Pink Fire Pointer Glastonbury Festival 2013 - A Crowd's Eye View

Glastonbury Festival 2013 - A Crowd's Eye View

One of our team was lucky enough to get himself down to Worthy Farm for the world’s greatest festival! See what he had to say about it...

Commonly known as Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts - or ‘Glasto’ for short -  2013’s offering of music and mirth certainly did not disappoint. Catching over 25 bands in four days (there’s music on the Thursday too!) - as well as overloading the senses with all other forms of art - we thought we’d throw out some of the highlights.

Kicking off proceedings on the Thursday was a surprise DJ set from the one and only Fatboy Slim in the newly redeveloped dance arena, Silver Hayes. One of six(!) performances from the DJ supreme, it seemed to be a good omen for the weekend, as we woke up fresh and invigorated on Friday to see BBC’s Sound of 2013; California female trio HAIM. Invoking sounds of late Fleetwood Mac, you can see that the three sisters really get into their music and give the crowd what they came for. Throughout the afternoon, we caught music from nu-grungers Peace, American indie-rockers Local Natives, Australian psychedelic fivesome Tame Impala, and dance-poppy upstarts Bastille. Coming to rest outside the festival’s second biggest stage, we readied ourselves for Foals for their hour-long set. Needless to say, they deserve their headline slot at Latitude this year, blistering through tracks from all three of their albums at a frenetic pace, and with energy far beyond their years.

However, if there was one band that could scupper Foals’ party, that band was Arctic Monkeys. With all the swagger of Elvis, lead singer Alex Turner channelled John Lennon in hairstyle as well as attitude: “Are you in a party mood...? It’s F-F-F-Friday, and we’re gonna play all night long...” Starting with their latest release in “Do I Wanna Know?”, the Sheffield quartet thundered through a further twenty songs from their back catalogue, spanning the four previously albums with aplomb. The major highlight had to be “Mardy Bum”, recreated with strings and much more poignancy about an argument with your missus should entail. All in all, “one of the best gigs [they’ve] done” in Turner’s opinion. Your move, Jagger.

Saturday came, and with it, the sun - cracking the stones and drying the mud. A perfect antidote for the heat was young Devonian Ben Howard, who kept the Pyramid Stage crowd’s spirits on a high with some acoustic folk throughout the afternoon. Johnny Marr sauntered onto the stage - the “stage” in particular being John Peel, which somewhat undermines the true greatness of the man - and played a number of Smiths hits, delighting old and young audience members alike. But everything on Saturday was build up; build up to the main event that was a 50-year-old band doing what they’ve done best for all five decades. Yes, the Rolling Stones. Mick showed his moves, ‘Keef’ played that guitar like a man possessed, and even Charlie Watts looked like he was enjoying himself. The highlight of the entire set was “Sympathy For The Devil”, when the makeshift phoenix atop the Pyramid began to flap its wings, breathing fire out at the 80,000 or so fans, who were all singing “Woo woo! Woo woo!” in unison. A true ‘Glastonbury Moment’ there, swiftly followed by the double-whammy of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” that the quartet finished with, made sure that everyone’s festival was made.

With one more day to go, it felt like everyone on site was still coming down from the two juggernauts of Friday and Saturday nights. And with Mumford & Sons fittingly seeing the festival out, it was time for a big sit-down and a big relax. Helping this to take place on the Pyramid Stage were Swedish gentle-ladies First Aid Kit, bombastic pianist Rufus Wainwright, the legendary Kenny Rogers and hip-swish New Yorkers Vampire Weekend, all of whom were immensely well received throughout the day. Sunday was a day for contemplation; contemplation which took me to the Cabaret Stage, over to Kidz Field, around to Croissant Neuf and with a detour to Avalon, taking in the true culture of the festival. we saw a bluegrass band, mobile cooks, a plastic tube band, learnt how to play the violin, failed at hula-hooping and ate a crepe. My my, what a crepe. Then, just in time to take in my own interpretation of a festival closer, we went to see dubstep-electronic king James Blake and French high-risers Phoenix, both of whom blew the John Peel Stage apart, and are assured to be on the Pyramid within the next year or two.

After leaving the indie sounds behind for a more dancey end to our Glastonbury, words travelled across to us of Mumford & Sons bringing out Vampire Weekend, First Aid Kit, The Vaccines and The Staves in order to join them in singing “With A Little Help From My Friends”, but this did not dampen our experience; everyone’s Glastonbury is special, unique, and memorable.

All in all, Glasto 2013 was everything we wanted it to be and more. We saw enough bands to sate our thirst for live music for at least a week, enough culture to keep our need to visit museums at bay, and consumed enough alcohol to keep our livers busy for the rest of time. If music is your life, then Glastonbury is your world.