For me, the best musical event of 2013 so far isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a fact. Those who disagree probably weren’t there, and those who were know exactly what I’m talking about. It can only be Glastonbury. The concept of 177,000 people paying £200 to stay in a field for five days is absolute madness, but when you throw in more than a thousand performers across a hundred stages, everything seems to fall into place.
The hardest thing when writing about Glastonbury is where do you start? I guess you could start by dropping the names of huge headline bands like The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys or Mumford & Sons, and doing your best to explain how incredible the show was before realising that such a spectacular event doesn’t translate well into words, and giving in to the fact that all you can say is ‘you had to be there’.
Or maybe big headliners aren’t your thing, and you’d rather tell everyone about this small band that you saw and how they’re going to be huge in a few months time. Maybe it was someone like MS MR or Peace on the John Peel Stage, or maybe it was that band you wandered past when they were playing the Avalon Stage whose name you didn’t catch and will spend the next few weeks looking for. After all, with so many artists playing at Glastonbury, there’s a good chance that the stars of tomorrow are already here making a name for themselves today.
But there’s a whole other side to the festival that emerges when the sun goes down and the ‘glampers’ have returned to their fully-furnished tipis, and maybe that’s the first thing you have to say about Glastonbury. You can tell everyone that the bands aren’t even half of the fun, and about how you found yourself stumbling around Shangri-La at 4am, searching for for some DJ you were told ‘you can’t miss’, who you never found, but you came across something else and had an incredible night anyway.
In short, Glastonbury is huge. In terms of size, popularity, the number of performances and the diversity of the festival as a whole, everything about it is huge. The only way you can begin to truly understand is to go and live it for yourself.
Photo by snaildemos