Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Review: Glastonbury Festival 2015, Part 4

When my alarm clock woke me up at 5.00 Sunday morning the urge to just turn over and have another ten minutes sleep was almost overwhelming but I knew I couldn't risk it so I forced myself out of the sleeping bag  and pulled on my wellies. There was light rain on Sunday morning but I didn't mind that because I had my raincoat and I found the rain on my face quite refreshing. It helped to wake me up and the forecast said it would clear by mid-day. Sunday was to turn out to be one of the best days in all the 36 years I have been to Glastonbury.The best litter-picking team of all knew exactly what to do by now and the work went really smoothly. We reached The Glade by 10.30 and Jeremy got the word from HQ that we were to help out cleaning up the roadway known as the old railway track and proceed along there towards the Sacred Space. We knew something special was afoot because the road was closed to all traffic. Then we got the word that His Holiness The Dalai Lama was to speak in the Peace Garden at 11.00. This was brilliant that we had arrived here purely by chance (Or was it karma?) At the entrance to the field they were giving out pictures saying 'I LOVE TIBET' and pictures of The Dalai Lama. Jeremy let us have a quick break to listen while he awaited further instructions. I couldn't see because there was no stage there and the crowd was so big but I could hear what he had to say and he made a speech all about the importance of religious tolerance and other matters. You can't really call it a speech because he doesn't read from notes, he just says whatever comes into his head and he goes off on tangents but it all makes wonderful sense. One thing I like about the Dalai Lama is his great sense of humour and one thing he has in common with me is that he laughs at his own jokes. What a great man he is and there is not one jot of bitterness in him after having his country ransacked and forcing him into exile. That might be karma as well though because it has enabled him to take his message to the whole world. He makes the so-called world political leaders look quite pathetic in comparison.

 "They would have to to get The Pope here to top this", I said to Rob, "That wouldn't top this in my book", replied Rob and I had to agree with him. Having the Dalai Lama at Glastonbury is the ultimate. After he finished speaking I was so moved that I bought a TIBET hoody sweat shirt from a stall. It looks great and also kept me warm that night. I was to cross paths with his holiness again three hours later.
                                                                  There was some divine intervention as well because when the Dalai Lama appeared the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was a glorious afternoon. In more ways than one, I might add. After lunch I headed to the Pyramid Stage and caught some of 'Hozier's' set. I have his album at home and have only played it twice. I must give it another spin because he was really good. The previous year he had been on the Acoustic Stage and I hadn't bothered watching because I had never heard of him. Now here he is gracing the Pyramid Stage. What a difference a year makes at Glastonbury. I left after 'Take Me To Church' because we had arranged to meet up at Bread & Roses again. Wayne had his doubts about seeing Patti Smith but I insisted to him that she would be great but even I didn't realise how great her performance would be.

                                                                                    Unlike Kanye West Patti was blown away by appearing on the Pyramid Stage. I think this performance was to be the highlight of her whole illustrious career. Patti had been on tour for six weeks and her voice was shot away but she promised to give the audience every bit of voice she had left, which she did. She only did nine songs because she had given up part of her set for a very special reason. Those nine songs were amongst the best I have every heard on the Pyramid stage. They were, 'Privilege, (Set Me Free)','Redondo Beach','Ain't It Strange','Beneath The Southern Cross','Pissing In A River','People Have The Power','Land', 'Gloria', and 'My Generation'.Not only is Patti a great singer she is also a writer and Poet as well and in the middle of her set she read a poem she had written to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama. "That's nice of her", I thought to myself, not realising what was to happen next. Michael Eavis's daughter Emily led on the Dalai Lama to the cheers of about 80,000 people. He greeted Patti and all the members of her band. Then they wheeled on a birthday cake and the whole crowd sang 'Happy Birthday To You'. Then he spoke for a few minutes and joked that Patti had white hair but she moved with the energy of a teenager and he wished he had her energy. Then he talked about how friendship is the most important thing in the world because we are a social animal and friendship is based on truth and honesty which is very true.
 I think when he left the stage the whole audience felt better for being in his presence. Then Patti carried on with her set. It was great to hear her singing her version of Van Morrison's 'Gloria'. I have seen Van on this stage on Sunday afternoon seven times but not for ten years sadly. Patti finished with a frenzied version of The Who's 'My Generation'. During this she got over-excited and climbed down to be nearer the audience but when she tried to get back on the stage she fell over. She said, " I just fell on my f**king ass at Glastonbury and I don't give a f**king s**t". She said something else as well which was even more outrageous but I won't repeat it here. For me musically Patti stole the whole show at Glasto. She was great. After that we needed a drink and sat outside the bar opposite the Cider bus for a while before going our separate ways. 'Lionel Richie' was on next but for me that would have been a come-down after what I had just witnessed so I wended my weary way back to camp for a rest before the evening. Later on I didn't really care what I saw. The festival had already peaked for me but there was something I had been meaning to do since Tuesday but hadn't got around to and that was to go and visit Sophie in the Green Crafts field. So I went on a slow walk there. On the West Holts stage there was a band on called 'FKA Twigs' who I had never heard of but they sounded really good to me so I listened for a while. Finally, I reached Sophie's place but sadly it was all closed up. I had left it too late. On a stand outside though she had left some leaflets so I took one so I could contact her again.I hope Sophie is here next year.
This whole area was quite deserted. Everyone was down at the main arenas. On a small stage I saw a girl playing to an audience of about 3 people. I felt sorry for her so I listened for a bit and took a picture.
             I have known Donovan's music since 1965 but never seen him so I decided to check him out. That was a mistake. He began his set with about ten minutes tuning up and sound-checking. When he did sing some songs it was alright but in between the songs he kept talking all this quasi-celtic mystical bollix which got on my nerves. After I heard 'Catch The Wind' and 'Colours' I moved on because The Who were on the main stage. I hadn't seen The Who since 1974 when they were at the height of their powers and in those days I thought they were the best live band in the world. I watched at Glastonbury from the top of the hill where the whole view behind the Pyramid Stage looked spectacular. I did get a bit bored at certain points in their show but when they did songs like 'Behind Blue Eyes','Pinball Wizard' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again' I thought they were great. Roger Daltry's voice is more restrained these  days and Pete Townshend is the same as ever but overall I thought they were good. I think though over the 40 years since I last saw them my music tastes have changed. While watching The Who I got chatting to this nice police lady who was enjoying the festival as much as anyone else. The police had behaved themselves really well this year and there was no trouble whatsoever. If only every town in Britain was like Glastonbury.

Back at the camp-fire I felt quite sad that the festival was nearly over. As I gazed into the flames I reflected on all the great Glasto's I had been to before. With  Kim in 2005 we had stayed in the very same faithful little tent in Tom's Field that I was still using. "I'm not here all week any more mate", I said wistfully to the lad who had kept the fire going all week.  What nice people they were around that campfire.
                                        Next morning we had one more shift to do before we could head home. We were brilliant as usual and at the end we were drafted in to help Park and Greenfields team. We had one lucky break. The riggers were already dismantling Arcadia so we weren't allowed near that on health & safety grounds. Jeremy sent us in to clean up 'The Rabbit Hole'. This is a venue where normally people have to crawl in on their hands and knees to experience it but today we got in through a gap in the fence at the back. Inside there were lots of revellers who were still partying although it was 11.00 in the morning and the sun was blazing down. " Just ignore them, do the work and get out", advised Jeremy. It was mad in there. One person had appointed himself King of the Rabbit Hole and was wearing a crown. They obviously had no intentions of going home yet. I was glad to get out of there. It was weird.  Finally all the work was done for 2015 and we were all signed out. I walked back to camp with Rob and Alison. It was quite sad to say cheerio. I hope they come back again.

                                                                         Margaret and Wayne were waiting and itching to get home but I had one last thing to do before I took my tent down. I really wanted to say cheerio to Odele. I hadn't seen her since the party on Thursday night. I had just assumed that I would see her again but it hadn't happened. I ran across to where I knew her tent was, tripping over guy-ropes as I went but all I found was a sad little patch of faded grass where her tent used to be. She had already left town. Never mind, she only lives 20 miles from me so hopefully I won't have to wait another year before I see Odele again.

                                                                         We left Tom's Field at about 1.00 and amazingly I was turning the key in my front door in Westbury by 3.00. I had never known it so easy to get out of Glastonbury. Other years I have known it take 5 hours to get home. Meanwhile, back on Worthy Farm the real clean up was about to begin. An army of workers would move in and go over all 700 acres with a fine tooth comb. They even use huge metal detector machines to remove every piece of rubbish.It will take about 6 weeks before Daisy & Buttercup and all the other 398 dairy cows are released from the Mootel once more to munch their way across the lush pastures of Worthy Farm. I hope I am spared to return next year and as Van the Man might say, 'We'll walk down the avenue again and sing all the songs from way back when, and roam across the fields and stay out all night long and listen to the rock n roll because baby you know how it feels when the healing has begun'.
                          There is no need to say another word.
                                                             THE END.  

                                                           

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