08 July, 2010

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“Oh my gosh are you going to see  Shakira?”
“Actually I'm watching Marina…”

I found plenty of acts to see across the festival as well as those I couldn't due to clashes. As always I had Halvin’s Clashfinder to help me out. I saw a lot more people with one this year – presumably due to a mention on the official site. It's useful for seeing who is on at any given time and whilst it can be used to plan your festival I try not to come up with any firm plans beforehand. Oh I may not have deviated greatly from the rough-in-my-head-plan, but some decisions were made at the very last minute. There  were quite a few instances of seeing an odd song or two from acts when either travelling between stages – or arriving as they were getting towards the end of their set. This included both known (Florence and the Machine, Hot Chip) and unknown (a duo with an acoustic guitar and a cello) acts.

On Thursday I was looking forward to Two Door Cinema Club and they were great. I am however basing this on their Saturday set as their day 2 show was very much like Maximo Park last year, with the crowd stretching out the Queens Head tent and past several food stalls.

Friday aka day 3 (or day 1 if you're watching the TV coverage) saw several great performances including The Courteeners, Vampire Weekend and Lissie.
Lissie was playing the Park Stage and I noticed a few in the crowd initially seemed happy to sit back and chill - but they quickly fell in love with her. I managed to get a couple of videos too.

I've missed the actual coming on stage/hellos but this was the first song she played.

And here is some chatter and the cover she finished her set with. The sound cut off at the end, leaving the crowd to finish the song but it worked quite well.

Also playing The Park on day 3 was a surprise guest. The crowd gathered and no one seemed to have even the slightest idea who was playing. The Strokes? Girls Aloud? It could have been anyone - although as the stage got closer to being set up, the smart money was on Thom Yorke. It was and yet somehow it still came as a surprise. However I soon left. I'm not familiar with his solo stuff and whilst that wouldn't usually be a problem for me, I felt a bit out of place surrounded by an enthusiastic and delighted crowd. As he was later joined by Jonny Greenwood to perform some Radiohead tracks, this was in retrospect a mistake.biffyflag Less surprising was The Park's day 4 guests: Biffy Clyro. It seems everyone knew this even before the festival started and just in case there was any uncertainty, flags were being given out in the morning promoting their appearance. As I've seen them before (and plan to do so again), I decided to watch something else instead.

I'm disappointed I didn't film more. The problem was that most of the time I found myself either so far away it was pointless trying to get a video, or I was so close that I couldn't. The short clip below of The Bootleg Beatles shows what would typically happen when trying to film.

Still it was an enjoyable festival. Saturday was my favourite of the days with a particularly good run of acts that startemarinad with Delphic on the John Peel Stage. I was watching from the side of the tent (getting caught by the sun) and then I moved in for Marina and the Diamonds. At first I thought this might be a mistake but it actually turned out to be cooler inside the tent. I managed to film ‘I Am Not A Robot’ but upon watching it back, the image quality was quite poor (the cap on the right being the best it got). Everyone had seemed quite excited for Shakira, so after the excellent Marina had finished her set I decided to head over to catch the end. However I went via the Other Stage where I found The Cribs (I'd completely forgot they were playing). They were putting on a good show and I ended up staying to the end. I then stayed put, met up with the rest of our group and watched a cracking set from Editors before heading over to the Pyramid stage to watch Muse.

Muse were fantastic. The field was packed as they performed a series of great songs and the crowd were loving it. I was quite a way back but even there everyone sang, jumped and whooped with delight. And then came the encore. Apparently some of the press knew what was coming, but we were clueless. The first roar came when it appeared that the band were coming back on stage, the second noise started as a gasp before morphing into confusion. The Edge was on stage. What? I mean wow! but what's going on? Some more whooping, then he starts to play ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ and the crowd roars and there's jumping… no, there's dancing. Muse (feat. The Edge) are playing ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ and it is glorious. Here's a brief snippet from my point of view:

Or you could probably find the professionally filmed BBC version on YouTube. After Muse had finished (and Plug In Baby/Knights of Cydonia makes for an excellent finale) we headed off to watch the Kick-Ass movie adaptation at the cinema tent. I'd not seen it… and I still haven't. Just as it was due to start someone mumbled something about a problem and they'd be showing Sherlock Holmes instead. I hadn't seen Sherlock Holmes either so was happy to sit back and watch.

Some time passed and I pressed a button to illuminate the screen of my mobile. Nope, no messages. I hadn't been expecting any but getting caught up in the Glastonbury atmosphere had previously led to delayed responses to text messages (and some missed calls) so I had got into the habit of checking every now and then - just in case. I saw the time: it was just past 2:30 which meant it was now Glastonbury 2010 - day 5. Muse had finished just after midnight so I should have already been aware of this but… day 5? Really? A lot had happened but it didn't feel like this was my fifth day here. Day 5… I'd have to remember to wish Cat a happy birthday if I saw her. What band was I seeing next? Wait… day 5! The last day of the festival. “It's nearly over” I said as part of a rare tweet, not realising then that my Glastonbury 2010 would actually be over a lot sooner than expected. But that was a disappointment yet to come, right then things were good. I was calm, had  a clear mind and felt refreshed. Well inside anyway - outside I was in desperate need of a proper shower. wrist Page             1     2

Glastonbury 2010

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bagThis year it didn't rain, prompting people to claim it was the first sunny Glastonbury in ages - despite the fact that (aside from a few brief showers) the previous two festivals have been sunny as well.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I had to leave Sunday morning which was extremely disappointing, but up until then I had been having a great time.

The week before the festival had been spent making sure I had everything I needed (though food would of course be purchased last minute) including plenty of batteries as I'd  be taking a AA phone charger. The first one I purchased didn't work with my mobile-of-choice so I got a second.  However I kept the first as it worked on my backup mobile and featured four types of connectors that might fit the phones that other members of our group would take (they didn't). The reason for the charger, rather than my usual trick of a slightly knackered but super battery life mobile was so I could take my actual phone. I'd then be able to take photos  without the need for the separate camera of previous years. And videos.

In 2009 there had been massive problems with traffic, but this year things would be different. Although the festival gates would open at 8:00 on Wednesday, the car parks would be open Tuesday at 21:00. One of our group would have to wait around Wednesday morning (having only been able to get a coach ticket for the festival) but the majority of us travelled throughout the night, encountering no delays and eventually arriving at the car park at 2:15.

After (at most) 30 minutes accumulated sleep it was 5:30 and talk on the car park was that the gates would actually be opening at 6:00. People were heading up (and I had seen people at 4:00 doing the same) so we joined the increasingly long queue. At 6:30 we were told that actually the gates were opening at 8:00 after all. Also we were queuing in the wrong place so could we kindly move over to the side of the field where the actual queue should be.
When they did start letting people in, it was a slow process. Actually considering the number of people it wasn't too bad, but we had already spent a couple of hours not moving so it was not much fun.

I was initially pleased with the spot we'd found for our tents as it appeared to be close to the Park stage and the three main stages as well. I can only assume it was sleep deprivation that led me to this conclusion because it's not possible to be close to all four of those stages at once (something I know from past experience) and in fact we weren't particularly close to any of them. Aside from watching England's World Cup game (which was shown on the Pyramid stage) and getting sunburnt not a lot else happened on day 1. After a barbecue I decided to try and get some sleep and surprisingly I managed it. I awoke ready for some music.

DSC00134Of course there's not just music for you to see at Glastonbury: there's a circus, a theatre, a healing field and much more. This year I finally visited the Sacred Space/Stone Circle. Loads of people there but it was very peaceful. Some interesting things nearby too.
Just outside the entrance to the Sacred Space was this fella. (click to enlarge)

Inside was this dragon:
There was plenty of other artwork around the festival including paintings and this sand sculpture. (click to enlarge)

I also liked Club Henge, located in the Dance Field. Amusingly one stall in this field had a sign reading “shit camera: £1”.

club1 club2

As it was the festival's 40th anniversary there were various birthday signs around and if anyone was celebrating their own fortieth birthday whilst at the festival they could head to the John Peel stage for a meal. The same stage was also offering backstage tours in exchange for (if I recall correctly) whisky.
I didn't see many people in fancy dress until day 4 but there was quite a variety. There were as usual a few Where's Wally?'s and Clockwork Orange droogs as well as a bunch of bananas and Rocky and his various opponents.

People were as usual pleasant and helpful to one another. OK there was the occasional person who would force their way past and someone stole one of our chairs on the first day, but generally Glastonbury folk are decent sorts.

Our group did our own bit of helping out when one night our campsite became a place for lost festival goers. First up was Cat (or possibly Kat) who was sure her tent was nearby, but just couldn't find it in the dark. We sat her in front of the fire for drink and chat and I charged her battery. She was good at guessing accents and job occupations (well 4 out of 5). It would be her birthday on Sunday (day 5) and she and her friends planned to dress up as “German wenches”. Whilst heading for the toilets she found her tent which was—as she thought—just a few away from ours.
About half an hour before Cat was reunited with her tent we were joined by Rob who could only be described as cold. He was less sure he was camped nearby and was still shivering for quite some time after taking his place in front of the fire. A steward would eventually help Rob find his tent but before then there was some chat. Whenever talk turns to “what do you do?” I'm sure to mention I write the occasional review - purely because I'm amused by how people's brains refuse to process it. To my surprise Rob actually asked some questions. It wasn't an in-depth discussion but I'm so used to people just staring blankly at me I think I momentarily went in to shock.

Anyway music…

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