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Billie Eilish produces heartfelt performance at Reading Festival

Billie Eilish played a subdued, heartfelt performance at Reading Festival as she returned to the event after four years.

The 21-year-old US hitmaker played at Little John’s Farm on Sunday, following her Leeds Festival set on Friday.

She surpassed Brixton rapper Dave, who had been the youngest artist to headline the festivals aged 23 in 2022.

In 2019, Eilish was upgraded from the BBC Radio 1 Stage to the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals.

On Sunday, she told fans it was “good to be back”.

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell with their Oscars, (Doug Peters/PA)

She kicked off with a bang, jumping on to the stage in a sports jersey as she opened with lines from Happier Than Ever before moving into Bury A Friend.

Fans tried to get further to the front for her emotional renditions of My Strange Addiction, Lovely and her Barbie soundtrack hit What Was I Made For? and Copycat.

The American singer-songwriter was joined by her brother Finneas O’Connell, who she called her “best friend”, as they duetted with guitars to pump out I Love You.

O’Connell followed her as she skipped and hopped around the stage for Bellyache before sliding into her original big hit, 2016’s Ocean Eyes.

Eilish is known for her activism on climate change and women’s rights and her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? reached number one in the UK album charts when she was 17.

She has been recognised commercially and critically for her honest, open lyrics and last year made the BBC 100 Women 2022 list, which celebrates influential people annually.

Eilish is the first singer born in the 21st Century to have a number one in the charts and win an Oscar.

Glastonbury Festival 2023
Rina Sawayama, pictured with Sir Elton John, when he headlined Glastonbury (Ben Birchall/PA)

In 2022, she became Glastonbury’s youngest solo headline and her performance of No Time To Die for the James Bond film of the same name won the Academy Award for best original song and topped the UK’s Official Charts in 2020.

Shortly before Eilish took to the stage, American indie pop band TV Girl were getting underway on the Festival Republic Stage.

Fans were packed in to the small tent with many more standing outside in the hopes of seeing the San Diego band, who have seen a growth in TikTok popularity.

Earlier at Reading, singer and John Wick: Chapter 4 star Rina Sawayama brought theatricality and an energetic performance to Main Stage East as she played hits Hold The Girl and Dynasty.

Her set featured several clothing changes, starting with a white ensemble top and shorts before moving into jeans and a white shirt and, finally, a red latex bodysuit.

During Comme Des Garcons (Like The Boys), a man – which appeared to reference the male gaze – was displayed on a screen looking down at her while she read the newspaper.

She also dedicated This Hell to “the queers” and called the crowd “sinners”.