I’ve been going to Glastonbury pretty much every year since 1999. There was one year I decided to give it a miss, and got so annoyed while it was happening that ever since then I’ve vowed to always make sure I got a ticket (ticketing problems notwithstanding). With less than two weeks to go until the start of Glastonbury, here’s a list of my favourite moments from the last 10 years of what’s quite possibly, the best music festival in the world.
Blur, Pyramid Stage 2009
The fact that this performance meant so much to the band, made the whole thing seem so much more special. So many singalong moments too.
Hidden away in the Dragon Field (just past the Stone Circle), this Hobbit hole of a venue is a real gem. I remember stumbling upon this place one evening to be greeted by old school hippies reading poetry. It’s definitely got more of an old school Glastonbury feel about it. Try and find it after you’ve made a visit to the Stone Circle.
Thom Yorke, Park Stage 2010
I’m gutted I missed this performance last year. It was a secret gig on the Park Stage, and I was all the way on the other side of the site when I found out who was playing.
Orbital, Other Stage 2004
Orbital disbanded in 2004 (before reforming in 2009), making this their last gig at the time. And what a gig it was. Props go out to the dancing guy at the front of the crowd.
Stevie Wonder, Pyramid Stage 2010
Legend. That is all.
Paul McCartney, Pyramid Stage 2004
Paul McCartney. Hey Jude. 100,000 people singing “Naaa, na na, na-na-naaaaaaaaaaaa”. Amazing.
Coldplay, Pyramid Stage 2005
At the time that the 2005 lineup was announced, I remember thinking that Coldplay were quite insignificant – certainly not capable of headlining a festival like Glastonbury. As such, I didn’t go and see Chris Martin et al. After their gig, I remember it being the talk of Glastonbury, about just how good they were. I think this gig was quite possibly the making of them – it’s easy to see why.
Jay Z, Pyramid Stage 2008
At the time Jay Z’s billing was incredibly divisive, stoked largely by the Gallagher brothers. Glastonbury is a rock and roll festival don’t y’know – we won’t have any of that rap music around here. That’s what made Jay Z’s entrance so good – to come on stage singing Wonderwall was an act of genius.
Norman Cook is a Glastonbury stalwart. If it’s not announced that he’s playing, it normally means he’s got a gig on some secret stage hidden away in Shangri-La. If he plays, go see him.
Miniscule of Sound
Billed as the world’s smallest nightclub, this place can hold maybe 5 people at a push, plus a DJ. Expect long queues, and rough bouncers. It’s worth it once you get in there though.
Shangri La is where the after party happens. Once the bands have finished on the main stages, the party is only just starting over in Shangri La. Make sure you there earlyish though – if it’s too busy, security shut the roads in. Expect all kinds of weirdness once you’re there though.
Wednesdays at the Stone Circle
If you want to get away from the commercialisation of Glastonbury, head straight to the Stone Circle and Green Fields, which still retain the vibe of years gone by. The Stone Circle has the best view of the site, and is the place to be at sunrise or sunset if you’re not already tucked up in bed. It’s also the best place to go to if you get to Glastonbury on a Wednesday – the atmosphere is amazing.
Image courtesy of Technokitten
Nobody likes the rain, but it certainly makes for some of the most memorable Glastonbury moments. I remember waking up one morning with what felt like a river flowing under my tent. A few hours later, once the rain had subsided enough for me to emerge, I found out there had been so much rain that some of tents in my field were actually fully submerged. Not great for those affected, but it was still funny seeing people canoeing around Glastonbury, or people diving for crates of beer.
Image courtesy of Sebflyte
I normally get funny looks from people when I tell them that Rolf Harris is one of the best acts you’ll see at Glastonbury. Somewhat of a national treasure, his performances regularly attract some of the largest crowds there. I remember seeing him once at midday on a Sunday (first slot, on the last day), and it felt like the whole festival had crawled out of their tents to come and watch him. There was near chaos a few years later when, for some reason, the schedulers moved him to a much smaller stage that wasn’t capable of holding his legions of fans.
And that’s it from me – over a decade of going to Glastonbury, handily summarised into a single blog post – now let’s see what Glastonbury 2011 is going to bring. If you’ve got any highlights that trump any of these, feel free to let us know in the comments below – we love to hear them!
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