I’LL start with something of a confession. In my three years covering Glastonbury, I’ve never watched a full set at West Holts.

I’ve caught glimpses, sure, but despite it being one of the festival’s five main stages, nothing there had ever grabbed me enough to stay.

That all changed on Friday when I headed to the festival’s “outernational rhythm hub” to watch noughties icons Sugababes, who first formed in 1998 and finally reunited under their own name in 2022.

But it seemed half of Worthy Farm’s campers had the same idea.

Well before the set began, electronic boards said West Holts was ‘full’ and asked people to go elsewhere.

Festival-goers were asked to avoid the ‘full’ West Holts area.Festival-goers were asked to avoid the ‘full’ West Holts area. (Image: Newsquest)

Perhaps I should have seen it coming. As I entered the site that morning, I’d heard a punter tell his friends that he ‘couldn’t wait to Push the Button’.

And there is a precedent; the band’s set at the much smaller Avalon Stage in 2022 was also closed off due to overcrowding.

Read more: An early-morning walkabout at Glastonbury Festival 

I persevered and did find a space, albeit one about 200 metres from the stage.

Deciding that would do, I cracked open a cider and waited for arguably the most hotly-anticipated set of the day to begin (sorry Dua).

Despite their experience at Avalon, the band (Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy) seemed stunned to see such a big crowd.

The Sugababes with their Mobo Impact Award at the Mobo Awards.The Sugababes with their Mobo Impact Award at the Mobo Awards. (Image: Danny Lawson/PA)

“What a turnout!”, they said after their opening songs.

“We were backstage asking our management if people were there. Thank you so much for coming out to see us – it’s incredible.”

What we saw was a joyful sing-song of Sugababes’ biggest hits, to the delight of a Glastonbury crowd that largely would have been following them in their heyday.

They got the party started with Freak like Me, Red Dress and Hole in the Head – the latter of which was the first to cause the crowd to truly erupt.

There were some flatter moments – most people didn’t quite have the same grasp on their newer music, like 2023 track When The Rain Comes – but there was plenty to keep people going, including a superb cover of Sweet Female Attitude song Flowers.

Thousands of people made their way to West Holts, which has a capacity of around 35,000.Thousands of people made their way to West Holts, which has a capacity of around 35,000. (Image: Newsquest)

It really came to life in the last 15 minutes with three undisputed classics: Push the Button (I can only imagine how the festival-goer I encountered in the morning reacted when that started), Round Round and About You Now.

Even at my distance from the stage, it was virtually impossible not to sing and dance along.

Before they brought the curtain down, one band member said: “When we played here two years ago, I remember coming off the stage in shock. I think that might happen again.”

There are much worse ways to take in your first West Holts set. And who knows? Maybe we'll see them upgraded to an even bigger stage next year.