The job centre DJ who keeps Glastonbury dancing

Image credit: BBC

On Sunday afternoon, a DJ who works the rest of the year at an employment centre in Stroud will open for Diana Ross at Glastonbury.

Since 1983, when admission was £12 and UB40 and US singer-songwriter Melanie were the headliners, Chris Bull has been the Pyramid Stage DJ.

The 68-year-old comments, “It’s a little strange, isn’t it?”

But it demonstrates that this festival is open to all. You may come here and have a wonderful time no matter what you do. 

Bull’s big break came when he was in his 20s and employed at a Bristol record store. He was a frequent visitor to Glastonbury and was aware that the event was looking for a DJ. Through a friend, he inquired about the opportunity with Johnnie Walker of Radio 2. 

Bull remembers his saying, “Brilliant, but you’ll have to do it with me because I haven’t got any gear.”

Throughout the past four decades, he has interspersed songs by Dolly Parton, Elbow, the Sugababes, Sheryl Crow, the Foo Fighters, Blondie, and Coldplay.

But Kanye West sticks out because, in contrast to other headliners, he let the local DJ acclimate his crowd.

Despite living close to some of the biggest names in rock, he claims he only occasionally gets to interact with celebrities.

He did, however, get to meet Mike Scott of The Waterboys when they performed at the Pyramid Stage in 1989, and he even managed to get the musician to sign his ticket.

His family life and the event are linked, just like many of the long-standing crew members. In 1987, his little son Liam was present for the first time. Liam and his wife, Anna, will be rooting for his father this year.

Bull claims he hasn’t decided what to play yet with one day left, preferring to gauge the crowd’s reaction first.

He promises that sounds will begin playing after he arrives and sets up in the morning. And even after 39 years, this weekend continues to be his favourite one of the year. You can ignore the idea that you are performing for 100,000 people because the ambience is so great.