What a belter. The sun I prayed for shone brightly, solidly, for three days, apologising profusely for its previous absences. We arrived on site on Thursday afternoon without a hitch, set ourselves up and began our exploration. The good weather and the prospect of World Cup delight lifted spirits sky high, despite the sheer number of punters and the inevitable toilet stenches made worse by the blistering heat.
So to the music. As usual so much, so varied, so much missed. But what I did see what pretty damn good, including some surprises. Steel Harmony pummelled out some Beyoncé to an overjoyed late Friday morning Park audience, Phoenix put on a mediocre show on the Other Stage which I had to leave because my neck felt like it was on fire, Mumford & Sons packed out the John Peel stage like never before; Dizzee Rascal let rip and electrified the crowd with Bonkers (and of course, Florence got in on the act and chirped up a bit of You’ve Got The Love).
Gorillaz were the high point of Friday for me. The lukewarm reception from the crowd underlined my inkling that they were a controversial choice for headliners, but I knew their barrage of awesome beats and basslines (especially from the album Plastic Beach) would have me dancing like an eejit. It was an incredibly impressive show.
Saturday was spent mostly hiding from the sun around Circus, Avalon, and a fair bit of time in Poetry and Words, were Jon Hegley pulled in an impressive crowd and got us all singing about a bungalow in Luton. Scissor Sisters woefully underused Kylie (one song?! come on!) but at least Jake Shears got to show off his sinewy, Iggy-Pop-In-training body. And we did bump into Del Marquis later on at NYC Downlow club. Pet Shop Boys blew my socks off – after years of being my least favourite band on the planet (after U2), they put on a corking show and reminded me how many of their songs have become earworms I shall never dislodge from my cerebellum.
Obviously Stevie Wonder was some pretty funky icing on the cake on Sunday night, introducing little Stevie and even bringing Michael Eavis to do a duet of Happy Birthday to 40-year-old Glastonbury Festival (though let’s just say Eavis should stick to signing the bands up to perform, and milking cows).
And the rest? Crystal Castles you can keep, 100% Beefcock and the Titsbursters at DogFacedGeisha sure were memorable (with a name like that, you can’t help but remember), the human jukebox, the accidental tear-inducing viewing of Toy Story 3, and all the random late-night / dawn wanderings around Block 9 and Shangri-la were just amazing. That whole area is so much better than I remember it being in previous years.
All-in-all a brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime festival, and my first Glastonbury without having to resort to the hot spiced cider. If only festivals were all so universally warm, dry and fun!