Our Top Five Glastonbury Moments
The hills are alive with the songful cries of rampant, fresh-faced festival goers. It must be that time of year. Now we make way for the masses as they dive headfirst into a muddy free-for-all of live comedy and music. Expect feathered crowns, crochet onesies and all manner of psychedelic costumes. Yes – you guessed it! The Glastonbury bells are tolling. This year the crowds are set to descend on Worthy Farm with rattling crates and tattered tents in tow, defying the floods, and, for that matter, any other proverbial thunderbolts, which that bearded buzz-kill upstairs might choose to unload upon them.
Whatever follows will be revealed to us in intermittent bursts, namely those big audience moments when the likes of Muse, Adele or Coldplay hit the big stage and appease seas of avid fans. We might also catch highlights from more underground artists and groups, like James Blake or Sigur Ros. Unfortunately, being couch-participants, we probably won’t see anything from the quieter spots that slip under the shadow of the Pyramid Stage – you know those lesser known venues, like Block 9’s NYC gay club, or any other hidden treasures, which are carefully kitted-out to lure in colourful strays and sky-minded vagabonds.
Anyway – when you’re done hanging out at the Beat Hotel nursing frozen cocktails, or tucking into hunks of meat at the Smokey Tails BBQ, we look forward to seeing you letting loose at Glastonbury Festival, 2016, from Wed 22nd – Sun 26th June. While we won’t be in attendance, we did want to get into the spirit of the festivities, which is why we’ve opted choose our Top Five Glastonbury Moments from the past few decades. Some of these might be familiar, with the odd surprise thrown in for good measure…
The Smiths (1984)
We couldn’t find any video evidence of this performance, but just imagine a youthful Morrissey throwing some sinuous shapes in front of his adoring fans. Also, listen out for ‘This Charming Man’ – it’s the fourth song that comes on, hitting a soaring chord that ushers in a new era of English rock. Lots of folk said that this performance marked the beginning of the Glastonbury we know and love today. At the time The Smiths were regarded as a popular commercial band and thereby dismissed as an anathema by the festival’s resident elitists. Of course the haters were churned-up in the elegant wake of an infinitely cool and calm frontman. Morrissey is also the first of our Mancunians – ten points for whoever can guess the other band we’ve included…
Jake Bugg (2014)
This is, without a doubt, one of our favourite songs from the last few years. Jake Bugg doesn’t say much – he just stands there in the spotlight, looking dishevelled, with his guitar swinging slowly, while he wields that unique, piercing voice of his and owns the quietude. ‘Lightning Bolt’ might’ve been the more obvious choice, but ‘Broken’ is a quieter and more pensive song. It sounds like a lament, with ambiguous and haunting lyrics, the meaning of which we can’t quite decipher. Come to think of it… it kind of reminds us of the absurd (yet wonderful) warbling of our next artist – the captivating tour de force of Mr. Thom Yorke.
In 1997 Radiohead hit and consumed Glastonbury with more force than any of the bad weather it’s seen since its conception. They were riding on a tall wave, just two weeks after the release of OK Computer. The founder of Glastonbury, an affable dairy farmer named Michael Eavis, called it ‘the most inspiring festival gig in 30 years’. It was a headline performance guided by a genius – and we don’t use that word lightly. His delicate voice split the night like an ethereal force, snaking through dark, tender songs, like ‘Creep’, and finally reaching a crescendo with the combined force of Fake ‘Plastic Trees’ and ‘High and Dry’.
‘The most inspiring festival gig in 30 years.’ – Michael Eavis, founder of Glastonbury
In case you didn’t guess it already, these are our other Mancunians, joining Morrissey in that reverential sphere of Northern renown. To be honest we could’ve picked a few songs they played that day, but in the end we went with ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. It’s a sure-fire crowd pleaser, belonging to the more peaceful of the two brothers, Noel Gallagher, who momentarily steps into the fore. This one reminds us that Oasis were a band that played and lived for the people. Their songs, much like the growling classics played by Johnny Cash, became anthems for the disenfranchised and downtrodden members of modern society. Still doubt it? Then listen to that fervent chorus when the audience unites and roars Noel’s lyrics back to him. That’s the kind of passion you rarely find outside the football Kop.
So there you have it – we’ve come to our all-time favourite Glastonbury moment. Thrash metal wasn’t a genre that’d been well-represented at this homespun, farm-based festival, but when it arrived it did so with a typically balls to the wall kind of flair. Metallica was the vessel for this introduction, but they didn’t just carry the torch for thrash metal, they set the whole place ablaze and watched the ashes settle around them like confetti.
The song we chose offers a respite from the frenetic mosh-pits and head-thumping guitar solos. You might’ve heard of it – it’s called ‘Nothing Else Matters’.