Glastonbury, what does it mean to you? Were you heartily sick of the coverage and incessant media chatter or do you love it? Do you kneel at the church of Eavis? Do you subscribe to the ‘best festy in the world’ theory ?
After a ten year break because of my self imposed ‘it’s not like it used to be’ policy, I decided to return for 2013 and found that in reality it is still utterly wonderful. I had clearly forgotten the magic that lies within those Somerset acres.
Backstage with Robyn Hitchcock
Of course it’s still too big but where else could you have Liam Gallagher for breakfast, Beady Eye rockin’ up the other stage like it was 1992. He’s still got the arrogance, the swagger, the rock ‘n’ rollness. Wow, if this is the first band on, what other delights await us?
Well…deep breath: meeting the mighty lord of the loud shirts Robyn Hitchcock back stage, seeing new synth lite pop kings Bastille, fairies, pixies, mad grannies, inflatable cocks, Public Image Ltd frightening the kids, pyrotechnic overkill, flames, explosions, lasers, out of control dry ice machines, Harry Enfield dancing to Slim Chance, Malian musicians, the overblown magnificence of Nile Rogers and Chic, Tom Tom Club doing psycho killer, whiskey, and then more whiskey with added Tom Tom Club.
From l-r, whisky, the author, Tom Tom Club’s Tina Weymouth
And there’s more. I also saw Keef Richards, met a tiger woman and her amazing tail, saw Tony Benn, as well some people climbing up ropes.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was also Nick Cave as Jesus, First Aid Kit doing Dylan’s Another Cup of Coffee (best sublime guitar solo of the weekend ), a furiously confident set from Stealing Sheep and the discovery of Haim and Rokia Traore.
Highlights continued to pour down over the weekend including seeing Don Letts DJ set, watching ye olde ex Hawkwind members space ritual doing orgone accumulator and master of the universe, Steve Hillage with System 7 and witnessing the legendary Wayne Kramer in my face doing kick out the jams.
MC5’s Wayne Kramer kicking out the jams
In this seemingly never ending list of experiences that can be packed into such a short space of time I also saw The Staves, Zulu Winter, experienced slowly deflating air beds, aching feet, that smell and meeting total strangers who instead of killing you, like in the real world, wanted to be nice to you. I also got to see Devandra Banhart do his funny little dance at the Park Stage.
To top it all off Public Service Broadcasting turned heavy metal before my eyes, there were sculptures, installations, 13 trillion DJ sets, a fine rockin’ band called Vintage Trouble, Lloyd Grossman playing guitar, more fairies, hardly any rain and lots of love, love love.
Incredible. Simply incredible.
Words by John Haylock, pictures by John Haylock and Arthur Hughes