Sunday was press tent day for Cherwell Music, which meant a twelve hour shift and the chance to glean a ton of backstage gossip!
The sheer size of the festival cannot be put into words and there’s a backstage production and press unit to match. A lot of people probably don’t appreciate the volume of work that goes into the festival to provide ‘the Glastonbury spirit’, or the fact that some of the workers have been here every year since the festival’s genesis back in 1971.
These veterans have seen it all, but some of the backstage sightings were still pretty special. Wayne Rooney, who had apparently been refused entry to the production area the previous evening by a security guard who was very happy to make the Sunday papers for his efforts, made an appearance, as did the band Phoenix and Florence Welch, who had previously been rumoured as a special guest for the Stones.
The Glastonbury rumour-mill was still in full swing come Sunday afternoon with the suggestion that Daft Punk were going to pop up on every conceivable stage and slot and murmurs of a David Bowie DJ set. This eventually culminated in 3000 people waiting fruitlessly at the Park stage for an hour last night after Cat Power’s set, convinced someone would appear. Meanwhile, if they were over at a secret room inside Shangri-La’s Heaven they would have been able to catch an unannounced appearance by Thom Yorke alongside his Atoms for Peace bandmate Nigel Godrich.
The outlying areas of the festival such as Shangri-La are where the true spirit of the festival lies and this is something I would soon learn as I was dispatched to Silver Hayes and the infamous ‘Block 9’ by the press team. Silver Hayes, previously known as the Dance Village, has been rebranded this year to shed its shady image of drugs and crime and this seems to have worked a treat. Highlights here included the blues stage dressed as a Jamaican shanty town, home to Mungo’s hi-Fi and the infamous ‘pussy parlour’. Similarly outré scenes could be found over at Block 9, where a post-apocalyptic theme was completed with the most amazing mock sets of ruined New York clubs. For a long time, Glastonbury has been stigmatised as a middle-aged festival with an early bed time but with areas such as these two, the frankly mental Shagri-La and Arcadia, Glasto has caught up with the party.
Back in the press tent, Cherwell spotted Rufus Wainwright amongst other celebrities. There was time to catch a bit of Zane Lowe and some Vampire Weekend who were both on form, if a tad unoriginal, before packing up the tent for another year. As my first Glastonbury drew to an end, it became apparent just how different it is from any other place, not just festival, in the world. Walking through all the different areas is like passing through a collection of miniature festivals, with the result that every reveller has a completely unique experience. The older members of the press team reminisced about festivals gone by – ‘no way is it your first one!’ – and we got to go see Mumford try their hand at headlining. As the folksters plucked the last chords of the euphoric ‘Find a Little Help from my Friends’ with members of the Vaccines, First Aid Kit and Vampire Weekend joining them, the collective nature of the festival was truly captured. It’s hard to put the experience of this festival into words, just go and try it! There’s always a first time for everything and it’s bound to be absolutely incredible.
Glastonbury: â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Five Stars