Friday, 12 July 2013

A few pics from Glasto

Here a few pics I took on my phone as we went around - in no particular order. I debated taking my DSLR, but decided against it - it's heavy when packed with the lenses I would have wanted to take with, and I already have back issues. Brett took some amazing pics though - have a look at his blog for more of the performers. 

Hug a troll, for free! 

 Meta: an overhead shot of an overhead shot

It rained on the Thursday, this was Friday's mud

Brett and Lionel, cycling to keep the stage powered

Every picture tells a story... 

Even though there was no ocean, there were still pirates...

These folks 'won' an online competition to play Twister in the Rain. With Power Rangers. "Left Hand On Yellow Power Ranger" did get amusing... 

The six of us at Kenny Rogers' performance, which was a surprisingly awesome event!

Glamping. The only way to do Glasto, IMHO

Not us. 

This intrigued me - babies and small children, and lots of them at that, were pulled around the Festival in wagons like this, done up and decorated. Until all hours of the night, all over. Not something I would have done.

The Miniscule of Sound - the world's smallest night club.

Who needs a dancefloor to dance? 

So many people dressed up, it was such fun! Caused us to start plotting and scheming costume themes for if we go again. 

A random stage, with random performers. Who were really good!

See what I mean about dressing up? 

These guys had little buzzy instruments that would have sounded awful alone, but they actually managed to make music! 

At the Of Monsters and Men performance - easily one of my favourites! 

On Glastonbury

We were extremely fortunate to attend the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (its posh name) this year, as the guests of a (really awesome, incredibly kind and generous) friend. I must be honest, it's not a thing-to-do that was top of my bucket list, but I've heard so much about it, and, once I was reassured that we would have accommodation a little (read a LOT) better than a tent in amongst the masses, I was excited to go. 

Wow. What an experience. One hundred and seventy seven thousand people, 900 acres, more than 100 stages, countless performers, four days. Think about those numbers 

I learned about a bunch of new bands - Brett is very into music, and so knew far more than I did - so I went with the flow. We saw the Rolling Stones, Foals, The Vaccines, Kenny Rogers, Rufus Wainwright, Jake Bugg, Haim, Portishead, Editors, Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, Phoenix, the nice man from Deacon Blue, The Proclaimers (who do sing more than one song), and a bunch of guys who were playing on a stage powered by members of the audience pedalling madly on a tandem bicycle. Each performance was neatly an hour, and packed full of awesome music. Even though we saw so many performers, I'll admit we probably saw less than 2% of what was on - the lineup was so huge, even without the odd surprise act thrown in - that I think trying to do more would have worn anyone out. 

There were a few things that struck me, over and above the awesomeness of the music. 

Hunter Boots would probably be only a quarter as profitable if it wasn't for Glastonbury. Easily 80% of the women were wearing Hunters in various shades. 

I've never seen so many flags in one place. The farm itself had flags everywhere, but then members of every audience showed their allegiances, true colours, senses of humour etc. Lovely. Really! Until the Rolling Stones concert when there were so many flags in the audience that you couldn't see the stage. 

The Brits we spoke to were moaning about the 205 pound ticket cost, which would convert to around R3200 at today's sorry exchange rate. Yes, it's a pretty penny, but have a look at that lineup link again, and think again (!). 

Apart from the absolutely flipping incredible lineup of performers, famous and un, the logistics at this event were so well done. Yes, the public loos were pretty grim, but they were there, and there were plenty of them, and they were cleaned out regularly. There were enough police and security officers for there to have been little or no drama. 

There were free shuttles from to and from the event, to get revellers from and to the closest train station and various drop off points in the area, in order to limit traffic in the one-horse-wide country lanes. Further, the festival is very focused on recycling, so it actively encourages people to take their own water bottles in - and there are filling stations with free fresh water at regular intervals. 

Feeding the 177 000 is also a task that's not for sissies, and there were literally hundreds of food stalls, serving everything from Tibetan to English food, and all sorts in between. And here's the thing that struck me: while the prices, converted into Rands, made it expensive, those prices were the same as they would have been on any English High Street. 

I'm just going to emphasize the last few things here, for our South African friends at Big Concerts and the like. These are the things that struck me as being the biggest lessons local organisers of big concerts and events could learn from: 
Good value for money in the ticket price
Free shuttles to and from the venue
Abundant loos that are cleaned regularly
Free water - no ban on water bottles (or water bottle caps - WTF?) to force people to spend R15 a small bottle of water, with associated plastic waste and litter
A range of food that is priced the same is it would be outside the venue. 

I'll put my pics up on another post (I didn't take nearly as many as I hoped I would), but you can get a great idea of the event by looking at the Daily Mail overview. I also loved their article about the Rolling Stones concert, which was called "Night of the Living Dead" in the print edition - those guys are incredible, but my goodness, they really did look like zombies! Brett's pics (which are fabulous) are up as well, and you can get a great feel of the Saturday and Sunday, from the Glasto site

Here are links to a few of my favourite peformances: 
Rufus Wainwright
Jake Bugg
Of Monsters and Men
Kenny Rogers
The Lumineers

Long and short of it - if you ever get the chance to go to Glasto, grab it with both hands. But pack your wellies, and if you possibly can, glamp rather than camp. There is no measure (for me) of the importance of a hot shower, a flushing loo, and the ability to take time out from the seething crowds.