Incase I’ve never mentioned it (!) I went to Glastonbury Festival nearly every year for 20 years. Me and my best mate Zip only missed one ‘Glasto’ between 1997 and 2017 and thankfully that was the ‘swamp fest’ of 2005 so, looking back we dodged a bullet that year.
It’s now been 6 whole years since I last stood in those fields. The last band I saw there was the Foo Fighters when they headlined the Pyramid Stage back in 2017 (RIP Taylor Hawkins you legend)
Since then Glastonbury has eluded me for the following reasons:
2018 – this was a ‘fallow’ year (ie. no festival)
2019 – failed attempt to get tickets
2020 – Covid lockdown forced cancellation
2021 – Covid again – no festival
2022 – Tickets purchased in 2020 were carried forward meaning that nobody else could get one
2023 – another failed attempt to get tickets
These days I usually avoid watching the festival on the TV, firstly as a kind of stupid personal protest (but nobody really cares) and also because seeing footage of the shenanigans, which played a huge part of my life for so many years, just leaves me feeling rather dejected and jealous of everyone who got tickets.
I had intended to boycott all TV coverage again this year. But after a few beers at a BBQ on Saturday night I broke my curfew and gave in to Guns N’Roses.
As regular followers of this blog will know Guns N’Roses came back into my life when I was asked to appear in a US TV documentary about the band. Details HERE. The documentary aired in the States the weekend before Glastonbury so the timing of their headline slot here in the UK felt almost poetic (I still haven’t seen it myself yet by the way!) As for their Glasto set I had mixed feelings about it to be honest. The band clearly rocked and the energy was great but it just felt like something was missing. I don’t know if Axl’s voice has gone or if it was just lost in the BBC mix? Either way I felt quite sad about it. If you were there let me know in the comments.
Having now broken my curfew I turned on the TV on Sunday and caught Yusuf Cat Stevens doing the afternoon ‘legends’ slot. On seeing this ageing old hippy seemingly going through the motions it would have been so easy for me to dismiss him and flick over the channel. However I actually stuck with it and I’m so glad I did. Yusuf’s set was absolutely superb and his message of love, peace and togetherness served as a reminder of everything that I loved about the festival back in the day. It was a classic Glastonbury performance and I really wish I’d been in that field to witness it first hand. We really need more Yusuf’s in the world today…
Coming back full circle, I was absolutely DEVASTATED to discover that a mystery band billed as ‘The Churnups’ turned out to the the Foo Fighters who performed a blistering (not so) secret set on the Pyramid Stage on Friday evening. And I wasn’t there to witness it! I’ve not yet been able to bring myself to watch any footage but by all accounts it was a special performance and incredibly emotional. To make matters worse Dave made cameo appearances with The Pretenders and Guns N’ Roses over the weekend! If time travel ever becomes a thing I will certainly be dropping myself into Worthy Farm in June 2023.
Before this year I had got to the stage where I’d given up on ever going to Glastonbury Festival again and had finally accepted this. Besides I’m getting too old for all that now, right? Will I be joining the 2 million people applying for tickets when they go on sale later this year…? You bet I will! 😉
In the meantime I will sit down and watch some of the extensive coverage from this years festival on the BBC iPlayer and I will revisit some of the highlights from my 20 years at Glasto. Link HERE.