Interview: Ian Stone on Glastonbury Festival 2024

The Independent ranked Ian Stone amongst the top ten stand-ups in Britain, The Times described him as “a masterful exponent of self mocking Jewish humour” while The Guardian has called him “Seriously funny” – you get the picture, he’s good.

He describes himself slightly differently, though. “I’m a writer, broadcaster, podcaster and stand-up comedian… ANYTHING to not have to get a proper job”. If not a ‘proper job’, then he’s at least built up an incredibly successful career over the past three decades in the business and he shows no signs of slowing down with a performance at this year’s Glastonbury Festival followed by a run at Edinburgh Fringe and a national tour through September and November.

“I’ve been doing stand-up since August 14th 1991, but actually, my journey started seven years before when I met my girlfriend.” Stone says. Two weeks after we met, she told me that I should try stand-up comedy. It took me seven years of thinking about it before I was ready to give it a go. And as I discovered, I still wasn’t anywhere close to being ready. But I kept at it and I’m very much looking forward to doing my second gig at the Glastonbury festival.” He adds, “This is a joke, by the way.”

In addition to acclaimed stand-up tours, he has appeared on television shows such as Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and The 11 O’Clock Show, and combined his love of football and comedy in a series of successful television, radio shows and podcasts.

Coming back to Glastonbury, it’s clear the festival holds a special place for Stone. “I love performing at Glastonbury. I love hanging out with the other performers, I love seeing all the different artists do their thing. And as well as the gigs themselves which can be tremendous fun, you get to be part of the best festival on earth.”

Though the weather forecast for this year is currently anyone’s guess, he says that “if the sun is shining, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Ian Stone plays the Cabaret tent in Glastonbury Festival’s Theatre and Circus fields. Photo: Charles Gervais, Both Hemispheres Photography.

He’s got big plans beyond the festival too, as he returns to the stage with his latest show, Ian Stone is Keeping it Together, beginning with a run of shows at Edinburgh Fringe throughout August before hitting the road for a national tour from September to November.

Festival sets can often differ from a traditional stand-up gig for many comedians. We ask him what he has up his sleeve for his show in the Cabaret tent at this year’s festival. “My plan is to be on time, sober and ready for anything. In terms of content, it’ll be the week before the general election so quite politics-heavy, I imagine.”

It’s not just the set that can be different, the audience can vary too. “Festival shows are different from regular club sets. The Cabaret tent is enormous so unless a couple of thousand rock up just before you go on, you may not get quite the same reaction that you get in a small club with a low ceiling. But don’t think that people aren’t enjoying themselves, they are. Sometimes, they’re just too wasted to show it. But if you look like you’re happy to be there and you can go with the flow, you’ll have a great time.”

He’s also looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere at the festival, planning to check out “as many [acts] as possible”, but recognising that Glastonbury can have its own plans for your weekend.

“I’ll definitely go and watch Dexys at The Park and I would’ve checked out Steel Pulse but I’m on at the same time as them. Breeders at The Park, Idles and Two Door Cinema Club on The Other Stage, perhaps The Skatalites on Saturday lunchtime on West Holts. I’ll probably end up at the Glade one afternoon for a dance and Block 9 at some point. But anyone who’s been to Glastonbury knows that I might have a completely different weekend from one I planned. We’ll see. I can’t wait.”

Ian Stone performs at Cabaret, Glastonbury Festival on Sunday 30 June from 15:35 to 16:05. He also comperes the Cabaret tent on Friday 28 June from 12:00 to 16:00.

Ian Stone is Keeping it Together is at Edinburgh Fringe from 1 to 25 August, then touring from 13 September.

You can also find our full Glastonbury coverage here:

And don’t miss our Cabaret tent preview: