Thom Yorke played a secret DJ set for almost no one

Thom Yorke played a secret DJ set for almost no one
Atoms for Peace with Thom Yorke, left, and Flea onstage earlier this month in Austin, Texas. Yorke played a surprise DJ set at a UK festival this weekend. (Jack Plunkett / Invision / Associated Press)

This post has been updated. Please see below for details. 

Thom Yorke has played ultra-exclusive, unannounced DJ sets before (like a recent gig at Low End Theory in Lincoln Heights). But the Radiohead frontman raised the bar for absurd underplays when he sneaked onto a festival bill over the weekend, according to various sources including NME.

At Leopallooza in Cornwall, England, Yorke quietly took the stage before a small crowd around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

He was never billed to play, and there was no fanfare to clue audiences in. The rest of the bill was made up of substantially more modest acts - DZ Deathrays and Foxes among them.


According to festival goers, few if any fans seemed to recognize him. The London Evening Standard estimated the crowd to be about eight people.

"He's probably the most influential artist of the past decade and here he is prepping to play to half a dozen drunk hippies," one gobsmacked fan told the paper.

Yorke ended the set when fans cajoled him into coming offstage and dancing with them - while still, apparently, having no idea that he's the singer in one of the most successful rock bands of the last two decades.

Cai Waggett, Leopallooza's organizer, wrote a statement to Pitchfork clarifying some information about Yorke's set. His statement is as follows:

Thom is a good friend of the festival and he understands the DIY ethos of this independent event, and he offered a late-night set in our backstage area as a little exclusive, playing alongside the excellent DJ Samo. It was purposely kept quiet until very close to his performance so as not to overshadow anything else going on at the time.

There are several parts I need to correct in relation to the Evening Standard piece quoted!!

1. It was at 12:30am (not 2/2:30am)

2. The air was completely patchouli free.

3. There were at least 30 people present throughout (not including the 7 bar staff working that bar at the time!)

4. No Barn dancing/Line dancing/Dosie-do'ing/Riverdancing/Morris dancing ever took place - it was just dancing!

5. People knew who he was, but everyone respected his right to have fun & party during his down time. Just as they did everyone else!

6. Somehow it was missed that he also played last year too....]

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