Glastonbury Festival 2008. The best this decade?
By ross.purdie on 05 August 2008
The days after the weekend before, it now seems ridiculous that anyone could question the merits of Glastonbury. Despite murmurings of the world famous festival losing its edge, as the choice of Jay-Z and the rest of the line up was continually put under the microscope, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a single person at Worthy Farm who didn’t have the time of their lives.
More people than ever – around 85,000 - got on site early on the Wednesday to enjoy the same summery weather which has so often proved a precursor to rain and flooding in the days ahead. And while a four hour downpour on Thursday night had everyone fearing a repeat of the last three events which have all been dogged by wet weather, it wasn’t to be.
Instead, the best weather since 2003 and an atmosphere to rival even the pre-fence years made for one of the best Glastonbury Festivals in a decade. The choice of Jay Z proved an inspired one, as did fellow headliner Kings Of Leon and The Verve, all three looking awestruck by the reception they received and the historic stage they had the honour to be on. It was clear this wasn’t any old festival - just ask Neil Diamond who looked as if he might break down in tears any moment, so overcome was he by the sea of flags and revellers before him.
As well as hosting the legends, Glastonbury has long been renowned for breaking new talent and this year was no exception. Noah And The Whale, Florence And The Machine and Beggars were just a few of the highlights, with new music seekers flocking to the John Peel tent, Queen’s Head and The Park, the latter proving a great addition to the festival after its mud-splattered debut last year. Battles played a blinding set on the Saturday night, while Tunng, Laura Marling and CSS guaranteed their invite back some time soon.
Shangri La celebrated its first year and proved an easy equal to its predecessor, from its tongue in cheek Amsterdam window strippers to the busy Tilted Disco. What's more, with the Glasto ground drying out from Saturday there was no excuse not to make the 15 minute walk up from the centre of the site.
What stood out most, though, was the return of the atmosphere which has so characterised Glastonbury over its 30-odd years. It's become a clique to say it but people really do make the festival, and they were happy again, silly again, and generally up for it for the whole weekend. So Glastonbury's back, the world is a better place again and it's now just under 12 months until the next one. Let's hope it lives up to 2008, one of the best Glastonbury Festivals in a decade....