So like 170,000 others I made my way to Worthy Farm in Somerset for this year’s Glastonbury festival and encountered (and survived) the mud, crowds, portaloos, sunburn, exhaustion and, unfortunately, tent robbers.
Getting to the site at around 2am on Wednesday morning, me, my boyfriend and sister proceeded to wait in a queue of eager punters for the gates to open at 8am. Luckily, or perhaps not, the rain managed to hold off until the moment we walked through the gates when it hammered down in true Glasto style and soaked through several layers of clothing including those that were still in our rucksacks. Nevertheless we pitched up right in front of the Other Stage; a great location not too far from some of the main festival attractions.
The first day went without much to report as we sat around trying to stay awake, deciding on which bands we would most like to see and debating the identity of the special guest slots while our other friends made their way to meet us.
The first night however, I awoke to our tent being zipped wide open and saw a glimpse of a welly run off just after my bag had been ransacked and £50 taken from my purse. Not a good start. In the morning we discovered that a lot of tents around us had also been invaded and we were in fact the lucky ones since they didn’t take much compared to others’ losses of hundreds of pounds, passports, phones and whole wallets etc. Disgruntled at the idea that even Glastonbury was partial to petty crime but excited for what the rest of the festival had to offer we vowed to carry on as if it never happened, even if it meant having less money to spend on sampling the weird and wonderful food available from the hundreds of tasty vendors.
Despite the rain I think I enjoyed Friday’s bands the most, although this may have had something to do with the near whole box of wine that was consumed… Still, highlights included; Metronomy, just a personal favourite (their song ‘The Look’ has sort of become my summer anthem), Two Door Cinema Club, who managed to get a pyramid stage crowd going during one of the first performances of the day; Miles Kane, only one album and the John Peel crowd were warbling along as if he was performing a greatest hits setlist; Mumford and Sons, never fail to win over an audience even in torrential rain. And last, but definitely not least; Primal Scream. Arguably the best band of the weekend for me, Screamadelica is an album made for festivals and not one person in the crowd was to be seen stood still during their set. Bobby Gillespie’s shirt was also pretty brilliant.
Spent most of Saturday walking around the Green Fields and looking at various weirdos and weird things in the Cabaret and Avalon areas. It’s one of the best things about Glastonbury, the fact that there’s still so much to do and see even if you don’t catch many bands. Having said that I did manage to catch Graham Coxon and then Pulp on the Park Stage. Thoroughly enjoyed this mini britpop reunion as our group (and hundreds others) sat on the Glastonbury hill, in the sun(!), singing along at the tops of our voices to the likes of ‘Disco 2000’ and ‘Common People’. Perfect.
Finally, Chemical Brothers; lights, strobes, graphics (albeit fairly creepy) bass, flares and all the crazy dancing you can witness in an hour’s time. Here we go!
The sun is out! absolutely scorching day, cue odd sunburn/tan lines to go with the mud stains on your clothes. Of course in a quintessentially British way we all complained about the 29 degrees weather despite the fact that it had previously rained for the past 3 days. Ho Hum. First act of the day was Laura Marling who was, even from the back of the pyramid stage where we were perched, fantastic. She’s a singer i’ve wanted to see for ages but can never get tickets and she definitely did not disappoint. Her soothing folksy sound was perfect for a sunny sunday afternoon and it only made me more determined to hear more- my hunt for tickets will go on. After this I made my way to the other stage to catch Bombay Bicycle Club and because I was on my own managed to squeeze my way to the front. I’m glad I did! Despite the boiling weather they gave it their all and were definitely worth fighting through the sweaty crowd to see them. However, the highlight of Sunday was undoubtedly Beyonce. Singing all her hits, and a medley of some of destiny’s child’s songs she didn’t fail to deliver the crowd’s expectations. I think it’s also worth mentioning how good her all female band were, along with her backing singers, The Mammas, she performed with true ‘Independent Woman’ style. All in all it was a great way to close the curtain on the pyramid stage for the next couple of years.
Verdict: I’ve seen Glastonbury in the raging heat (I was at last year’s festival which went off without a drop of rain) and i’ve seen it in the pouring rain and mud and I have to say that it makes no difference. The atmosphere, the music, the people and everything in between makes it one of the most unique experiences in the world. Bring on 2013!