‘A dry field never made a good camper’ is a phrase often thrown around when it comes to festivals, and so often Glastonbury is tagged as a washout. Not this year. This year my factor 50 barely kept me un-crisped. With highs of 31 degrees, it was utterly scorching. The fields were dry, the music was loud, the sun was out. A music fans heaven. Here are my highlights.
Normally I would settle for a cold pot noodle cooked in a dirty pan but at Glastonbury you are spoilt for choice. Indonesian food? Sorted, Vegan? At least 15 food trucks. Fried food, soups, chicken wings, donuts, crepes, health-fixing smoothies? Yes yes yes. Glastonbury could qualify as a fantastic food festival with the stalls alone. I tried to eat as much as I could. Thai green curry for breakfast? Well I am on holiday after all.
Image: Luke Taylor
Trying to pitch a tent at Glastonbury is a highly stressful situation. Imagine 140000 people all descending on a few fields, all determined to get the best spot. I had to get up at the crack of dawn and jog from the car to the field that I wished to camp in. And when I say jog, this isn’t hyperbolic. I ran a mile with a tent and a chair and a pair of wellies strapped to my back.
The camping at Glasto is intense. People will put their tent on the entrance to your tent if it looks like a half viable camping spot. You will be sat on top of people, but everyone is friendly and quite happy to chat and just there to enjoy the music. There is a very squashed-in reality the camping but I think that is a rule of thumb for every festival. You expect the squeeze and in return you get good vibes poor great views.
Image: Andrew Allcock
Glastonbury has many fantastic stages. The most famous being the Pyramid stage, that this year played host to Stormzy, Miley Cyrus and The Killers. The audience spill out over a huge hill that faces it, giving it a real amphitheatre vibe. The Other stage boasted The Courteeners, The Chemical Brothers and Christine and the Queens. This stage is significantly smaller and was conveniently about 40 ft from where I had camped (until the 9am soundchecks). Welt Holts had Lizzo and Maribou State and The Glade had Fat Boy Slim and Leon Vynehall. These are the obviously signposted stages that gather massive crowds, there are many other more secretive stages. There is a secret stage underground with an Alice in Wonderland theme, there are quiet hippie stages in the healing fields that feature long haired ukulele players at all times of the day, a dance stage in a treehouse shaped like a UFO and my personal quirky find: An interactive dance stage in the middle of a wooden labyrinth. You could walk for hours and hours and not even scratch the surface.
If you did happen to make it to the evening after a day of sweltering heat, there was the SouthEast corner that had numerous dance stages (lasers shooting out of a massive half-submerged stone head like some techno monolithic statue anyone?) an un-fairground where the odds were never in your favour, a waterfall, massive bleachers, old tv’s stacked up blaring out made up news. It was never-ending.
Images: Sam Lloyd
Where to begin? Lizzo was incandescent, sweary and ripped everyone from their Saturday early-afternoon slump. She will be the biggest thing out there so see her now while she is still relatively cheap to watch. The Killers offered polished synthy pop with guest performances from The Pet Shop Boys and Johnny Marr. Leon Vynehall eased everyone into the weekend with his ethereal dance, played out under a canopy of fake trees in the summer evening cool air. My personal Fav was Miley Cyrus (which I didn’t think I would ever say) but that girl can put on a performance. Knocked. It. Out. Of. The. Field.
Images: (Left) Andrew Allcock, (Right) Charlie Raven
The biggest festival in Europe doesn’t need any approval from lowly me, but it gets it. After years of practice, this place gets it so right. It is a treat for the eyes and the ears, with so many interactive elements, hide and seek style stages, it is a wonderland in its own right. Go just once, it is worth it!
Image: Sam Lloyd
Feature image and side bar images: Sam Lloyd
Written By Freya Dew