Disgraced singer and TV personality Rolf Harris, once considered a Glastonbury ‘legend’ has died at the age of 93.
On May 10, 2023, Australian-born Rolf Harris died after a battle with neck cancer. Harris passed in Bray, Berkshire, five years after his release from prison. His death was confirmed to the media on May 23, nearly two weeks after his death.
In light of Rolf Harris’s passing, some are remembering the days prior to his conviction, when the singer was heralded a legend of the Glastonbury stage. The decade since his crimes were made public has seen the late singer‘s musical legacy ultimately tarnished.
How many times did Rolf Harris perform at Glastonbury?
Disgraced singer-songwriter Rolf Harris performed at Glastonbury Festival five times, making his debut on the Pyramid Stage in 1993. Harris kicked off the festival on Friday, June 25, 1993, at the midday slot. The Pyramid Stage was graced by The Black Crowes as the Friday night headline act.
Harris was invited back to the festival five years later. He performed on the Acoustic Stage on June 26, 1998.
On Sunday, June 30, 2002, Harris performed on the Pyramid Stage a second time, at the midday slot. Rod Stewart was the Sunday Night headline act that year. On Saturday, June 27, 2009, Harris brought his act to the Jazz World Stage for the first time.
Rolf Harris performed at Glastonbury for a final time on Friday, June 25, 2010, at the 11 am festival opening slot.
Rolf Harris’ final Glastonbury set was three years before arrest
Drawing a huge crowd, Harris’s final performance at the festival was hailed a major success. But the following years would see his reputation entirely flipped on its head.
The full extent of Rolf Harris’ crimes would not be revealed until his arrest in March 2013. Harris was one of twelve individuals arrested in the UK as part of Operation Yewtree. This investigation was carried out by the Metropolitan Police in the year following the death of disgraced media personality and sex offender, Jimmy Savile.
Operation Yewtree was a widespread investigation into historical allegations of sexual abuse, largely involving public figures. PR consultant Max Clifford, as well as comedians Jim Davidson and Freddie Starr, were investigated as part of the operation. Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, was also arrested as a result of the Operation Yewtree investigation. Gary Glitter, who was recently released from jail, was convicted in 2014.
Final festival performances arrived in 2013
There are some false reports which incorrectly state that Rolf Harris performed at Glastonbury in 2013. There were several gigs Harris performed at in the months following his arrest, but Glastonbury was not one of them.
In August 2013, Harris was invited to perform at Wickham Festival. He was on stage just five months after his arrest to perform some classics from the singer’s back catalog.
Less than a year later, Harris would be sentenced to a total of five years and nine months in prison. He was sentenced by Mr Justice Sweeney at Southwark Crown Court on July 4, 2014.