Thursday, 3 July 2014

Top 10 Glastonbury '14 Moments



So, as you may have seen me bombarding my social media channels, I have just come back from my second ever Glastonbury Festival! Last year I found the experience far too monumental and overwhelming to put into words, so I summed it up in a Top 10 Moments post, which you can find here.

And so I thought what better than to do the same for this year!


10. A Little Bit of Rain Never Hurt Nobody

Day Two and the dreaded forbidden R-word which had long since been banned from the site finally reared it's ugly head. With a calamitous thunder clap the heavens opened, promising ahead a weekend of torrential downpours in between tropical sunshine - but it would take more than a couple thousand gallons of sky-water to dampen the spirit of THIS crowd.

Little bit of rain? Sounds like just another excuse to party.


9. Son Of Dave in The Fields of Avalon
A few weeks before Glastonbury, Greg and I were invited to the Gather.ly launch in The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. It was a wonderful evening full of excited whispers, lots of beer and music, and half way through the night, the headline act came to the stage, a one-man-blues-band called 'Son of Dave'.

He beatboxed into a harmonica, played the shaker, the drums and the guitar, and Greg and I were literally blown away at how ridiculously talented and witty the man was, and pretty much became obsessed. A few days after, I found out he was playing Glastonbury and I KNEW I had to go. So I dragged Pistol to the Fields of Avalon by god was he just as absolutely badass.

You should definitely check him out on Youtube.



8. Finding Flossie Partying Behind a Waterfall
I'd gone to Glastonbury with the same people as I had done the year before - mostly Pistol's friends and some people I'd met with him in Holland. However, me best friend in the world Flossie (who I went to New York with) was also going to be there which made me super excited, but she was working as a volunteer with Oxfam.

Now, Glastonbury is prettttyyy darn huge, and with phone battery the currency of the gods, we knew there was a very slim chance of us actually seeing each other. When we finally got in contact on the Friday, we knew it was now or never. She was in Shangri La and I was at the very top of the site by The Glastonbury Sign, the furthest point away from The Naughty Corner where Shangri La lay.






But like a woman possessed I sprinted down from The Glastonbury sign, across the width of The Park field and to the old disused railway line. To my dismay it had already been cordoned off as there were too many people trying to squeeze their way down the narrow path which ran the length of the site.

In the way that my drunken mind seems so much more coherent than my normal mind, I suddenly remembered the backroute to Shangri La - crossing through the circus and theatre fields to the second entrance in Bella's corner.

My muddy little feet went tumbling across the ground at lightening speed as the kaleidoscopic maelstrom of lights and sounds that is the Glastonbury festival went whirling past me, and suddenly I had burst through Bella's corner unto The Common - the first port of call into Shangri La.

I felt the tribal drums pounding deep into my chest as it rose and fell rhythmically. The soaring great Temples and Tiki Heads seems to loom over me as I passed, and I turned in amazement, taking in the giant rainforest of debauchery. I checked my phone - she'd said she was at the waterfall but... there was no-one there.

I approached the thrashing cascading waters and looked around, but she was nowhere to be seen. In confusion, I turned and gazed into the waters... and suddenly I could see people inside it. In a burst of drunken excitement I rushed around the great rocks and vines until I found an archway covered in ivy and dangling leaves.

I pushed through and there she bloody well was waiting for me.

We embraced excitedly and partied the night away behind the waterfall before finding ourselves inside the middle of a haunted labyrinth, dancing around a giant tree covered in hand-written wishes.

I am so glad I got to share even a tiny bit of this experience with her.




7.) Dolly Parton on the Pyramid Now I know there's been a lot of hoo-ha around Dolly Parton's performance, about whether she was miming or not (I don't think she was) but we didn't hear any of that until after we'd returned.

Dolly was never really on my priorities list - I'd never have called myself a fan or gone out of my way to listen to her music, but everyone always loves that last 30 minutes of any club night or house party when it's inevitable that 9 to 5 will be played at least twice.

But my god, was I (and many others by the looks of things) in for a shock. I was absolutely astounded by not only how much energy and wit she had, but her voice still sounded so effortlessly perfect and she played a total of 9 instruments in just under one hour. I was totally captivated by the way she could weave a story, and I actually found myself tearing up at 'The Coat of Many Colours'.

 Maximum respect Dolly.


6. Rodrigo Y Gabriela In keeping with the theme of being unexpectedly astounded, I HAVE to talk about Rodrigo Y Gabriela, oh my god.

I had genuinely never ever heard of them before Glasto, and I was a bit intrigued as to how an act so seemingly unknown could secure the coveted Pyramid stage slot. The group of us went down to watch, and within seconds we were staring in silence, completely dumbfounded.

I recently watched a TED talk which changed my life, discussing the idea of a creative genius, and that there are times, times when someone is so talented and professed in what they do, that when they perform there is almost a glimmer of god in them, as if a higher power is channelling pure creation through this human being - if that's true, then that's exactly what I saw here. Skip to around 1:22 on the video below to see in action exactly what I mean. 5.) Stranger Friends at Crystal Fighters

There's nothing I love more in the world than Strangers. And there's no greater, nicer, sweeter, funnier strangers than you'll find at a musical festival - especially Glasto.

After losing everyone at the Other Stage, I found myself in the John Peel Tent ready to watch one of my all time favourite bands Crystal Fighters. In fact, tickets to see them had been one of the stops on my 21st birthday treasure hunt.

Before I knew it, I'd struck up friendships with about six other strangers and we were writing our names and numbers all over each others arms in pen, we were doing little mini tattoos on one another, and I even managed to drunkenly plug my band on one of the guys arms.

We ended up staying in the tent for Crystal Fighters followed by Wild Beasts followed by Chvrches - and the weirdest part of all? One of the strangers lived 5 minutes from my house at Uni.

Ridiculous. 


4.) Silver Hayes with Backstage Sally 

I always get way too over-excited when I see the word silver anywhere, and those of you who've read me for a while will know exactly why.

And what better place for the most ridiculous silver thing to happen to me, than Silver Hayes itself?

We'd ventured down to the silent disco and picked up our headphones early to avoid disappointment and after getting thoroughly pissed elsewhere had come back to boogie on down amongst the pulsing crowds. I then spotted a giant LED screen where you could tweet in a picture to get it on the billboard... so of course that's exactly what I had done within three seconds of seeing it.

Me and Ilja were standing at the boards waiting for our pic to come up, when suddenly a frizzy-haired middle aged woman comes over and asks if we like the idea. We spoke some more and discovered her name was Sally Freeman, the head of PR and Press for the entire festival, and the boards had been her idea.

She asked if she could film us giving a little evaluation on feedback on the boards, so we did, and in return, she gives us BACKSTAGE PASSES TO SILVER HAYES.

We literally did nothing to deserve those passes by my god were we not reluctant to take them.

Absolutely ridiculous, but that's what happens when you play with silver.



3.) BBC Crisps at Arcade Fire

One of the acts I was most looking forward to out of the whole festival was Arcade Fire, who were headlining the main Pyramid stage on Friday night. After getting totally lost, I finally found Lara and we headed right into the thronging mass of the excitable crowd.

They were absolutely amazing and we found ourselves chatting to these sweet guys who put us up on their shoulders so we could see. It was such an incredible sight, and one I'll never forget. We spoke to the guys after, and it turns out they were the Executive Producers of BBC's The One Show, and had been let out late from the office because of the electrical storm earlier in the day.

We were completely bemused about the randomness, then they handed us out some BBC crisps they'd nicked from the office and we drank and danced our way through the amazing set.

Definitely one of the randomest and funniest moments of the whole weekend.

(Lara's photo from atop BBC shoulders!)


2.) The Apocalypse ft. Haim This was a super tough one for me because I really wanted to put this as my number one, due to the sheer awesomeness of the situation. 
This was just before I'd popped over to Crystal Fighters in the John Peel tent and found the strangers, and so the sky hadn't yet yielded. It had been raining on and off all day, but this time there was something different.

As the crowds gathered around The Other Stage to watch Haim, I had lost everyone so excitedly pushed my way into the centre to enjoy one of my favourite bands. At this point, the sun was shining, the seagulls were wheeling serenely up above and Estee Haim even joked that they'd bought the Cali sun to Somerset.

They began to play, and as if their music provoked some heavenly disturbance, the sky began to rumble slightly - and not from the bass. It was still relatively clear above, so there was nothing really to worry about.

The first signs of what was to come were from the flagpoles. As if a gravity switch had just been flipped, suddenly all of the flags atop their long telescopic poles just dropped dead still, not a stir of wind to rise them. This was followed by a drop in temperature of about ten degrees Celsius. This was when people began to look about themselves in confusion and when we saw it.




This mammoth gargantuan coal black plume was tumbling and roaring its way across the sky towards us. I have never seen a cloud like that before in my life.

The sky began to tremor and rumble, the claps of thunder ricocheting off our bones and scorching our ears, but the band continued to play. People frantically scrambled for raincoats, umbrellas, ponchos - anything they could to provide themselves shelter from the onslaught that was sure to come, but the band continued to play. The cloud tumbled forth, gaining momentum and volume until the entire sky was consumed by this deathly ominous presence, threatening any moment to purge its great weight, but still not yet shedding a single  raindrop. The band continued to play.

The cloud was now directly above the stage, and that is when they looked upwards, finally acknowledging the wrath which was about to be released. The song changed, and the three sisters suddenly produced huge tribal drums, smashing them in perfect unison with every inch of passion in their bodies. They were animalistic, carnal, and then, still without a spot of rain, the great black cloud unleashed a mighty force of lightening which cut across the sky, illuminating the wild faces and crowds below.
And suddenly I was filled with this almost indescribable feeling.

As if Haim were playing the anthem of the end of the world.

It made me think of the string quartet aboard the Titanic, who took to their seats and played to the chaos around them, waiting for their deaths and playing every last note until they physically could not.
The sky above was tearing itself apart, brilliant flashes ripping across the gloom, the crowd below frantically swaying and bobbing, swirling into the rumbling ground and still Haim drove on, as if every note they played was fuelling the very lightening storm itself, stoic faces manic with passion and power.

It really was absolutely fucking awesome.

1.) THAT Saturday Night
Last year it was the infamous Friday which turned out to be the craziest of all nights but uh-uh, this year the Saturday claimed that top spot.

After spending the day at Lana Del Rey, the circus, the fields of Avalon and Son of Dave, me and some other stranger friends decided to go up and party at the ginormous Spider/Optimus Prime creature called ARCADIA.

This giant metal contraption moved and breathed fire and held a DJ inside while acrobatic performers twirled and danced across it's giant limbs.

If I was any drunker it would've scared the living shit out of me.

It was a pretty awesome sight to behold, but there seemed to be something about this creature which aroused riotous behaviour in people, and soon the pushing and shoving became so much we decided to leave. It was then that I received a text from an estranged friend of mine who was working as Ella Eyre's tour manager, telling me to come to a place called Williams Green.

Me and Pistol didn't need telling twice so we set off on the mammoth trip across the site until we reached Williams Green. The bar where we found my friend James was absolutely buzzing, playing the cheesiest old classics from the likes of Queen, Kate Bush and Mariah Carey - at that level of drunkenness, it was a hell of a lot better than Arcadia.

Drinks were flowing, strangers with flowers in their hair were slinging their arms around one another, and just generally people were in bloody good spirits. This, to me, was what Glastonbury was, not the psycho pyro insanity of Arcadia.

Then James took us backstage in the Williams Green Tent and I *thank the lord above* got to charge my phone. I hadn't even seen that tent before and it was absolutely packed to the rafters - it really just made me appreciate how bloody big this festival was and how many people there actually were there.

After some more drinks we partnered up with the DJ from the other tent, and after a few phonecalls were on our way to the result of all sordid shenanigans and adventures; Shangri La.

The sky was beginning to lighten at a dangerous place as we came into Shangri La and headed over to Block 9, Genosys and NYC Downlow, a huge set of building resembling a post-apocalyptic dystopian shanty town, with a full size London Underground train blasting through one of the walls, a giant electronic tree made of cyborg plants and tanks, and a transvestite strip club.

Guess where we were going?

We entered the transvestite strip club through the VIP entrance and were immediately whisked through to the backstage area. More than once I had to pinch myself. We were shown up into the DJ booth and met the other DJ's with more drinks and lots of funky ass music. That's where the infamous picture comes from:


We danced the night away in the backstage area, and more than once me and Pistol did a little squeal to ourselves. That's the one thing I love about Pistol, I always seem to have the most ridiculous adventures with him. 


Suddenly being backstage, I felt awfully rebellious.

This was the one chance I had to explore and make the most of the situation, and I sure as hell wasn't going to pass it up. I managed to convince one of the other DJ's to watch out for me, which he somewhat reluctantly agreed to, and I went on a bloody adventure.

I ducked under beams and poles all around backstage, clambering on top of tables and platforms to get a better view, but I still couldn't quite see over the fence. I went back to my DJ friend and I made him a deal, if I promised not to die, then he had to hold the ladder while I climbed up the scaffolding round the back of the stage to the top.

Now I think about it, that was so dangerous and could've ended so so terribly wrong... but it didn't, so!

So, drunk off my face I clambered up all the way to the top of this scaffolding, and took a picture of Block 9 from the top of the stage. I wouldn't try this at home, kids.

I then convinced the other DJ to climb up and join me, and we were going to get some porridge and clamber back up here to watch the sunrise. Once we'd finally and precariously touched back down onto Terra Firma, we even made up a song about it.

In case you can't work it out: "No-one died, we didn't get caught, eating some porridge, on the top."

Lyrical genius, as you can tell.



And after that all, me and Pistol stumbled back home to bed, getting in at 7am completely dead.

And that concludes my top 10 moments of Glastonbury 2014!

*

Last year after the festival, after waking up in my own nice warm bed, I remember being absolutely crushed for weeks, unable to adjust back to normal life after such an incredible experience as that. I even ended up writing a song called 'Post-Festival Blues.'

But this year, I just found myself completely deflated.... because I wasn't. I didn't feel sad at all coming back from Glasto. Before, I'd been so heart-wrenchingly gutted at being at a loss of the festival and now I was just.. fine.

All I could think was,  'Has it lost the magic for me? Is it never really going to be as good as the first time you go?'

But then I realised.

I was trying to measure how good the experience had been, by comparing it to how shit I felt about it afterward. Trying to define the parameters of my own happiness by measuring it against the subsequent sadness. And that's sure as hell no way to live at all.

And I thought about it for a moment, why I don't feel sad about leaving Glastonbury this year, and it's because there is one fundamental difference to this time I went and last time I went.

Me.

Last year, Glastonbury was the best my life had ever been and was ever going to get - something completely extraordinary and out of my ordinary - a beam of earth-shattering happiness and delight amongst the general monotony of what I was doing.

That's not the same this year.

This year it didn't feel extraordinary to me, not because it wasn't incredible, but because lately, I've come to appreciate that perhaps my life is a little bit extraordinary too.

Not necessarily in terms of achievements or thinking my life is better than anyone elses - not that at all. I just feel like I have finally found exactly what I want to do with my life, I have found pure happiness in being me and every single day I wake up being excited about doing stuff.

I'm coming back super eager and excited to crack on with more projects and ideas, creations and exciting ventures, whereas before I was coming back to nothing.

'Cause the truth is, I guess I view my everyday life these days is like waking up at Glastonbury every morning, and I'll eternally thank my lucky stars I can experience such incredible things with such wonderfully amazing people, such as the eternally glorious Glastonbury Festival.




11 comments :

  1. AHHH KATIE, I'M SO GLAD YOU HAD SUCH A GREAT TIME IT ALL SOUNDS SO AMAZING!! ALSO I LOVE THE NEW LAYOUT :D

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    1. Haha thank you so much, it really was amazing! Ah you're too kind :) x

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  2. This post was amazing I really enjoyed reading about all those little moments which can consume you at a festival! I honest think festivals are incredible, and i'm nit sure if you can ever really sum it up. It's all about a feeling, an atmosphere, and something so overwhelming about standing in a muddy field watching your favorite band! I adore the way you write its so passionate and brutally honest :)

    thechinadolldiaries.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Ah thank you so much for taking the time to read all this! You're so right, the genuine festival atmosphere is truly undescribable, I cannot wait for next year! x

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