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theartsdesk at the Glastonbury Festival 2011 | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk at the Glastonbury Festival 2011

theartsdesk at the Glastonbury Festival 2011

Read no other account. This total Glasto journal is subjective, but also definitive

Pyramid Stage against the night sky at Glastonbury [all photographs by Jason Bryant]

Thursday 23 June

Haven’t left yet but someone sends me an email saying, "Not going to Glastonbury this year and feeling rather smug about it." What are they feeling smug about? The fact that they’re going to have a forgettable, normal weekend while this extraordinary event is going on? It is, of course, to do with ideas of rain. A lot of the pre-Glastonbury coverage focuses endlessly on rain and mud, as if home comforts are everything. When did comfort become the big cultural draw?

The feeling as the bus turns a corner and you can suddenly see the site never fails to thrill me, the tent city that never sleeps

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I am currently trying to support someone at work through the post GlastoFest blues: I can tell from his accounts of Cee Lo Green, Pulp etc etc (and a rewarding encounter with Michael Eavis) that no amount of discomfort can detract from the wonder of this event. Thanks for this piece!

Of all the hectares of newsprint I've read about Glastonbury this year (usually written by people who never go to the festival at all) this captures the experience best. A cracking good read.

Great review. Doesnt tempt me back there. 2 big 2 crowded 2 long for me, but I still get Glastonpang when I watch it on telly. The times I have been have been my lowest (endless mud and wretched hangover + crowdphobia) and highest (Roni Size, PSBs, Robbie Williams, hanging with mates, smashed!). Top piece.

Did the Chems do Galvanise? I was listening out for it as it's one of my favourites and I didn't hear it. Would have been a great closer to the set. They were outstanding in 2007 too.

Yes, a fine read. It almost – but I do mean almost – made me wish I’d been there. But I think I was most tempted by the notion of having what the hell I liked for breakfast, and carrying around a days worth of cider like some kind of alcohol camel. And great that he proudly avoided all the bands he might have been expected to cover (except of course the can-do-no-wrong wonderwoman Beyonce) and just followed where his stumbling feet led him.

Have just spent 30 minutes reading this, very slowly, as to make sure I don't miss a single word. Properly inspiring on festivals, but more. Thank you x

What a great review! So true to Glastonbury life and spirit. No matter how appalling, it always feels melancholy to leave. My own favourite this year was Janelle Monae. Just wonderful. A huge band, playing perfectly, all doing their choreographed thing like some 1930s swing thing. And what a singer. Ah, wonderful.

I am the person referred to in Katie P's comment. This is a fantastic review, a great piece of writing: ordinarily reading about other people's Glasto is a little dull because your own has been so unique and magical. But not here. I have read this review over a couple of bus journeys and it has helped me to hold onto that magical feeling that only exists on Worthy Farm. Despite the evil weather on Friday this was one of the best years ever, and I am so pleased to have found a review that pins it so well. It's much more than the bands: you could watch every minute of the TV coverage and not experience 1% of what it's really like to be there. Thanks for this review, and roll on 2013!

I really love this account of the festival. A witty and balanced personal narrative does it great justice. I admire your energy in managing to do so much, and it sounds like you were rewarded with great adventures. I also had difficulty camping, and it's somewhat worrying that you were forced to camp backstage. It's a shame about the group you met initially and I sometimes wonder if people like this are becoming more common at the festival. Still. your account has reminded me of some of the best times I've had there!

Thanks for the appreciation. Muchas gracias. I'm touched. Great to hear about everyone else's experiences too. Anyone who'd like to read further Glasto adventures of myself (and Don Carlton) in 2008 should check here:

At last, an account of Glasto that doesn't bleat on about Portaloos. Very entertaining.

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