Friday, 9 July 2010

Glastonbury Festival 2010 - Part 1

Isn’t it the Star Trek movies that people always assert are better if they are even numbered, starting with Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan and pants if odd numbered? I only ask because I’m beginning to think that the Glastonbury Festivals are following a similar alternating path. The 2007 shindig was great, the 2008 event disappointing and last year’s 2009 festival probably one of my all time favourites.

So you can see where I’m going with this. Despite the fact that the weather was completely alien to your average Glastonbury goer – sun and clear blue skies the whole three days – this year’s Glastonbury just didn’t really do it for me. None of the headliners, which included Gorillaz, Muse and Stevie Wonder, held me spellbound despite their obvious credentials and a few high spots and compared to last year, I felt the line-ups generally were a bit lacking.

Not that there was anything wrong with the composition of the artists’ roster. As usual, the Eavis family did a great job in mixing up genres and generations so that we had the likes of Willie Nelson and Ray Davies rubbing shoulders with Groove Armada, Snoop Dog and Dizzee Rascal, but frankly it was always going to be difficult trying to match last year’s headlining trio of Neil Young, Blur and The Boss, especially after U2 had to pull out.

Nevertheless, there is one aspect that remains a constant and it is the reason why I tune in year after year. It is that the Glastonbury Festival seems to have a direct link to its hippy roots of the late 60s and early 70s and the abiding spirit of peace love and good-natured openness never fails to infiltrate performers and public alike. Every act, irrespective of their age, style or, let’s be honest, ability, plays to a huge and appreciative audience and everybody appears to have a good time. The cynic may say that the audience should, after all they’re paying for it, but what about the artists? There is more to this than meets the eye.

Even hardened big name performers who are no stranger to playing in front of gargantuan crowds seem to succumb to the Glastonbury spirit and come over all emotional. I saw it in Bruce Springsteen’s eyes last year and it was Shakira’s turn this year. Somehow, the atmosphere seems to take them by surprise and it is this powerful emotional feeling that still pervades, even in these days of rampant commercialism, that makes the Glastonbury Festival the best in the world. In a nutshell, it is always Glastonbury itself that is the star of the show and this acts as a great leveller between artist and audience.

But enough of this new age musing, what you are all waiting for is this year’s Music Obsessive Top Three Acts but I have to say that I am struggling here and may plead for additional time in front of the BBC iPlayer before I make my decision. But never fear - it will appear here soon.


YourZenMine said...

One day, MO, Mine and YourZ (truly) want to experience the full Glastonbury event, although camping is Mine's least favourite thing to do this side of having teeth pulled.

I thought the lineup last year was one of the best and although I'm a big Gorillaz fan, I wondered about the roster this year.


musicobsessive said...

YourZ - with temperatures in the 30s this year, it would've suited you fine. Be warned - normal service may well be resumed next year with thunderstorms, mudslides and trenchfoot, and you thought camping would be the worst of your worries :)

Nevertheless, I hope you make it some day - an event well worth the effort.