Glastonbury 2013 – Mud and Dust

As the dust settles and body recovers, BBC I player is filling in the blanks.  I can say categorically that 2013 is one of the best festivals I’ve been to! This probably has a certain amount to do with the weather only letting is down on Thursday, but a larger part to do with the bands I saw.

The festival, as recorded on the BBC starts on Friday, when the scheduled bands begin playing on the main stages. As anyone who has been will tell you, the festival actually starts days before the main stages fire up. 
Wednesday we arrived as the doors opened, thinking we would be winning. We were not. It still took us hours having to endure dragging our camping gear though the site to Pennard Hill Ground campsite. We did eventually find a great spot up on the hill, just along from the Park area, with views down over the Glade, and new Arcadia stages. 
I was camping with my Brother and Sister in law in amongst variously, some North London kids thinking they were in an episode of Chanel 4’s ‘Skins’. Some emotionally unstable couples from the Welsh Valleys (“I’m only going to ask you once more… Are you coming to Shangri-la?!”) , and a group of friends  who seemed to be taking the opportunity to over indulge and always seemed very “sleepy”  
Wednesday we took in the hippy side of the festival. The green fields, stone circle and ‘healing’ fields are often referred to as the spiritual home of Glastonbury, and to an extent I imagine that these areas are a big part of what stands Glasto apart from your Readings, and V Fests. I’ve never really participated in any of the ‘healing’ that goes on up there, but there are some pretty interesting crafts and skills on show.  You can usually find somewhere to hang out in the green fields. (Sometimes in a hammock)
Thursday the anticipated rain came and it came down hard, all afternoon! This was described optimistically as dust dispersant by the campsite crew. The wellies hastily bought came in handy as the site quickly turned into a quagmire. 
Amazingly, un-listed in the main bill was one of my all time favourite bands from my youth. Six.bySeven are a Nottingham band I grew up listening to, and I was so excited to see them again for the first time in years! They treated the crowd sheltering from the rain at the Glade stage to a full run through of their new record.  This was the perfect band for the night of the deluge. Dark, brooding and dripping with feedback and dry ice. 

I’m not going to try to review every band I saw this weekend, I tried to take some phone snaps of most of the bands. Photos can never relay the atmosphere, express the feel of the bass in your chest or the experience of making new best friends for 50 minutes while watching you favourite bands! 
This is as far as I can remember a comprehensive list of the bands I saw at Glasto 2013.  They’re probably not the ones you saw on the BBC… 
Beady Eye – a TBC that was rather a let down other than a mild nostalgic feeling as Liam Gallagher sang Rock ‘n’ Roll Star. 

The Hives – Howling Pele, the ego who fronts the Hives, told us that this would be the highlight of our festival… Whilst they’re gonna have a tough time competing with the Rolling Stones for the crowd’s affections, the shear showmanship of his band made the Hives a very early highlight for me!

On Friday I found my favourite stage of the festival. Tucked behind the West Holts stage, William’s Green was a small tent putting on some of the most exciting names to feature on the bill.  The 1975 looked about 18, and had clearly had some air play on Radio 1 because the crowd there consisted mainly of teenage (I’m guessing here, they all look young to me!) girls. They played 1980s revival pop and clearly very excited to be playing Glasto.  I wasn’t there to see the 1975 though, I was there to see, Savages. This all girl band were the “buzz band” of the festival. They were incredible, visceral, angry and in your face. They were also clearly excited and nervous of playing the festival. They were a big highlight for me!

The Black Angels were the band on before 65daysofstatic, and I really enjoyed them. They played bluesy freak out rock ‘n’ roll and managed to win over a crowd that wasn’t familiar with their work.

65Daysofstatic are one of my all time favourite bands and I was down the front! I met a nice couple called Alex and Poppy, who were also massive 65days fans. It was incredible when their track Repeat Repeat! Kicked in the whole place erupted, including my new friends! 

Dog Blood – Over at the Sonic Stage in the Silver Hayes dance village I saw Dog Blood, who happen to be Skrillex and Boys Noize, the stage was packed and having a good old afternoon rave up! 

Disclosure – Another storming set this time from the Disclosure brothers, with special guest Jessie Ware, another hotly tipped group Disclosure didn’t disappoint their fans! 

The Horrors – I was really looking forward to seeing The Horrors up at the Park Stage, and they put on a very good show. But unfortunately the audience three rows back from the front were intent on holding their inane conversations over the top of the music. Sadly this really rather spoiled the set for me. I did meet a guy dressed as Robin Hood though who said I should watch TOY the next day… 

On Friday night we went down to South East Corner and had a rave in an Aztec cave in Glasto Latino, wandered through Sangri-La, got sweaty in the Pluto Room inside Shangri-hell and celebrated my Sister in law’s Birthday with drinks in a bar surrounded by walls made of shot gun shells. We staggered though the derelict towers of Block9 and paid our respects to Joe Strummer’s memorial standing stone in Strummerville. The SE Corner feels like a very theatrical vision of the apocalypse, and not for the faint hearted! 

Rokia Traoré – early on Saturday I went down to the Pyramid. My first time all week! The first act was an African singer who did well to get the crowd engaged after a almost certainly heavy Friday night. 

No Glastonbury would be complete without seeing Billy Bragg! The highlight for me being his hit New England. Sounded great in the sunshine! 

Ms/Mr – a TBC on the John Peel stage who were fantastic! NYC disco who did a great version of fellow New Yorkers LCD Soundsystem’s Dance Yourself Clean. 

TOY – Based on the recommendation of Robin Hood, Toy are a teenage band drawing on the Ramones, early Kings of Leon, and a bit of the Horrors. They sounded great! 

HAIM – I only saw a few songs at the end of this set up at the Park But the crowd seemed to enjoy them. 

Primal Scream – with the hardest job at the festival, I thought Bobby Gillespie did rather well warming the crowd up who were only there to get a good spot to see the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones – The headliners of the century, couldn’t really fail. Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie were joined by Mick Taylor for a number of the songs, you have to feel this is to take up a bit of the slack where Keith, clearly isn’t the guitarist he once was.
The overall spectacle was incredible Phoenix, fireworks and 100,000 fans. 

After the Stones, there were rumour of a Daft Punk set at Arcadia, the inferno of late night Glastonbury dance. Daft Punk did not play but the following acts did get the crowd jumping.
Fatboy Slim

Chase and Status 


Sunday was kicked off with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs DJ set that was on too early to really get going with the audience who were still probably a bit drowsy from the night before. 

Sunday afternoon I camped out at the Other Stage and saw, I Am Kloot who I don’t really know that well. Following them was Public Image Limited who surprised me! They were really good and the audience was really receptive to their sound. 

Of Monsters and Men

Editors- gave a proficient performance and reminded me how much I used to enjoy their first album.

Smashing Pumpkins – again surprised me. Corgan seemed to be on relatively good form and treated the audience to a good few of their greatest hits. “Today is the greatest day” … Etc…

The XX – closed the Other Stage with a heart felt, exquisite and complex show full of power and grace. The perfect end to the festival… In my opinion! 

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