You can be a regular festivalgoer, a first-timer, or just hooked on the BBC TV coverage in the UK — everyone has an opinion on Glastonbury. Just look at the response when Kanye West was confirmed as the Saturday night headliner and the predictably disparate reaction to his performance. The truism that you can’t please all the people all the time especially resonates at Glastonbury.
If you can’t find music here to seduce your eardrums or tempt your dancing toes, though, you’re a hard one to please. The dilemma is always deciding what can you afford to miss out of all the music and art laid out before you. It’s a high class problem, as my old boss used to say.
Photo by Maja Smiejkowska
This year, the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts turned 45. The festival might be scarcely recognizable from its 1970 incarnation, when it cost just £1 to get in and the cover included free milk from the Eavis family’s Worthy Farm, where the event is still housed today. Yet within the commerciality that comes from accommodating 170,000 people over five days, Glastonbury maintains its independent spirit, manifested in green initiatives, charity and cause support, and those areas of the site that are forever full of hippies.
Somehow, Glastonbury also manages to get better each year, so much so that Consequence of Sound felt that some awards were overdue. The site organization never ceases to amaze and is a testimony to everyone involved, however large or small their role. So, as a tribute to Glastonbury, Worthy Farm, the organizers, staff and performers, we present The Worthys.
Senior Staff Writer
Worst Kept Secret
Photo by Jason Bryant
Nominees: The Charlatans, The Libertines, Prince (no he wasn’t coming), Fleetwood Mac (no, no, no), Elbow (nope, sorry — just a T-shirt)
Can’t anyone keep a secret these days? I blame society — I mean, social media. There is a tradition of secret sets at Glastonbury, but improved connectivity on site (I blame Kevin Bacon) has meant truth spreads as rapidly as rumors. It started with the Special Guest slot on Thursday night at the Rabbit Hole just past midnight — it was never going to be Prince and the slot was actually canceled. The Charlatans taking the annual Friday 11:00 secret spot on the Other Stage surprised few given the size of the crowd who enjoyed some breezy nostalgia, with frontman Tim Burgess sporting shades to match his sunny disposition.
There was absolutely no chance that we’d see Fleetwood Mac parachuted in. You needed to be at London’s O2 instead. A rumour spread that Elbow were going to take the sunset slot between Motorhead and Florence and reprise the marvellous “My Sad Captains” once more. But that ended up as nothing more than a bloke who looked like a roadie wearing an Elbow T-shirt, so it came down to The Libertines instead. The lovely Glastonbury PR maintained that only “Michael Eavis and two others” knew who was filling that spot but within an hour or so the net was buzzing with the news of Pete Doherty’s return.
Winner: The Libertines
Most People on Stage
Photo by Maja Smiejkowska
Nominees: The Mothership Returns feat. George Clinton, the Parliament-Funkadelic and The Family Stone; Belle and Sebastian; The Unthanks with Orchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood
The festival had more than its fair share of uplifting moments, and Saturday morning’s Pyramid opening set from The Unthanks accompanied by a disabled virtuoso orchestra was a case in point. It was a bold collaboration featuring otherworldly close harmonies from Rachel and Becky Unthank and even clog dancing amid the orchestral swell — and, of course, lots of people on stage.
However, Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch had a trick up his sleeve during the Scots’ sunny Sunday evening show on the Other Stage. With a set blending old and new from its 20 year span and bookended by two terrific dance tracks “Nobody’s Empire” and “I Didn’t See It Coming”, the much-loved indies hit a genuinely celebratory note throughout. Security guards then looked on anxiously as Murdoch capped it all by inviting the audience up on stage after climbing onto the front barrier during “The Boy with the Arab Strap”. I lost count of how many made it up.
Winner: Belle and Sebastian