Three years since my last festival. Had I built the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm up in my mind to be more of a Holy Grail than it actually was? Or is Glasto actually the only place on the planet to be at the end of June?
Well, I’ve come away with the decision that Glasto is the nearest thing I’ll ever get to having a baby. This year the journey to our camp site was the kind of hell you’d associate with a really hideous labour, but the minute you sit in your (zebra print – thanks Amy) festival chair and crack open that first beer, the pain of the SIX HOUR WALK (yes, I am aware that most labours last more than six hours, but you don’t do most labours with a heavy rucksack on your back and dragging a trolley through mud) from the car to the site is forgotten. Unfortunately I didn’t have a nine month wait for my second “childbirth” experience as we had to do it all again going home but I am a very lucky girl blessed with an amazing friend who lugged my hideous rucksack pretty much all the way to the car for me – probably as she could see me about to chuck the mother of all tantrums and host a sit down protest that would last until today in my reluctance to walk one more step. Either way, Louise I bloody love you.
So, sum up this year’s Glasto?
To be honest, DIFFERENT. Different vibe on the camp site, different weather (on a daily basis),different bands and different people – mostly in a good way, but with a little hint of a chav element creeping in to rain on my parade.
We had to camp in a different place. Maybe my fault for not leaving home as early as Paul wanted to. But I’m not sure. I think everyone was just earlier this time. I do think the festival has dumbed down a bit to get a more eclectic audience. There are a lot of acts who would not look out of place at V. I think they brought some of their crowd. But, that said, the people I stereotyped as chavs were the first to drag you out of the mud when the wellies got stuck. Never judge a book by its cover.
On the good side, I wasn’t fussed about the Pyramid Stage headliners. This meant that I had my eye on the other stages which is always a good thing. On the down side, when these other headliners were playing, my stupid dodgy 41 year old knee was so screaming in agony that I couldn’t cope with being on my feet so I missed Primal Scream and whoever I would have watched instead of Beyonce (still not really sure). But, Coldplay were worth the money, even though Chris Martin didn’t stick to his promise to “fix me” as frankly 3 days on I am still fairly broken … I guess he’s doing it alphabetically and is too busy fixing the other 70,000+ people who very sensibly put aside their preconceptions about “predictable headliners” and enjoyed an amazing Pyramid set that was a mix of greatest hits, fireworks and some new songs to reel us in to more plinky plonky Coldplay CD magic. I also felt a bit fluffy when he thanked us for giving him the best job in the world as he did that back in 2005 as well.
Weirdly, my highlights came on Saturday afternoon. Coincidentally when the sun came out and the ground hardened up enough for me to walk without screaming in pain. Jessie J was AMAZE. I hate her sort of music but my God the girl can sing and even sitting down with a broken leg she has an amazing presence. That’s the sort of incapacitation I can relate to. And yes, the little girl she got up on stage to sing with her even moved me to almost tears. (I said almost. Nothing to see here. Move along). She was followed by The Kills. I think we largely watched them as we couldn’t be arsed to move. My God they were brilliant. This is the point my taste started to differ from lovely Glasto virgin Louise – they are like the White Stripes, also an acquired taste, but one I acquired years ago and a major loss to my music scene. Anyway, back to The Kills. I loved them. New top 5 favourite band and I finally see why Jack White teamed up with Alison for Dead Weather.
My most cunning moment was luring Lou up to Avalon to watch comedy Radio One act “Folkface” – and yes, I can be heard shouting “hilarious banter” ™ on You Tube. We saw Michael Eavis en route. This compensated for the fact that we missed Pulp up in The Park. Well, I’ll keep telling myself that …
As a girl who doesn’t really deal with weather, I’m not going to lie. It was a tough one. Rain. Mud. And then, excessive heat and, despite my Factor 30 lotion, sunburn that is still showing no signs of fading to a pleasant tan. I bloody hate my extreme weather-hating skin. Oh and my mud-hating knee. And my hill-hating asthma. I’m not really cut out for this am I? I was brilliant on day one. I’m not gonna lie. I ploughed through the mud, refusing to let it beat me and lugging my rucksack nearly all the way to our site before collapsing in a pathetic heap and letting Amy take over.
Unfortunately, this first day stoicism meant that for the rest of the weekend I was a bit pathetic. And this is why my friends are the most amazing friends in the world. They don’t take the piss. They don’t tell me to man up. They don’t roll their eyes when I need to walk at a snail’s pace. They don’t point out that my ailments are not as great as some they might be dealing with. They never suggest I stay behind but never judge me when I say I want to. They just accept that I’m a little bit rubbish and need to adopt my own rather pathetic pace. In my favour, I didn’t fall over. In my failure, I didn’t really keep up and I certainly didn’t do everything I wanted to do. But I did enough to have those moments of looking around me and knowing there was absolutely nowhere else in the world I wanted to be.
When the sky is a cloudless blue and you are singing along to ‘American Pie’ with 50,000 drunk people who are enjoying the sunshine, there really is no alternative on the planet. We’re all equal, nobody cares where you work, what you weigh, how old you are, about the colour of your hair, where you’re from, what car you drive, who you vote for, what label your jeans are, if you believe in God, Allah or Buddha, who cuts your hair, if you can sing or not, how many exams you’ve passed, if you are tall enough to be a model or small enough to be a Kylie tribute act, whether you’re on your own or in a group of 20, what you earn, whether you are married, single, involved, engaged or repellent to the opposite sex … I’ll be honest, I still care about apostrophes and grammar (but I keep quiet about it).
And that’s why I love Glasto.
So, hello 2013. I’ll be back. And I will be on FIRE. But I will be “glamping”. And I won’t be carrying my own bags!!!