Glastonbury 2016 - The Good, The Not So Good and Why It's A Must Do!
4 July 2016
Reporting on her experience at Glastonbury 2016, Annika Oman - Bluesfest Festival Manager
I hear many people compare and say that Bluesfest is Australia’s Glastonbury but as festivals go, i have to admit that Glastonbury lives up to ‘the biggest party on the planet’. Let’s investigate the 2016 festival – the good, the not so good and why it’s a must-do once-in-your-lifetime festival.
The Left Field Stage - Big Top curated by Billy Bragg and wife Juliet
It’s not just a stage, it’s an institution and has been part of the Glastonbury festival furniture since 2002. Delivering thrilling debates on social justice, the economy, immigration and politics, the stage was developed as a platform to fight for change and as a voice for those who are less fortunate by Billy and Juliet.
The Left Field theme in 2016 was “Recharge Your Activism”. The slogan says it all. During the day, The Left Field hosted debates and discussions and at night, there was music, comedy and more talks, usually with a political tilt. And Bluesfest 2016 ska group The Selecter closed the stage on Sunday night. Bonus!
Braggs World - Behind The Scenes
Braggs World is the backstage artist precinct behind The Left Field, which includes camping on lush green grass, a community room (where no gum boots are allowed and an abundance of coffee, tea and cookies are served) as well as state-of-the-art toilets and shower facilities.
The toilets are natural composting toilets and you use saw dust to cover your business! There is also no smell.
And when day turns into night - a welcoming fire circle ignites. A Glastonbury patron would have paid hundreds of Pounds to use these quality facilities.
Braggs World was a home away from the Glastonbury madness! If there’s one message to take away from this experience it’s PLEASE BILLY BRAGG - come to Australia for BLUESFEST 2017.
So many beautiful flags spanning across the festival site as you can see from this gorgeous snap.
There are Glastonbury’s own flags which covered the entire festival, but people had their own ones to help find each other in the crowd. The abundance of flags waving in the wind, was not only soothing, it was beyond impressive.
It's easy to get lost in all the stalls - a diverse range of grub (food) and market stalls but that not all that surprising when there are 150,000+ people in one place! The selection was gobsmacking as well as themed bars featuring in every corner (including a Star Wars themed bar - impressive).
We were thrilled to see the live performances of some of the 2016 Bluesfest and Bluesfest Touring artists – Elle King, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats. Check out their live performances below as well as current Bluesfest Touring artist, Gregory Porter's Pyramid Stage performance.
St Paul & The Broken Bones
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Glastonbury Artist Pick
ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) is a band from the seventies with so many hits, and they played them all. Songs like ‘Evil Woman’, 'Don’t Bring Me Down', ‘Mr Blue Sky’ and so many more. We need them at BLUESFEST and they would love it at BLUESFEST.
The beauty of Glastonbury is that if you don’t want to see the headliners on the main stages and deal with the crowds, then there are plenty of smaller stages to spend your time at which are chilled and friendly. Everyone is super nice and helpful.
Need help putting up your tent? There is always a fellow punter around to lend a hand. Need to make a phone call? There’s a phone booth to use.
THE NOT SO GOOD
You all know about festivals and camping in the mud – well multiple that memory by 10 and you have Glastonbury 2016.
From reports heard, this was one of their muddiest years in their 46 year history partly due to torrential rain which hit the festival site weeks before gates opened.
The upside? Walking in mud makes you use muscles you never realised you had – it’s the best workout on the planet.
The Glastonbury Artist Applause
Glastonbury is way behind on applauding. We do it much better at Bluesfest. Perhaps it's the masses of people in front of the stage or no tent above (most stages are not undercover), but there is nothing like a Bluesfest applause - the cheering, the roaring, the clapping.
The Distance From Day Car Park to the Entry
Glastonbury is set up for patrons to park and camp for the duration of the festival - it's not a festival to visit for the day given it's remote location and access in and out (Worthy Farm - A Cow Farm in South West England at Somerset)
There are 4 main entrances for cars. You're looking at around a 5km walk to the furthest carpark and then you are bussed in to the entry. However, if you were fortunate to have secured an 'orange reserved' carpark pass you're around 1.5kms from the festival entry (then another 1km to find your crew).
The Festival Amenities
The festival toilets. Well, doing your business certainly was a strange experience given you were able to see the legs of the girls sitting (actually squatting) and you could look into each others loo but hey, it's Glastonbury and you're part of one BIG happy family.
The smell. Actually it wasn't that bad. As for fellow festival-goers? There were no shower blocks to be seen, people just washed themselves over the basins. Again, part of one BIG happy family.
Camping set up. People just seemed to camp wherever they could find a spot. And in some impossible places.
The question is - how do the 150,000+ Glastonbury festival-goers tolerate some of the circumstances they are presented with? Clearly it is what it is, the good for some out way the not so good and they just embrace all of it - 5 days - no shower and long queues - no problem, it's just all part of the Glastonbury experience.
Why is Glastonbury a must-do? It's the largest green field festival in the world and for any serious festival-goers, an eye-opening 5 day music extravaganza. If smaller festivals are your cup of chai these days, than Glastonbury isn't for you.