I don’t have a bucket list. If I did have one, then I would probably have had Glastonbury on that list and I would have been able to tick it off now.
It’s difficult to describe how brilliant Glasto is and why I’m already saving for next year. I’ll give it a go though.
I never thought I’d be in a place where being knee deep in mud in some places would not really bother me. In fact the mud added to the experience because it also brought out the best in people. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world as my friends and family know. I regularly fall over and not through alcohol either. It is probably unsurprising I fell over twice during the festival. If you’ve never fallen over in mud, it’s really hard to get back up by yourself. The first time a guy who reminded me of my dad gave his hand to help me up. At first I refused as I was really muddy but he persisted and hauled me back up. The second time I was really stuck and a guy stopped and tried to help me up. At one point he did say “C’mon love, make an effort, I can’t do it all myself” but he persisted as well! There is a sense of camaraderie and respect I have never felt at any festival before.
Glasto is more than just music as well. It is massive, like a little village. There are so many areas and as we got there on the Wednesday, it was good to just explore and relax. There are so many highlights, from standing at the top of the field near the Glasto sign overlooking the whole festival, to exploring the Healing Fields, to just sitting and people watching. This is the place where everybody can be whoever they want to be, wear what they want and it’s brilliant.
There is obviously the music part of the festival. The feeling of being in a crowd of over 100,000 people singing along to one song is unlike anything I have ever experienced and cannot describe but it just feels like a massive celebration of being part of humanity. I went along to see the headliners (Muse, Adele and Coldplay) who were all out of this world but it also gave me the chance to experience some other acts including Frightened Rabbits, Ellie Goulding, Lumineers, PJ Harvey, Of Monsters and Men, Madness, Daughter, Wolf Alice and Christina and the Queens. On the first day I saw The Syrian Orchestra with Damon Albarn. Amazing, Syrian musicians who had gone through so much already in their country but were so humble to be able to play again. I’d love to see any of those again. Kate Tempest was also an incredible spoken word/rapper/poet.
Obviously there was the EU Referendum result. This blog post isn’t about that but like many of the acts, Glastonbury was probably one of the best places to be when the decision happened. Nearly all the acts referred to the referendum but chose to focus on the fact the people at the festival were all united and we should celebrate common interests rather than looking at things that divide us. I spent a lot of time crying, not because I was sad but because there was something in the air at Glastonbury that made me think that good things do still and can happen. I can understand why people go back to Glasto year after year.
It was also the only festival I’ve been to where families are so obviously welcome and it just made the environment even more safe and lovely.
So that’s it. I have so much more to say but basically go. Go and see it. Experience the mud, embrace the music and just go. I will end with a poem PJ Harvey shared during her show.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
John Donne 1684