After a break of three years, we returned to the Glastonbury Festival and it was one of the best ones yet – the weather for the main days was lovely, the sheer quality and variety of entertainment on offer was mind-boggling, and of course many of our fellow revellers made for a great atmosphere throughout.
Musical highlights included Chic (staggeringly good), the Rolling Stones (epic singalongs), First Aid Kit, Goat, Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma, Ondatropica, Molotov Jukebox, Evan Dando, John Fairhurst and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
Other assorted moments of happiness:
- Seeing the One Minute Disco in the Theatre Field. Basically a completely innocuous white van pulls up in the middle of a bunch of people, the back shutter rolls up and two men in boiler suits scream out ONE MINUTE DISCO! At which point dance music starts blaring out of the van and people run up to have a boogie. Sure enough, more or less one minute later, the music stops, the back shutter rolls back down again and it’s back o to being just a van, leaving a group of very bemused people.
- The view from Flagtopia / the top of the Park field either at day or night was simply staggering.
- Getting into Heaven at Shangri-la and finding not only posh, clean, flush toilets, but also the Snake Pit club, where our eyes were opened by a bondage / dominatrix / pyrotechnic act involving flaming whips and not a lot of clothing.
- Sunny afternoons getting into the spirit of things. Ondatropica at the West Holts stage, with its Colombian salsa, was just the ticket. And the sun coming out on Sunday just as First Aid Kit sang “Emmylou” got me a tad emotional.
- Great food from Goan Fish Curry, MeatLiquor (Dead Hippie burger), Anna Mae’s pesto & bacon mac & cheese, Buddha Bowl veggie curry, Grillstock pulled pork bun. Yum.
- Finding out that my “poo” photo which had been made one of the Amnesty International postcards turned out to be the best-selling one of the festival.
Only “lowlight” was occasional overcrowding and a bit of lairy behaviour in the Pyramid field – but on the whole not much to complain about!
The photos below are just a sample. Many more can be found within my Glastonbury 2013 Flickr Set.
This year’s Bestival (my third visit) had potential to be a washout as the weather forecasts leading up to it were less-than-encouraging (one site saying that Sunday was going to see extended periods of “torrential rain” and 50+ mph wind gusts). In the event it was not quite as bad as all that, and the worst of the weather was saved for the early hours of the last morning, with high winds and rain providing a suitable finale to the festival. We did experience the amusing sight of empty tents blowing and scraping along through the fields, and not a few gazebos flew away into the night.
We were lucky with the weather, then, and so managed to catch the Cure, Bjork, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash (epic set), Brian Wilson, the Urban Voodoo Machine, Toots and the Maytals, SBTRKT, Health, and a host of smaller acts dotted around tiny stages that we enjoyed despite not having a clue who they were.
This year’s fancy dress theme was Rock Stars and Divas, and there were plenty on show beyond the expected Slashes and Beastie Boys crews.
As usual there were a few quite random acts to see as well, from the “Wall of Death” motorcycle spectacular to the “Lords of Lightning” show featuring two men in chain mail, standing on two huge Tesla coils and fighting – with lightning.
As usual, there are a few more photos to see over on my Bestival 2011 Flickr set…
After our abridged visit to Carnival on Day 1, we walked down from Queens Park to Notting Hill on Monday psyched up for a full session at Day 2. The mood was slightly subdued by grey skies and unseasonably low temperatures (think 17C) and, I suspect, quite a few hangovers from Day 1. But you can’t stay subdued for long once you get sucked into a mas parade full of exhuberant, brightly attired dancers with ear-to-ear grins. This time we mostly hung around Kensal Road, Golborn Road, Portobello, Westbourne Park and, to finish the day off, Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues where we were treated to a somewhat ramshackle ska set by his band, The Trojans. As usual Day 2 was a bit more crowded and edgy than Day 1, but aside from a handbags-at-dawn flareup at one of the soundsystems we didn’t see any trouble to speak of. Biggest drama of the day was, as usual, where the shortest toilet queues could be found.
The photo below might be my favourite from Day 2 – two pirates from one of the mas crews did a double-daggering on a giggling bystander right in front of one of London’s finest – and the cop couldn’t help a fit of the giggles as well. (Generally daggering at Carnival is good-natured but I could see how it would get mightily annoying from a female perspective…)
That’s enough of Carnival for now, but if you’d like to check out the rest of my photos then head on over to my Notting Hill Carnival 2011 Flickr set.