30 June, 2010

Glastonbury 2009

Originally posted: 30th June, 2009

Although a few things had relocated (plus the fact I hadn't been everywhere anyway) I seem to have got the hang of finding my way around the huge site now, so there was no missing an act because I couldn't find the stage. There were however cases where I missed an act because of irritating clashes. Sometimes there was overlap so I could watch the start of one then head to the other, but if there was more than two I wanted to see things got complicated and ultimately it didn't happen.

 Day 1 was spent mostly in Traffic. Setting off from home at 7:00 I was expecting to be all set-up by the afternoon relaxing with a drink and some food before heading off for a look at the site. We eventually arrived on site around 20:30 and that's with the aid of a local flogging us a shortcut for a quid (a second local gave us a free shortcut!). After parking we then had to transport all our stuff from cars to campsite, getting wristbands along the way. I don't know how long this all took but we were having to put up tents with the aid of torches. Next: food. Consequently sleep was delayed until well into day 2.

 In the morning I discovered the toilets were already terrible but it was a sunny day that involved the previously planned relaxing and then we were off to our first band: Maximo Park. They were in the Queens Head which (if you don't know your Glasto stages) is a small tent. As the first recognisable name of the festival a huge amount of people turned up and the set had to be delayed for safety reasons. When they did get going our group was sat chatting/chilling with a group of random people well away from the tent and actually we didn't really pay the band much attention… but apparently they were good.

 After all that I went off for a wander to look around the site. Lizo from Newsround was recording something near the Pyramid stage but not a lot else was happening. I then purchased a coconut and started drinking just as a thunderstorm started, making for a comical sight as I headed back to my tent. With lots more rain later on I was shocked that the place didn't become super muddy. Even more surprising was that apart from a few brief moments the rest of the festival was a bright and sunny one. Two years on the trot!

Day 3 (aka Friday) is when the festival begins proper and the mass-band watching commences. Can't list them all (though lets face it a list would be boring) as some I just stumbled across and didn't always catch their name. None were dull and plenty were great: Kasabian, Tom Jones, Jarvis Cocker, Spinal Tap to name just a few. Also excellent were Easy Star All-Stars (reggae Sgt. Pepper's) who I wish I'd seen all of but I didn't due to—if I recall correctly—food delays.

I can't pick an overall favourite but for each of the main days:

Friday: Ray Davies. Headlining the Acoustic stage and playing mostly Kinks material this was an amazing set. We somehow got near the front causing me to curse myself for leaving my camera in the tent. The crowd were still singing Lola as they slowly exited the field.

Saturday: Little Boots. Had it not been for Mr Davies, Little Boots' set (on the John Peel stage) would have been the Friday highlight, but Saturday she took the top spot due to this intimate stripped-down performance in the rather awesome (and tiny) Guardian Lounge. Armed with just a keyboard and her trusty Tenori-on (“it’s magic” she says when quizzed on what it is) this was great to watch. I was front row and this time remembered my camera.

Sunday: Blur. It seems that every knobhead at the festival descended for this finale at the Pyramid stage, pushing their way past everyone to get to the front but the band were on top form, playing great song after great song with the crowd singing every word. Just as you're struggling to think what else they could play they hit you with another song you realise is one of your favourites. A fantastic end to a fantastic festival.
 Little Boots

Monday was… uneventful. Got up at 4:00, packed everything away, headed home (some slight congestion, but never stationary), spent a long time in the bath.