Bluesfest staffer Andre Oman reports from Glastonbury!
I must admit to being scared while entering Glastonbury in the lead up to the event. Anyone we had informed, wished us good luck, however I was pleasantly surprised to say, that when we arrived on the Thursday before the main acts started over the Friday to Sunday weekend, my entire first day was summed by 2 simple words HOLY SH*T.
Everything from the mud, which indeed was everywhere, to the size and the variety of the festival, to of course the amount people. It was mind-blowing!
If I had to compare it to an Aussie festival, you couldn’t. The closest thing Australia has to Glastonbury would have to be Bluesfest, Woodford and Splendour combined. Skate park at the festival? Why not! A Jam Tent? Absolutely!
There were approximately 10 main stages which had the big names performing, with another 10, or so rave stages, and another 20 stages for pretty much any kind of live entertainment you could think of.
I believe in this world there are only 2 kinds of music - good and bad - so I was pretty much up for anything.
Having never attended an event with 150,000+ attendees, I was taken aback while going to see British rap sensation SKEPTA on the main Pyramid Stage, by the sheer amount of people that where there at 1:30pm. Directly after, we went to see Macca Blacca, an international, psychedelic, multi-genre influenced band that had the whole West Holts stage pumping.
One thing that I must take note of Glastonbury, is that next time I come, I will bring a pull-cart or a wheelbarrow along. We were carrying our gear in with our bare hands and the thousands of people dragging in their belongings on pull carts / wheelbarrows through the mud was a sight to behold.
Gumboots or Wellies, as everyone calls them there are 100% essential; if there is one thing you take from reading this, do not attempt to attend Glastonbury without Gumboots! A moment of silence felt necessary every time you passed a poor soul without gumboots, watching every step they took in fear of falling in the mud. This festival can be done sober, but it is not recommended, as we were instructed by a kind man at the craft stall, to head to the Stone Circle and if you have been to Glastonbury before, you will know exactly what this place entails. I will refrain to get into details, as I still want to be allowed into work on Monday. Back to the Music.
I absolutely loved the variety Glastonbury had on offer, as it was on a whole other level!
My friends and I decided to see Bring Me The Horizon for those high school glory days, and they did not disappoint. Directly after, we headed to the main stage to go see Muse. We had unintentionally arrived 20 mins early, so we were able to get a good visible spot at the Pyramid Stage, amazing us - however, by the time they started we were squashed into the 70,000 sea of people.
Muse came out like rock stars, and performed as such; smashing guitars only 2 songs in. Leaving the crowd half way through the set, to go catch the last half of Underworld’s performance was partly due to the size of the crowd but, holy hell, it was like walking through a massive packed out Mojo stage just to get out. It was worth it however, as Underworld did not disappoint in bringing their electronic glory to life.
During day 2 I had begun to get my bearings of the festival site, thanks to the guide which I recommend everyone acquire, if you want to have any chance of knowing where the hell you are going the entire time.
After being escorted to the Hari Krishna tent by my fellow festival goer Regan, I was stunned to see the amount of free food they were giving out. Anyone is allowed to pick up a free lunch, dinner and dessert, they also perform for you while you eat.
First off I demanded my friends Callum and Regan to come see St. Paul and The Broken Bones, as they had missed out on Bluesfest this year, and a band of St. Paul’s quality does not disappoint ever! Expect to see them back everywhere you go for years to come.
I was extremely excited to see Madness perform on the main stage afterwards and they blew me away. Suggs had such an entertaining stage presence, and when you have the whole crowd singing along and then laughing in-between, it truly becomes a show to remember. A must see for anyone.
We returned to the West Holts stage to see the bizarre but brilliant Shibusashirazu Orchestra, who are as talented as they are fun, as they are one crazy act you won’t forget, doubt me?
Go YouTube a live performance, I’ll wait…….You see what I mean? We then stayed at the West Holts stage for one of the fastest up and coming British rappers Little Simz. This girl has amazing flow and great stage presence as she managed to get the best of a semi unenthusiastic crowd. Tame Impala were at their usual best and I have to admit to being surprised that the strong majority of the Pyramid Stage were singing along with great joy.
I apologise in advance, I did not see Adele nor Coldplay. I like my live music with energy and it to be danceable.
I was also turned off by the thought of being cramped in with no room to move to an artist that doesn’t demand it anyway.
I was thankful my friends shared my opinion, a quick note that if you are travelling to Glastonbury a wolfpack of 3-4 is best recommended any more and you will have no chance of keeping everyone together. So New Order was the go on the Saturday night. I must admit, as well to being a bit in the dark on what to expect, when I tugged my way through the mud to the Other Stage (it's actually called the Other Stage…. I know right), boy was I happy with my decision. The infusion of electronic elements to experience world class musicians made for my most stand out show of the festival.
They had everyone moving the whole time and everyone wishing for them to play all night. Blue Monday is still ringing in my head to this day, finishing off the set with Love Will Tear Us Apart with a touching tribute for the fallen Ian Curtis. In case you live under a rock New Order use to be called Joy Division until Ian Curtis passed. I only hope they can make it over to Australia for one last tour, signs are good as they had great energy dancing with the crowd the whole time.
The final 3rd day of Glastonbury, just like any final day of a festival, felt like the last stretch of a Marathon, with the mud forming a chocolate mousse like texture.
The decision to eat by the campsite was a necessary strategy in order to rest our war torn legs. I was surprised to find so many people had decided to head home bright and early.
Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra played the so called Legends spot at 4pm at the Pyramid stage and they were fantastic.
One thing I love most about live music is when you are watching an artist and they break out a song you completely forgot they played. And you have that beautiful euphoric moment of bliss as you sing along. I experienced this moment time and time again as ELO played hit after hit.
I returned to my beloved West Holts stage to check out the Quantic All Stars, which were great jazzy fun,. You were left hoping that each new All-Star artist coming out to the stage stayed for one more song, as they were all extremely talented and when they brought everyone back on for the final song, it was truly epic!
The good people, who book the Glastonbury line up were kind to us, as they had the Quantic All Stars going into Gary Clark Jr and ending it with Earth Wind & Fire - all on at the West Holts stage, so to our delight no further trekking was needed.
Gary Clark Jr just impresses more and more every time I see him, I don't know what they are feeding him down at Gary Clark Jr HQ, but just keep on doing what you are doing, always a must see whenever he is playing.
Callum, Regan and I were so excited for Earth Wind & Fire, after sharing stories of 2012 at Blues, how can you not be? They are only the most groovable band you will ever have the pleasure of seeing. There was also a certain vibe about the crowd, old and young. Everyone there had given up the chance to see Coldplay to get some Disco into their soul, and dance their way on out of Glastonbury 2016, with hits like Shining Star and Boogie Wonderland, and finishing the set with September into Let's Groove Tonight. What better way is there to end a festival?
This place called Glastonbury is amazing; everyone is friendly, the bands are remarkable, and the staff are helpful and always close by. I would recommend it to anyone but just prepare for mud everywhere, and I mean everywhere! Also, no showers...that's right no showers!
Just let that sink in, as well as all the rest of it and it will probably be the most fun you will have in your entire life (apart from being at Bluesfest of course).