“The toilets are fuckin’ shit here, everything is fuckin’ shit here”, says Sleaford Mods’ working class trooper and ambassador Jason Williamson. The set is raw and full of anger. Minimalist and brutal. If Slaves, “the opening band” as described by Williamson offered a strong demonstration insurgent power of onstage, Sleaford Mods is what some people would call “the real thing.” No masks or pretension here. No hype. Just pure anti establishment. Just rage and savage words coming out of the speakers at the John Peel stage. John Peel would be proud.
Glastonbury is not just about the bands that you already know: the massive stars, legends, consolidated bands, rock and electronic heroes and stadium-like sing-alongs. I´ll keep in my memories Patti Smith’s enraged finale while destroying her guitar strings (and vocal chords); The Super Furry Animals’ psychedelic trip; Samuel Herring (Future Islands) could be your boring uncle or one of the best frontmans in current times; Motörhead’s testimony of how to pay tribute to a pile of Marshalls; Rainy Boy Sleep’s folky passages; and yes, “The Who” – even without the irreplaceable original rhythm section (fuck you purists). And like everyone else, I´ve missed many others: The Fall with Mark E. Smith pissing his pants, Lulu, John Cooper Clarke, Suede, Fat White Family’s obscene gig at 4am; Spiritualized; Goat; Chemical Brothers, and a big etcetera. But that´s the beauty of Glastonbury: You can´t have everything, but just a glance, an ephemeral moment of pleasure that disappears when you are back to reality after living 4 days in a dream field.
A sin city filled with circuses, theatres, cabarets, night clubs, poets, art installations, stand up comedians, strippers, posers, fakers, rockers, punks, activists, spiritualists, hipsters, hippies, ideologists, dreamers, drag queens, drug dealers, party animals, junkies, potheads late night films, burlesque shows, and face painters. Glastonbury is about the jams at 3 am next to a bonfire at Tipi Field. It´s about getting lost at a tiny and dark tent or forgotten bandstand to discover an undiscovered band that will blow your mind. It´s about the decadence, autodestruction and self indulgence at Shangri-La. It´s about that pint of cider next to the John Peel Stage. It´s about that beer while waiting for Paul Weller to come onstage.
The tiring climb to the top. The sunsets. The endless nights. Arcadia as a wet dream for pill heads and electronic fetichists. The techno parties. A burlesque show. The unsafe sex. The obscenity. Los Voladores from Mexico. A horror film at 3 am. A new day full of expectations accompanied by a massive hangover. The much necessary, but unpleasant mission to visit the cholera-friendly infamous toilets.
Naked yoga. The sauna. Neighbors next to your tent discussing the highlights of the previous day. The punishment of wearing wellies for 4 days. The foot pain. The plasters and blisters. The way back to the tent to pack supplies for the rest of the night. The bands that you´ve missed. The ones that you´ve discovered. The infinite food offer. A 60 year old hippie preparing muesli with honey at Tipi Field at 6 in the morning. A fat and obese naked man on a swing. The peace at the Green fields. The kids. The new borns. The elder. The youth. The stone circle. The overloaded rubbish bins. The stalls selling useless and overpriced accessories. A couple waiting for the sunrise next to the Glastonbury sign. A man sniffing cocaine at the John Peel Stage while waiting for DFA 1979. The mud. The overcrowded camp fields. The pouring rain. The acid nights. The flags. The sweat. The dance tents. The Unfairground.
The shower that you didn´t take in 4 days. The spiritual readings. The midnight open-mic sessions. The workshops that you´ve missed. The healing fields. The immediate nostalgia and sadness when leaving the festival. The interminable coach ride back to London. The hours that you didn´t sleep. The promising way back to civilization. The memories. The stories that nobody will understand because they never been there.
Glastonbury is as decadent as enlightening. See you there in 2016.