England: Glastonbury Festival 2015

26/06/2015 to 29/06/2015: Glastonbury, England

I was ticking an item of my bucket list, to go to the Glastonbury Festival Of Contemporary Performing Arts in June 2015. I went with my friend Dan, nicknamed Spanner from our days working together at HSBC. I hadn’t seen him since 2013, he picked me up in his car, as I got in the passenger seat, the first thing I noticed in the middle of the car, was appropriately, a spanner.

There was a ‘spanner’ moment back in October 2014, when we bought the tickets. I was in a hostel in Malaysia, with really slow WiFi, but somehow managed to get me and Dan a ticket, but he had forgot to give me the registration of his friend, so it was just the two of us.

Spanner moments didn’t take long to happen during the weekend, after filling up with petrol, and setting the GPS from Canvey Island to Glastonbury, Dan promptly accidentally drove towards the McDonalds Drive-through, instead of leaving the supermarket car park. I rose the Spanner to declare the moment, and it wasn’t the last time I’d use it. Passing by Stonehenge, I had to warn Dan to stop has he continued driving while trying to pick the GPS up of the floor. Leaving the car, Dan immediately dropped his one bottle of water, making it spring a leak for the walk to the camp-site.

The walk from the car to the festival site, was about 40 minutes, carrying all of our stuff for the weekend, with the heat of the sun beaming down on us, this wasn’t an easy task. Once we got through the festival gates, it was another 30 minutes of walking campsites, and almost in circles, before we found a space big enough for our two tents. This was on the Thursday, the day before the festival actually started, and was surprising to see it so busy already. The search would have been shorter if we were willing to camp in the soggy ground in the shadow of one of the toilet blocks. Our pathetic, cheap, supermarket bought tents were up by mid-afternoon, and soon had some beers open, and started to explore the festival area.

In the evening, walking around in a bit of a drunken stupor, we came across the giant metal spider that we had seen during the day. This time, there was a show taking place. It was named Metamorphosis at Arcadia Spectacular. There was music playing, zorbs floating in the air, and acrobatics going on. I didn’t know exactly what I was seeing, but it was hypnotic and had me captivated. Towards the end, flames were fired into the air, the heat was intense, like it could singe our eyebrows.

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A fire-spitting spider at Arcadia

Friday 26th June, the first day of the festival proper. Me and Dan walked to The Other Stage to see who the special guests were opening the festival. It was The Charlatans, certainly not a disappointed despite not knowing much of their music. We stayed around for The Cribs, who were one of the highlight shows of the day for me. We moved over to the Pyramid Stage to watch Alabama Shakes, as the rain started to come down. I left Dan to go and see Jungle perform on The Other Stage, before getting my wellies from my tent. The rain had instantly turned areas of the festival into mud pools. Soaked through, I went to The Acoustic Stage on my own to see Wilko Johnson, one of my few must see acts of the weekend. Wilko Johnson played really well, with his odd look made to look sensible compared to his bassist.

I returned to The Pyramid Stage, taking the gamble on not seeing Mark Ronson play live on The Other Stage, to see who the surprise act was on The Pyramid Stage. I hadn’t been able to find Spanner Dan by the time that The Libertines had started their show. I wasn’t surprised that The Libertines were the replacement act, however I was disappointed as I was due to see them a week later at Open’er Festival in Poland, plus the replacement act at Rock Werchter were two bands that I really want to see; Faith No More and Royal Blood. The Libertines show was good though, with an excited audience making it fun.

The headline act for the Friday, was Florence And The Machine. An act that I was not to be bothered about seeing, but I was intrigued as to how it would go, and with nothing better on any of the other stages, I decided to give it a go. I found Dan, between The Libertines and Florence And The Machine, we were very close to the front, and getting squashed. We decided that Florence wasn’t worth that discomfort, so moved make a bit. Florence certainly did put on an impressive and energetic show. You could tell it was an almost coming-of-age show for her, an all or nothing event of her life, and she gave it all. It was nice that Florence gave a good shout-out to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, after he had broken his leg and could not play the headline slot. She concluded the dedication with an impressive cover of a Foo Fighters song. Towards the end, she inevitably played her hits, and promoted the crowd to take of an item of clothing and spin it around your head, an act that I had seen Jay-Z do previously, but still good fun. After the show, I couldn’t help but feel that despite my doubt, Florence had definitely nailed it.

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Wilko Johnson on Acoustic Stage

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Florence & The Machine on Pyramid Stage

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Waiting for Alabama Shakes on Pyramid Stage

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It didn’t take much rain for the mud to appear at Glastonbury Festival 2015

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