Glastonbury 2008: Rated!
Top marks or skid marks?
Daniel Fahey - 01 July 2008
Glastonbury Festival 2008, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset. 27-29 June
Overall – 9/10
With spirits dampened after the floods of '07, Glastonbury returned to the top of the festival pile with one of its best showings in years. Kings Of Leon, Jay-Z and The Verve provided three almost infallible headline slots; while the Park Stage's surprise shows saw Franz Ferdinand make a triumphant return and ethereal The Last Shadow Puppets make their festival debut. The younger crowd had flooded back to rekindle the spirit of old, as a new generation of devotees filled the late night Shangri-La arena until sunrise. If it had stayed dry on the Thursday night Glastonbury may've even scored a perfect ten.
Getting There and Back – 6/10
Some 85,000 people managed to find their way onto the site by the Wednesday by coach, car and train. Shuttle buses were organised directly to the site from Castle Caey train station, but it did mean there were the inevitable queues getting on site and those who arrived on the Thursday faced delays of up to five hours following a fire near to the site. Very few dared leave the Pilton party on the Sunday, which meant long queues leaving on Monday morning, but compared to the hundreds of people literally trapped by the mud in 2007, it was a much better regimented escape procedure - and what do you expect for one of the best festivals in the world?
Site – 7/10
The site was as overwhelming and leg-achingly sore as it's always been with the perimeter fence extended to accommodate a field of flags that overlooks the Stone Circle and the Park Stage. The usual metal roads provided solace from Friday's soggy ground and a barrier to stop the sea of seats washing back from Newton Faulkner, but muddier footpaths did feel like chewing gum the whole weekend. Shangri-La, the new late night area, seemed to stick very closely to the old Las Vagueness formula, but the extended Trash City, Park Stage and Dance Village provided alternative early hours entertainment. Elsewhere the Green Fields remained the delicate utopia of old, the main stages stayed unchanged and the John Peel tent had been extended for new music lovers.
Atmosphere – 9/10
This year's atmosphere was undeniably immense with a younger crowd wooed by the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Pete Doherty and the legendary charm of Glastonbury. Dressing-up, stripping down and beaming smiles from near-on every person around made it a festival to remember as punters really let their hair down for the entire weekend. The Stone Circle once again buzzed long into the early hours and the spirit within the packed main stage crowds was as friendly as it's ever been.
Jay-Z – 10/10
In the face of philistine adversity the New York rapper unveiled a set that will go down in Glastonbury history. Choosing to perform alone without the rumoured surprise guests (which clearly weren't needed) and backed by a live band, Jay-Z blew the crowd away as he hammered out the hits. The star found time to cover Rihanna, Amy Winehouse and Estelle and even got in a cheeky dig at Noel Gallagher by dubbing his "Hip hop at Glastonbury – no chance," comment over the top of an acoustic performance of Oasis' 'Wonderwall'. Perfection.
Elbow, one of the more underated bands in modern music, provided a huge sun drenched audience with an epic and mature set that included a mini orchestra to expand tracks like 'The Fix' and 'One Day Like This' as the sun went down over the Other Stage.
Foals – 8/10
The mathematical pop rockers drew a massive crowd for their Glastonbury debut on the Other Stage and apart from an over-indulgent introduction they remained note perfect. Off-kilter horns, keys and Afro-beat drum all wrapped over their complicated guitar flourishes left the swells beaming during 'Cassius' and 'Balloons'.
Jimmy Cliff -8/10
As band clashes go, Friday's top slot had to be one of the worst with Kings Of Leon, Pete Doherty and Fatboy Slim all vying for attention, but it was one of reggae's finest who made the biggest impression. Laying down gems like 'I Can See Clearly Now' and 'The Harder They Come' in the dark, simply gave the sunshine tracks another dimension.
Babyhead – 7/10
Glastonbury is one of the only festivals where you can literally trip over and discover something usually remarkable. Whilst wondering around Shangri-La in the small hours of the morning we stumbled into the Dada Tent to watch Babyhead's ska funk cocktail blow us away completely.
Night Of Treason -3/10
If you were unfortunate enough to be at the Left Field Stage late Sunday night you may've run into this lot. The Clash covers band throttled the punks’ best tracks with all the blissful ignorance of a local pub act.
The Internet Connection
The Press Tent's Internet access remained slow, sporadic or completely off for the whole weekend. And if that didn’t make our lives difficult enough our mobile chargers were pinched as well. Thanks.
Sure, we've all seen it before, but special plaudits go out to the two gentleman who fought for nearly five hours on Friday afternoon near the bar by the Other Stage.
Biggles Wartime Band
Wednesday early birds must've thought that all of their Christmas' came at once if they managed to catch these Glasto regulars on the Croissant Neuf stage. The five-piece all donned Santa hats before performed a medley of festive tracks – ideal for the height of summer!
Stone Circle Beatboxing
Australian street busker DubFX added something extra to the Stone Circle's usual bongo playing. Instead he took an effects pedal and a mini amp up to the spiritual land at 7am Sunday morning to wow crowds with a intense session of beatboxing and rapping.