Last weekend I went to my first ever Glastonbury and anyone that has ever been will know how special that weekend is!
Surprisingly, the festival is incredibly chilled and once you got into the different areas, very spacious too! It was relatively easy to get to the front - even at the mighty Pyramid Stage. It really is quite different to what it looks like on the TV, in a good way.
My highlight of the whole festival was Nick Cave's early evening set on the Sunday. He wowed the crowd with his charismatic intense stage presence, crazy dance moves, and clever lyrics. The standout tunes he played for me were ‘Jubilee Street' and 'Stagger Lee', largely with Cave perching on the safety barrier reaching into the crowd. Breathtaking. The Bad Seeds were on top form, and very into it, they brought a special something to the show. Especially on ‘Jubilee Street’, which ended with a wall of noise. Nick was passionately screaming on the piano, while the violin player (who was on his third instrument change) was rocking out and throwing his bow into the audience. Incredible performance.
Glastonbury is so diverse almost anyone, adults and children, can find a hangout, from the Healing Fields, the Glade, The Park and the very impressive crazy circus and theatre fields. Almost every area is teeming with unique walkabout street theatre, art installations, games…the list goes on. My highlight from what I saw was Above & Beyond’s late night aerial antics. They gave a smooth show with great flow and heart-in-your-mouth moments. There was also the rather wonderful Kidz Field! You didn't have to pay for anything up there. Free fairground rides, face painting, workshops and more!
For someone seeking somewhere more cosy and intimate there were many options, from cafes to bars, from acoustic to drum and bass, there was a place for everyone, and a band for everyone. The choice was endless, there were many clashes but you always knew you would be able to find something incredible to see or do!
Friday night was headlined by one of the biggest guitar bands of the last decade - The Arctic Monkeys! Comfortably playing hits including 'I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor' on the iconic Pyramid. A highlight of the set for me was 'Mardy Bum'. It sounded so awesome with the string section, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up!
Of course you all know who headlined Saturday: The Rolling Stones. People I spoke to who managed to get near the front were blown away. Further back in the arena, they received a more mixed response. I saw The Stones before on The Bigger Bang Tour - and I think that would have been a much more festival-friendly set. Mick's still got it though, I don't think there's anyone with a better stage presence in the business. And the phoenix rising was an amazing moment, especially as it accompanied 'Sympathy for The Devil'!
I spent some time at the John Peel stage: a proper banquet for music lovers. This year’s line-up was truly stella and I believe John Peel would’ve been proud. Highlights included female punk rockers, The Savages and guitar legend Johnny Marr.
I must say I did spend most of the time checking out all the awesome bands on, so I cannot comment on Shangri-la, Arcadia (despite how stunning it looked from a distance), Block 9, and Strummerville, which sadly was on my list to go to! There is so much on here, I could go on all day.
Some people have told me they’re a bit scared of the scale of Glastonbury, or put off by the size of the site and sheer numbers there, or the price of the ticket. Don’t be. It is a very slick operation. The stewards are genuinely helpful; the punters friendly; and for what’s on offer you cannot knock the cost. I recommend anyone to go to Glastonbury! I had one of the best weekends ever, from crying at my first glimpse of the pyramid stage on the Wednesday to watching the sun come up on the Monday morning. Nothing compares to this.
Published on 03 July 2013 by Ned Mansfield