Glastonbury 2014: The Review

16 July 2014

Piecing together memories of Glastonbury is like putting together a puzzle while looking through a kaleidoscope. Happy, intense and vivid yet jumbled, achingly repetitive and magically blurred. Glastonbury for us is the mother of festivals, an absolute assault and barrage of music, the natural elements and the ultimate canvas for pure hedonism. The pace is impossible to keep up with, occasionally you fall into the flow only to be churned up, spat out and left wondering what happened the next day. The only comfort is that you know you had an incredible time.

Mud shmud – it was a plenty. The rain made its inevitable appearance in the forms of torrential sheets of water that blasted the site long enough for us to be confined to wellies for the entire weekend but it was nothing less than we expected.

Wild City went with a strong Indian crew – Shaa’ir + Func were invited back with the full band and we were accompanied by a motley entourage – it was a weekend of many firsts. Our most proud first that we all took great lengths to discuss and analyse was P Man’s first crack at using toilet paper – or ‘TP’ as it’s fondly and more delicately referred to.

We camped together in the nurturing and wholesome womb that is Green Futures, a smallish area where you can find a whole manner of inspiring and encouraging activities. While we didn’t engage fully in the opportunities around us – we were grateful for the peace and quiet at night – a far cry away from Pennard hill, its sea of tents and the frequent hiss of canisters filling up balloons with laughing gas.

Thursday was one giant tease. While the main stages held out for Friday the rest of the site gave a taste of things in store for the weekend. We managed to catch My Nu Leng, Seth Troxler (who looked very dapper sporting a white bath robe), Skip & Die and various miscellaneous DJs as we explored the night.

Friday was ridiculous. We woke up to echoes of Debbie Harry (Blondie) booming across the site – when we arrived at the Other Stage – we realised the whole festival had also turned up. Catching a glimpse of her head on the screens was the best position we could manoeuvre but that didn’t dampen the experience. She blasted her way through an immaculate set – the undeniable queen of cool, everyone was spellbound and in awe. We then powered through the day, keen to absorb as much as possible:

Numbers Boat Party, Rodrigo Y Gabriela (left the group divided), De La Soul (no division of opinion there), Rudimental, Crystal Fighters, Wild Beasts, Pixies, Friction, Four tet, 2 Bears DJ set (regrettable), and Danny Brown (above). Danny, Danny oh Danny. He was sensational. I really enjoyed Haim – although I was also using this as an opportunity to curl up in a ball on a raincoat in the mud catching a few precious moments of shut eye – my pleasure may have been confused with the relief to not be on my feet.

One of the most interesting experiences about Glastonbury is hunting out the obscure artists that you love and cherish only to find you have to fight your way into a tent surrounded by people fiercly chanting along. While we are always reminded about the masses that enjoy terrible music (apologies for sounding like a snob but I know you think the same) – it is almost a relief to realise that there are also a whole bunch of people that enjoy really good music. Glastonbury definitely restores your faith in humanity - in this respect at least.

Image Credit: Peter Podworski

The night brought with it a welcome carnival of mischief, mayhem and confusion. Block 9, The Common, Shangrila and The Unfair Playground became our home. The production that goes into these areas is nothing short of spectacular, almost overwhelming at times – the London Underground is definitely a space that stands out. A tube carriage precariously hanging out of the building that once inside is like a club straight from Blade Runner.

Darkness, obscurity and surrealism are optimised in these areas. Muddy boots aren’t allowed in Heaven and Shangrihell was still blowing on all cylinders at 5am on Sunday. Purgatory was always an option but it was the vast expanse of nano venues that really left a mark. The tattoo parlour quite literally left an imprint – unless you were already inked up, the leisure centre worked its scantily clad employees hard on bikes behind bars but they seemed ok…

Then there were the rumours… last year it was Daft Punk, this year it was Prince. We found ourselves racing across site a few times with painful optimism - needless to say the sources were fickle.

Shaa’ir + Func closed Toad Hall in the Green fields on Saturday night. Having seen the band perform a number of times a lot of my focus was on other people’s reactions – curious to see how they would be perceived by a fresh audience. Monica has a natural affinity in making her performances incredibly personal. She quite literally glows on stage but I realised it is her inner magnetism that mesmerises people.

She definitely made some new fans at Toad Hall and the bands new material is a surprising jolt away from their trademark indie electro. I also really enjoyed the presence of Prav… their performance felt incredibly fresh and the high energy of the band was infectious.

The bands second performance at the festival was at the infamous Pussy Parlour. As the name suggests, its stage plays host to some prominent female figures in the alternative music world - notably: TOKiMonsta, Little Dragon and Skip & Die so it was fantastic that India was also being represented.

Lana Del Rey, Robert Plant, Jack White, Mogwai, Machine Drum (live and DJ), Jon Hopkins, Jamie Jones (random 5am set somewhere we can’t quite remember), Massive Attack, The Wailers, Bonobo, James Blake (live), Virus Recordings takeover and of course Dolly Parton. Just some of the names we continued to see over the weekend...

Yes it was muddy, yes it was cold (at times), yes the toilets are gross (but a lot better this year), a lot of the people there are incredibly annoying and it feels like everyone is having the same conversation but as a music lover it is literally one of the most intense and insane experiences that you can possibly have. If you can, you should go! Remember to register quick sharp. We’ll be there again next year. Join us.


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