Flashback: The Prodigy Headline Glastonbury 1997 - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: The Prodigy Become First Dance Act to Headline Glastonbury

The techno-punks behind “Firestarter” made history with their 1997 live performance

Keith Flint, frontman of British techno-punk group the Prodigy, was pronounced dead on Monday morning of apparent suicide. Having previously served as the group’s onstage dancer since 1990, Flint debuted his own sneering nihilist style in their 1996 hit “Firestarter,” a high-octane breakbeat masterpiece which would catapult the band to international fame. Its accompanying album, 1997’s The Fat of the Land, hit Number One that summer and was certified double platinum that same year.

Just days before dropping the album, the Prodigy teased their global star power with an explosive headlining set at the U.K.’s Glastonbury Festival — making them the first electronic band to receive top billing at the event. Donning a shredded Union Jack flag and his signature inverted mohawk, Flint stalked the stage on the verge of combustion, spitting profanities while Liam Howlett manned the turntables and blue-haired live guitarist Gizz Butt (seriously) frantically bounded off and onstage. The Prodigy’s Glastonbury set helped usher in an increasingly strong EDM presence outside the club scene and into the summer festival circuit for decades — but no act was quite as profoundly incendiary as the ragtag group from Essex.

Following the 2018 release of No Tourists, the Prodigy’s final album featuring Flint, the band was planning a world tour spanning the U.K., Europe and the U.S. According to Glastonbury organizer Emily Eavis, the Prodigy were also scheduled to return to the festival in 2019. She described their 1997 show as a “huge, unforgettable moment.”

In This Article: Flashback, The Prodigy

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