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Glastonbury Festival 2011 Review

29th June 2011

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A friend of mine who had been to Glastonbury before imparted some words of wisdom: ‘the key to Glastonbury is not caring’. How right he was. Worrying about the mud, personal hygiene and being able to actually see the bands you you want to see is useless. 

As always Glasto boasted the biggest headliners possible. Friday night offered a great performance from U2, who took to the stage with an impressive hit-packed set, of which 'I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For' was a highlight. 

Protests against U2’s tax dodging were supposedly planned during the set, but the most we saw was a few angry revellers yelling at the stage. Glastonbury officials had disallowed the protest, for ‘obstructing the audience’s view’. Glastonbury festival has a tradition in political protests, so some disturbance was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was for the organisers to cancel the protest, and cause many to question whether Glastonbury has lost its political edge.

Saturday night played host to Coldplay headlining the main Pyramid stage, but the band was greeted by a lacklustre reception by festival goers. As a Coldplay fan – and not afraid to say it – I found their performance fantastic and didn’t care about the audience’s unwillingness to engage. I still thoroughly enjoyed swaying and singing along to the band’s offerings of 'Yellow', 'In My Place' and 'Scientist'performances that at least the audience knew how to sing along to. The set ended with a beautiful light show to 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall', firing lasers across the Pyramid stage. 

Below the headliners there were some truly incredible performances, most surprisingly surprisingly from Elbow and Jessie J. As someone familiar with only two of Elbow’s songs, I found their performance entertaining and engaging and fell in love with front-man Guy Garvey. 

Jessie J took to the stage with her leg in a cast, having broken it a few weeks before, she performed while sitting on a huge throne in the centre of the stage, which was obviously a big hindrance for her, as it was clear she wanted to get up and dance. The Brit chart-topper spoke to the audience as if we were on stage with her, making jokes and even putting the Glastonbury mud on her face because she wanted to feel like ‘one of us’.

Kaiser Chiefs connected brilliantly with the crowd, and the set list was just the right mix of new material and their hits. They are a band who sound much better live than they do on the radio, which is a shame, as it means they don’t get the kudos they deserve. 

Glastonbury would not be Glastonbury if it the weather was not unpredictable as always. Friday, it rained nearly all day. The rain led to an insane amount of mud on Saturday. There were plenty of mud casualties, all hilarious for the onlooker, and probably slightly less hilarious for the victim. On Sunday, we were hit with the hottest day of the year so far. Cue lots of sweaty people with burnt faces and shoulders. 

Unfortunately, there will be no Glastonbury festival in 2012, as the UK does not have enough portaloos to be able to cater for both Glastonbury and the Olympics (true fact!). Therefore, the next Glastonbury festival will be held in 2013 and I fully intend to go again. I will go and have fun regardless of the weather, the performers or the mud, and I will not care, as that is the Glastonbury way.  

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