14 Jul 2013

Tales from Worthy Farm

So two weeks ago I went to Glastonbury. HOW COOL IS THAT.

It was my first real festival experience, since I had only ever attended one day of a festival, back in 2009, when Bruce Springsteen headlined Les Vieilles Charrues. It was incredible and remains a great memory, but Glasto was entirely different.

First: the size of it. If I thought that the Charrues were big, Glastonbury took it to a whole new level. We first got to see it from the coach as me and eternal wingwoman Courtney approached the site. Our first thought was along the lines of "how the hell are we going to find our friends in this total maze?!" (Spoiler: we did easily.) I loved experiencing this little world of its own. The festival literally emerges from the ground to create a fantastic town full of amazing sights, incredible crowds, never ending streets of food stalls and hat/sunglasses/wellies/waterproof shops, and gig after gig after gig. Performers are literally everywhere, and I loved seeing the big acts as much as I did hanging in hidden open mic tents in the middle of the night.

Ben Howard at the Pyramid stage
Second: camping. I had never camped for more than a night in my garden, since my parents put a absolute ban on it after traumatising childhood camping experiences, but it all went well. OH WAIT NO, our brand new tent turned out to be the most terrible pain to put up due to missing pieces, and some sneaky b*stards got into our tent at night and stole our money. Fortunately, this was an 'every huge silver lined extravaganza of awesomeness has a cloudy moment' type of event, and we powered on with our wallets empty.

As for the music, there is no doubt about it: Glastonbury Festival is the place to be. I got to see some of my favourite bands: Noah and the Whale, such dynamic and cool chaps and the perfect gig on a sunny afternoon; hipster rockers Foals who got the crowd going and me singing at the top of my voice; The Staves, the perfect chilled out act to enjoy in the sun with a (very) early drink. Some other highlights were starting the festival with The Hives being simply exceptional (props to lead singer Almqvist for being the best I've seen at interacting with the crowd), dancing like there was no tomorrow to Major Lazer, getting to see Rufus Wainwright play Hallelujah, Ben Howard being Ben Howard, and ending the festival on a French note with Phoenix's singer Thomas Mars crowdsurfing towards a pole of the John Peel stage and singing a song hanging from there.

Noah and the Whale at the Other stage
A thing I discovered at Glasto is that music festivals are about more than music. I went with quite a large group, we all had bands we really wanted to see, and in some cases music came first and we had to go our separate ways. I was at first a bit bummed I'd have to go see acts alone, but it turned out to be pretty cool. Dancing by myself to my favourite songs by Noah and the Whale was super fun; in fact I even got a high five and a 'great dancing!' from the guy next to me. But at other times, it was fun, exploration and chilling that prevailed. I spent quite a lot of times in the Healing Fields, drinking mulled cider and making pizza at Tin Village; avoided Shangri-La at night (who wants to queue 45mn?!) for late night drinks on the hills being The Park, and lazed around at the camp with friends when we couldn't bear walking past the stinking toilets to get to the stages. Glastonbury is an overwhelming experience that takes over everything, and feels very much out of this world (and this especially since it's almost impossible to get any form of phone signal.)

Solange at The Park stage (actually quite average, we left two songs in)
One note: Glastonbury involves a lot of waiting. Not so much necessarily during the festival (unless you want to charge your phone, in which case, bring a book) but rather to get there and back. I found it quite anticlimatic in both cases. When we got there, I was already tired and kinda fed up, and coming home took so long it felt like I had left the farm days before when I finally got home.

Also, Glasto involves a lot of smells. And not a lot of cleaning. Be warned.

The view of the festival from The Fish
Now it's over, and I could keep talking about it for ages and tell you about every single story that happened — although in some cases, a 'what happens at Glasto stays at Glasto' philosophy might be best. But there's too much to say, so I'd rather leave you on a simple word: REGISTER. I'll see you there next year!

(All crappy photos taken with my iPhone since I was (rightly so) worried my camera could get stolen.)

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