Glastonbury 2011

I guess I'm getting old, as I'm still aching post-Glasto, I'm sure it never used to take me this long to recover!

We travelled down on Tuesday evening, arriving on site early on Wednesday morning at around 2.30am, and were able to drive straight into the campervan field with no queuing. The site was all lit up and looked pretty cool.


We woke early, and thankfully I managed to put the awning up in between heavy rain showers. I'd also been down to have a look at the queue to get into the site which was looooong. We decided to wait a little while before joining. Even so, it still took us an hour to move what would take 5-10 minutes walking normally, mostly while it was raining.

We finally got in however, to find things already quite muddy underfoot. Within a few minutes Nicky had already fallen out of the wagon into the mud (my fault, as I'd stopped suddenly without noticing he was looking out of the front of the wagon).


The wagon really wasn't very good in the mud, as once the mud started drying and getting sticky it would gather up around the back wheels, making it difficult/impossible for them to turn around, to the extent that I would be dragging the wagon around. The caravan was a lifesaver in that we didn't have to carry tents, bags etc. all over the site in the mud, and we could also keep the muddy things in the awning so that we had some space to remain clean.

I saw fewer bands than ever this Glasto, partly because the mud made it extremely difficult to get around, partly because we spent more time in the Kidz Field with Nicky and Kitty, and partly because there weren't really that many bands that I wanted to see. Here is a rundown of who I went to see:

The Herbie Treehead Disaster Band



We came across them on the Sensation Seekers Stage whilst wandering around and caught the end of their set. I wish we had seen more of them because they seemed really funny and up for it. Nicky certainly enjoyed it and danced around the crowd before noticing the double decker bus to the side of the stage. From here we headed to the Kidz Field, and saw the CBeebies crew. Their act went straight over the head of Nicky, but he was just in awe anyway as Katy from I Can Cook was there so he was happy!

BB King

We were pretty far back at the Pyramid for this, and whilst I didn't know any of the songs, I could appreciate what a great guitarist BB King is, and how much he was enjoying himself.

Radiohead



I left Anna and co with Anna's mum at the Other Stage to see Fleet Foxes, whilst I battled through the crowds gathering at the Park Stage for the 'special guests'. The Park Stage has had these 'special guest' slots for a few years now, and every year it becomes more and more of a really daft idea, as the guests get bigger and the secrecy gets less and less (Radiohead were announced as the special guests in the Sun that morning FFS!), leading to huge crowds heading for a tiny stage not designed to cater for that many people. One year someone is going to get hurt.

As it is, I wish I hadn't bothered. I was only going to stay for half an hour as I had to get back to Anna, and in that wet half an hour they came on stage and proceeded to play songs exclusively from the last two albums. At their own gigs they might well get away with this, but at a festival people want to see the hits (such as Radiohead have hits) only to be mightily disappointed. I was on the hill overlooking the stage and you could see streams of people leaving, to the extent that people were more interested in people sliding down the mud than the band. There was zero interaction with the crowd, which isn't what you want when it's wet and miserable and the band are playing songs that only the hardcore will know. Apparently they did an encore of Street Spirit but by this time I was long gone.

U2


I'd taken Anna and kids back to the caravan after Radiohead as they were wet and not at all fussed about U2, so I was able to go a little closer to the front than I would have done otherwise. Despite my reservations I found that I really enjoyed it, as they played hit after hit and Bono was clearly having a good time despite the initial stupid comment about ley lines. They should have finished a couple of songs earlier though, as With Or Without You went down really well but the last two songs didn't.

Mik Artistik's Ego Trip



We've seen Mik Artistik at our last two Glastonburys so made a special effort to see him again this time as it's guaranteed to be great. He put on a good show, and even sang a little bit about Kitty!

Pulp

Pulp had been strongly rumoured as 'special guests' on the Park for Saturday, so we headed up there in plenty of time as we wanted to make sure we got in and with as little stress as possible as we had the kids with us. We set up right at the back of the stage, as it was already really busy, this was our view:


Thankfully after all our efforts it was Pulp, and this time it was worth it, as Pulp mostly played the hits, and even when they didn't Jarvis was in very chatty mood and engaging well with the crowd. This was the best band of the weekend for me.

Unfortunately, on the way back to the caravan (definitely no Coldplay for us) I hurt my left knee - four days of pulling Nicky's wagon around in the mud had finally taken it's toll. I iced it as soon as we got back and took ibuprofen and hoped it wouldn't be too bad.

The next morning we started at the Kidz Field, because it was so hot - uncomfortably hot, and the kids weren't very happy in it, especially Kitty. The Kidz Field has tents for babies to relax in and play so we went there, and I was able to go to the first aid tent and have my knee looked at. The A&E nurse said it was just wear and tear and nothing major (I'd been panicking that it might be a cruciate) and that it should be OK in a few days.

We stayed at the Kidz Field until mid-afternoon, before heading down to the Pyramid for...

Paul Simon


We set up camp right at the back of the Pyramid Stage with the intention to stay right until the end. Paul Simon apparently had a throat infection, which might explain why his set didn't really get the crowd going. You Can Call Me Al at the end was good though.

Plan B

Pretty terrible really, not sure what else I can say about them, but I lacked the energy to go elsewhere so had to endure it.

Pendulum

We'd watched Pendulum on TV at Glasto 2009 and really enjoyed it, so were looking forward to this. They were really good, and I imagine if you were down the front it would have been fantastic, but my moshpit days are probably over for now!

Beyoncé

We had to wait an hour and a half after Pendulum for Beyoncé to appear, even though the guide said it'd only be 45 minutes. The set started off with a bang, with fireworks accompanying Crazy In Love and Single Ladies.



Sadly, after this things rapidly went downhill, with the crowd at the back getting restless and bored, with big gaps starting to appear (contrast it with Stevie Wonder who ended the festival last year, where no-one left until the end). The middle of the set included dull covers of You Oughtta Know, Sweet Dreams and Sex On Fire (and weirdly an appearance by Tricky!) before a Destiny's Child medley at the end reinjected some life into the crowd. The people at the front seemed to be enjoying it, and reviews I've seen seem to indicate this was a really good show, but it wasn't for the people at the back (again, contrasted with Stevie Wonder, where everyone at the back had a great time). I really wish I could have gone to see Queens of the Stone Age instead, but my knee wouldn't have been able to take it.

Overall this is probably my 'worst' Glasto, in that it was the least fun I've had there. Not to say that it wasn't fun, it was still far better than any other non-Glasto festival I've been to, but the mud and heat just wore me down really, especially after my knee went on Saturday. I'm kind of glad there's a break next year. If we get tickets in 2013 then it'll probably be easier to go with a 4 year old and a 2 year old rather than a 2 year old and a 4 month old. But we'll have to wait and see.

UPDATE: I just wanted to add a couple of bits here. First of all I wanted to thank all of the kind people who helped me pulling the wagon about, especially the man in the red Greenpeace t-shirt who helped us escape the Park after Pulp. As for the idiots who were busy crowding the wagon saying hello to Nicky whilst I was pulling it in agony, the less said the better. Finally, I forgot to link to the picture gallery.

Keane Ingram

A father of three and husband of one. I enjoy spending time with my family, staying active (especially cycling, running and capoeira) and playing video games. I also enjoy reading and watching films.

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