Saturday. A day of glorious sunshine, sitting in chairs, drinking cider and watching Elbow giving this year’s definitive ‘Glastonbury moment’. There was not an awful lot I wanted to see on Saturday music wise so I went with the flow and ended up with an eclectic mix, which is the best way to experience the festival. Given my desire to just sit in the sunshine and chill I did not take that many photographs and I experienced Elbow’s triumphant set from some way back on the hill overlooking the Pyramid stage. And if Guy Garvey ever read this this: Yes we did have the time of our lives.
So when Illustrating this blog with pictures it struck me that most of the images I took on Saturday were taken in the very early hours of Saturday morning, i.e. when it was still raining. This not a problem but I don’t want to give the impression that it was raining on Saturday. It wasn’t. I woke up to sunshine. But, Friday’s rain continued until about 3 in the morning on Saturday and this is when I took these pictures.
So, post U2 I had two options – go to bed and listen to the rain hammering on canvas, which is the route my friends took, or go walkabout. I did the latter, heading off to the theatre tent because I reasoned that it would be a) dry and b) entering the edgier late-night period. The pictures below blog capture just part of what I walked in on. I mentioned earlier in the week the experimental Russian dance theatre and this is what it looks like. I have no idea what the dancers were called but what I can say is that it was creepy, scary and mesmerising; like walking into a David Lynch film.
One thing that Glastonbury’s detractors just don’t seem to get is that the festival is not just about music. Music is just a small part of what is on offer. Indeed the full and proper title is the ‘Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts’. There is so much to see and do that you could quite easily not see any music all weekend and many people don’t. There is theatre, comedy, cabaret, circus, dance, politics, science, environmentalism, poetry, book readings, lectures, etc, etc. It therefore did not come as a surprise to find myself watching terrifying dance through a cider-fuelled haze whilst a biblical storm raged outside. This may well be the most indelible memory of my festival.
Once the rain had abated I headed off into the areas of the site that are not for the faint of heart – Arcadia, The Common and Shangri La – where you can encounter fire-breathing dragons, desolated cityscapes, transvestites (and lots of them), mermaids, Mexican wrestlers, karaoke, virus outbreaks and decontamination; not to mention Bez’s (of the Happy Mondays) Acid House. Usually you have to queue to get into these areas but the rain had driven many away and I walked straight in; hopefully these pictures will give just a little taste of what I encountered.
Finally, I should mention, that after many years of looking (and quite by accident) I happened across ‘Strummerville’ (main picture) a tiny area near the memorial stone for The Clash’s Joe Strummer (a Glastonbury regular) which has a huge campfire, with singalongs, and a tiny stage for a select group of performers. This too was a godsend. To warm by the fire and listen to live music in such intimate and friendly surroundings was another highlight.