Chris Martin was conscious of creating that ‘Glastonbury moment’. Safe to say, this goal was achieved. The wristbands were an overwhelming success, with the Glastonbury crowd taking their personal gadget into the night, singing the echoing melodies of ‘Fix You’ and celebrating the final evening at this iconic festival.

glasto coldplay
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Images courtesy of Coldplay's Instagram account and