This year Glastonbury Festival celebrated its 40th birthday and it would be an understatement to suggest they went all out. To mark this momentous occasion, The 405 decided to head down to Pilton to blow out the candles and to drink as much cider as possible. Below you'll find a selection of highlights from team 405. Feel free to share your highlights with us!
With the sun shining, dust instead of mud and flip-flops replacing wellies, this was the hottest Glastonbury Iâve ever been to. A more relaxed atmosphere in the crowds thanks to not battling the elements all weekend thankfully didnât mean the bands took it easy. So many played stunning sets in the searing heat.
Opening the festival proper on the Friday was Rolf Harris, who walked on stage to a heroesâ welcome and a rap of âWhen I say Rolf, you say Harrisâ, his set had kangaroos in the crowd bouncing, everyone singing to âSun Ariseâ and the best overheard quote of the weekend about the aforementioned rapper: âIs that Rolf Harris? I didnât realise he was blackâ. Following on from this set, I decided to watch bands more in keeping with The 405 - Bombay Bicycle Club entertained a heaving John Peel tent and debuted some new songs in a full electric set, they grew in confidence throughout and everyone left the tent singing that riff after they finished with âAlways Like Thisâ.
After Gorillaz ended their set, I walked into the midst of the unknown (or Shangri-La) at around 1.30am and came across a very drunken Frank Turner playing acoustically in Strummerville, slurring all his words and talking nonsense between songs but it was still fantastic with the collective singing to âThe Real Damageâ and âFatherâs Dayâ drowning out the heavy basslines from a nearby dance tent. And then he played âDancing Queenâ which went down all too well with the wasted masses.
Saturday saw Two Door Cinema Club open the Other Stage, playing their second set of the weekend â clearly still on a high, they were enthusiastic and genuinely pleased to see people up watching and clapping along to them at 11am. Newly-reformed Reef followed them and had everyone screaming âPlace Your Handsâ, although possibly in an ironic manner. Wild Beasts were up to their usual high standard with songs from both albums getting an airing. But then it was time for The National, there was a lot of fuss made about them having the same sunset slot that turned Elbow into household names the other year, and they did not disappoint. A career-defining set with songs from High Violet getting the biggest crowd reactions but Matt Berningerâs walks into the crowd during âMr Novemberâ and âSqualor Victoriaâ showed a band simultaneously raising their game and upsetting security whilst also becoming the new favourite Glastonbury band.
Everyone was starting to smell, burn and hayfever was causing havoc by the last day, but there was a great triple bill to start - The Joy Formidable, Frightened Rabbit and The Hold Steady, with the latter two starting a real love-in with Frabbitâs Scott Hutchison singing the refrain from âSouthtown Girlsâ during the end of âKeep Yourself Warmâ. With the pathetic England performance, it was up to Broken Social Scene to cheer everyone up and how they did it â sometimes a six-piece, at other times anything up to eleven, the brass sounded tremendous. Following on from them was Julian Casablancas, who appeared to be dressed as Michael J Fox in âTeen Wolfâ. He opened with âAutomatic Stopâ, and the fans were already excited about the possibility of more Strokes songs. Not to do his solo material a disservice as everyone danced and sang along to that but when he broke into âHard To Explainâ and âThe Modern Ageâ the crowd went so wild, drowning out his band with the sheer volume of their singing. He ended the set singing his Christmas song to fit in with the joyful atmosphere of what was a triumphant festival.
So it is that time of the year againâ¦I have the post-Glastonbury blues, made all the more poignant by the scorching weather over the Festivalâs 40th birthday weekend. And with more music, comedy, cabaret, circus acts, poetry readings and political talks than even the most dedicated of reveller could hope to cover, I have painstakingly whittled the festivities down to my top 5 moments.
At the top of my list it just has to be Ray Davies, who was of course supposed to headline at the very first Glastonbury (or Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival as it was originally called), in 1970 with The Kinks. As the familiar guitar strums of âDaysâ rang out over the sun kissed crowd gathered around the Pyramid Stage, Davies struggled to hold back the tears - dedicating his performance to the late great Pete Quaife. A veritable afternoon of hits followed that had everyone from the barrier to the flags in the distance dancing and singing along classics such as âLolaâ, âVictoriaâ âSunny Afternoonâ, and âYou Really Got Meâ. Not forgetting the eye watering moment he nearly had to leave the stage to keep to the afternoons schedule before there was obviously a unanimous decision that Jack Johnson could wait, and Davies came back to play âWaterloo Sunsetâ and âAll Day and All Of The Nightâ.
Some of my music-based highlights...
'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sportâ sung by Rolf Harris to the tune of Land Of Hope And Glory, with the whole of the Pyramid Field waving their arms in time to the music.
âTapsâ played by the Flaming Lips; they pledged to play it every time they gig until the war in Iraq is ended. Now they donât know whether theyâll ever be able to stop playing it. Wayne asked everyone in the crowd to raise one hand in the peace sign, and the whole field was silent as he played this traditional military tune on a bugle.
âBallad of Me and My Friendsâ sung by the crowd at Frank Turner on Friday. He didnât have to sing a single note throughout the whole song. Truly incredible.
âDaysâ sung by Ray Davis in memory of the late Pete Quaife â the original Kinks bassist who passed away on the 23rd June. Iâm not sure Iâve ever seen a more moving thing in my like. The whole crowd was singing along, but not in a âIâm going to shout the lyrics as loud as I can!â sort of a way. Rather, there was a soft murmur of melody spreading out from the front of the crowd as everyone was hit by the emotion coming from the Pyramid Stage.
âWe Come Oneâ â Faithless. I have the Glastonbury Highlights DVD and this track from 2002 is almost a religious experience simply watching it on screen. Actually being there for it was indescribable. Maxi Jazz began his set with the words âLast time I played here it was pitch black â I had no idea there were so many of you!â and seemed utterly overwhelmed by the whole experience; there were tears, come the end. But it didnât stop him putting on one hell of a show.
âWhere The Streets Have No Nameâ â Muse, featuring The Edge. While Iâm not a huge U2 fan, this is undoubtably one of their better tracks, and it was a lovely nod to the band after they had to unexpectedly pull out of their own headline slot.
âHappy Birthday To Youâ sung by Stevie Wonder and Michael Eavis. Bless him, Eavis really canât carry a tune, but the response of the crowd to seeing him on stage closing the festival seemed to blow him away. He genuinely doesnât realise how much Glastonbury means to some people, which just makes him all the more special.
Top non-music moments...
The car-park on Tuesday night, having a quiet drink at the back of the car, sharing memories from previous years and watching the first of many (many) sky lanterns start to drift across the site
Sitting in a whale at midnight on Wednesday, drunk on cider and happiness, as it finally hit me that I was back at the festival at long last.
Finding a bar in the âback-roomâ of a chalk-sculpting tent in Greenfields. Squishy sofas, super-cheap booze and a fantastic atmosphere. On a similar note, finding secret cider being served at one of the juice stalls near the Other Stage. Secret cider is the best kind of cider.
Tent hopping in Shangri La from midnight til 5am on Friday. Swapping my possessions for other peopleâs, dancing under a full-size Navy Helicopter, being administered a shot of tequila from a syringe and taking copious amounts of nitrous oxide.
Climbing the Ribbon Tower in The Park at 6am and watching the sun start to burn away the mist over the site.
Drinking rum and coke at 5am in the Bimble Inn watching the guys from Lamb DJ with a drum kit and double bass.
Getting a friend into the Snake Pit without him having to queue up for a temporary tattoo because mine was deemed to be awesome enough for two (well, 10 actually) by the doorman.
Finding the Bad Idea Bar â run by Secret Garden Party, tucked away in a cluster of trees and needing a special pass to get in, this was definitely where the party was happening on Friday as people climbed the central pole of the tent in order to get free drinks by reaching the top and successfully bring down a balloon.
Anna MellorStevie Wonder- There was a specific moment in this set which is the reason why it is the highlight of my entire festival and that is when Michael Eavis joined Stevie on stage. The whole of the crowd was singing 'Happy Birthday To You' and there was such a wonderful feeling of celebration. Everybody there was so grateful to Michael Eavis for what he has created. A true moment of Glastonbury magic.
Laura Marling - The progress in Laura Marling as a performer since I first saw her at Glastonbury in 2008 has been incredible. She started so young, shy and fragile and then this year at Glastonbury it was obvious how much she had matured. The atmosphere of the Park at sunset was perfect for the performance and the audience also included a proposal (with a yes!)!
Florence and Dizzee - Glastonbury was not short of collaborations this year and this isn't probably the one you would immediately think of but for me it was brilliant. Of course they performed 'You Got the Dirtee Love' and the sing-a-long and dancing of the audience was incredible. They are both really good pop performers and so together it was such a moment.
Ellen and the Escapades - This lot were the winners of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition and too are a band from my home town of Leeds which I have followed for ages. They are brilliant live and at Glastonbury they didn't fail to perform.
The Middle East - A beautiful new band and definitely ones to watch in the future. The highlight of there set was 'Blood' but the highlight of the gig and the realise this is in my top 5 is because of the audience. We were grazed by the presence of Laura Marling, Marucs Mumford, Ben Lovett (Mumford and Sons) and King Charles among others I'm sure. It was a wonderful thing to share new music with people who have inspired me so much and I know the Mumford boys have had a big part to play with The Middle East's success over here so that was really special.
ImagesHeader images of each section courtesy of Andrew Allcock.
Stevie Wonder image courtesy of Simon Wagner.
Florence/Rolf Harris/Thom Yorke images courtesy of Jason Bryant.
Slideshow courtesy of Hannah Morgan.
All images courtesy of http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk