Rogue at Glastonbury 2011


Rogue Mag Festivals Glastonbury 2011
The legend himself

So by now, you’ve read all about it. You’ve watched THAT Beyonce performance again several times on I player (maybe a few times on your own…don’t worry, I won’t judge). One week on, the world’s greatest festival is still very much in the public’s consciousness. Sunday’s chart countdown (3/7/11), revealed that the top 40 is riddled with performers at this year’s Glastonbury, who have climbed and re-entered the chart. The likes of Mumford and Sons, (Love em or loathe em, they played a killer set on the Other Stage to a colossal crowd, How they are still shifting their 09 debut, I don’t know! Unless people buying them by the handful) Noah and the Whale, Chase and Status, Plan B, The Vaccines, Elbow, Jessie J, Cee Lo Green and Aloe Blacc have all benefitted from the ‘Glastonbury effect’ that has led to a surge in the sales of their albums. The person most blessed by this phenomenon is Miss Bootylicious herself, Beyonce. Since she headlined the Pyramid Stage on the closing night of the festival, she has experienced a chart double whammy. The singer’s latest album ‘4’ entered the chart, straight in at number 1, while her previous effort, 2008’s ‘I am Sasha Fierce’ made a re-entry in at the lower levels of the table. Of course, it isn’t just the artists that make Glastonbury such a special place. It’s the goers, those people who Michael Eavis graciously hugs in a ‘real ale’ tent as they excitedly tell him it’s their 30th visit, or introduce him to their children attending for the first time. When’s he not praying for sunshine or claiming it’s the “best year yet!” That is. These are the people right now who are experiencing their own ‘Glastonbury effect’ one week later. Be it the post-Glastonbury blues, inevitable really, once you’ve gone from a literal wonderland to a reality, more concerned with the council’s policy on pot holes rather than rabbit holes( ).

In my case, I too am finding it difficult to fully adjust to life outside of Pilton Farm after attending this year’s festival for Rogue Mag. Thankfully, those 5 days were jam packed with fun and have left me with fantastic memories. The fact the next bash won’t be returning till the year after next, only makes me more grateful that I attended. So if you were there, and still haven’t shaken of those blues, maybe this account will remind you of your own Glasto experience and help you through. If you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket this year, then hopefully this will persuade you to go for it in 2013. Rogue Mag will see you there.

Rogue Mag Festivals Glastonbury 2011
Boys, lets go out with gas masks, protective suits and a synth, I'm telling you, the girls are gonna go mad for it!

Glastonbury is a wonderfully strange place. I mean, where else could I disappoint my friends by failing to meet them to watch Coldplay on a Saturday night, then making up for the next day by buying some Rastafarian friendship bands and going to the circus. Stranger still, is that I returned liking Coldplay, whose epic headlining slot was the highlight of the weekend for many. It was refreshing to see after, in my opinion, a disappointing and rainy Friday night. U2 were never really an option for me, having never been my cup of tea. I hear that their state of the art mixing, make their live performances sound like a studio recording. That’s like offering me the chance to watch Cricket in HD. It might be glossy, but it’ll still bore me senseless. Coincidently, that’s just what fragments of Primal Scream’s headlining, Screamadelica set on the ‘Other Stage’ did. Sure they were playing a classic record, but the bad weather, and sober frame of mind meant that I didn’t get into it. Onwards I went through the mud to the Dance Village, to find a packed out tent that Fatboy Slim was playing. The rain must have contributed to this, because all Mr Cook seemed to be doing was playing other people’s songs, occasionally overdubbing them with an extended whooshing sound, probably controlled by the turn of a knob.

Elsewhere however, the line up this year dazzled. Those acts I mentioned earlier, all played killer sets during the weekend. Whilst the key performances of the festival surely came from Pulp and Radiohead who played life-affirming sets on the Park Stage, that weren’t even announced on the line up. I might be subject to bias with Pulp, because I managed to secure a spot on a bench, meaning I could teeter over 30,000 people with a view of the entire stage, singing along to the likes of ‘Common People’ and ‘Sorted for E’s and Wizz’ with a tinnie in one hand and a funny cigarette in the other. Absolutely mesmerising

Beyonce’s set however will probably be the one most engrained in people’s memories, as well as the biggest defiance to critics. I happened to be one of them, avoiding what I thought would be a set of soppy ballads for something with a bit more backbone. However, her mighty opening of ‘Crazy in Love’ followed straight after by ‘Single Ladies’ may even have pipped Queens of the Stone Age (playing on the Other Stage at the same time) for the weekend’s most raucous introduction. Now I understand that’s a ridiculous claim, and it’s not even one I can fully back, because having seen Queens, twice before. I instead decided to go check out a fellow Welshman, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) and his wacky, yet beautiful gig, closing the Park Stage. Moments like these go to show that it’s not always the mainstream that causes a stir at Glastonbury. A fact made clear by the punters’ fascination with areas such as the Greenfields, where hippy vibes are swinging.

Rogue Mag Festivals Glastonbury 2011

A visit in the early hours on Saturday brought me to a tent where a space-rock group played a shoebox height stage, cornered by laterns powered by bicycles. I fantasised whether their flute player, might in reality be an accountant, who for months had been looking forward to their 2.15am slot in a Chai tent. Other popular areas include Shangri la, which is like a festival within a festival. A vibrant, grown up theme park, where slum like shelters act as bars which provide weird dancefloors, karaoke and even satire big companies. Then there’s the Avalon which boasts a DJ booth, nestled underneath a fire-breathing mechanical claw and breathtaking sculptures made from parts of cars and helicopters. The after hour parties in these place, might be worth the ticket price alone, and that’s excluding the inspirational line up, or landmarks such as the Park’s ribbon tower, the pagan like stone circle, or the Hollywood mimicking, patchwork, Glastonbury sign upon a hill which overlooks the whole site.

All in all, Glastonbury inspires. A place where creativity even reaches a scattering of lost wellies, sucked off the feet of those passing by the thick mud which reached the Park by the start of the weekend. Each day I walked by and saw the shape of this pile and an accompanying cardboard sign, evolve from ‘Welly Graveyard R.I.P’ to ‘Welly Henge’, to ‘Mount Wellington the third.’ For most people however, Glastonbury is simply a place to make memories that will last a lifetime. For me, mine would have to be that flawless Pulp performance and my pilgrimage to an area known as ‘Strummerville’ on my final night. This is a lesser known part of the site, which serves as a memorial to the late Clash singer Joe Strummer, re-kindling the campfires and sing-alongs, he would have with strangers and friends time again. The friendly people, at the Strummerville Charity gave me some lovely freebies, as well as an ‘Access All Areas’ Joe Strummer Foundation, pass to blag a few free beers before the festival tied up. (As if I haven’t learnt how to blag enough, since working at Rogue!). For some reason I also have an address of a lady from Northern Ireland, who liked my Christmas Jumper, written down on a muddy piece of cardboard. That on the other hand is a hazy memory. What will your best Glasto memories be in 2013? Only time will tell.

Rogue Mag Festivals Glastonbury 2011

Kieran Owen.


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