Monday, July 08, 2019

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 5, Sunday..

Langa Methodist Church Choir

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning at Glastonbury. Time for some religion. I made my way to the Pyramid Stage to see the Langa Methodist Church Choir. I think their appearance at Glastonbury came about when Michael & Emily Eavis visited South Africa to see how the money raised by Glastonbury was being spent in that country. Michael is a Methodist and visited their church and decided to invite them to Glastonbury. I don’t think they had ever left Cape Town before and didn’t have passports, so Michael arranged everything to bring them to England. That must have been a huge logistical effort to get them here.
I secured my place right on the barrier at the front. A lot of the other people there were waiting for Kylie Minogue & Miley Cyrus a few hours later and were dressed in all sorts of garish garb to attract the TV cameras. The choir were wonderful in all their traditional costumes and sang hymns in their native tongue. It was a spiritual uplifting experience to be there. As a mark of respect they sang the British national anthem which might be the first time it has been sung on the Pyramid Stage, even if it was in a language we didn’t understand. You could tell by the smiles on their faces that they were delighted to be here. Their performance put me in a great mood for the rest of the day.

I held my position at the front because the next act was the wonderful Mavis Staples, ‘The bad-ass queen of soul’ as the BBC described her. I have liked Mavis ever since The Staples Singers appeared in the film The Last Waltz in the 70’s. I think the set by Mavis was possibly my favourite of the whole weekend. She revealed that the airline had lost all their luggage on the way to Glastonbury and Michael Eavis had given them all t-shirts to wear. I can’t remember all the songs now, but I do remember a great version of the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth. Mavis doesn’t think a lot of Trump, that’s for sure. She has always been politically aware, ever since her father Pop Staples was a friend of Martin Luther King. A couple of days after I got home, I watched her performance again on the BBC Iplayer and spotted myself right at the front. Thank you, Mavis, for a great show. Vote for Mavis!
Me, Paula, Bob, Keiron.

I relinquished my position at the front after that and went for a wander. In the market area I bumped into a team of my fellow litter pickers who included Bob and Paula. That provided a photo opportunity. Sean had been telling me about Mik Artistik and I must see him if I got the chance because he was funny. I noticed he was on the bandstand at 2.00 so I hung around for that. He was the funniest, craziest act I saw all weekend. He comes from Yorkshire and his songs are mad. One is called Sweet Leaf Of The North which was all about a leaf that got stuck under the windscreen wiper on his car on a journey from Leeds to London. Lukewarm Lover was another one and a song about a plastic fox in his garden called Plastic Fox. Another song was called Pocket Of Straws where he pulled straws out of his pocket and threw them to the audience. He was brilliant and was selling merchandise afterwards such as Mik Artistik teapots and things like that. After that hilarious episode I wandered on and encountered a travelling séance and a life drawing class where the model was clothed, and the artists were naked which was quite amusing.
Mik Artistic

There were thousands of people heading towards the Pyramid Stage to see Kylie Minogue but I wasn’t interested in all that and thought it would be too hectic. I learned later that Sir David Attenborough appeared and gave a speech about the danger of plastic in the environment and he thanked Glastonbury for its policy of banning plastic bottles.
I needed a rest and a bit of peace, so I headed in the opposite direction and watched Dervish. They are an Irish traditional group from Sligo fronted by a nice singer called Cathy Jordan. I really enjoyed what I saw of their performance, but it was a shame they didn’t have a bigger audience.

 After that I thought I had better go back to base for a rest because I had work at 6.00. I stopped at the top of the hill to watch a bit of Kylie. It was the biggest audience I have seen since Dolly Parton in 2014. She hasn’t got anything like the talent of Dolly though. I did enjoy the song Where The Wild Roses Grow when she was joined by Nick Cave. I spent some of the time talking to a policewoman about her horse called Clifton who was 20 years old and had a nice temperament. He obviously liked people and was very friendly.
At 6.00 I set off on another long walk to The Park where we still had four hours of work to do. We tore into it with gusto and had the Park all nice and tidy again by 9.00. Our leader Andy signed us all off and that was our work finished for this year. 
Clifton, the police horse.

My big regret was that I had missed Madelaine Peyroux because of work. I sat down with my first pint of the day and studied my lanyard. On the major stages I had a choice of The Cure, Christine And The Queens, Janelle Monaie, Rex Orange County, The Streets, Rickie Lee Jones or Reef. I opted for Rickie Lee Jones and I’m glad because I enjoyed her performance. In between the songs you could hear The Cure playing in the distance. “They are The Cure and we are the disease”, said Rickie wittily. I’m not that familiar with her work apart from Chuck E’s In Love but she sang a song by the Mills Brothers from 1928 called Nagasaki and even Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by The Ramones. 
Rickie Lee Jones.

At the end she took off her jacket to reveal a Ramones T-shirt. She came over as a nice person who was enjoying herself. On my way back to base I heard a bit of The Cure but it didn’t mean anything to me. I have never been a fan of theirs, but a lot of people enjoyed it, so I’m not knocking it. When I got back to base it was very quiet because most people were out partying all night long. I was too exhausted though and went to bed. 
Next morning, I had my rucksack packed and my tent down by 10.00. The only sign I had been there was a square patch of yellow grass. ‘Love The Farm, Leave No Trace’, that is my motto. Then I went and said cheerio to Odele who had been a good friend. I had one last can of lager with my mates outside the marquee. In the olden days of the 80’ & 90’s we used to go in a big gang of family and friends to Glastonbury but that has diminished to only me over the years. That is why I am grateful to the friends I have made on the recycling crew because if it wasn’t for them, I would be wandering around like Billy No-Mates. Then I hauled on my rucksack for the long walk to the bus station. I got home at 3.30 Monday afternoon, eight days and two hours since I had set off.
Queue for buses.

I have been home a week now and the memories of Glastonbury 2019 are beginning to fade into the mists of Avalon. I don’t think it was a vintage year. There were no classic never to be forgotten performances like the Stones in 2013 or Bowie in 2000, but Glastonbury is about much more than music, it is about being in a different reality for several days and being with like-minded people. There would be no Brexit if it was down to Glastonbury people. It is about seeing old friends and meeting new friends. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the first festival in 1970 and I hope I will be there. See you next year x

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