Festival Review: Glastonbury 2017
So, Glastonbury was fun.
In the wake of the current political climate, Glastonbury felt greater event then just a music festival. An immense feeling of optimism and relief filled the air and fuelled a celebratory atmosphere. Unexpected guerrilla Jeremy Corbyn chants appeared pretty much everywhere and anywhere across the festival; with Corbyn’s speech gathering a titanic crowd of over a hundred thousand. Unlike the previous year the weather held up so well it seemed perverse and perhaps best of all: Chris Martin and his dirty, dirty band were nowhere to be seen on the bill.
Friday night headliners Radiohead played an enigmatic yet captivating set. For the first hour they mostly meandered around their recent slower and dreamy material; a sure fire way for filtering out those filthy casuals who think it’s acceptable to talk over Exit Music. Eventually the band relented and the last hour was filled with an almost obscene amount of bangers. Meanwhile, Foo Fighters took the more conventional approach by steaming through an insanely fun ‘greatest hits’ set. While Foos are an awesome band to watch do their thing, there to extend all of their songs to 10 minutes came off as a Tenacious D-esque display of madness.
Surprise highlight of the festival was DJ Shadow, who commandeered the decks in front of a sound system so bass-heavy it could level an entire suburb. Accompanied by an immaculate and stunning 3-D visuals, the legendary DJ shot through a set of his original material, scratching at speeds that seemed to break through time and space. Run the Jewels provided an aggressive, yet heart-warming set; in the wake of the passing of Killer Mike’s mother the previous week, it felt particularly genuine and emotive. Besides, it’s awesome to see two dudes pushing 40 finally having made their mark in the mainstream. Similarly national treasure Frank Carter was finally able to achieve his self-confessed dream of playing Glasto. Delivering equally on heartfelt sentiment and sheer brutality, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes crushed the wild crowds of the John Peel Stage.
As always Glastonbury’s nightlife was enjoyably weird. One moment you could be jamming to some DnB over at the fire-breathing robot spider stage (otherwise called Arcadia) and the next you could find yourself nine tinnies of Fosters down, surrounded by men wearing dog masks berating you for not clapping in time to their fire-breathing cabaret act. All in all it gets pretty west. A new addition this year was the Earache Records stage, which consisted of a seat-less tube train carriage in which Singaporean extreme metal bands play; because why not at this point? Another classic Glastonbury nightlife hallmark is the Rabbits Hole, an area that this year was you could only access as a VIP (Or by kicking through a wooden wall and stealth-walking through the backstage kitchen hoping that there are no staff around). The secretive bar is perhaps the only place where you can see Jacuzzi parties, elderly clowns hooking up with twenty year old girls and hilariously wasted celebs anywhere in the festival.
So overall the weather was good, the bands held to an incredibly high standard, the nightlife got pretty wild, and a certain author of this piece wasn’t kicked out despite a couple of (probably) ill-conceived noise complaints within staff camping.
Featured image by Andrew Allcock