Rock and Roll Glastonbury

In years past I would have been at Glastonbury right now. I went to eight consecutively from 1997 to 2005, but haven’t been since. It is a wonderful place with a variety of music and entertainment that you can’t find at any other festival, and although many complain that it has got steadily more gentrified over the years, I still think it retains some of its’ original hippy spirit and is a little less commercialised than the other big festivals. Eventually though. I got tired of the sheer size of the place, with ticket sales now edging up towards 200,000, and the mud. In the following years I tried various other smaller and/or overseas festivals including Bestival, Green Man, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Sziget and Electric Elephant, generally speaking having wonderful times at all.

Time and money constraints have prevented me getting to any weekend long festivals in the last few years, but now Frida has arrived, I’ve started to think about when we might go to a festival next. Obviously it will be when she’s a little older, I don’t think looking after a baby at a festival would be much fun, but I’m not quite sure what age she will be ready. I do think festivals are a fun place for kids generall speaking, but I’m not sure that mud and kids is a great combination.

As for what festival to go to, Glastonbury might be a bit too overwhelming when she’s little, but plenty of people do take their families, and I think it something everyone should experience at least once. Green Man might be suitable, and there is a festival called Beacons near Skipton which has the advantages of being close to us, family friendly, relatively small scale and a great line-up (Jon Hopkins/Neneh Cherry/Cate Le Bon/King Creosote/Melt Yourself Down etc.). So I think it may be ideal, but we shall see in future years. In the meantime, if I were at Glasto this year, these are ten of the acts I’d want to see in no particular order

  • Dolly Parton – partly because I’m never likely to see her play anywhere else, but also because I was surprised how many of her songs I actually liked when my wife played me her bluegrass coleection
  • Pixies – Have seen them many times, but my all time favourite band, so wouldn’t miss them
  • Deltron 3030 – Legendary hip-hop supergroup playing with full orchestra, likely to be entertainingly bizarre
  • London Sinfionetta & Jonny Greenwood perform the music of Steve Reich – I know next to nothing about modern classical music, but have heard and loved some of Steve Reich’s compositions.
  • Melt Yourself Down – Riotous punk/jazz/funk, one of those bands I’d imagine would be amazing live but have never seen
  • Two Bears (DJ set) – I love their album from a couple of years back, and would take me back to my raving days.
  • John Grant – Wonderful songwriter, and his voice is truly magnificent when heard live
  • Cate Le Bon – One of my favourite current artists, love everything she does.
  • Yoko Ono – Like her and her art more than her music, but couldn’t miss this opportunity to see her live.
  • Tinariwen – Tuareg musicians who I once saw do an amazing show with English folktronica group Tunng

I could easily add twenty or thirty more to this list. Maybe I will go back to Glastonbury sooner than I thought!


2 thoughts on “Rock and Roll Glastonbury

  1. Ovidiu Boar July 27, 2014 / 7:45 pm

    Nice essay, I am a huge Pixies fan as well, though I’ve never seen them live. When did you see them? Got some interesting stories about it?

  2. amethyst3704 July 28, 2014 / 5:41 am

    I saw them 5 times between 2004 and 2009, in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. First time I saw them was their first gig back in the Uk after they reformed in 2004, so you could tell they were a bit nervous. They played two encores, but still hadn’t played ‘Where is my Mind’ and everyone was expecting them to come out again, so almost the entire crowd stayed hanging around, expecting a third encore, even after all the equipment started being cleared away. They never did come back out, but it was a great gig.

    The Manchester gig was funny because Pixies were second on the bill behind the Stereophonics at a festival called Move, but almost everyone was there just to see Pixes, so as soon as they finished 80% of the crowd left, and Stereophonics were left playing to an almost empty stadium!

    All the gigs were great, I would be interested to see them again to se how they are with the new songs, and no Kim Deal.

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