Last week I, along with 175,000 other weather hopeful punters, made the annual pilgrimage to Pilton under the watchful eye of Mr Eavis and co.
Now, Glastonbury is normally nothing short of a rollercoaster of emotions; mud, sweat, no sleep and the usual idiots falling through your tent at 3AM screaming Will Griggs on fire, with a warm can of Carling in hand. But this year, despite best efforts to keep the cheer through the downpours, there was something sinister hanging around the farm.
If you’ve never been to Glastonbury before, you might imagine it to be a sort of utopian microcosm, a self sustaining bubble detached from the mundanity of every day life – after all it is the self professed ‘greatest place on earth’.
Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.
At 7AM on June 24th I took it upon myself to wake up the bottom half of the John Peel camping area by shouting the EU referendum results through a megaphone, to which the response was fairly unanimous. Despite normally feeling exempt from the constraints and hierarchy of society inside the fences, you could feel the heavy hearts for the rest of the festival voiced by musicians and punters alike; as 1975 frontman Matt Healy eloquently put it “there’s a sentiment of anti-compassion that’s spread across the older generation, and they’ve voted us a future that we don’t want” before backtracking in a self depreciating manner “but I’m a rock star, what the fuck do I know?”.
Asides from the impending political doom that our generation still has yet to come to terms with, the world’s biggest greenfield festival coincided with another monumental occasion, Pride. Pride this year comes at a time where the LGBTQ community are dealing with a horrible feeling of fear placed upon them, as Years and Years’ frontman Olly Alexander acknowledged.
In a touching moment of crowd interaction before the last song of their set, he addressed the issue “As you might be able to tell by the way that I’m dressed, I’m gay. I’m in fact, really, really, super gay” motioning to his rainbow coloured outfit, “I can’t believe that we’re here today… but what I keep thinking about is how in the last year, a lot of pretty scary and messed up stuff has happened”
“As queer people, we know what it’s like to be scared, and we know what it’s like to live with fear as part of our every day. But tonight, Glastonbury, I’d like you to join me and say ‘no thank you, fear’.”
“To say ‘fear, bye’. To literally shove a rainbow in fear’s face. And all I have to say to finish, is I’m here, I’m queer, and yes, sometimes I’m afraid, but I am never ashamed because I am proud of who I am”.
I’ll be totally honest with you; In years gone by I, as most people have, have shed tears at Glastonbury. Tears from being overwhelmed by the constant assault on the senses, tears from being too drunk and overtired, tears of all kinds. But this year I discovered a new kind of crying, I call it the Coldele cry. See where I’m going with this?
In a strange and unexpected turn of events I ended up seeing all three headline acts at the Pyramid stage, and simultaneously tapping into an emotion I never knew existed. In that Adele crowd of over 100,000 people I can guarantee there was not a single dry eye. Sure, there were quandaries as to whether Adele would make a suitable Saturday night headliner, all she does is chat a bit, swear and sing ballads, right? That’s all she did, and it was phenomenal. Indescribable.
Image sourced from Digital Spy.
Embarrassingly enough I did a similar 360 on my opinion on Coldplay; previously the most mediocre ‘rock’ band to exist in my eyes, they proved there was nothing even slightly mediocre about them through the most meticulously produced performance I have ever experienced. Nobody could have been in that crowd and kept a straight face through Fix You, I’m not just soft, right? Right? The unexpected addition of Barry Gibb and a touching Viola Beach tribute rounded off what could honestly be described as the perfect Glastonbury headline set.
Obviously the festival isn’t just about the big acts, the 8 mile long fence plays host to a million other things to do i.e paint parties, 24 hour nightlife, spiritual healing, and the spectacular views. So many things in fact that it can often get totally overwhelming. To put it in to perspective here’s a comparison of the Glastonbury 2015 site to central London:
And for you ‘just finished my GCSE’s’ lot, here’s a Reading festival size comparison:
So my ultimate advice to you would be this: Do not try to do it all in one year. You cannot. It’s like trying to do Disneyworld in one holiday, but a lot less magical and involving a lot more ketamine.