June 29th, 2005


Black tar rivers

Glastonbury Festival, 24-26 June 2005

Having been cast in the role of guru and guide for addedentry's first Glastonbury, I was determined to make sure he got a good taste of the Glastonbury experience. To be fair, I was more thinking of the music, cider, happenings and random hippy shit than the knee-deep mud, but I guess it's all part of the rich tapestry of the... no, wait. Time for some debunking:
"It wouldn't be Glastonbury without the mud!" == NOT ACTUALLY TRUE.

"It's all part of the fun!" == ALSO NOT ACTUALLY TRUE.

Fortunately we arrived on Wednesday afternoon, so we had a day and a half to wander around the site in the glorious heatwave, resist the temptation to buy silly hats, and drink perry with other LiveJournallers. Then came Friday morning... well, I'm not going to go on about the six-hour thunderstorm, the 8-foot-deep lake, the 400+ tents submerged, or the 3m litres of water pumped off the site: you've all seen the news reports and blogs. Suffice to say that the weather, after one morning of TAKING THE PISS, returned us to our scheduled heatwave (it is entirely my own fault that in addition to a muddy lower half I ended up with a badly-sunburned top half).

The main problem with the mud is that it renders it impossible to dash from stage to stage (as you have to do for maximum gig potential). In fact, in some cases, it made it impossible to get to the stage, as when we watched Rilo Kiley from the other side of the John Peel Lake. In one case, it went one stage further and stopped them building the stage in time: we missed Polly Paulusma because the Avalon Stage wasn't finished in time for her set. In more clement conditions we'd have done more, but that's not to say we didn't do anything; 20 bands (and that's not counting the interesting snippets overheard as we walked past other stages) is a pretty action-packed weekend by my reckoning. We saw (or at least heard): Tori Amos (who played two pianos at once and did a lovely cover of "Feelin' Groovy"); The Beautiful South; Billy Bragg; The Broken Family Band (who namechecked the Arbury and helped some people get engaged); Elvis Costello; Fatboy Slim; The Futureheads ("Hounds of Love" with audience participation!); Garbage; The Go! Team; Headland; Interpol; Jem; The Levellers (THERE'S ONLY ONE! WAY! OF LIFE! AND THAT'S! YEROWN!); K. T. Tunstall; The Magic Numbers (who nearly lived up to some of the hype); Rilo Kiley; Solar Fields; Sons & Daughters (alt-country goth metal -- yes please); Martha Wainwright; Yeovil Town Band (non-ironically good, every time); and The Zutons (who may have only been included so that hacks could say "from Athlete to the Zutons", but were still great).

I'm not going to do full-length reviews of them all -- ask me about a particular one if you like, but there are some reviews on the official website which will tell you roughly what happened; addedentry will cover the music better than I do. What he doesn't have, though, is access to a copy of Photoshop at work; so, cashing in on my sole advantage, I give you:

Glastonbury 2005 in road signs

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