How Ed Sheeran built his career at Glastonbury

3rd July 2022

As the biggest music festival around, it’s no surprise that certain artists have managed to build their careers on the back of stellar performances. While it’s easy to focus on the main stage and the headline acts, it’s worth remembering the enormity of Glasto: with over 100 stages there are plenty of musicians keen to be heard.

Back in 2011, it was the turn of a certain Ed Sheeran. At this point, he was a million miles away from the award-winning musician that we know today. Not even close to being a household name, Sheeran took to the Glastonbury stage and the rest, as they say, is history.


How did an unknown end up playing Glasto?

Glastonbury is the festival where everyone wants to play. There are world-famous artists vying to be the headlining act and plenty of negotiations going on between organisers and agents. These big names draw the crowds, and they add something extremely special to this five-day music marathon.

However, the festival isn’t all about big names. It also provides the opportunity for new, lesser-known artists, to gain much-needed exposure. Sheeran is one of those that benefited from the Glastonbury effect and is still flying high in an astonishingly successful career.


Sheeran and Croissant Neuf

The thing about Glastonbury is that it is not just one event. There are around 30 different areas all of which have their own thing going on. One of these areas is Croissant Neuf. A smaller area of Glastonbury, this is where music fans get to experience up-and-coming artists as well as a few famous faces.

The person responsible for booking the acts at Croissant Neuf is Sally Howell. As the organiser for this area for over 30 years, she has seen plenty of big names pass through, including Ed Sheeran, In a recent interview with Betway Online Casino, Howell had this to say about booking Sheeran in 2011: “I can’t take the kudos for discovering him, he was a friend of a friend of people that I book”.

Howell goes on to recall Sheeran’s early performances: “The first year he came to the festival and only did a couple of numbers on stage with a mate, which was amazing”. It was the following year that Sheeran returned and perform A Team. After this, his career was set and Howell comments that her area at Glastonbury could no longer afford him.


Unknown to headliner

It took just six years from Sheeran’s first outing at Glastonbury for him to become the headline act. In 2017, Sheeran was the main attraction in what seemed a million miles away from that early Croissant Neuf performance.

Croissant Neuf is all about giving new artists the opportunity to break through. When you look at how Sheeran’s career exploded, after Howell risked an unknown, you can see the power Glastonbury has to offer. There can be little doubting that Sheeran will be eternally grateful to all that Glasto stands for.