How does it feel to go from Gisborne to Glastonbury? ‘Pretty chill,’ DJ Messie says

It might be the biggest gig of some artists’ lives, but playing Glastonbury festival was a “pretty chill” time for Gisborne DJ Tessa Hills, better known as Messie.

Last Friday, the 21-year-old DJ and drummer took over Glastonbury’s Shangri-La, serving a one-hour set – her first ever show in the UK.

Hills has been on a whirlwind adventure since March, when her electronic dance music caught the ear of English producer Fred Again.

After playing to a crowd of 35,000 at his closing set in Perth, Australia, she says Glastonbury felt far less intimidating.

“I don’t know how many people were there, maybe 5000 or something like that, it was a good size crowd, and it was really sunny, really wholesome energy.”

DJ Messie

Hills played her set as part of the Joy (Anonymous) and Friends show at Shangri-La – known as one of Worthy Farm’s most outlandish party areas.

Both local and international artists, including New Zealand’s Lady Shaka, performed back-to-back for a showcase that lasted 16 hours.

Hills says the call to play Glastonbury came at the very last minute – and it only panned out because of a pre-planned trip to the UK and Europe in July.

“I first had my flights booked for 1 July to come over, but about three weeks ago [rave duo] Joy (Anonymous) messaged me wondering if I was going to be around in Europe around the 28th of June.

“I was like, ‘I can be. Why is that?’ And they just asked if I wanted a stage takeover for Glastonbury and obviously, I said yes, so we just kind of sussed it out from there.”

For many, rushed flights and a set at one of the biggest music festivals in the world would be a daunting task, but Hills says she felt “pretty calm” about it all.

“It was really good, honestly, I think after doing Perth, nothing kind of compared to the pressure of that. I was pretty chill beforehand.

“There were lots of New Zealanders there, there were so many different Kiwi flags up and just people there to see my set, and that really helped with easing any kind of nerves I was feeling. I wasn’t really nervous but the waiting around, anticipating that it was about to happen – my set was really, really good, I just gave it all I had and it was fun.”

There were plenty of high-profile artists and celebrities roaming around Glastonbury. Hills spotted a few but was too nervous to approach them.

“I saw Louis Tomlinson in my campsite, but I didn’t wanna go up to him. He was with a big group of guys, and I just wasn’t about to go up to him, and then I also saw beabadoobee just getting some sushi and I was too scared to go up to her.

“There were lots of people just floating around, I saw a bunch of other DJs like Sammy Virji, but I couldn’t bring myself to go up to any of them.”

Hills fundraised for a crew to go over to the UK with her, so they could document her journey from Gisborne to Glastonbury. The Boosted donations far surpassed her goal, but things didn’t exactly pan out as expected.

“We got the whole doco team over here, so they’re able to join and follow me for the next month, but we weren’t able to get them any access to Glastonbury unfortunately. Tickets are so hard to find, we tried to ask everywhere, but it’s just the hottest ticket to get Glastonbury, it just sells out. And the whole process to sort out resale and stuff like that, it was just really hard to do and we didn’t wanna risk anything.

“I just took a camera with me and tried to film as much as I could on my phone. It was kind of gutting that they couldn’t come, but at least they’ll be here in London with me for the month.”

For the rest of July, Hills is dedicating her time in London to doing shows, meeting people and collaborating. Then it’s time for a break.

“In August I’m just gonna travel around Europe and be a tourist.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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