Sceptics claim that it’s become too commercial, with bands such as Metallica undermining its heritage, while devotees insist that it remains the world’s premier music festival – but what did Dom Kureen make of his first Glastonbury Festival recently?
By the time of my 13th and final day at Worthy Farm, Pilton, the blisters on my feet were long replaced by oozing sores and the 2-3 hours of sleep between bouts of heavy manual labour and heavier partying had finally rendered me a zombified meat puppet with the motor skills of the elephant man’s physically inferior cousin…
It was so worth it!
For more than a decade I’d longed to visit this place, to be woven into its quivering fabric and fight my way through steamy, intoxicated bodies towards the barrier closest to the domineering Pyramid Stage (the latter of which I achieved on a surprisingly regular basis.)
The music and main stages provide the platform for the bulk of mainstream media coverage of the event, but in truth are a mere speck on an expansive landscape. A quiet village transformed for five enchantingly bizarre, unapologetically ‘balls out’ days that somehow manage to encompass virtually every genre of entertainment.
Human beatboxing in tents, tightrope walkers, the rasping of kazoos from octogenarian lips – These are just the tip of the iceberg.
People start young, the stories shared by 30-somethings who began their Glastonbury life when a few months old, with parents refusing to miss the show regardless of a freshly baked sprog attempting to crash the party.
To witness the intricacy of the stages around Block 9, Shangri-La and Arcadia is an experience that can leave a first time spectator in a perpetual state of awe, the level of which possibly correlates directly with the amount of brain altering supplements that have been ingested.
Then there’s the Stone Circle: a blatant homage to Stonehenge that is equal measures spiritual haven and Silk Road in living colour. It pays to be vigilant – one festival goer this year having deceased at the tender age of 26 after an adverse reaction to some Ketamine laced with other substances which he allegedly purchased on site.
With all emotion to one side, this isn’t uncommon or unexpected at a five day free-for-all with an attendance of close to 200,000, regardless of some tabloids’ attempts at hyperbolic pro-drug war propaganda.
Make no mistake, Glastonbury Festival is special. Forget the rain, the state of the toilets and all of that bloody mud! There is something in the Pilton air that puts everything into perspective – be it money, life choices or simply the kind of people you choose to surround yourself with.
For yours truly Glastonbury granted a truly life changing couple of weeks that ultimately cleared a formerly clouded psyche, I advise everyone to at least visit once.