BBC presenter Ros Atkins shares ‘unlikely development’ as he’s given drum’n’bass DJ set at Glastonbury

BBC presenter Ros Atkins will perform a drum’n’bass DJ set at Glastonbury, two years after he revealed his hidden past as a festival and club DJ.

Atkins, who has become known for presenting Outside Source on BBC News, revealed in an interview in 2022 that while as a student at Cambridge University, he would run dance music events and perform drum’n’bass sets at festivals. He said he last performed in the mid-Noughties at a festival in Regent’s Park, but hit pause on his part-time DJ’ing gig when his first daughter was born.

After Atkins made his secret talents publicly known, he was invited to perform a set on BBC6 Music and went viral on social media. He was then invited to play several gigs in London, but soon realised that most DJs had moved away from vinyl and his kit needed a major upgrade.

Speaking about the backstory behind his forthcoming Glastonbury booking, Atkins said on X/Twitter: “Most of my music was on vinyl and the only kit I had was my pair of indestructible Vestax turntables (still very much going strong...). Given most DJs had moved away from vinyl, this didn’t seem like a plan.”

Atkins praised famous DJs such as Andy C and Ray Keith who sent him words of encouragement on social media, and gave him a helping hand in re-familiarising himself with the kit.

The presenter then met up with Ray Keith, who spent two hours with him, running through the kit, mixing techniques and song selection.

“In the summer of 2022, at Ray’s invitation, I got a train from Fenchurch Street station to Grays in Essex. After a short walk, I arrived at a car park and, just past this sign, was the home of Thames Delta Radio,” he said.

“I was about to get a lesson from Ray Keith. The same Ray Keith I’ve been listening to ever since Sixth Form. And the man behind one of the biggest tracks. I soaked it all up, taking notes as we went along”.

“Over the next few weeks, Ray helped me work out what kit I needed to practise on at home (we settled on a Pioneer XDJ-XZ). It wasn’t, and still isn’t, entirely clear where this fits in our house, but my family was understanding enough to not let that stop me.”

Atkins is best known for presenting ‘Outside Source’ on the BBC News (BBC)
Atkins is best known for presenting ‘Outside Source’ on the BBC News (BBC)

Atkins said he was in disbelief when Carl Gosling, who works at the Soho venue The Social, started floating the idea of a performance at Glastonbury.

“Before long, Carl messaged to say we were on – and I took a very deep breath,” he said.

Atkins will be playing the Glastonbury Saturday at the Stonebridge stage at Glastonbury from 3.30pm to 5pm – an idea he said he “hasn’t remotely got used to”.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the invite - and to @BBC6Music, Ray Keith, The Social and others who’ve encouraged me along the way,” said Atkins. “Hope to see some of your there.”