Glastonbury 2009: the delights of the night

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Ali Ryland | 03 July 2009

Guest lists, abusive football fans and (whisper it) attentive policemen are a thing of the past as we delve into the mayhem of Glastonbury after dark, rating and berating the best and the best left alone.

Glade - 8/10

The warm up for a night of illicit deeds and non-stop dance kick starts in the woody wonderland, where self-conscious swaying transforms into electro-bopping ecstasy; from ska-cum-rap to brainwashing trance, the DJ sets draw a sweaty crowd - at least until the shockingly early time of 12.30am.

Avalon Inn - 7/10

When scouring the seven seas in search of booty (something at the forefront of many minds of Glastonbury’s eccentric characters), an ideal anchorage for a quick snifter of real ale is Avalon’s pirate-themed tavern. The wayward Inn provides a retreat for those momentarily tired of dancing the night away and it includes the homely comfort of a good wench.

Slippery Dick’s - 8/10

Also known as Dickie Dan’s, the bar is so called “slippery” due to the hazardous descent down to the buzzing, if modest area. Located on the way to big bosses Shangri-la and Trash City, Slippery Dick’s is Glastonbury’s best kept secret. Hosting live music and DJ sets until well into the morning, it’s bound to be the first place up and the last going; with the perfect set up to lure unsuspecting party animals, it’s not surprising.

Arcadia- 10/10

The crowning glory of Trash City has thus received its own area; and lo, it was called Arcadia. Between Shangri-la and Strummerville (so nicking off for a strawberry daiquiri at the ex-Lost Vagueness area or having a sofa-stop at the punk tribute area is a doddle) the Blade Runner district rules triumphant. With sets from artists such as Babyhead and the formidable Dreadzone, the technological haven alters from banging space-age stage to awe-inspiring circus theatre. Warning: the fire shows are not for the faint at heart.

Stone Circle - 9/10

The only area where you can find a huge crowd, despite the fact that the only music being provided is by an amateur on guitar, is the Stone Circle; where the community truly bonds. Whether it’s hearing that Michael Jackson has just snuffed it or having a sing-song, the meadow is the night time chill out zone perfect for watching the sunrise.


Trash City - 4/10

Surely an upper for those poor souls who bothered to queue for the unknown delights of the scummiest place on earth, but the bad-ass glamour of Trash City is wasted due to its unceasing popularity. Long queues, scrunched up bodies and no space? Even Fatboy Slim’s secret Saturday night set fails to pull in those of us too cool to follow the crowd.

Slumbarave (Shangri-La) - 3/10

Futuristic Shangri-la theme “Dyscotopia” turns dystopian as the future isn’t bright for those inside the so-called “Hotel and Spa”. One Jacuzzi, a weak band and a noticeable absence of androids and Slumbaslaves is enough to aggravate those lured in with promises of four-poster beds and relaxing spas.

Silent Disco - 5/10

New sensation sweeping the nation or a last resort? It may be the hip and happening spot at Reading and Leeds, but Glastonbury’s answer to the fad falls short of expectations when entertainment including punk-fuelled chai tents are raving just around the corner. Springing up like corporate parasites, one such salubrious location is off of Pyramid Stage, alongside the toilets. Comedy value for spectators not included in the generous score of 5/10.

Overall Verdict - 9/10

One important area not entirely aforementioned is Shangri-la. The reason? The bizarre disco-topping district is too large to dissect; from the hyper-fuelled energy of The Rocket Lounge to the performers of Club Dada, Shangri-la plays a huge role in making Glastonbury the prime place for nightly entertainment. But what really makes good old Glasto a 9/10 - other than the complete lack of downers - are the new and the unexplored places. They’re not hard to find when there’s something going on in every possible recess.

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