Local Band Becomes Youngest Ever to Play Glastonbury

Technology enables frontman Eli to overcome disability

The Askew Band at a soundcheck before its Glastonbury performance. Picture: Instagram/@askewband



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June 27, 2023

A rock band from the local area became the youngest ever to perform at Glastonbury this Friday (23 June).

Rather than studying for their GCSEs, Eli Crossley, Alfie Lewis, Freddie Wormleighton, Jay Guru-Murthy and Will Ponds who make up Askew and are aged 15 and 16, were in Somerset playing at the same festival as Sir Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and the Arctic Monkeys.

The band was formed seven years ago with members from Acton, Chiswick and Kew and, up until now, had only played gigs in small venues with an audience made up mainly of their parents.

The idea of playing the festival first came up when front man Eli Crossley said that the Smart Suit, a technology developed by his mother’s charity, might enable him to fulfil his dream of performing at Glastonbury.

Eli was not entirely serious when he made the comment during an interview on BBC Breakfast earlier this year. He was appearing to talk about the rare condition he suffers from called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This is a degenerative disease and means he is increasingly dependent on assistive technology to perform and has been in a wheelchair since last year.

As a result of the interview a viral campaign on social media took off with the hashtag #GetTheLadIn and that helped the band get its slot. The clincher was the band being spotted performing live by a parent at a school end of term talent show. He was Jon Turner of Island Records who was so impressed that he contacted Glastonbury Festival organiser Emily Eavis the next day urging her to include them. Once she had seen a video of Askew performing she was convinced.

Eli says music is a form of therapy for him and the love of British rock music shared with his friends and band mates is helping him to cope with the devastating impact of the disease.

Eli Crossley appearing on BBC Breakfast recently
Eli Crossley appearing on BBC Breakfast recently

His mother, Emily Reuben, is one of the co-founders of Duchenne UK which funds research into the disease. She was awarded an OBE for her work in the recent King’s Birthday Honours List.

Another parent of a band member is broadcaster 53-year-old Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s who wrote on Twitter, ‘Overexcited dad living vicariously while 16 year old and mates sound check at #glastonbury #askew #rabbit hole at 5.30pm.’

In an interview with the NME Eli said, “I get challenges every day to do certain things that some people may find easier, but it hasn’t affected my music.

“Music is a sort of therapy. It’s kind of a way to just escape and have fun with your friends.”

Askew’s main influences are Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys and the band kicked off with Supersonic. The 30 minute set of a mixture of covers and original music received a rapturous reception from the festival goers on the Rabbit Hole stage.

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