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Glastonbury 2019

July 1st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life/Music · No Comments · Life, Music

I did not go to Glastonbury this year. No surprise there; I have never been to Glastonbury and probably never will. I did see a bit of it on the TV and the iPlayer and what I saw looked pretty good to me, as it usually does. So why have I never been and why am I never likely to go?

A lot of it comes down to the sheer size of it all, not just the event itself but also the ticket-buying process. It looks like a complicated process that requires registration and lots of hassle, with no guarantee of getting a ticket at the end of it. I guess cost has been a factor in the past as well, because of all the supplies and equipment I would need to get. The prospect of a weekend of no showers and dodgy toilets has a lot to do with it too. I have been to a festival before, and camped over the weekend, but it was the Cambridge Folk Festival and I was in my late teens so better able to cope with that sort of thing, and it was on a much more human scale. Jayne and I did go to Live 8 and that was quite stressful,. Multiply that by three whole days, add in camping, and scale it up 10 times. I’m pretty sure that if I went I would have to go on my own!

Now that I have had my big cancer operation and my stomach has been re-configured and moved up into my chest I am even less likely to be able to cope with a weekend at a festival. I need to be very careful about what I eat, and when, and should be eating 6 or so small meals a day. I think I would spend half my time in queues for food, most of which I would be throwing away. The doctor was not fibbing when he said that the operation was not just life-saving but life-changing.

There are other more trivial reasons why I should not go to Glastonbury. One of them if what the youngsters these days call FOMO. There are many big stages at the festival. At least 6 big ones. That means that any time you are watching somebody play, there are at least 5 other acts you are missing out on. And if you are just visiting the other attractions or installations, or just queueing for the bogs or for food you are missing out on at least 6, not to mention the other 170+ stages, tents and performance areas.

On top of that, there are a few things that really annoy me, even just from TV coverage. Number one on the list has to be all those banners and flags getting in the way, but a close second is people who feel the need to sit on somebody else’s shoulders. What sort of attention-seeking twat feels that they have to do that? And then there are the mobile phones being waved around, though that happens at normal concerts too. Why can’t you just enjoy the moment and live in it? Take the odd pic of course, but why spend 30 minutes with the phone waving around? On reflection, I may be a bit too much of a miserable git to enjoy the experience.

Or maybe the legendary Glastonbury atmosphere would mellow me?

Anyway, I enjoyed what I saw on TV, and it wasn’t necessarily the acts I was most looking forward to that I enjoyed the most. For example, I was really looking forward to seeing Janet Jackson, but she was a great disapointment for me. I didn’t mind what some reviews call the dated dance routines, that is what you want from Janet. It was the sound. For some reason her mic was mixed very low so her voice was drowned out by the music. At one point she yelled at the audience “I can’t hear you” and I was yelling at the TV “I can’t bloody hear you either”.

The other act I was really looking forward to seeing was Fontaines DC. They are a new band from Dublin who have put out a string of great singles and an album to match. There was nothing wrong with their performance but there was very little atmosphere to it. I think they did not suit being in a big top tent, playing to thousands of people during daylight. They need to be a in sweaty club, playing to 500 people.

I have seen the odd songs from some sets and made mental notes to catch up on the full sets on iPlayer – like Vampire Weekend, Stormzy, Neneh Cherry, the Killers and Stefflon Don. I will also look to see if footage is available of Idles, Mavis Staples, Tame Impala, Sons of Kemet, Ezra Collective, Jon Hopkins, Bugzy Malone and Pip Blom. I did watch all or most of the Cure, Janet, Chemical Brothers, Janelle Monae, Lizzo and Jeff Goldblum.

The thing that struck me most about this year is how many female artists there were. They haven’t reached the 50-50 ratio yet, but are getting there, helped by the fact that there do seem to be so many good, credible female artists around now doing ‘proper’ music and not just interchangeable pop. Having said that, of the dozen headliners on the four biggest stages over three nights, ten of them were male artists or bands.

A few highlights: Janelle Monae’s set, especially the last couple of songs, the sheer spectacle of the Chemical Brothers, and Sean Paul still sounding good. Up until this evening I would have said that the winner of Glastonbury was Lizzo, who was phenomenal. I have enjoyed her recent singles but was not prepared for the show she puts on. However, today I saw Alex, the 15-year-old who came out of the crowd to rap with Dave. Here he is on YouTube…

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