Glastonbury Festival 27th – 29th June 2014
This year’s Glastonbury festival had a mixed and varied line-up which resulted in quite a bit of discussion around the Pyramid stage headliners who were Arcade Fire (were they big enough to headline?), Metallica (should a metal band headline Glasto?) and Kasabian (were they ready?) after negotiations with Prince fell apart, and Fleetwood Mac were unable to confirm because John McVie wasn’t well. In the event the largest crowd of the weekend was for a little country girl from Tennessee, Dolly Parton, who got everyone singing along during the Sunday afternoon legends slot.
We arrived at Glastonbury late on Wednesday afternoon, managing to find a spot for our tent, on a wonderful hot sunny Summer evening. Thursday was spent exploring the site and also sheltering from the first of many downpours. The weather was quite mixed this year with rain on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday was completely dry and hot. Friday’s rain was the worst with torrential downpours, thunder and lightning, causing the music to be halted for a short period. The rain resulted in the inevitable Glastonbury mud, which wasn’t as bad as it might have been; when the rain passed the sun quickly came out and some very hot spells quickly dried up the ground. Because of the weather, and also because we are getting older, we didn’t venture far from the Pyramid stage this year.
The festival officially opened on Friday; we made a point of watching Lilly Allen (who was good fun) and Arcade Fire and also listened to Elbow (lots of singalong), De La Soul and Rodrigo Y Gabriella. I can’t pretend to know much of Arcade Fire’s music, but found their set quite enjoyable.
On Saturday we caught Lana Del Rey (excellent and much darker and rockier than I had expected), Jack White (very 60s and Zep/Cream-like), Robert Plant and Metallica. Robert Plant’s set came after a massive downpour but I had promised I would make sure I saw him so I made my way right down to the front of the stage (very muddy) for his set. This is the first time I have seen Plant’s latest band the Sensational Space Shifters and must say I was impressed by them. The set was a mix of Zep classics and some new songs and Plant was on fine form, singing well, and reminiscing about playing the Bath festival in 1969. The Zeppelin songs have been reworked a little, but Plant’s vocal delivery remains pretty true to the original. A great set and the highlight of the weekend for me. Robert Plant Setlist: Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You; Tin Pan Valley; Black Dog; Rainbow; Going to California; The Enchanter; Little Maggie; What Is and What Should Never Be; Fixin’ to Die; Whole Lotta Love / Who Do You Love. Encore: Rock and Roll.
Metallica’s set was preceded by a quite weird and funny video which started with a clip from a Clint Eastwood western and then moved to a fox hunting scene, ending in Metallica dressed as bears and shooting the huntsmen. Rolling Stone magazine explained: “Before Metallica took the stage, they poked fun at the Britons who protested their appearance over frontman James Hetfield’s support of hunting with a video titled Glastallica directed by Glastonbury documentarian Julian Temple. The band kicked things off by running their usual intro clip of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but switched things to focus on a fox hunt. As the video shows wealthy statesmen readying themselves for a big hunt, a voice calls out, “What does the fox say?” and chaos begins, with rifle-wielding bears, played by the band itself, exacting their revenge on the hunters.”
Metallica have been waiting a long time to play Glastonbury, and it was clear they were delighted to be playing. Their set was truly excellent, pulling out all the stops for a crowd who were largely unfamiliar with their music and mostly not metal fans. It worked, with a good mix of rock and ballads (“Nothing Else Matters” in particular resulting in large cheers and lots of singing) and the Glastonbury crowd gave them a great reception, largely vindicating the controversial booking.
Metallica setlist: Glastallica (Bear Hunting Parody video); Creeping Death; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Wherever I May Roam; Sad but True; Fade to Black; Cyanide; The Unforgiven; The Memory Remains; One; Master of Puppets; Nothing Else Matters; Enter Sandman. Encore: Whiskey in the Jar; Seek and Destroy.
The highlight of the Sunday, and of the entire weekend was Dolly Parton. The Pyramid stage was completely rammed for her appearance which hit the perfect note. Dolly handled the massive crowd (estimated at 90,000 – 100,000 of the 180,000 at the festival) as she would a crowd at one of her own arena concerts, introducing each song with a little story about its background and herself. The crowd loved it. Glastonbury works best with artists who have a large back catalogue of songs that everyone knows (e.g. Stevie Wonder, The Stones) and it certainly worked for Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton setlist: Baby I’m Burnin’ / Girl on Fire; Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That; Jolene; Blue Smoke; Coat of Many Colors; Rocky Top; Mud Song (song written especially for Glastonbury); Banks of the Ohio; Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You / But You Know I Love You / Real Love / Think About Love; Here You Come Again; Two Doors Down; Islands in the Stream; 9 to 5; Lay Your Hands on Me (with guest Richie Sambora); I Will Always Love You.
We left shortly after Dolly Parton’s set to avoid the traffic leaving the site, having overall enjoyed the festival. Final views: a good Glastonbury, but my no means classic, weather mixed but not terrible, line-up lacked any really massive acts but strong and varied, the demographic seems to be shifting; I noticed far fewer older people and at several points felt I was probably one of the oldest people there (a feeling which I haven’t experienced there before).
Archive for the ‘Glastonbury’ Category
Glastonbury Festival 2013
I’ve already reported my thoughts on the Rolling Stones and Portishead sets at Glastonbury 2013, but I would also like to briefly reflect on my overall impressions of this year festival. We are just getting used to going to festivals again, having taken a long break from the days when we used to attend most of the festivals that took place in the UK throughout the 70s and early 80s. We have been to one day events in the years since then, but I really couldn’t face the prospect of camping and staying in a field for several days. Until 2010, that is, when Marie, David, Laura and I decided to take the plunge and go to Glastonbury. To my surprise and delight, we all enjoyed every minute of the experience, and we returned on 2011 and again this year in 2013. Glastonbury 2011 tested our faith, with a lot of rain and mud, and made me think twice about going this year. We hired a campervan in 2010 and 2011, but this year, partly as a result of the van getting stuck in the mud and having to get towed out by a tractor (which still gives me nightmares), we decided to try camping for real, in a tent (!) this time. So we bought a nice family size tent, and all the essentials: airbeds, stove, and even a blow-up sofa. We drove down on the Wednesday, arriving during the evening to get a spot in the campsite. Thursday was spent resting after the long drive, and moving all of all our stuff (we took far too much) from the car to the tent. Laura and David met some friends and left us for much of the time, joining us for the Stones and Portishead. We just took it easy, wandered around the massive site taking in the atmosphere, and caught a few bands along the way. Highlights of the acts that we did see were: Beady Eye on the Other Stage on Friday, Liam showing off his old familiar swagger, Bill Bragg rousing us all to think a little on the Saturday morning on the Pyramid stage, Elvis Costello singing all those hits on Saturday afternoon, Rufus Wainwright alone with a grand piano singing sweetly on the Pyramid on the Sunday afternoon, and Primal Scream, who seemed a little lost and didn’t quite get the crowd going before the Stones. There were a lot more acts that I had planned to see, but there are so many stages and so many things to do it just wasn’t possible to do so. And the weather was great. There was a little rain on the Thursday, which produced a small amount of the obligatory mud. However that mud soon dried up and the rest of the weekend from Friday to Sunday was sunny and hot. So we juts took things easy, rested some, walked around the site a little and caught a few bands. My main objective was to see the Stones, and that was achieved. Anything else was a bonus. We left later on Sunday, driving home before the crowds started. The vibe at Glastonbury is great; very friendly with people of all ages. We certainly didn’t feel out of place at all. So my faith and interest in festivals remains renewed, and we look forward to Glastonbury 2014 (hope we can get tickets 🙂 ). I think one festival a year of this type is probably enough for me now, and probably all I can cope with if I am honest with myself. I returned stiff and tired and have only just got over the whole thing. However, there are lots of other festival types and one day events that we intend to visit over the Summer, starting with Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis as part of the Manchester International Festival tonight and The Stones in Hyde Park next Saturday.
I’ve taken a long time to get round to writing anything about this Glastonbury; I seem to have been catching up on things at work and home since we got back.
We (Me, Marie, Laura and David) all made the journey to Pilton Farm this year, again hiring a campervan. This year’s weather was quite a bit different from last year, with lots of rain earlier in the week, making the site very muddy. Our van got stuck deep in the mud on arrival and, after lots of pushes from staff and others, we were finally towed into the field by a giant tractor. As last year, we studied the clashfinder and made lots of plans of who we were all going to see; however the reality was very difficult, with the mud making it very difficult to make great trecks across the whole site from stage to stage. I’d particularly wanted to see the old-timers on the 71 stage, but in the event, didn’t get much of a chance to do so.
Friday was pretty wet and all of the walkways were deep in mood. It was really hard work walking through the mud which was very sticky; wellies were coming off and people were falling over…..
71 stage: managed to wander over through the mud and saw Martin Stone playing some pretty solid blues/rock. David was over there earlier and caught Noel Harrison singing Windmills of my Mind.
B B King: Some great guitar from a legend. Much better than I thought he might be.
Radiohead: Laura and David went over to the Park stage to see Radiohead do their special guest spot. They returned quite disappointed; apparently the sound wasn’t great, and the set focussed on the more recent albums.
Morrissey: Marie and I watched Morrissey’s set while David and Laura were at the Park seeing Radiohead. He was pretty good, although he didn’t seem in a great mood, telling the crowd “I know you’re all waiting for U2; I’ll sing fast”
U2: By now the rain was really coming down. The set had a good selection of old favourites, and Bono was out to impress. Fraid the rain got the better of us in the end, and we retired to the van.
Saturday was much better weather wise with no rain at all. The mud was drying out, but still very deep and sticky on the walkways over to the Other Stage and Arcadia.
Pulp: The highlight for us. When we heard Pulp were reforming I promised Laura (and myself) that we must see them. So when we heard that they might be Saturday’s special guest at the Park stage, we had to go over and see. And Javis and crew didn’t let us down. The field was rammed; they had to close the gates. Everyone was singing along, and I was surprised how many songs I knew. Started with Do You Remember the First Time? The whole field went mental and sang Disco 2000 and Common People like their lives depended on it.
Coldplay: OK; not my favourite band but seemed to go down well with the crowd.
Chemical Brothers: Laura and David went across to the Other Stage for The Chemical Brothers and seemed to have a great time too.
Sunday was red hot.
The Wombles: This was the highlight for Laura. Mike Batt and co played Avalon in their suits. Started with Remember you’re a Womble and finished with the Wombling Song. The tent was packed; everyone determined to have a great sing-a-long. Shame we missed out on getting a Wombles mask, but Laura bought a t-shirt.
Paul Simon: A good set.
Beyonce: I just didn’t get this. Laura thought she was great, but Marie and I weren’t too impressed. Yet when I got home, the first thing everyone I saw said to me was “did you see Beyonce?” and then told me how great she was on the TV coverage. It seems to me that it may have looked better on TV than from the field itself. Everyone around us didn’t seem to be getting into it.
We left straight after Beyonce and, after getting the van pushed out of the mud by a group of friendly guys, we drove all through the night and were back home at 8am on Monday. It took Marie and I 3 hours to clean the mud from the van, before we returned it to the hire company….
Glastonbury Festival Pilton Farm 25-27 June 2010
So we (me, Marie, Laura, David) decided to sample the delights of a modern festival. It’s 30 years since I last when to 3 day festival and stayed for all 3 days (Reading 1980), so I was quite excited about this. We travelled down on Wed and arrived Wed night. Thursday was spent exploring the massive site and on the evening we sampled Nik Turner’s Space Ritual and Curved Air (who we hardly saw as the tent in which they were playing was completely packed). Highlights were singing along to Rolf Harris who opened the Pyramid stage on Friday, Gorillaz, Muse who were just awesome on Saturday, and Ray Davies and Stevie Wonder on Sunday who turned out all the hits for us. We all had a great weekend; the festival is so big we gave up on the idea of trying to see all of the bands that we had planned and just enjoyed the event; which was great.