United Kingdom | 18 June 2010
Joseph Taylor looks ahead to the momentous 40th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival.
What is it?
It’s only the biggest, longest running festival in the country. If you’re not familiar with Glastonbury, where have you been? The festival will be celebrating being the UK’s most comprehensive contemporary arts event for the past 40 years. With a population larger than Bristol, Glastonbury’s organisers have guaranteed a party worthy of its anniversary.
Where and when?
The legendary Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset plays host to the festival every year. Overlooked by the mystical Glastonbury Tor, it’s truly a beautiful setting for the event in the rolling English countryside. Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain, in which case the festival will be churned into a mud bath within minutes. This year the event runs from 23-27 June.
Five to watch:
What more do we have to say? Stevie’s career started when he signed to the Motown label when he was just 11 years old in 1961 and he’s been funking up the music scene ever since. He’s closing the festival, and is bound to have the whole crowd revelling in his soulful party music for weeks to come. Watch out for ‘Superstition’, his most memorable tune is bound to make the crowd go nuts.
George Clinton with Parliament/Funkadelic
An absolute legend in the flesh, George Clinton is from the funky old school. Maintaining relentless funk energy despite being nearly 70 the funkster has worked with everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Dr. Dre. After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the 15 other members of Parliament/Funkadelic, it’s guaranteed to be a spectacular show.
Toots and the Maytals
Sunshine reggae on a Sunday afternoon? Yes please! Stalwarts of roots reggae, Toots and his crew will leave you feeling refreshed and chirpy after god knows how many lost hours of sleep. They are bound to make the sun come out on even the rainiest of days.
After magically transforming his image from a slightly tragic UK hip-hop thug into a suave crooner that’s seducing the charts, it’ll be interesting to see Plan B performing his hit album ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’. The show will be a real test of his Pop credentials for those who are still not convinced.
Willie Nelson/Seasick Steve
The battle of the dirty south. Playing the Pyramid Stage in the same slot on different days, it’ll be an excellent clash to see if country and western superstar Willie Nelson can fend off the irresistible charm of the (relatively) young upstart Seasick Steve. Both artists will be playing traditional music from the dirty south of the USA and with heaps of character to boot, which one will win the crowd’s attention?
One to miss
Marina And the Diamonds
Somehow securing top slots at festivals across the UK this summer, Marina And the Diamonds are yet another female-fronted, supposedly ‘quirky’ band that have captured the attention of the fickle-minded masses. Marina and her session musicians make lifeless pop music, while she squeals sporadically like Kate Bush has lost the will to live. Go and see some of the more gifted female vocalists that are sprinkled generously across the stages this festival.
Playing a rare UK festival date
After the success of Jay-Z headlining the 2008 festival, it’s no surprise that the people behind Glasto have selected another hip-hop heavyweight to crank out the basslines on the Pyramid Stage. With some true classics under his belt there’s no excuse to no go for some good old gangster rap on a Friday afternoon. P.S: Q. Why did Snoop Dogg take his umbrella to Glastonbury? A. Fo’ tha drizzle! (Sorry!)
Disraeli and The Small Gods
Winner of the UK Slam Poetry Competition, the lyrical wordsmith Disreali and his newly formed band, The Small Gods will be taking the festival season by storm this year. Opening the West Holts stage on Sunday morning, his chilled out vibes and politically-charged lyrics will get you nicely warmed up for the last day. Oodles of charm flow from the talented multi-vocalist, women want him and men want to be him. Just make sure you keep a keen eye on your girlfriend boys...
This year the organisers of Glasto’s music have selected a truly mighty line-up! Therefore there are too many clashes to concern yourself with. All of the headliners on all of the stages throughout the three days are well worth a watch, but let’s be honest it depends completely on which stage you stumble on your mad mission throughout the colossal site. Personally, Saturday poses the biggest problem with Muse, George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic and ska legends The Beat all clashing in one hideous orgy of indecision.
Be at Glastonbury if...
You are a true music lover. The festival has quite simply the best eclectic range of music from any festival anywhere in the world, so your days are guaranteed to be full of the best tunes, providing the soundtrack to your summer. Glasto is known for bringing out the best performances from artists and you will definitely get to see history in the making somewhere in the site this year.
You can’t deal with big crowds. With a temporary population of nearly 200,000 people, the site contains more party loving people than should be considered decent. You can, however, head to one of the many peaceful retreats for a bit of respite when it all gets a bit too much.
Take it easy dude...sit down, relax and breathe. You don’t want to go out on the first night and get yourself absolutely annihilated; Glasto can be a bit of endurance, so pace yourself people. Also, take lots of waterproof gear. Wellies, macs and dry tents will keep you sane in the notoriously soggy event.
The only festival that’s…
Glastonbury! It’s the big one and no other festival in this country can compare to the epic event in size, character and all-out hedonism.
Fashionista or folky?
Glasto has all sorts mingling in the crowd, from weirdy-beardy druids to middle-class folks and their family. Young and old alike wade through the magical kingdom of Worthy Farm, creating a real community spirit that ensures all are catered for.
Alcohol of choice
This is Somerset, home of cider! There’s nothing quite like a good strong scrumpy to fuel the antics in the sunshine. Look out for the range of home-brewed ciders and ales available at the festival.
Take your mum score -10/10
You can leave your mother at one of the therapy centres, at a knitting circle or even in a sauna whilst you can go off and get merry without having to worry about her once. Besides, everyone loves Stevie Wonder, your mother can probably even remember his first single!
Can I still get tickets?
You’ll be lucky! This close to the event, tickets are much rarer than gold dust. Due to the strict ticket selection processes Glasto have virtually eliminated touts. So unless you fancy scaling a massive wall the organisers have dubbed ‘Superfence’ you won’t be attending I’m afraid. There are plenty of ways to get into the festival without paying the £185 ticket price legally, such as working as a steward, or securing a place with one of the many stalls.
By Joseph Taylor.
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