the janitor is afk

At some point tomorrow morning I’ll slip out of London and drive west – to Pilton, near Glastonbury in Somerset – through a maze of quiet back roads so that I avoid the traffic chaos that was making headlines today. Once there, I’ll be greeted by some fairly apocalyptic scenes, with early arrivals to this year’s Glastonbury Festival drowning – quite literally, in some cases – in mud caused by an unusually wet June. Scenes such as these, captured in pictures that were taken earlier today …

 

 

I’ll park the car, walk through mud and cow shit for about ninety minutes, and pitch my tent – high up above the festival site, near to my favourite stage, the John Peel Stage, which is the third or fourth biggest of the festival. Sigur Rós will be headlining this stage on Friday evening.

No matter how many times you have been to Glastonbury, nothing prepares you for its scale. Despite the sheer number of stages, music is really just a small part of what this festival is about. It began – and continues, where it can – as a quasi-utopian space in which there are as few rules as possible. For many years it was associated with CND, then Greenpeace, and these days supports a wide range of charities.

Besides music, the festival has massive fields dedicated to alternative lifestyles, leftfield politics, and various arts such as theatre, poetry and sculpture. There is a huge circus tent, a large series of deejay stages, silent discos, and legendary bars in a ‘naughty corner’ – or Shangri-La – in which free expression has been elevated to the status of an absolute value. If you spend your evening here, you can expect to be occupied until around 6am the next day.

As for the music, when you see this …

 

pyramid 1

 

… it just takes your breath away. Every. Single. Time.

There is usually a sculpture mounted above this stage – Glastonbury’s main stage, known as the Pyramid. Last year is was this awesome CND clock …

 

cnd clock

 

This year the Pyramid stage will be topped by a sculpture of a lightning bolt, in memory of this man …

 

bowie glasto

 

This is the first thing I will go to see tomorrow. In 2000, Bowie performed a set at the festival that has taken on a legendary status. The main musical action at Glastonbury won’t be starting until Friday, but at 1800 tomorrow, a huge crowd is expected to gather at the Pyramid to pay homage. The massive screens on either side of the stage will flicker into life, and Bowie’s set will be replayed in full.

I have seen this set several times (catch it here). But seeing it again at the very stage on which it was performed, and with such a large crowd, should be something very special indeed. Here he is, performing Heroes that day in 2000. Watch him speaking just before the song begins. Magical …

 

 

As for the rest of the festival, which runs until Sunday, I’ll see what I can post in terms of pictures and snippets of writing as I go along.

In the meantime, I will, as they say, be afk …

 

glasto bowie

8 thoughts on “the janitor is afk

      1. but but but you have free showers don’t you call rain? But thanks for the heads up re the smell, i am so glad when i watch it on the tv i don’t have smellie a vision.
        Hope it brightens up for you, we got sun here at the moment i think we sent the rain down your way.
        hugs pupsy ….

        Liked by 1 person

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