I listened to Gideon Coes excellent July 4th show (on the now reprieved 6Music) in which he played 2 hours of live music from this years Glastonbury Festival, featuring bands on independent labels. Of all the wonderful stuff he showcased I’d only managed to see two – ‘Rodrigo y Gabriela’ and ‘The Cribs’ (who’s singing was a bit out of tune if the truth be known). But as Mark put it “After last year I realised its not what you see, but the crowd you’re with” very profound and very true.
Si drove Mark and I down to the festival again this year. We got there on the Wed and pitched our tents in the FMS field just as England took to the field in the last group game of the world cup. We decided to watch it in the FMS tent as last time I’d watched England play football at Glasto you couldnt get near enough to the big screens to see what was going on. Si and I went back to the car for beer and heard an enormous cheer from the site as England scored. We were through to the next round! We met up with the Podiatry crew, most of whom seemed to have upgraded to caravans this year (Thats not camping!) – had a quick walk around the site, which seemed to be 80% full, then an early night for me.
Work on Thursday at the smaller medical tent, near the other stage, was busy (260 patients seen in an 8 hour session 10% of them feet!) and the night saw us singing round the fire after a 60’s themed hog roast this was after all the festivals 40th Anniversary.
Rolf Harris got the festival off to a wonderful start on the Friday. He’s 80! He managed to get the crowd chanting for him “You know last time I was here you all sang ‘One Rolfie Harris, there’s only one Rolfie Harris'” and so the crowd oblige “Oh you’re so kind!”. He managed to get an animal hospital reference into ‘tie mi kangaroo down sport’……and Jake the peg was in the crowd!
We then saw Lissie do a great set at the park. Of all the CD’s I’ve bought by artists I saw for the first time there, her’s is my favourite. It’s so fresh and full of life and tunes…..do yourself a favour and get a copy.
We wandered up to the new Glastonbury 40 sign (bit like the Hollywood sign) to hear the end of her set with a gorgeous view of the site (she pulled quite a crowd and rightly so).
The Stranglers put in an appearance at the other stage – 31 years since 1st saw them and still doing basically the same set – they were Ace! JJ Burnel is still my most favourite human being I’ve never met (well, in the top 10 for sure).
Willie Nelson brought his beaten up, old guitar to the pyramid stage and sang some of his classics but after an hour or so, it was just too hot!
We decided to get some shade up at the acoustic tent where ‘Brian Kennedy’ was playing. We had no idea who he was but he had an enthusiastic following and name checked Van Morrisson (he used to play with him) and played ‘Put the message in a box’ the world party song. Next on were ‘Turin Brakes’ which spurred us out into the sun again for a wander through the theatre field. Those tall girls who were flamingos last time we saw them were now bees and the big seagulls were there again, this time hassling passer by’s for food “Mine! Mine! Mine!”
We tried to see ‘Mumford & Sons’ but it was too busy at the John Peel stage so we opted for Plan B instead. He started the set with his human beatbox impressions before letting his falcetto loose.
Dizzee Rascal knows how to get a crowd going but it was the Gorillaz Si and I were really looking forward to Theyd been SO GOOD in Lincoln and on paper, it should have been brilliant. Loads of guest stars: Bobby Womack, Lou Reed, Mark E Smith, Shaun Rider “This ones for Frank Sidebottom who’s up there looking at us”. The visuals/animated videos were great…..but it just didnt click with the audience. There were big gaps between songs where the atmosphere was lost and people were just looking at each other a bit bemused. The encore of ‘Clint Eastwood’ with Snoop Dogg rallied things a bit, but it wasn’t the awesome show I’d expected.
I worked the Sat morning shift at the main Ivy Mead medical centre, which again was busy. Walked down to meet the gang past ‘Seasick Steve’ doing his one guitar string boogie on the main stage down to the jazz world now named West Holt and renamed Joey Holts Stage by Fog who was desperate to see Dead Weather (“Who?” “It’s Jack Whites band” “Ace! I could do with some rockin guitar” “He plays the drums” “Oh!”). On our way through the theatre field I heard a familiar voice and dragged the others over to see Mik Artistiks ego-trip absolutely hilarious.
Songs about leaves on car windows, having cancer, a magic cloak of invisibility (“…the guy I bought it from saw me coming..but he didnt see me go”) and his tribute to Robert Palmer “The lights are on. The lights are on. The lights are on. The lights are on…..” Had us falling about laughing. It was changed by us to “You’re bladders weak…..” but that’s a different story.
The Dead Weather played a blistering set that was heavy on guitar, drums and emotion. They had the video screens turned to black and white, which was really effective. At the end, Jack couldn’t resist picking up a guitar and the looks between him and Alison Mosshart were so steamy……Mrs White must be a really trusting lady!
We moved to the other stage for Fogs faves the Cribs and caught the end of the Nationals set in the process. I’ve now seen Johnny Marr in 5 bands (Smiths, Electronic, The The, his own Healers and this lot). I knew more of their stuff than I realised. There was one track that had a Thurston Moore video accompanying it….not bad for a bunch of lads from Wakey.
We had a parting of the waves then. Mark, Si and I fancied a bit of gay disco and were intending to see the ‘Scissor Sisters’ (including Kylie for one track). We got sidetracked first by the big sausage stall near the Joey Holts Stage where ‘Jerry Dammers and Orchestra’ were doing a lovely version of Ghost Town. After food we decided on ‘Nick Lowe’ at the Acoustic stage instead. He did a fab solo set last time I saw him. He had a full band with him this time and was sublime. What a guy!
Si and Mark then insisted I saw ‘Muse’. I wasnt that bothered but they were, so I went with the flow, the only stuff I know by them being from QUIMS meetings. They were excellent – what a noise from 3 tiny blokes! The Edge came on for the encore (where the streets have no name) and the place went ballistic! Heaven knows how U2 would have gone down.
We wandered down to what was trash city after but it was rammed so instead stayed in the circus field watching the fire jugglers
Then off to the park to sit by the glasto 40 sign again. By this time I’d done 21 hours straight – most of it standing up so was ready to call it a night.
Sunday was another scorcher. We covered ourselves in factor 50 and lay down to listen to Norah Jones. Perfect for the occasion. Even a hairy arsed bloke with a leotard on and wrestling mask couldn’t spoil the mood!
We then went back to the FMS tent to suffer the embarrassment of watching England crash out of the world cup with a whimper not a bang. “We missed Ray Davies for that!”. Back in the Theatre field ‘The Beat’ played on the tiny saddle stage but I was getting a bit too tired to dance so off to see ‘The Blues Band’ (who looked their age) in the Acoustic tent and then Loudon Wainwright III who’s songs seem to be about death and decay these days.
We caught Imelda May at the Avalon stage as she rocked the joint with her immaculate hair (how does she do that). Love that Rockabilly sound!
A quick tour of the amazing artwork in the Arcadia area – So odd to see a full block of flats in the middle of all these fields – and then to find a tube train crashed into it…..
Then back to Avalon where we were ordered onto the see-saws by Nina – “you will like it!”
After the see-saw we did see the Saw Doctors (see (saw) what I did there) open their account with N17 – Much as I used to love this band, the lure of ‘Stevie Wonder’ was strong so one last photo then off
Si went off to see ‘Ash’ and Nina wanted to see ‘Gomez’ so we compromised “let’s watch the start of Stevie then move on”. It soon became SO crowded at the Pyramid stage that we realised wed never get out once he started, so moved to the edge as he came on, and then opted for Rodrigo y Gabriela instead.
“Beer?” I ask with a pained expression to blank looks. “Tea?” says Mark “Oh yes!” say Nina, David Essex and I………must be getting old. There aren’t enough superlatives for Rodrigo y Gabrielas guitar playing just wonderful. They too were suffering as Mexico had also been knocked out of the World Cup.
We went to see Nina and David Essex’s faves ‘Gomez’. Its been a good 10-15 years since I last saw them and they were in good form.
After ‘Not enough hours in our day’ Mark and I left, bumping into the neon light suit brigade who’d freaked me out at previous festivals by winking at me
We had to have a look in the circus tent before we left and was so glad we did – there we saw an amazing act that used a huge steel structure that pivoted in the middle with 2 guys running round it awesome!
And that was virtually it back home through the theatre field where I got to listen to the tropical sounds of a huge white ball through a furry, Dr Seuss-like funnel held by some giant pixies…….where else eh!
Back at the Kibbys caravan, Amber and Andy were watching the highlights of the festival on TV which seemed a bit sureal……another bloody good week-end in Pilton. Roll on the next 40 years.
Bob the Chiropodist