Since returning from Glastonbury on Monday evening I have mainly been feeling sorry for myself and watching Orange is the New Black (I saved the new series for these dark post festival days!) I think the biggest problem with having an amazing time at a festival is having to come back home and crash back into a reality of washing and food shopping. It’s so easy to forget about the 5-hour queue in the scorching sun, the heart-breaking band clashes, walking miles (around 76 miles according to my phone) between stages and across fields, and getting into bed with a thumping base line from Silver Hayes keeping you up all night. Those things don’t matter when you are in the greatest place on earth with your favourite people in the world. Glastonbury has so much going on it is impossible to see it all in one go. This was my second year and I still have so much to see because there just isn’t enough time. To avoid this becoming a list of all the intriguing, weird and wonderful things Glastonbury has on offer, this is just a broad selection of what I think makes it so special.
I guess the most obvious place to start is the music. Although Glastonbury does have a way to go in terms of having a representative line up, I got to see some awesome women absolutely smash it. Kate Tempest was definitely a contender for my festival highlight; the passion and emotion in her delivery and lyrics created a mesmerising performance.She spoke about gentrification, poverty and inequality in such an articulate way, genuinely humbled by the roaring response from the thousands stood hanging on her every word. Later that day I saw Lorde preform what is probably better described as an art piece than your average concert. With dancers in a giant clear box behind her creating a story as she sang, danced and played her part. Haim were also great fun, stopping the show midway to have a dance with the crowd and ending with a 4-way drum battle. I really hope I get to see these women again soon. I also got to see brilliant performances from The National, Courteeners, Blossoms, Ed Sheeran and New York Brass Band.
An unexpected highlight from the weekend was seeing Jeremy Corbyn give a speech on the Pyramid Stage. The excitement that went through the crowd was inspiring, and seeing the sheer volume of people who had turned out in the middle of the festival to hear him speak was moving. We got there 40 minutes early and couldn’t get anywhere near the bottom half of the field. His message of inclusivity and speaking out against sexism, racism, homophobia, and the destruction of the planet sat perfectly with the values of Michael Eavis and the festival itself. It didn’t feel forced or contrived, just honest, positive and hopeful. Chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” were ringing out all weekend, before and after he spoke, and the number of people in Labour or Corbyn t-shirts was great to see. This message of looking after one another was echoed by a number of bands, particularly Run the Jewels and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, advocating for safe gigs for women and looking out for one another in the crowd.
Something else that makes Glastonbury so special is the people. The random people you get talking to in a crowd because you are both so excited, the people that stop you from falling over when it gets rowdy or the people that tap you on the shoulder and let you know you bag is open. I met a lovely couple in the Park. They took me and my friend to the famous, secret, underground piano bar – something that many veterans of the festival are yet to see. We made friends whilst watching angry Power Rangers spin the ‘wheel of four tunes’ and sang with our arms around each other as if we had been friends for years. Seeing a band on your own always felt fine because you knew there would be someone around to have a chat with.
A final surprise I found on the final night was a small club called The Sisterhood in Shangri La. I had heard about this last year but never managed to find it. I seriously cannot stress how big and busy this place is! The Sisterhood was incredible. It was just a room, with a small outside smoking area, exclusively for women. Decorated in feminist posters and female positive slogans it played fun music to a room full of chilled giggling and mostly topless women. There was no judgement, no side eyes, just smiles and so much fun. We had arranged to meet back up with the boys so didn’t stay too long but I wish I had found it earlier and will definitely be on the lookout next time I go!
Glastonbury isn’t on next year as it’s on a year off to let the farm recover and let the grass grow but maybe I will see you there in 2019, you can find me in The Sisterhood singing loudly to Britney!
Words and images by Megan Jones