The Best Glastonbury Shows Ever… As Remembered by Some Festival Legends!

29 Jun, 2020 | Festivals in the UK

We should have been at Glastonbury this weekend. Anyone who’s a regular at Worthy Farm is used to having a year off every now and then to let the land recover, but it feels somewhat crueller when the fallow year is state-enforced! 

So, with people all over the country taking part in ‘Glast-home-bury’ celebrations, I thought I’d get nostalgic and take you on a trip down memory lane. I’ve gathered friends, colleagues, festival LEGENDS, my parents, and straight up random people off the internet to share with you their favourite musical moments from Glastonburys past. Please enjoy & do let me know your own stories in the comments, I’d love to hear them! 

A photo I took of the legendary Pyramid stage last year on the Tuesday.

If, like me, you’ve been watching the Glasto at Home BBC coverage you might be feeling pretty blown away remembering how many global superstars have graced the iconic stages of Worthy Farm over the years! But if you’re also lucky enough to have been to Glastonbury yourself you’ll know that’s only a fraction what the festival has to offer musically… That’s why I’ve asked all my contributors to share their favourite big show as well as their most memorable smaller magical musical moments.

Dulcie Horn – it’s me!

I never end up catching that many bands at Glastonbury and I probably have more stories about regretfully missing legends (Dolly Parton, Robert Plant, Kylie… the tragic list goes on) than I do about actually being at gigs… but even so it was pretty hard narrowing down this list to two shows out of eight Glastonburys!

My Favourite big Glastonbury gig….

Metallica

Pyramid Stage – 2014

I grew up on heavy metal, if you’ve read this post you’ll know my first ever festival aged 10 was a metal festival in Germany. Glastonbury will forever be my one true love but until recently out of the gazillion genres that they represent across the hundreds of stages, heavy rock and metal were never represented. So in 2014 when Metallica were controversially announced I was HYPED! I went down with my pal Oscar and we managed to squeeze down to the right hand side of the sound booth, so not bad for the pyramid but not as close as I would have liked! For the first half of the show, even though I was bouncing around like a loon, I was a bit disappointed in the energy in the crowd. But towards the second half as I was screaming the lyrics to Enter Sandman, I suddenly found myself surrounded by a lovely bunch of big metal loving lads and I felt right at home! I called my dad on the phone after who was watching it on the telly and my parents came the next year and haven’t missed it since.

Looking good right?!

It’s worth noting that you can now see the best of the heavier side of music represented at the SCUM stage in Shangri La hosted by Earache Records – who also put some bigger bands on the Truth stage, a vital addition to Glastonbury’s diverse programming I think!

SPECIAL MENTIONS TO: Beyonce – Pyramid 2010 (wow), Laura Marling – Park Stage 2010, Lianne La Havas – West Holts 2013, Arctic Monkeys – Pyramid 2016, Sean Paul – John Peel 2019. 

My Favourite small Glastonbury gig….

Fatboy Slim

No Idea, Unfairground – 2011

There are heaps of tiny, special & magical shows I’ve seen at Glastonbury but this one happened when I was 18 at my second Glastonbury, and it blew tiny Dulcie’s mind. I was wandering around the naughty corner at a late hour with my fezzie bezzie Juby and we were sat on some steps in the Unfairground having a breather when we heard some people saying… ‘Fatboy Slim’s gonna be playing in there in a minute!’ We wandered into a tent next to us which was completely obscured by some HEAVY dry ice and I lost Juby immediately (for the next two days…) I continued through the heavy smoke, blinking to see the people next to me chanting ‘Norman! Norman!’… Next thing I knew, the dry ice had cleared and I looked up to see that I was standing directly in front of a DJ booth sized jukebox where the aforementioned Norman, aka Fatboy Slim, was spinning some tunes! I danced my butt off for the whole set, made some new friends and continued into Shangri La afterwards on an adventure… 

Jay McAllister – Beans on Toast

Beans on Toast is a singer-songwriter and a Glastonbury staple. Although has infamously struggled to get a gig at Glastonbury in previous years that’s no longer a problem for him! Listen to his latest tune which perfectly encapsulates a lot of what many of us are feeling this weekend. 

Beans on Toast’s Favourite big Glastonbury gig….

Kate Tempest

WEST HOLTS – 2017

It was Sunday, I’d had the best weekend of my life, again. The other side of the fence the country and the world was in political upheaval, again, and Kate took to the stage, gripped the mic and spoke directly to my inner being.

I’d put Kate down as the most important wordsmith of my generation and that afternoon she was on full power, fully in the moment and relishing her sacred space. Powerful, humble, brutal, original and timeless. The gig itself was not an easy listen, opening with a 10 minute poem and dissecting the modern world and the mess that it’s in. This wasn’t about the weather, or the drugs or even the festival, it was pure poetry and it felt important. Really important. One reason I think this gig stands above the hundreds of amazing shows I’ve seen at Glastonbury was the last song. A song called ‘People’s Faces’ which at the time I hadn’t heard as it was unreleased. The mood of the show changed and we were offered a simple hope, it was beautiful. I cried.

Also worth mentioning that the first-ever time I heard Kate was at Glastonbury, I was walking past a small tent in the area that is now the unfairground, must have been 2008 / 2009 I stopped in my tracks and went straight into the tent were her band at the time Sound of Rum were playing to a small tent with about 10 people in it and It was amazing, the best thing I’d heard for years. The minute they finished I walked up and chatted to the band, that’s obviously much easier in that kind of environment than it is on West Holts. Since that day I followed the band and in turn Kate’s solo music, poetry, books and plays. I’m friends with Kate and have been lucky enough to make music and do some shows together so I’ve seen her play a lot – that day at Glasto, she was in her element and it was a beautiful thing to witness.

Jay’s Favourite small Glastonbury gig….

Dizraeli

CHAI WALLAHS – 2009

I’d never heard of Dizraeli or been into the Chai Wallah tent before. I stumbled in and had my mind blown by Dizraeli performing with a chap called Baba Brinkman, socially conscious UK Hip Hop? Yes, please. I was wandering about alone so I sat down and started watching the set, 20 minutes in I realised the time and that Bruce Springsteen has already started. Fuck! I jumped up and legged it to the Pyramid and using old skool crowd control techniques that I shouldn’t share here got myself right into the belly of the best of the boss crowd, once I’d found my spot I started watching, but something wasn’t right. I fucking Love the Boss. He’s the fucking boss. But that other guy was epic. Sod it, I pushed back out of the crowd and back to Chai Wallah to catch the end of the set, which did not disappoint. I’ve been a fan of Dizraeli since and from that day forth if Chai Wallah are ever at a festival it’s the first place I’ll go to watch music. I’ve discovered countless brilliant acts in their tent. Obviously I still Love The Boss too, he’s the fucking Boss.

Ngaio Anyia

My pal Ngaio is a writer, a singer, a DJ and so much more – you’ll have spotted her on this blog before, because, quite frankly I can’t get enough of her!

Ngaio’s favourite big glastonbury gig… 

No Doubt

Pyramid Stage – 2002

This is SO HARD!!!! There have been so many amazing ones but the one that will always stick out in my memory was discovering No Doubt after wandering over to the main stage when I was 12 years old. I’d been following this beanpole boy around who I had a crush on and he’d mercilessly told me to get lost in front of all his friends. Obviously my heart was broken so off I went as the strong independent woman my mum had raised. I didn’t know where I was going but I bought a real homemade lemonade on the way from my favourite cart and found Gwen Stefani jumping on a speaker on the main stage shouting HEY BABY HEY BABY, HEY looking like a full blown badass. The beanpole was swiftly forgotten.

Ngaio’s favourite small glastonbury gig… 

Booty Bass

Sistxrhood – 2019

This might be a little bit of a cheat as it was my crew that played but I was so so proud to take over the Sistxrhood with my all female/NB crew last year. I started Booty Bass in 2017 just under a year after I learned how DJ and developed from a monthly residency at the Plough, my favourite local, to programming their new year party and then putting together a crew and running more event/takeovers to being asked to come and programme Saturday night at the Sistxrhood. For most of the crew it was their first ever Glastonbury and it was such a beautiful, bonding experience for us all. I have to say, the feeling of watching everyone slay their sets in a venue that promotes inclusivity and gender inequality within the festival scene will stay with me forever

Flora Symons – West Holts

My lovely mate Flora has basically grown up on Glastonbury & is a fixture of the West Holts stage where she works as an artist liaison. 

That’s Flora in the middle!

Flora’s favourite big Glastonbury show…

Anderson Paak & Dizzee Rascal 

West Holts – 2017

Anderson Paak followed by Dizzee Rascal was an amazing musical experience – you forget how many absolute tunes Dizzee has!! After Paak finished, he came into the pit where I was to watch Dizzee. The pit was absolutely rammed and I found myself stuck against the fence behind Paak and his girlfriend. They were all over each other dancing the entire time, so I essentially spent the whole set with Anderson Paak inadvertently grinding on me!

Flora’s favourite small Glastonbury show… 

KOKOROKO

The Worm Hole – 2019

After getting past the crazy queues for this tiny new Jazz stage, The Worm Hole, I got to see KOKOROKO play an impromptu jam session with Kamasi Washington. The contrast of an intimate Jazz gig at the UKs largest festival felt really special!

Kaptin Barrett

Kaptin aka AAA Badboy is one of the music programmers at Boomtown Fair and therefore my wonderful colleague as well as my neighbour. You can read his blog post about the first ever Glastonbury here too

Kaptin at Glastonbury in 1982 & again performing in 2004

Kaptin’s Favourite big Glastonbury gig….

Stevie Wonder

Pyramid Stage – 2010

I rarely find myself at the Pyramid stage but there was no way I was missing Stevie Wonder so myself and best mate Jason who had been hosting our Chrome Kids DJ set that year headed up there early evening, 2 acts before he was due on to try and get to the front.  

We got there as Jack Johnson was on, a fairly chilled affair so although it was packed out we managed to make our way through the majority of fans easily enough. Next up was Faithless who were also incredible that year but we stayed focussed on our mission and any time the crowd was jumping (which was most of the time) we would wade through as much as we could although it was getting tougher and tougher as the crowd were so tightly packed in.

Finally after they’d finished we could see the front in sight and about 6 rows in was a fairly big space so we used all our powers of persuasion to make it there, turns out there was a naked old man sat on the ground and nobody was looking to get too close to him, we didn’t care though, it was such a great view of the stage from where he was so he became our new best mate.  It was a fantastic gig, by far one of my all time favourites, and totally worth the mission to get a good spot. I think that was the last time I saw a headliner there though.

Kaptin’s Favourite Small Glastonbury Gig…

Michael Franti & Spearhead feat. Tippa Irie and Potato Skinz

Backstage Pyramid – 2004

It’s so hard to choose a favourite gig from Glastonbury as there have been so many legendary moments, especially in the smaller stages of the South East Corner, Shangri La, The Common, Block 9 and Unfairground.  However one that stands out didn’t happen at a stage at all, in fact it happened backstage at the Pyramid.  

I was with Jason once again, it was our first time performing there as rappers and my mate Clive was with us too. We were big fans of Michael Franti & Spearhead so went to watch them on both the Jazzworld and Pyramid Stage, after the second show we decided to try our luck with getting an interview for Jason’s BBC Radio Wales show.  We didn’t have any press passes but a bit of chat and we got backstage and had an inspiring hour long interview.

After we’d finished we all got chatting to a precocious young kid who had also blagged his way back, it turned out he’d been learning to play the djembe so Michael invited all of us back to the tour bus for a jam session.  It all seemed a bit surreal at the time, we were parked right in front of Paul McCartney’s bus and joined by Black Eyed Peas and Tippa Irie, who being a big Reggae fan I was far more excited about meeting.  We jammed for what felt like hours with Michael and Tippa mashing up their various hits into one long medley.  I did join in a little but it was such a perfect moment I was mostly just sat back enjoying the vibe with a big grin on my face.  Definitely one of the highlights that eventually led me to working in festivals full time I think. 

Keeley & Pete – Vibes Life Us

Fellow festival lovers Keeley & Pete are also known as Vibes Life Us, you can follow their many adventures over on their colourful instagram

Keeley & Pete’s Favourite Big Glastonbury Show…

Run The Jewels

West Holts – 2015

Hands down one of the greatest sets we’ve ever seen at Glastonbury.  The West Holts stage is clearly huge but it always feels like you have discovered a hidden gem. It’s quite a trek for us dairy ground campers, and In true Glasto fashion we were running late and missed their intro.  

As we approached the stage  “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” dropped! The bass was so sick it literally started shaking the ground beneath us. The sun was shining, and in that moment we all looked at each other, started smiling and  started bopping casually towards the crowd. 

That set went off big time. So much of that farm energy, so many classics and nothing but pure vibes with your crew.  Definitely one of the best sets we’ve ever experienced.

Keeley & Pete’s Favourite Small Glastonbury Gig…

Aphex Twin

The Spike – 2014

Pete & Keeley at The Spike

At our very first Glasto a generous soul tipped us off about a secret Aphex Twin gig, in a treehouse of all places.  We knew it would be limited capacity so we left Carl Cox at The Glade early.  To say The Spike was small was an understatement, there were about 10 people there including us! It was f-ing surreal,  all 10 of us were just standing in front of Aphex Twin who was sitting down with his decks on some rickety fold up table.  It was over 2 hours of acid house, techno and mind bending breakcore. 

At the end he chatted with us all  as he packed up the CDJ’s.  Wow, that’s one of them great moments that only come around once in a while, and ignited our love affair with Glastonbury.  This spot is still one of our faves.. a giant disco ball, cocktails, and trees what more could you want!?

Hayliegh Beckles

Me and my wonderful mate Hayleigh, artist liaison extraordinaire, have had many a party night at many a festival but we’re all in agreement that there’s nowt quite like Glastonbury!

Hayliegh, Emma, Me & Alexis Glastonbury 2016

Hayliegh’s Favourite Big Glastonbury Gig…

Adele 

Pyramid – 2016

This was the year it rained & rained. I had just seen my best mates play Arcadia and whilst half the group went off to see someone (I can’t remember who!) I was determined to see Adele, so we made the mission across the site. We were all hanging but we got there and committed to drink, get wavy and just do it. We met up with our friends Dread and Alice and all worked our way into the middle of the crowd. Adele came on… I remember her burping in a fan’s face and saying sorry she’d just had a burger! She was so humble and normal. Then came her singing, it blew me away. As the five of us stood embraced every song, singing, hugging and even crying; it’s a moment I’ll never forget. So glad that I went and got to experience it. Was one of my fave moments of that Glasto as even with rain up to my knees at points, that moment we were all best pals just having the time of our lives.

Hayliegh’s Favourite Small Glastonbury Gig…

Who Cares Takeover

Gas Tower, Shangri La – 2017

The Who Cares Gang at the Gas Tower – not sure if you can spot me being a shy retiring wallflower.. ?‍♀️ Hay’s the one with the braids and her head next to mine!

Being part of the Who Cares Bristol family is always a highlight as the takeover is the one evening that you know where everyone will be. You see all your mates having fun, but that year was special. The whole experience had taken it up a notch to previous years. The production was insane and the artists were too! We had Diplo and Goldie play with a stellar line up of amazing Bristol DJ’s & MC’s which I’m lucky to be friends with. That night I’ve never felt prouder and more part of a family. Friday night at the Gas Tower will always hold a special place in my heart!

Garfield Hackett

Garfield runs Shangri La’s infamous Guerilla Bar (if you know, you know!), but this year he’s been working on the ‘Festiboxes‘, an ‘immersive’, tongue in cheek companion to the summer’s digital music festival landscape with all of the profits going towards an emergency hardship fund for the festival crew whose livelihoods have been affected this season. I thoroughly enjoyed my box this weekend and it comes with an online experience too – get yours whilst stocks last!

Garfield’s favourite big glastonbury show…

The Specials

Pyramid – Definitely this century 

I danced on stage with one of my favourite all-time bands. I got kicked off eventually, but the security didn’t catch me until the 6th song…!

Garfield’s favourite small glastonbury show…

Cult.ure Night (Shy FX, Mark Ronson, Giggs, Children of Zeus, Randall)

Guerilla Bar – 2011

It was just an unbelievable atmosphere, only about 100 squeezed inside, dancing with my daughter, niece and great-nephew… sweat dripping off the side of the tent and the artists getting totally in the vibe. All of them went way beyond their allotted times …think it didn’t end until about 9 am…and because of the Guerrilla Bar rules there are no photos of it!

Miguel Schertel – Glasto 360

Miguel is the man behind Glasto 360 and one third of GlastoCast the unofficial Glastonbury podcast!

Miguel’s Favourite Big Glastonbury Gig…

Arcade Fire

Pyramid Stage – 2014

In 2014 I failed to get tickets for Glastonbury in the main sale. Suffice to say I was devastated: it was supposed to be my third time at the farm and long before that I had decided I would be coming back every year. Things got worse when the festival announced Arcade Fire as one of the headliners – they were one of my favourite bands at the time. I had to find a way to be there.

And so I did: I got a spot volunteering for Shelter working at the bars. I was not only going to the festival but be, even if a tiny bit, part of making it happen. I also lucked out with my shifts: I finished 7pm the night Arcade Fire was headlining, rushed for some food and then started making my way through the Pyramid field crowd while Elbow was playing to get as close to the stage as I could. I’m not a big fan of Elbow, but who can resist a sing-a-long at the Pyramid Stage? As you do, I made some friends during their last song, and we sang Elbow away from the stage and stayed together for Arcade Fire.

Their performance was all I wanted it to be: a spectacle, a balanced presentation of their career presented with a theatricality that the Pyramid stage deserves. To be there, in the year I almost missed the festival, it was magical.  It is to this day one of my best moments at the festival. Of course, it also ended with a sing-a-long. However, this time, not for the band to leave, but for a wish that their show would never end. 

Miguel’s Favourite Small Glastonbury Gig…

There are so many stages at Glastonbury that don’t make up the lineup poster, but they make up part of what makes the festival so unique.

I’m an avid follower of the #lineupdontmatter approach, and I love just wandering around the farm, so all these years attending gave me a collection of wonderful memories at the smaller stages.

It’s hard to pick just one or even a few, especially as many times I don’t even know who I was dancing to. Those moments could be an impromptu rock around The Bandstage, an upcoming act at the BBC Introducing Stage (or a secret gig by a bigger band) or when I already lost myself around the South East Corner.

You will probably find me many times up at the Crow’s Nest, watching an intimate performance on the decks or the stage, and you will definitely see me ruining my vocal cords at The Big Easy Jam.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a small stage at Glastonbury, as every moment I lived there is immense. So, go on, get lost, explore every corner, enter every door, and collect moments you will never forget.

Rhi Kimchi

Rhi is my best mate 4eva – and also an OG music festival blogger, founding the since deceased website, the Festival Hunter, way back when there wasn’t much else like it! Now an artist manager and all-round vibes merchant you can count on her to have a blag to all the best spots on site… 

Rhi’s favourite big Glastonbury show… 

Lady Gaga 

Other Stage – 2009

NONE of my mates wanted to come with me, so ended up plodding down on my own to see the tour de force that is Gaga. During the mass migration of humans from campsite > stage picked up some spiritley friends and was completely moved by the performance. She told stories of getting lost on LSD at festivals, had loads of costume changes and played the piano with her feet, what more do you need! 

OTHER SPECIAL MENTIONS: 2009 discovering Arcadia for the first time. Having no prior knowledge of the stage and stumbling across it on the Friday night, mid circus show, will remain one of the most mind-blowing moments of my life. Second special mention to Chemical Brothers’ set on the Other Stage in 2015, a visual production extravaganza with all the big ravey classics.

Rhi’s Favourite Small show at Glastonbury…

What the hell is going on here then?

No idea!

Also, no idea! It was one of the micro venues, I couldn’t even tell you where (shows how much fun we were having) – 2009

We were thrown into a tiny box, gifted some beautiful handmade face masks and jumping around like there was no fuxkin tomorrow… The photo is above, if anyone can tell me where we were and what we saw I would love to know!

Jessi Dimmock – Where’s My Tent Blog

Jessi is as much of a Glastonbury mega fan as I am – she blogs about it on her site Where’s My Tent and is also another third of Glasto Cast… we did an instagram live on Wednesday for a bit of a reminisce about Glastonburys past – you can watch it back here!

Jessi’s favourite big Glastonbury show… 

Rolling Stones

Pyramid – 2013

My best big artist at Glasto has to be the Rolling Stones. I’ve been a fan for years, I’m a rock girl at heart, so I had been praying for one of my classic rock favourites to hit the Pyramid Stage. My friends and I got to the field two artists before the headliners, so we managed a pretty good view… in line with the sound desk, slightly round to stage left. It was 3 hours until they were due to start, the sun was shining, everything was perfect. We danced around to Primal Scream and drank all the cider. The crowd was packed like sardines. I remember the last few minutes before they came on felt like an eternity, my hair was standing up on the back of my neck, the crowd was crackling like electricity. When those screens went black and the first chord was played, my whole body shivered and then the crowd all roared! What a feeling… I’ll never forget it. I spent the next couple of hours in rock heaven.

Jessi’s favourite small Glastonbury show… 

Too Many T’s

Bimble Inn – 2015

In 2015 my friend convinced me to follow him to a stage I’d never been to for a band I’d never heard of. At midnight we arrived at the Bimble Inn, and I thought we’d just stopped at a bar because it’s so small, but then he pushed me and our other two friends to the front and I could see a stage. I had no idea what was going on, then two lads jumped up on stage with mics and started spitting super fast lyrics, one doing 4 bars, then the other doing the next 4, backed by an impressively loud heavy bassline, on and on. I’d not seen or heard anything like it, I couldn’t comprehend how they could rap so in time with each other. That small stretch tent just exploded with energy, people were jumping and going wild, and the bar staff were stood on the bar pouring drinks directly into our mouths. It was easily my favourite moment of 2015, and I became a lifelong fan of those two lads: Too Many Ts.

Laura Horn – My Mum!

AKA – my mum! She started coming to the festival with my dad (Brad!) relatively recently in 2015 but was very reluctant to distill the experience into only two gigs, which is understandable!

My dad, me & my mum

Laura’s favourite big show at Glastonbury… 

The Lumineers (twice)

Other Stage – 2015 & 2018

They just make me cry!!

Special Mentions: Lionel Richie 2015, Barry Gibb 2017, Art Garfunkel 2016. 

Laura’s Favourite Small shows at Glastonbury…

Glen Tilbrook (Squeeze) 

The Green Room (backstage Theatre & Circus) – Every Year 

Our first Glastonbury was in 2015. Its incredible going for the first time but we felt completely at home. Highlights for that year were seeing Glen Tilbrook (Squeeze) doing his annual set in the Green Room T&C backstage bar up close and personal doing all of the legendary Squeeze hits. He’s just a total legend and a bit of the soundtrack to my 80’s youth ….. to see him in such an intimate space is incredible.

Going up to see Steve Knightley in an almost empty Toad Hall with surprise guest Tom Robinson popping in to play some great tracks from Power in The Darkness (one of Brad’s first ever albums) was another highlight from that first year! 

Adam Gainsborough

My friend Adam owns music booking agency This is Now and also works on the programming for the Greenpeace stage at Glastonbury. 

 Adam’s favourite big Glastonbury show… 

LCD Soundsystem 

Pyramid Stage – 2010

2020 would have marked my 20th year of attending festivals but it took me a whole decade to realise I was missing out on the best party in the world.

I was sat on my sofa in 2010 watching the BBC Glastonbury coverage of the Stevie Wonder performance (after watching the exact same show the day before Live in Hyde Park), when one of the most life changing thoughts I’ve ever had struck me: “WHY AREN’T WE THERE”??! I absolutely love festivals and would say I love them just a tiny bit more than the next person. It actually felt a bit embarrassing that I’d never been. But the very next year, with my career in music shaping up, I found myself on site at Glastonbury with a band I worked with as agent and manager, and wristbanded up to the max. My own Glastonbury story had started and long may it continue!

My best big stage show at Glastonbury has to be LCD Soundsystem when they headlined The Other Stage on Sunday night in 2016.

I’m not really a ‘main stage kind of person’, but it was LCD and we were in Sunday night party-mode. Something that I would never normally do is head to the front, especially not on a main stage, but we wanted to take the whole show in so Sarah Joy and I walked down the left hand side of the audience to find ample space right by the barrier, so we set ourselves in. For me, LCD are one of the best live bands going and James Murphy puts on a brilliant show and this show was mega. The full 90-minutes were packed with both electrifying and tear-jerking moments. And the fact I could see the whites of James Murphy’s eyes made it for me. A show I will never forget.

Adam’s favourite small Glastonbury show… 

Jamie Jones 

Love Bullets, Shangri La – 2016

With being an agent and now part of the music booking team for Greenpeace at Glastonbury, I don’t have much spare time on my hands to go and see a load of music at the festival, other than the acts I fought to get on the bill that year, but that’s fine by me. Music is just one part of the festival and I spend my time catching up with friends, taking in the art, the buzz, the people and generally rolling about and seeing where the festival takes me. Because of that, I’ve not found myself discovering bands in some of the smaller tents or stages but one small show does stick in my hazy memory and that was Jamie Jones playing on Love Bullets. Again, in 2016. What a year that must have been!

Weirdly, or not so weirdly, I “came round” to find myself at the front of the crowd (not my normal thing. Sure) dancing away to some unknown DJ. My eyes cleared that little bit more and I’m dancing to Jamie Jones in a tiny venue! As things start getting even more clearer for me, I realise I’ve lost all my mates and I’m actually alone. Just how long had I been there for? Not one to waste any(more) time, I slap a Too Many T’s sticker on Jamie and I head out to find where the hell my mates are! 

Jane Brummitt aka Lady Jane Sequins 

The wonderful Jane runs the original festival wear shop, Lady Jane Sequins, you may have spotted her treasure trove of sparkly wonders when you’ve been out exploring the markets on your Glastonbury shopping trips. 

Jane’s favourite big Glastonbury show… 

Dolly Parton

Pyramid Stage – 2014

Dolly is an absolute legend – she had the best anecdotes and everyone knew every word of every song. She was so funny and excited and humble. My friend Ria, (Indonesian and hard as nails), started crying in the middle of ‘I Will Always Love You’ and about ten of us started bawling our eyes out too! We’ve been doing Glastonbury together for 20+ years, there’s always lots of tears, but this was the first time from Ria! And then we laughed, and sang, and danced and remembered how lucky we are.

Jane’s favourite small Glastonbury show… 

Cat Empire

Favorite small gig …..oh so many! Cat Empire I’ve stumbled on a few times, still one of my all time favourite live bands, and the front left corner is always full of people I know from every walk of my life from the past 30 years in one place!

Gavan King

Gavan is an Oxfam steward that I met on twitter who’s been right at the front barrier for more gigs at the Pyramid than I’ve probably even managed to see from the back!

Gavan’s favourite big Glastonbury show… 

Metallica

Pyramid Stage – 2014

Having seen Rolling Stones, Muse, The Who & Foo Fighters my choice is from 2014.  Metallica, heavy hitters & the unloved band due to comments of bear hunting, and the band I saw on the Master of Puppets tour Birmingham 1986, playing Glasto!   As Oxfam stewards we don’t know what shift we’ll get so I actually crossed my fingers before I received my rota, and there it was Saturday night off!

So dawn rises Saturday and shift done, I take to my tent & grab 6 hrs sleep. Then up, free full English breakfast consumed, boots on, rucksack ready – lots of beers, snacks & wet jacket, I head for the pyramid on cloudy day.

Damp & muddy ground, heavy showers cause splashing up legs around me, I squeeze through the crowd with a smile and ‘excuse me’ and into ‘Row B’ at the barrier. Lana Del Ray ignites the crowd, v talented but not my cuppa so I watch as she shows the world her voice. Then the big guns, Metallica time. As the stage was just about ready, the VIPs arrived in the pit – one was Bradley Cooper, so I managed to shout & get a fist pump from him. The guy next to me wore a shirt from 86 tour, came from my town and went to that gig! 

The lights go down and the screen goes black – RIP Eli Walsh is displayed with respect for the actor who passed away a few days ago & his film, The Good the Bad and the ugly scene plays out, which Metallica have been using in video since ’87. Wait what’s this, a fox hunting, bears shooting them, Metallica in costume? Julian Temple did a special scene for them due to the controversial hunting comments before the show. 

Lights go up, showing fans behind the drum kit with flags and the band bringing immense volume, ripping into Creeping Death. For me this was like being 16 again and incredibly giddy, heavy metal headlines & I know every fucking note for every song. 

Metallica brought it all, huge screen, pyrotechnics & lasers. Time moves so quickly and it’s a greatest hit show, Metallica release blow up balls which everyone in a Row A grabs one and hang on during the last show Seek and Destroy “Do you want heavy?” I believe we all were battered.

Spot Gavan looking C H U F F E D right in the middle

Gavan’s favourite small Glastonbury show… 

The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican

As all Oxfam Stewards work hard from Saturday to Monday completing three, 8 hrs shifts, we do miss some shows. We mainly ensure festivals tickets & wristbands are checked and customers stay safe and happy. So I’ve worked my last shift show for 2019. I’m going into the Brigadoon Town, which appears one week every year. Going via The Cure I go via the Accessibility platform high five some of the crew, I watch Robert Smith smile at the crowd which after 4 times he approves his show and moves on via the interstage track.  Passing a few VIP staggering and falling over I head on and out stage right of The Other Stage. 

Christine & the Queens on stage to a huge crowd. They are lapping her up as I move on to Railway track and head for the Avalon Stage. Reef, the local band playing home turf, raised in the 90s, 5 albums, 19 singles. A full-on packed crowd being the drunk, happy fans, family and friends.  

The band plough the field with the classic songs and the crowd eat it all up, bellowing and fill the tent with cool Reefy lyrics. Place Your Hands, the most welcomed song for the night. Invited on the stage Andy Taylor ex Duran Duran, ex  underrated Power Station guitarist riffs into The Faces – Stay With Me, the whole crowd singing that one. 

The evening comes to an end I’m backstage having a few drinks watching The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican going through there cardigan wearing, Motörhead homage – Plates of Spades  and then it’s off to the unspeakable ‘Naughty Corner’ till the morn comes up.

Laura Audley

Lovely Laura has a Boutique Camping company called Portobello Tents and was due to run a new luxury campsite at the Glastonbury festival this summer, Portobello Farm. I was lucky enough to stay in one of her tents at Noisily last year and I’ve got to say it was next LEVEL swanky so this really is the place to go if you want to do Glastonbury in style next year!

Laura’s Favourite Big Glastonbury Gig…

Jon Hopkins

West Holts – 2019

Laura’s Favourite Small Glastonbury Gig…

The heat of last year will stick in my memory forever – everyone wants a dry Glastonbury but wow it was hot, my eyeballs were sweating! We had 50 tents on a second site new for last year as well as our usual 25 at Pennard Hill Farm. We got everything up and in the right place on the new site before the lorry was due to arrive at Pennard – we have the most mega crew (slightly biased), most of whom have been around since our first summer – including Alwyn who kept bringing more friends to work who then brought more etc. Access is tight at Pennard so the lorry has to be smaller and we have to ‘hand-ball’ all the kit off rather than using forks. Admittedly we know what we’re doing now (unlike in 2016!) but that afternoon the camaraderie was amazing – we unloaded the lorry, put up ALL the tents and got everything in the right place ready to bed make, all in one afternoon. It was really fantastic.

Anyway, the festival (!)… after a chilled Thursday, one of my dearest friends arrived to have a BIG night on Friday – straight from Ibiza. Haha. He arrived and off we went – it was SO hot… Jon Hopkins at West Holts was brilliant and then we ended up at Greenpeace where somewhere nearby was playing a DnB Mysterious Girl but when we got closer it turned out the bass was from somewhere else and it was just Mysterious Girl Peter Andre style – that was funny as we were flying towards it then stopped dead, laughed and turned around. God knows where we went between then and 5 am when we climbed the hill back up to Pennard! 

Audley

Glade – 2016

Glastonbury 2016 was special in so many ways but equally as tough… It was the first season for the luxury camping company I set up, Portobello Tents, and actually our first festival build after a couple of smaller events. Our tents were at Pennard Hill Farm where we’ve been asked back ever since and love it… the weather was off the chart wet. I remember sitting in my Land Rover in Tesco car park and the rain was so hard I couldn’t read the Tesco sign and water was dripping through the dashboard and down my leg. It was brutal. I had a small team of people who I hadn’t met before who’d somehow found me and we battled on.

One of the guys, Alwyn, said he loved it and was going to quit his job and do the rest of the summer with Portobello… I was totally baffled but very happy, until I got back to the friend’s house I was staying at that night and his brother rang to say a guy who worked for him had called to say he was quitting to work with a luxury camping company – called Portobello Tents! A small world, haha. Anyway, we managed it and I spent all weekend terrified the tents would leak in the ongoing rain. It was fine! The Friday was the best, it was really heavy going – I don’t have delicate legs and I was struggling to pull my boots out of the mud with every step. My brother, ‘Audley’, DJd in The Glade and it was just super cool and there was a lot of love around. There were a load of us and we just laughed and laughed as more and more friends and friends of friends arrived. Such good memories from a lifetime ago! 

Really excitingly, Portobello Tents has launched their own glamping set up for Glastonbury, Portobello Farm. Check it out and stay in luxury next June. 

Sophie Landes

Sophie is another fellow music festival website writer and headed to her first ever Glastonbury last year… 

Sophie’s favourite main stage show at Glastonbury…

Stormzy

Pyramid Stage – 2019

His whole show was unreal!! The outfit he wore was inspired by Banksy, the nod to grime and London urban artists and his performance was just unreal! 

Sophie’s favourite small Glastonbury Show… 

Dirty Old Brasstards

William’s Green Stage – 2019

I didn’t mean to find these guys. But it was the first night and the whole gang was wandering around and we heard a brass band doing acapella versions of 50 Cent, The Killers, Coldplay and the whole tent was bouncing! It was like a 3000 person epic karaoke evenings! Loved them!!

 Wes Alexander Davies

I met Wes at a really tiny music festival in Devon when he used to be in a screamo band, and then I bumped into him at my first Glastonbury on an evening that I had lost all of my pals and was roaming around alone, dressed as a banana – we’ve been mates ever since! 

Young Wes at Glastonbury! (Green shirt)

Wes’ favourite big show at Glastonbury… 

The Rolling Stones 

Pyramid Stage – 2013

We had just so happened to meet Chris O’Dowd from IT crowd and he joined us because he had lost his friends, and we ended up backstage watching rolling stones and subsequently thrown out of the backstage area because of trying to touch Mick Jagger’s fur coat. As unbelievable as it sounds.

Wes’ favourite small show at glastonbury…

Tinariwen

2010

We were a mixed group of musical minded folk. So the different reactions to Somalia dessert Folk was a beauty to see. We enjoyed the communion that was generated and it left a lasting impression and inspired some to change life direction entirely. 

Jake Murray

I had to ask my friend Jake to be a part of this because it was thanks to him going in 2009 and telling me all about it on MSN (it was 2009!) that I got so jealous I had to get a ticket. Without him, I’d have had no one to go to that first Glastonbury with either!

Some v adorbs snaps of me and Jake in 2010

Jake’s favourite big Glastonbury show… 

Faithless

Pyramid Stage – Sunday – 2010

It was really good. 2010’s heat was widely regarded as some of the most relentless, and as any human animal to ever consume a cold cider in the British Summertime can attest, this paves the way for absolute glory.The biggest stage on the final day. You, your closest friends, and every sunburnt Sally you’ve laid eyes on over the past 5 days are giving one final push to achieve some kind of festival enlightenment and are actualising this in real time during the penultimate main stage gig of the festival. The sun is setting and what feels like the entire world is singing along to songs you never realised meant this much to you. Kudos, Glasto…

What Jake has managed to omit from this story, is the fact that after the show when he came back to our camp he couldn’t stop crying happy tears for at least a full hour after this…

Jake’s favourite small Glastonbury show… 

The Petebox

Somewhere in the depths of Shangri-la –  2009

The layers of musicality, vocals, lighting, crowd participation and overall heavenly vibrato brought to the stage by this mysterious man stuck with me for a long time. I can only imagine a beatboxing Jesus would be capable of putting up anything near as good of a performance.


Phew! That’s a load of years of Glastonbury and a load of great gigs! Don’t forget to let me know your favourites in the comments below.

Glastonbury truly is the queen of all festivals, and long may she reign! See you all in that field next year… xx

2 Comments

  1. Keeley

    Absolutely loved this post !! It was great to be a part of it, but reading about everyone else’s favourite shows is even better !! So many amazing artists and experiences it just cements what an awesome event it is

    Reply
  2. Kirsty

    Very happy to remember some of these moments as I read through them…. so many amazing memories are built up a Glastonbury every year, the randomness is the best bit

    Reply

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