Glastonbury 2016 highlights – the best of what to see and do

Time of your life … festival-goers watch Lionel Richie perform at last year’s festival. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

The Beat Hotel brings cocktails and beats

Home to the festival’s best frozen cocktails, the Beat Hotel is also hosting some of the finest dance sets of the weekend. On Thursday Seth Troxler, whose Smokey Tails BBQ is also on offer, will be playing back to back with techno man-minx Tiga, supported by DJ Tennis. Friday has the cracking prospect of a Midland, Joy Orbison and Ben UFO tag team, plus Mano le Tough and Maceo Plex. Don Letts pays tribute to the late DJ Derek at lunchtime on Saturday, with Vancouver disco bros Pender Street Steppers teeing up brilliant talent from Young Turks: John Talabot, Reckonwrong and Nic Tasker, plus Floating Points and Four Tet going cosmic back to back. Sunday has Balearic jams from Bill Brewster and Francis Inferno Orchestra, before Joe Goddard of Hot Chip showcases talent from his Greco-Roman label, with Simian Mobile Disco also dropping by. BBT Thursday-Sunday, 10am-late

You can dance if you want to … the entrance to NYC Downlow. Photograph: Alicia Canter/Observer

NYC Downlow is the treasure of the site

If you can get near it – it’s invariably mobbed – dance arena Block 9’s re-creation of an NYC gay club is one of Glastonbury’s real treasures, as much for the music as the atmosphere of pansexual, drag queen-heavy abandon. This year’s lineup is particularly rich, with disco gospel expert Greg Belson on Thursday, Roger Sanchez, Horse Meat Disco’s James Hillard and Miss Honey Dijon on Friday and Berlin duo Tama Sumo and Lakuti on Saturday among the gems. The truly hardcore Glasto-goer can end the weekend at 5am on Monday with Hillard’s fellow HMDer Luke Howard’s traditional, epic closing set. AP Thursday-Sunday, 10pm-late

Vince Staples will make you want to grind

Glastonbury 2016 is doing a fine trade in bearded-blokes-with-acoustic-guitars-who-wanna-be-Bon-Iver this year (Half Moon Run, Bear’s Den, Jack Garratt, that Frightened Rabbit/Lumineers double bill on Friday). But for every tweed jacket and man bun, or earnest song that has couples embracing each other with rigor mortis-like grips, there is an artist delivering some hard-hitting realness – like Vince Staples. The 22-year-old from Long Beach, California proffers his rhymes about bleak hood life in a claustrophobic, bone-chilling atmosphere, but he is also a talented performer. His shows combine hype and wit with wonky, slinky bass that will make you want to grind with – not embrace – your nearest cagouled friend. KH Friday, 4pm, West Holts stage

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Ezra Furman … dressed to kill. Photograph: Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images

In the past couple of years Ezra Furman has grown from being a curio at the outer edges of the music scene into one of the most captivating artists at work right now. Admittedly, the market for crossdressing, genderfluid, depressive, observant Jewish artists obsessed with old rock’n’roll is not yet saturated, but it’s not being different that sets Furman apart – it’s being great. His songs are both timeless and timely, reflections on our time that could have been recorded in 1957. And he’s in his element live. Expect him to respond when he plays in front of the biggest crowd of his career. MH Park stage, Friday, 5pm

Try Kurupt FM and Super Hans for actual laughs

For all the entertainment available elsewhere at the festival, Glasto’s underpowered comedy output is often about as amusing as a stag weekend with Dapper Laughs. This year, though, some actual laughs can be found over in the music venues. On Friday, the Sonic stage welcomes the MCs ofurban-powerhouse-slash-radio-station-slash-family-unit Kurupt FM, whom you might recognise from BBC3 mockumentary People Just Do Nothing. Then on Saturday the Stonebridge Bar boasts a DJ set from Peep Show’s very own Super Hans. Expect excerpts from the big beat manifesto and a host of tunes stolen from Sophie’s cousin Barney. GM Kurupt FM, Sonic stage, Friday, 5pm; Super Hans, Stonebridge Bar, Saturday, 8pm

Toddla T hosts his Glastonbury Carnival

Raging against the rain more enthusiastically than most will be Toddla T, who is hosting an entire carnival within Glastonbury itself. The lineup is superb, with Jamaican pop-reggae star Protoje alongside killer UK MCs such as Section Boyz, Nadia Rose, Lady Leshurr, Fekky and J Hus; DJs include 1Xtra lol-slinger Charlie Sloth and dancehall crowdpleasers the Heatwave. Bring a shonkily mixed two-litre bottle of rum and Ting to further approximate the Caribbean vibes. BBTStonebridge Bar, Friday, 10pm–5am

Hot Chip will turn you Purple

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Prince … you can’t have him, but you can have his music. Photograph: Chris O’Meara/AP

If I had a pound for every rumour about Prince headlining Glastonbury over the years, I would be rich enough to buy his entire discography and a ruffle-neck shirt by now. Tragically, of course, the dream of seeing the Purple One annihilate the Pyramid Stage has evaporated with him to the castle in the sky. Which is why I will be paying my respects at the next best thing, a DJ playing his music, at the Blade Runnerish altar of Genosys in the heart of Bloc 9 on Friday night. Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, who’ll be presiding over the decks, knows a thing or two about funk and slow jams, and is promising some strong singalongs and the odd obscurity squidged into an hour. The only downside is that it won’t go on for longer. KH Hot Chip Remembers Prince, Genosys, Friday night, 12.30am

Read more at the Guardian

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