‘It Makes Rock ‘n’ Roll Look Like Springwatch’ says our resident grumpy old man about the blanket Glastonbury coverage.
Like some kind of surrogate Springwatch presented by surrogate Bill Oddies armed with that whiff of real ale and permo studio tan the annual Glastonbury media binge is back upon us turning rock n roll into a cuddly cardigan supplement…
Already whole hosts of junior reporters are down on the site tweeting and blogging about every blade of grass, every freshly arrived tent and every cloud formation on the famous farm and not even one band has rolled into the site yet.
Sometimes in media land it feels like Worthy Farm hosts the only music festival in the UK and that there are not, intact, a whole plethora of music festivals jostling for attention throughout the summer.
Don’t get us wrong, Glastonbury is a fine affair. It’s the biggest outdoor hoe down in the UK and deserving of plenty of attention and there is loads of great and varied music across the stages and some real proper big events like the Rolling Stones on the Sunday- that’s what is specializes in- the real big bands, the dusty legends from a historic past. Of course it’s great all this gets covered but this year there seems to be some sort of mania.
I just checked my diary and I’m sure it’s only Wednesday but already there are endless bulletins and even a live twitter from the BBC reporting from the site- which for now is just a load of fields with people arriving in them- not that interesting really as yet. Every blade of grass on the whole farm has it’s own tweet and every cloud has a silver lining of media attention.
This year the media are covering every inch of the festival. There is no mercy with live casts of stages and paparazzi hounds looking for z list Celebes staggering around in the backstage ‘famous people’ village – a place where no-one goes to see bands and their own careers are discussed by eachother in minute detail.
Sometimes it seems that Glastonbury is the only festival in the whole world instead of one of many. Weirdly Download festival which was on a couple of weeks ago and has about half as many people going didn’t get half as much media attention- it got virtually none because it’s a rock festival not an indie festival- instead of endless TV presenters in wellies sat backstage talking about the ‘festival vibe’ and turning the festival experience into Blue Peter as they potter around at the only festival they ever go to, Download got zilch attention.
Glastonbury has become the Henley Regatta of the summer- the society bash, the place where people talk about mythical England and cameras film presenters from all over the world getting all wooly eyed about watching bands on monitors and getting all excited because they are actually near a live gig for once a year.
Many years ago, the backstage was an old army tent and about 30 hardy souls now it’s like some kinda inter galactic media city surrounded by Winnebago’s for the rich and the celebrity hordes who roll in with their designers wellies and expensive sunglasses ready for the paparazzi flash bulbs and a couple of long days avoiding the high decibel of the stages. A festival within a festival a compound for the spoilt and the dust free it’s a million miles away from the mythical Glastonbury that still actually floats around the fringes.
I guess that’s the 21st century for you.