Festivals are always a triumph of the human spirit. Where else can you party from midday til the sun comes up, then get up and do it all over again, five days in a row, always with a smile on your face and a spring in your step?
As an only-just-30-something – at the wrong end – those days would ordinarily be well behind me, but there’s something in the Pilton water / 100% cider diet that gives you super-human strength to charge on through. [NB: It expires as soon as you leave the arena though – we spent three hours at Victoria Coach Station on Monday, waiting for the Chap’s extreme motion sickness to subside enough to get a cab home, and it’s taken me all week to get back to something even vaguely approaching normal.]
By Glastonbury Saturday, we already had 72 hours of festival good times behind us, yet if anything, Saturday was even more fun than the previous days. (And just wait until we get to Sunday.)
Sadly, by this stage, recollections start to get hazy indeed, so I apologise in advance if the below accounts bear little resemblance to the reality. Just go with it. If you weren’t there, you’ll never know the difference.
#1: Son Of Dave, Croissant Neuf, Sat
I’ve raved enough about Dave’s mighty Son on these pages. It was no shock to me that he’d be one of the supreme highlights of our festival, but I suspect this took the Chap, a SOD virgin, by surprise. After his Friday Hell Stage gig was either cancelled or moved, we tracked him down to the Croissant Neuf tent in the Greenfields on Saturday, where he took the stage to an embarrassingly tiny crowd. (Do they not know of his genius? How? Why?! I shall continue the evangelism.)
In his manic insurance salesman guise (surely the greatest Coen Brothers character never written), this magical one-man-band quickly won over the assembled throng and enticed in more with his unique blend of comedy and driving blues-rock, culminating with a storming rendition of Black Betty as only he can storm. I say this every time I preach his gospel, but please do not miss the chance to see this man live. He truly is one of the best things you’ll ever see. Just don’t mention the Crash Test Dummies.
#2: Daptone Super Soul Revue, West Holts, Sat
Second row from front! That’s my silver-jacketed arm, clutching at Charles Bradley’s hand (again – see the Pussy Parlure 2013). That’s the Chap, just behind. THIS WAS AWESOME. Sharon Jones (note Chap in crowd at 2.40). Charles Bradley. Antibalas. Saun & Starr. Sugarman 3. The Dap-Kings.
But then you knew it would be. Despite the downpour. Despite the mud. This is what you came for, with a bursting heart and tears of joy hidden by the rain. This is what makes it the kind of memory you take to your grave.
#3: John Grant, Park Stage, Sat
Alas we only caught half a set as we had other places to be (jeez, does it get any more middle-class than avoiding Metallica in favour of Bryan Ferry?). But by god, I wish we could have stayed. From heart-aching ballads such as Where Dreams Go To Die to the greatest motherfucking singalong that you’re ever going to see (GMF) to ground-shaking dance such as the below, I can only imagine it got even better after we left. Typical.
#4: Illuminaughti Ball, Sensation Seekers Stage, Sat
Fire eating, sword swallowing, nostril drilling, puppet dancing, festival song chanting (“What the fuck are you wearing?!”), the Illuminaughti Ball’s collection of carnival acts and oddities had it all. We only caught half an hour as we waited for the Cuban Brothers, but frankly, after this lot even the mighty CBs came in short.
#5: Bryan Ferry, West Holts, Sat
Approached this with some trepidation after his particularly poor, cheesy performance with Roxy Music to a bunch of old housewives in New Zealand some years ago, but I needn’t have worried. It was incredible.
- Justin Robertson for laying down exactly the rave soundtrack we fancied at 3am at Bez’s Acid House
- The DJs and drag queens of NYC Downlow and the Downlow Radio, our nightly haven
- Conrad the indie DJ at the Lizard Cafe playing Eno Hyde and other gloriousness as the sun came up
- DJ Sneak (the surprising recipient of the first tit flash we’d seen all festival from an extremely keen older busty fan)
- Sleeping in and missing the John Wizards
- Not making it to the Crows Nest to see Melt Yourself Down
- Learning the heartbreaking news that Bobby Womack had died in the early hours of Saturday morning, and remembering his festival-stealing performance on the West Holts stage a year before. Many tears were shed. Thank you for the music, good sir.