As always Glastonbury this year was superb for me. The music and atmosphere was the best, the lovingly created art intrigued and delighted the eye, the beer and food was fine fare indeed and yes the mud was especially challenging. Michael said it was the worst ever! But that shared experience only enhanced the special bond between the Glastonbury revellers.
The following ramblings are about my highlights of this year’s festival. I saw many other bands which I will not mention some good and some not so good for me!
I have been to every Glastonbury since 2004 but this year I really thought I wouldn’t get there after failing to get a ticket last October. However I managed to get a coach ticket leaving the O2 in London at 5 am Wednesday morning. We should have got to the festival at about 10am but the roads around Glastonbury were gridlocked and we didn’t get there untill 3pm! Cars were getting stuck in muddy car parks and there were horrendous tailbacks. But when it was pissing down with rain whilst I was in the coach, it seemed the best place to be!
There were a bunch of us camping together. The others were held up for hours so we didn’t get camped untill the evening. After that we wandered over to West Holts stage for food and ended up at my favourite bar on top of the hill behind the Park Stage. This was new last year. It has real ale in barrels and the views over the site are spectacular. That night there was a myriad of twinkly lights and every so often the night sky lit up with a fireball as they were testing the flares on Arcadia.
There is more music on a Thursday that they used to be. We started out at the Greenpeace Stage to see the New York Brass Band, they were playing covers and included a Prince tribute. All great for a sing-a-long.
I went to see This Is The Kit on my favourite small stage The Crows Nest at the top of the hill behind the Park. (That stage will feature a lot in this blog). Lovely indie numbers from Kate Stables band which included the superbly talented Rozi Plain on bass and vocals.
The other highlight of the day was Kate Tempest performing on The Hell Stage in Shangri-La at night. She was so good. I loved her machine gun delivery of poetic rap. The poetry of her words is brilliant and is intertwined with serious social comment, e.g. “just because you can’t see the bars doesn’t mean you aren’t imprisoned” I had the privilege of meeting Kate a couple of days later at The Crows Nest!
The day started with The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians with Damon Albarn on The Pyramid Stage, it was good to support them as it is noble project which is a mixture of classical orchestra and eastern music and included a session with Damon singing 'Out Of Time'. Next up was Rokia Traore on The Pyramid from Mali, she was superb as usual. She has a wonderful voice singing mainly in French with an African funky rhythm.
More French connections with French singer songwriter Christine And The Queens on The Other Stage. Synth pop with the best dance routines I have seen! She was dancing with 3 male professional dancers who are part of her normal band.
With all the mud you can’t loll about on the grass so I treated myself to some chill out time lounging on a settee in a café in the hippy atmosphere of the Tipi Village. It, of course, had a stage with a band playing, as does almost every café in Glastonbury.
To the Pyramid Stage to get near the front for The Foals.
They were so good. What Went Down was one of my top five albums of last year. I hadn’t seen them for a couple of years and they just get better and better. Rock at its best especially when shared with hundreds of others rocking out around you in the evening sun. (yes sun!)
Muse were next on as headliners. They seem too often get a bad press, but I enjoyed their epic numbers and especially all the visual images and effects on the giant screens behind them, the visuals for Starlight was like flying through space.
My final highlight of the day was Jagwar Ma on at 1:30am at the Crows Nest. The small venue was packed with not much room to move to the electro dance sound of this three piece band which felt so good.
Started off at The Pyramid Stage for Baaba Maal. Squeeze sere on and were really good . You forget how many great songs they had. I loved the sound of Baaba Maal. African rhythms with passion and soul. He is from Senegal and was another singer who was singing in French!
The Band Of Skulls were great on The Other Stage. Nice riffs and rock sounds.The soulful ballads of Michael Kiwanuka were excellent at The Crows Nest. He was followed by Alexis Taylor. Gentle thoughtful songs which he accompanied on the keyboard.
I moved down the hill to the Park Stage. The penultimate highlight of the day was Mercury Rev. they were truly wonderful. I loved the ethereal sounds of the band. When they played The dark Is Rising it felt so good. it gave me goose bumps!
The final highlight of the day was the band The Very Best in the Crows Nest after a few pints at the neighbouring bar. They had been playing the West Holts Stage earlier that day and it was like being in a great party with a live band playing funky Afro pop and they didn’t finish till 2:30am!
After that I went to one of my favourite bar in Greenfields to chill on the comfort of their settees. It’s an amazing place like being in someone’s lounge for a party with a bar, table football machine and a DJ.
The cool man who is Gregory Porter was on the Pyramid Stage in the morning when I got there. He was followed by Laura Mvula looking wonderful in a flamboyant dress with large neck piece patterned like a union jack and sporting the most enormous earrings. I was wanting to hear her soulful voice and was not disappointed.
Jeff Lynne’s ELO played next on that stage. It was a smooth performance and a real guilty pleasure to hear those 70’s and 80’s sounds and hits like It’s Magic and Telephone Line. Band Of Horses were on the John Peel Stage which had moved up the hill on the Worthy farm side to where the cinema used to be. They were really good with their American sound of rocking Americana.
The big highlight of the day was to see Coldplay headline the Pyramid Stage again. The show was a visual and aural delight. They put so much into their performance and there were fireworks, confetti cannon, lasers, and we all wore wristbands which lit up and changed colour according to some central control!
During the performance they had a tribute to Mohamed Ali and also played a Viola Beach number in tribute to the that young band. Bee Gee Barry Gibb joined the band for a couple of classics. The whole show had a feelgood finish to another superb Glastonbury.
And you know when after hearing a band a particular number will continue in your head for a while well the lights on my wristband continued to change colour as a reminder until about 6 pm the following day!
I love Glastonbury even in horrendously muddy conditions. Let’s hope I can get tickets again next year and keep up my unbroken run of being there since 2004!