Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Glastonbury Review 2009

Phew, what a mad few weeks! It has been in the forefront of my mind to update this blog, but I haven't had the time. Plus my head has been all over the place, and actually it has been increasingly difficult to commit anything to paper, blog or otherwise, and I am not enjoying being in this weird headspace.

On the other hand, my few days at Glastonbury were bloody brilliant! Working the Oxfam stewarding shifts was less work than I imagined, though it tended to get quite boring quite quickly; often there were too many people doing too few jobs, which just caused more frustration than necessary. Overall, however, I would highly recommend Oxfam stewarding as a means of getting into festivals. A few free meals, decent showers, safe campsite, what's not to love?

As for the Festival itself - well it just blew my mind! Hundreds of thousands of people and about a million things to do and see and notice, it leaves all the senses reeling. Glasto is about so much more than just the music, though the line ups were spectacular. I have to admit to feeling a certain fondness and, dare I say it, respect for Lily Allen who, for so long now, I was very much indifferent to. The girl really does know how to entertain her crowd, and she even had a subtle tribute to Michael Jackson in the form of a single white glove on her hand. I read in the Glastonbury Review that some of her set was mimed... that really did surprise and somewhat upset me, and I wouldn't know the truth of it really.

Other notable acts - Regina Spektor for starters, whose name I have heard bandied about in recent times, but never took a great deal of interest in. She came across as such a lovely creature of music and poetry, her lyrics really tugging at something beyond the mundane, material reality which has been enveloping me far too often lately.

Ray Davies - what a legend! Working his way through The Kinks' back catalogue in the intimcay of the acoustic tent, there was no other way to spend Friday night! (Apart from to go see Neil Young...) It was so packed that in the two hours I did not once manage to catch a glimpse of him! The crowd got restless at times, when he played his 'new' or 'solo' stuff, but we were won over only too quickly with the likes of Waterloo Sunset and Autumn Almanac.

I have never seen so many people in one space as the crowd that gathered for the demigod that is Bruce Springsteen. He played a set that lasted for over two and a half hours! Apparently Michael Evis had to pay a £3000 fine 'cos The Boss went ten minutes over the curfew. I must admit to only knowing about a dozen or so of his songs, but nevertheless his sheer energy and showmanship were enough to keep me entertained. I so would!

Another of my favourite middle-aged men put in an appearance - Mr Tom Jones! He sang all the classics, and we sang them with him! I think even people that 'don't really like' Tom Jones still like him somewhere in their hearts, you can't help but sway along to the likes of It's Not Unusual (let's face it, we all learnt those Carlton [Fresh Prince of Bel-Air] dance moves) and Delilah.

I can't really fail to make a mention of Sunday's headliners, Blur, who despite their prolonged absence from the music scene had a very tight set. I was never much into the whole Brit Pop scene (though I do have a soft spot for Oasis), but I surprised myself with how many Blur songs I already knew. The last decade has made an impression on the boys - Damon no longer embodies the youthful cheekiness I imagine to have propelled him to pin-up status - but they resurrected their sound with vigour and success. I did leave half-way through their performance though, and went to watch the personal (and perhaps slightly embarassing?) highlight of my weekend -

The Black Eyed Peas! I can not describe how amazing they were and how much energy they reflected back to their audience. They spent a good quarter of an hour or more performing a Michael Jackson tribute, full of mixes and remixes of MJ's tracks. (I can't really remember properly now, it has been a couple of weeks...) I don't know why people insist Fergie 'can't sing live', I thought she was great! I don't know if it was just the atmosphere or what, but I genuinely think their songs were made to be performed live. I implore you to go and watch them for yourselves, it will be worth it!

The best thing about Glastonbury is that while you're there, the rest of the outside world feels very remote. It's not that you stop caring, but there just isn't that need to worry about anything. You do what you feel like, there's no set agenda, and everybody else is just as easy-going as you feel. I would highly recommend the Glasto Festival experience to all who don't oppose the idea of camping. With the only potential issues being smelly toilets (though there are those few and far between that are remarkably clean) and mud (BRING WELLIES! I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!), there is no reason why this exeperience should pass anyone by.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great review, It kept me engaged even though it's 3:30 and i'm half asleep. I really want to see Bruce and the Black Eyed Peas.