Glastonbury 2011

Firstly, apologies for the blog silence over the past few weeks.  I have been working like a bastard and then for the past few days I’ve been enjoying myself at Glastonbury.  Here’s my review:

Wednesday – arrive in slight drizzle, but with so many people trooping through that’s all that’s needed to turn the site to a mudbath.  We don our wellies immediately on getting off the coach.  Inexplicably, some people seem to have not come equipped with wellies.  White plimsolls and a maxi dress?  That’s just ill-advised.  Set up our tent as close to our usual spot by the John Peel tent as we can manage, then have a nap in it.  There’s no bands on the Wednesday, so we explore the site, which we’ve never seen in this muddy condition as we’ve been spoilt with very good weather two years on the trot.  We locate the Honeybuns tea and cake tent, which is my happy place, read the line-up and get excited.

Thursday – some bands today, but only very few and nothing we fancied, so just more wandering – there’s lots to see even when there aren’t any bands on.  Like Eskimos have dozens of words for snow, we develop an extensive and descriptive vocabulary to describe the different kinds of mud – milkshake (easy to walk in, but beware splashes), gelato (looks bad but ok to walk in), clay (sticks to your boots and weighs them down) and the most dangerous plaster which is the one that gets you stuck and tries to separate you from your boots (especially if yours are two sizes too big, like mine).

As mentioned, I have been working very long hours recently, so I spend large parts of Wednesday and Thursday snoozing.  We traditionally go to the cinema tent for a film on the Thursday night, so we go to see Source Code, which was silly and entertaining.

Friday – 

The Master Musicians of Joujouka – traditional Moroccan music, half-way through – their version of Bez came out and started dancing and that man had stamina!

The Naked and Famous – New Zealand indie band on the Other Stage.  It was still wet and either we weren’t in the mood or their set was a bit underwhelming.

Since it was wet, we hid for cover in the circus and cabaret tents.  Mr Beet watched a sword swallower (I have my eyes closed throughout) whose big finale is to juggle a chainsaw, blindfolded, on a 10-foot unicycle.  It reminds me that I have not yet mastered more than 5 feet on a regular unicycle, and give him the biggest round of applause I can muster.  We trek through the quagmire along by the Dance Village to get to…

The Coral – and re-live a bit of our youth.

We don’t go to see U2, but we fortuitously happen to be crossing the field at the bit where Bono was duetting with an astronaut from the International Space Station.  This briefly makes us consider watching the rest of the set, but we figure that’s probably the highlight and we slope off, so we’ll never know if he did three-part harmonies with the Pope and Obama for a finale.

Saturday – 

It starts off overcast, but the weather forecast says it will be glorious sunshine by late afternoon, and it’s been spot on so far, so we keep the faith.  We go to the cabaret tent for some comedy first thing, then off to see…

Lau – chosen because their name’s like my name.  (We are simple people, we just booked our first hostel in Tokyo for our round the world trip and went for Kimi Ryokan because it sounded like a formula one driver).  In case you’re wondering what my band sounds like, very folky acoustic tracks light on lyrics.

The Undercover Hippy – are not a billed act, but one of the little acts all over the festival which you can stumble upon and we really enjoyed their set and nearly dance all the mud off our boots.  After them, we are about to leave the Park stage area when we notice that people are getting stopped from coming in.  We therefore deduce, correctly, that someone really good must be playing a secret gig on the Park stage shortly.  Well, Mr Beet does the deducing, I have already fallen over one and a half times by this stage so most of my brain power is being used attempting to keep myself vertical.  The “special guests” turn out to be…

Pulp – I know these things are usually the worst kept secrets, but we never know about special guests so we are thrilled that we managed to be there for their set and if I stood on my tiptoes I could even see some of Jarvis Cocker’s more expansive flourishes.

Did we want to see Coldplay….hmmmm…not really so we went to the Cabaret tent for some comedy from Angelos Epithemou, Phil Kay, someone too stoned to be allowed on stage (and I was fine with Phil Kay, so you can imagine) and two actors dressed up like Alice in Wonderland being proper freaky.

Sunday –

It’s a scorcher, but drizzly Friday is still fresh in our minds so we daren’t complain but it really is too hot.

Fisherman’s Friends – sea shanties from burly Cornishmen in the Pyramid stage novelty slot.

Noisettes – great, high-energy performance with much climbing and dangling off stuff from the frontwoman.

Bellowhead – Mr Beet particularly wanted to see them and they gave good raucous folk.

The Vaccines – we couldn’t get in the tent to see them, so Mr Beet listened from outside and I had a little lie-down in the shade.  Five days of mud and baking heat looks like this…

Hurts – really good, intense songs and I recognised their backing singer – I used to work with him – he was belting it out opera-style underneath their 80s-esque tracks.  They covered Kylie’s Confide in Me, which is a sure-fire way to my heart.

Beyonce – the only headliner we wanted to see and you just know that she’s going to give it some welly and she didn’t disappoint.  She kept saying she couldn’t believe she was playing to 170,000 people.  I don’t think she realised that was the total number of people in the whole festival and that there was a bunch of other stuff going on.  Still, don’t tell her will you?  I wouldn’t like to steal her thunder after she did so well.


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