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Love saves the world, say Ukraine’s Go_A after ‘dream’ Glastonbury performance

Ukrainian group Go_A performing on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival (Ben Birchall/PA)
Ukrainian group Go_A performing on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ukrainian Eurovision stars Go_A said “love saves the world” as they called for unity in the face of Russia’s invasion after their first performance at Glastonbury Festival.

Lead singer Kateryna Pavlenko told the PA news agency the event at Worthy Farm is a “place for free people”, adding: “People need to understand that freedom is a very rare gift, so we need to save it.”

The crowd which gathered for the electro-folk group’s performance at the John Peel Stage on Saturday showed rapturous support for the band and Ukraine.

Dozens of yellow and blue Ukrainian flags flew above the hundreds who had gathered and the crowd burst into rapturous applause as Pavlenko opened the set by saying: “We are Go_A and we’re from Ukraine.”

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Crowds waved Ukrainian flags as they cheered and danced along to Go_A’s performance (Ben Birchall/PA)

After finishing fifth at Eurovision for their home nation in 2021, this was Go_A’s first performance at Glastonbury, which the band said is “a dream come true”.

“Many, many years, I dream about Glastonbury, and I don’t believe that some day I (would play on this) stage… it’s like magic,” Pavlenko told PA.

“The main message of our music is people need to unite.

“Love saves the world.”

Tars Shevchenko, who plays keyboard and percussion for the band, said: “I could just scream, it’s one of the high points of our band, a dream come true.”

Asked about the situation in his home country, Shevchenko said: “We call our friends every day just to know if they’re still alive.

“Our message for them is just stay safe and for our guys in the military – good hunting.”

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Kateryna Pavlenko said playing at Glastonbury was ‘magical’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

The musical quartet, which also includes multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk and guitarist Ivan Hryhoriak, were repeatedly met with roars of encouragement from the audience as they referenced resistance to Russian forces and the plight of their people.

Pavlenko said one song was “about the strong and brave Ukrainian people” and introduced another by stating: “You know that the war is going on in our country, and this song is about our pain.”

Asked for the message they were sharing with their music, Shevchenko said: “To create is always harder and more difficult than to destroy… you shouldn’t destroy when you can create.”

The band’s performance comes after Kalush Orchestra, who won Eurovision 2022 for Ukraine, played at the Truth Stage in the early hours of Saturday morning and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Glastonbury on Friday.

Mr Zelensky called for the world to “spread the truth” about Russia’s invasion and Go_A thanked the festival organisers for organising the statement.

“Right now we have the best president in Ukraine and we are grateful for all he does to help our country,” said Pavlenko.

“Because this war is so long and this is the first president who tried to share what we feel – I hope some day we will win and our president will do everything to make this day happen sooner.

“Thank you Glastonbury for the opportunity because right now we need to speak about it and Glastonbury is a place of free people.”