Well that was fun. I really needn’t have worried, none of what I wasn’t looking forward to occurred. Despite all my efforts to ensure the hangover was as bad as I feared it would be, it wasn’t. I left feeling tired and a bit washed out but mainly really pleased that I’d been.
When you charge £185 you pretty much ensure that what little scum makes it through is easily absorbed by the majority of PLUs (people like us) to the point that it is not noticed. At V, scum is the default it seems. Then when you pay another £115 per head to stay in a ‘special’ campsite you guarantee clean toilets, clean showers, a pre-erected tent and and 100% PLUs.
The weather was incredible. The English are typical though. For all of June I’d been praying for sunshine and happy to settle for anything but rain. We got sunshine but it was of the relentless Spainish type. To the point where people were getting firstly a bit burnt and secondly a bit sun stroked. 3,000 casualties in fact. Naturally, being the responsible adults we are, we ensured we were properly hydrated at all time and the beers runs are much less of a pain when there’s 8 people to share a round with. The best thing about Glastonbury is its size. It’s vast – it takes an hour to walk from one side to the other when sober in normal shoes and during good weather – it’s easy to leave your group to get drinks and refind them. At other festivals it can be near on impossible due to space restrictions. We were never right at the front but still it was brilliant not being rammed it everywhere we went.
My great pal Simon explained that they’ve had 40 years to get it right and they really have it down. There’s bins and toilets everywhere and wide enough thoroughfares to ensure nowhere gets too clogged with bodies. You really feel like their overriding agenda is to make the experience as fun and hassle-free as possible as opposed to other festivals where it’s more about making money.
Here’s who we saw:
Snoop Dog, Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Groove Armada, Jackson Brown, Seasick Steve, Martin Harley, Biffy Clyro, Scissor Sisters (feat. Kylie), Muse, Slash, Ray Davies, Jack Johnson, Faithless and a load of other random dance and unknown people along the way.
The standout for me was Slash. Anyone that knows me knows that I grew up on G N’ R and they are my absolute favourite band of all time bar none. I think Appetite for Destruction is the most complete album of all time. I saw them at the end of their record breaking world tour (2 and a half years) at Milton Keynes bowl in ’94 and have waited to see Slash play Sweet Child O’ Mine and Paradise City again ever since. I knew he’d be good as I’ve recently downloaded his new collaboration album (Ghost, Starlight and Back from Cali the best tracks IMO) but I didn’t realise he’d bang out the old classics now he’s so obviously minus Axl. He’s found a guy, Myles Kennedy who, again IMO, is every bit as good as Axl. Obviously you can never replace Axl’s personality or voice entirely but this guy had the perfect Guns voice and absolutely smashed it. If one moment of the whole weekend was enough to justify the £600 or so it cost me, this was it and I’m so pleased I saw it, drinking beer in blazing sunshine whilst simultaneously missing England getting comprehensively and deservedly thrashed by Germany.
By 9pm on Sunday I was done and decided to split before Stevie Wonder. I think I did a good job of staying the distance with my childless friends and therefore felt justified going back to the tent with a burger and for one last beer. As Stevie started his set (which I could easily hear from my tent pod), the rest of my mates arrived back. Nice to be vindicated!
We all passed out listening to Superstition and Sir Duke, a weird but awesome way to top an amazing weekend.