Glastonbury festival is like no other and is renowned as the largest greenfield festival in the world. It's hippy ethics, acceptance of counterculture and free festival movement in the 70s helped to make it as every bit unique as it is today. It's British culture at its best, and likeminded folk travel far and wide to be a part of the special community that makes up Glastonbury festival. 2017 has high expectations and forecasters have promised a slice of the sunny June weather, let's hope it holds out long enough to avoid the usual mud bath. Here's what we are most looking forward to most....
1. The 'Love'
Glastonbury is one of the very few places where all the usual British awkwardness is left behind and everyone unites to create a friendly atmosphere bursting with love and care for mankind. It's socially acceptable to talk to any and everyone, hug random people and even to help each other in times of need. People go out their way to get others out of knee-deep sticky mud, return lost iphones, and to compliment you on your silly 'peas in a pod' fancy dress outfit (yep that happened). We have had people share their drinks with us, give us a free massage and chat to us on that long walk home at the end of the night. For just a few days of the year, the world feels like it should do with free love being at the forefront of the agenda.
2. The Music
With one of the best line ups of any UK festival, Glastonbury knows how to pull out all the stops and this year is no exception. We can expect to see big names such as Radiohead, Barry Gibb from The Beegees, Foo Fighters, Chic & The Jacksons, and such a broad array of smaller acts including The XX, Goldie, Kate Tempest, Vieux Fakra Toure, Justice and The Cinematic Orchestra. The Glastonbury line-up highlight for us this year is seeing The Avalanches on the West Holts stage. Their first album 'Since I Left You' released in the year 2000 is a favourite of both of ours, and we had long awaited the 2nd album 'Wildflower' which was released only last year, 16 years on. Both albums are constructed using thousands of samples which are meticulously chosen and woven together to create an electronic musical masterpiece. Songs seamlessly flow through genres, taking us on a weird and wonderful journey we never could have predicted.
3. The Hard-ship
Living in a world where everything is overly convenient and accessible, we find that we rarely push ourselves physically in day to day life. Glastonbury is an opportunity to experience a bit of difficulty, a lot of endurance and frankly can be testing at times on your character. There has been moments of 13 hour (filled-up toilet) coach journeys just to get into the site, 2 hours of queueing for entry in fields so waterlogged you can't put your bags down, frequent 1 hour trips to the toilet to have your first wee of the day in a toilet that is questionably 'usable', all of which can be a bit too much to bare, but for some strange reason we still keep coming back for more. Joy has a habit of popping up in funny places and, from experience, hardship is one of those occasions. It's satisfying to know that you have put yourself out of your comfort zone, and achieved something you don't do every day. The scale of Glastonbury is what makes it so challenging, that and the added difficulty of almost guaranteed rain!
4. The Creativity
Everywhere you look you can see vibrant colours, amazing costumes that people have spent days crafting, huge hand-made decorations and sculptures, lines and lines of geometric flags rippling in the wind, people dancing and moving freely wherever the music takes them, some of the best musical talent in the world performing just meters away, all the delicious food stalls that sell anything from slow-cooked hog roast sandwich to a vegan spiced lentil breakfast, I mean the list really does go on. A huge highlight is always the after hours district suitably named 'Shangri La' for its difficulty in finding after a long days drinking. Every year they run with a theme, this year will be 'Environ-mental' and it really will be every bit crazy as it sounds. Huge sections of post apocalyptic-style buildings will be constructed using the waste from last years' festival, essentially all the things that got left behind. You can expect to see towers of trash, trains crashing into crumbling buildings and a shanti town of decay and destruction.
5. The Surprises
The beauty of Glastonbury is that when you put 250,000 people in the same space without any responsibilities or worries from day to day life, wonderful things start to happen. People are free to play, be silly, take their clothes off, dance till the sun comes up, make things and meet new people. We have even seen naked people swimming in mud, I mean to be honest literally anything goes. Give people a field full of mud, something to dance to and as much freedom as you like and you will end up with some fun results. The site of Glastonbury is bigger thanthe City of Bath and so even if you were to go to the same festival 100 times you would never see everything. You can also have a completely different experience to someone else depending on your interests. Some people choose to sit by the stone circle in healing fields for the whole weekend touching the stones and relaxing by a fire. Others prefer to lose their minds to gabba all night long in Shangri La. We like to do a bit of everything and prefer to move around the site exploring the stages to the dance tents, and the healing fields to Shangri-La. We have walked into a den bar before where rocks were displayed on carpeted tables (it's as every bit weird as it sounds), we have discovered a wooden circular hut that when you spoke into a cone in the centre your voice echoed and projected around the sides along with psychedelic flashing lights. There is so much to be discovered, all you need is a bit of time and an inquisitive nature.
Meeting Shibusashirazu Orchestra after a bonkers performance