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Glastonbury Festival is every bit the magic that people say it is

Jenn Crothers is the manager of Boogaloo Radio, the station based in the Boogaloo Pub, Archway Road. Here is her account of going to the Glastonbury Festival for the first time...

04 July, 2019 — By Jenn Crothers

Jenn Crothers makes her Glastonbury debut

I HAD left organising my Glasto debut to the last minute. With weather predictions changing everyday, I played it safe and went Gung Ho on Amazon’s camping range. Here’s my 3 camping essentials:

Hanging tent light

Portable phone charger x 2

Collapsible water bottle x 2 (one for booze- you can take it on site and save money on drinks)

I found a lift via a social media page that has a Car Share system and I was picked up at 6am on Thursday by a Glastonbury veteran, who offered me some sage advice as we whistled down the A3030 and past Stone Henge:

Go see artists you wouldn’t normally pay to see

Buy way more booze than you think you’re going need, as you can take your own in, so why not and…

Do not get the train there. REPEAT: DO. NOT. GET. THE. TRAIN.

Being Thursday, the main stages (Pyramid & The Other) weren’t open yet, so a good day for floating about. I quickly got caught up with a Greenpeace parade, which was strung together by these huge Mad-Max-esque machines, one of which was shaped like a giant cast iron clam. I blinked, the clam opened and inside was full DJ decks, DJ and a sound system. It turned into a dance party and I that’s when I knew this was going to be the best weekend ever.

We were swept along by said protest to the Shangri-La end of things- a clubbing quarter designed for after parties, techno raves, drag queen competitions and more. I partied here till the wee hours.

I woke up at 11.45 on Friday, confused that I could ABBA sound checking, but Carshare Guy informed me it was tribute act ‘Bjorn Again,’ kicking off The Pyramid Stage proceedings. I was too pooped from Shangri-la-ring the night previous so waddled over to an enticing sight of a van emblazoned with the words COFFEE AND BACON to sort myself out.

I’m a huge MØ fan (Danish artist) so I decided to start my day with that on ‘The Other Stage’. I always enjoy seeing her perform as she really gives it everything. After some boogy-ing, I made my way to The Pyramid Stage to catch the last of the mighty Tom Odell. After which, I wandered back over to my place and I allowed myself a little dancing pit-stop as the DJ was playing one of my favourite Shy FX songs, then I realised that it was Shy FX performing. What a treat.

I caught Sheryl Crow – pretty good – and a nice surprise as I’m a fan and had forgot she was performing. This happened a lot: Maribou State, Hozier, The Vaccines, Lewis Capaldi and Foals – all seen on route elsewhere. It will be a crying shame if Foals aren’t a headliner soon.

For me, IDLES were a main highlight and I can now say that The Park Stage is my favourite spot, set up on the hill near Strummerville, we moshed and raved as the sun set on Worthy Farm. Lead singer Joe Talbot added a heart warming touch by professing his admiration for his wife. Every artist I saw used their moment at Glasto to get a lot off their chests, quite rightly making the most of what was the biggest audience of their lives.

I’ll come clean and get it out the way- I only saw Stormzy accidentally (there’s a pattern developing here) on the way to my bed Friday night. I think I had sunstroke and was pottering back to snooze, when I got caught up in the swarm of the Pyramid Stage. If you haven’t seen it yet, go on BBC iPlayer and find the footage- it was completely breathtaking and such an achievement for him, after releasing only one album, to secure (let’s face it) the headline spot.

I started Saturday with indie band, Sports Team over at the William Green stage (tented, thank the lord). These guys are great and their signature aesthetic is a sort of Sports Direct meets 70’s cricket team. I annoyingly missed one of my favourite bands, Easy Life but saw that they were doing a DJ set at Stonebridge Bar, so I went there for an afternoon boogie.

Luckily enough, I bumped into some pals and we all went to Lizzo- an artist I ashamedly had never heard of before, but my god she brought the house down. There was dancing, there was tequila and there were tears. Her whole set was interspersed with Lizzo herself preaching about self love, making the crowd chant, ‘I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING’. We needed a come down gig to mellow out after this, so off we went to Park Stage to check out Kurt Vile & The Violators. After this I realised I needed to nap before my own DJ set that night, so back to the tent I went, indulging in some VFC (vegan fried chicken) along the way.

It’s now midnight, and there is only one place to be at such an hour- Shangri-la. I attempted to join some pals at a nightclub called, ‘Block 9’ but the queue was too big, so ended up raving solo at IICON, an outdoor dance mecca hosted by some DJs who will remain unnamed as I have no idea who they were… like a real trooper I made it to my own DJ set at 5.30am (yikes) and span some tunes for an impressive sized crowd, considering the hour, at Sonic Stage in Silver Hayes.

Everyone by this point was on their last legs. I went to charge my phone at the Hospitality Intersection and bumped into some pals, drank Rosé then went to see Kylie. Now, I’m a Kylie fan- everyone is – but this gig was something else. I was somewhere in the middle, and turning around you couldn’t see where the crowd ended – a record breaking number, apparently. The whole set was amazing. I’m going to say it – the best performance at Glastonbury.

There wasn’t a dry eye in sight when Nick Cave joined her. To add to the emotion, Kylie spoke about how having cancer had forced her top cancel her last trip to play Glastonbury, 14 years ago. Mylie Cyrus followed, and she brought out her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X. She even disappeared and came back in full Ashley O (Black Mirror episode) costume and performed the track in character. To think that Mylie Cyrus has been in the charts as 3 different people- HM, Ashley O & herself- not bad going.

I took my chances and left to see what the Billie Eilish hype was about. I really dig her two main tracks- Bad Guy & Bury A Friend- but I think after seeing Kylie, I needed a more well trodden back catalogue of hits to keep my energy levels up. I think she would have been better suited to The Park Stage as the audience felt a bit divided.

My finale came in the form of The Streets. Every time I see them they feel like an emerging act who have just hit the big time (e.g. IDLES) even though they were amongst the first to bring that alternative hip-hop to the British mainstream way back in the early noughties. I hurled myself into the crowd for ‘Fit But You Know It’, and shed a tear when they played, ‘Never Went To Church’. Their hits feel just as, if not more, relevant today as when they first came out and it was the perfect choice to spend my last few hours of Glasto with them.

I was ready to come back to London and reassure everyone that Glastonbury Festival is overrated. I’m sorry folks, but it is every bit the magic that people say it is. And yes, the Glasto-blues are very real, so if you don’t wish to be berated with tales of how it was ‘literally the best weekend ever’, best avoid me for the next few months.

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