The Glastonbury Festival 2013 – overview…
Louder Than War photographer Dod Morrison was on duty at Glastonbury 2013; we present to you a selection of his photographs, and an overview of events from his partner Sally.
We arrived on Tuesday night amongst the usual stream of people entering the car parks to (attempt to) sleep in their car overnight and enter the site as soon as it opens. It seemed like virtually everyone wanted to get in as early as possible. Popular camping areas filled up within the first few hours of the gates opening on Wednesday morning, which left lots of people amazed that they’d got in so early but still had to camp further out.
Soon enough everyone cracked open a beer and toasted their arrival at the greatest show on earth. This year there was no branding (The Brothers bar changed to ‘B Bar’, the Pimms bus reduced to a red bus!).
If there were sponsors of any sort then it would be the charities Oxfam, Water Aid and Green Peace.
There’d been a few tweaks – the Dance Village had been renamed Silver Hayes as a nod to the name of the farming fields there, and Arcadia had been moved to near the Other stage. The newly added Blues and Gully stages brought some reggae and blues to the festival, and the Glasto Latino field had salsa dancing lessons and some wonderful South American food.
The main stages didn’t start until the Friday, but there was plenty to keep people occupied until then, with impromptu sets on smaller stages and an opening fire show at the stone circle on the Wednesday.
Over the weekend we were treated to an array of music acts, circus performers, comedians, debates, poetry, alternative therapies and crafts. It would be impossibly to see everything at Glastonbury but that’s the beauty of it. There is always something going on, and something that you’ve never seen before. For instance on the Sunday a 1:1 scale replica of the Glastonbury Tor was built using cardboard boxes in the circus field. By the kids loo in the Greenpeace field we were treated to ‘poo-etry’. And one my personal favourites – the laughter therapy tent in the healing fields, where guffaws and titters are a plenty!
Back again after their debut 6 years ago these guys proved to be worthy of the headline slot. They kicked off with a new song ‘Do I Wanna Know’ and followed up with a good set including ‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’, and ‘Teddy Picker’. ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ had everyone dancing and singing along.
Beady Eye were the surprise opener of the other stage. This caused a hoard of bleary eyed revellers to rush over to the Other stage when the recognisable voice of Liam Gallagher drifted over their tents. They seemed to go down well for a Friday morning, with the Oasis songs being the highlight of the set.
Dizzee pleased the audience with an immense show, including lasers, smoke machines and flames. He played some newer songs but the ones that went down the best were of course ‘Dance Wiv Me’, ‘Bonkers’ and ‘Going Crazy’.
Haim performed multiple times over the weekend, drawing a fair sized crowd each time and not losing any energy. The sisters had a harder edge to their sound than expected from their recent single. Good voices, good harmonies, and amusing faces from the bass player made for an entertaining set.
Jake Bugg had quite a country style of voice, which many found grating (he sounded a bit like Vic and Bob taking the piss!). Never the less he drew a fair size of crowd, many of whom thought he was excellent.
Professor Green is one of the UK’s hottest rap artists with his socio-political lyrics and drew a good sized crowd to the Pyramid stage. He surprised the audience with a mash up of his hit ‘I Need You Tonight and Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’.
Rita Ora looked great for her Glastonbury debut in a revealing red dress. During her set she threw herself around the stage, flicking her hair and dress tassels.
Tom Tom Club
What can you say, it was Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz from one of my favourite ever bands (Talking Heads) in Tom Tom Club.
Tina ran straight on with a huge cheeky grin on her face and started her bass. We were off with ‘Who’s Feelin it’ – Tina was playing her bass, kicking her legs in the air and singing with a huge infectious smile. Meanwhile Chris was playing away on the drums and every now and then singing a lyric or making a noise. ‘Genius of Love’ was played to a huge roar, probably their most famous song, which has been sampled by many other bands.
This was the perfect sunshine gig. The field was teeming with people relaxing in the sun listening to Ben Howard’s soothing tones. Drawing a very large crowd, he was obviously amazed and honoured to be there ‘Keep Your Head Up’ had everyone singing along and Ben was quite overcome at the end.
Being a Glastonbury veteran Billy had multiple slots over the weekend. He brought his political passions together with his music and charisma to the main stage.
Channel One brought along their reggae sound system from London to play dub reggae to the sunny crowd that was dancing along.
Elvis Costello raced through his hits, such as ‘Oliver’s Army’ and ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’. There wasn’t much interaction with the crowd from him and the audience weren’t giving much back, but to be honest it seemed people were just waiting for the Stones later on in the day.
Obviously not a fan of the Rolling Stones, Example made various quips against the aging rockers, including telling people if they wanted a good time to stay with him, but if they wanted a shit time to go see the Stones. He put on his usual lively set with hits such as ‘Watch the Sun Come up’ and ‘The Way You Kiss Me’. The young crowd seemed to love his hip hop/rock cross style.
Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs
Despite starting their set in the Avalon Café just as the Stones were finishing, the Hobo’s still managed to draw a crowd. These festival favourites belted out classics in their unique ‘skiffle punk’ style, featuring bands such as the Clash, Levellers and even a wee tip of the hat to the Stones with ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Their rendition of ‘Jilted John’ had everyone joining in and soon enough people were up and dancing. It was good to see them do their late night set – ‘Country Boy’ went down a storm (a song full of the ‘c’ word, and we don’t mean country!)
Johnny Marr pulled a large crowd, possibly out of curiosity to see a member of the Smiths. He did not disappoint, giving a good set of his own songs including ‘Generate Generate’. The biggest cheer of the gig however went up for ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. This Smiths classic went down a treat, grins all around.
Moving On Up. Bobby Gallespie pranced around the stage in his Mick Jagger esque way. On before Rolling Stones, good reception from crowd as people flocked in for headline act. ‘It’s alright, it’s ok’
No Flavor Flav, couldn’t make it due to ‘immigration issues’, however Chuck D was full of energy and gave it his all. As angry as ever he had a pop at immigration around the world as well as bigging up ‘real’ hip-hop artists. Classics as Fight the Power and Don’t Believe the Hype. and got the crowd involved. Busy even though on the same time as the Stones.
Two Californian girls, one on guitar and vocals, the other drummer and backing vocals. Heavy sound, bringing rock to the festival. Very loud but the punters there were lapping it up.
Kenny Rogers brought country and western music to a hot Glastonbury crowd. The country legend (now 74) initially couldn’t get a reaction from the audience when trying to get them to sing along to ‘Ruby don’t Take Your Love To Town’, and said it was the worst sing-a-long he’d ever heard. “They were better in Morocco and they don’t even speak English” he teased.
However, a few more songs in, and by the time he sang what is probably the best country song ever (‘Coward of the County’), the crowd are now singing and dancing along. “Now you want to sing along!” he laughs, and ended up singing ‘Island in the Stream’ for a second time. Only Kenny Rogers could get away with that!
Mumford and Sons
An unlikely headline act but people still swarmed to watch. Their folky ‘nice’ tunes had the crowd singing along, grateful for them to be there after bassist Ted Dwane’s blood clot caused the band to cancel all other gigs for this year. They played popular numbers such as ‘The Cave’ and ‘I Will Wait’, as well as ending with a cover of ‘A Little Help From My Friends’. Their friends actually did help – as The Vaccines, The Staves and Vampire Weekend came on stage to join in and close the festival.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds arrive on stage all dressed in black, Nick with a shiny suit. He proceeded to check that the steps from the stage to the pit are there for venturing down later on. He started to sing ‘We Know Who You Are’ in his unique style, hardly showing any emotion until the song ended when he shouted at all the photographers at the front “that’s it, get out, bye bye” and wouldn’t start the next song, Jubilee, until they cleared off. The king of sombre and death ballads then relaxed and put on a great show. The highlight was during ‘Stagger Lee’ when he stood on the barrier at the front of the crowd and sung to a woman in a white dress who looked suitably mesmerised by it all.
P.I.L gave the best performance I have seen for a while. A massive crowd had came out to see the ex Sex Pistols front man in his mid afternoon performance. Johnny was pulling faces and waving his arms about, kicking straight off with ‘This is Not a Love Song’, followed by ‘One drop’ off the new album. The crowd were dancing along, they seemed to really like this post punk music, especially ‘Open Up’. I believe they will have a new group of fans after this gig. There were no out bursts from Johnny, the only thing he really said as he left was “Good night Glastonbury, you’re not so corporate after all”.
Having played Glastonbury many times before the Smashing Pumpkins proved themselves to be worthy of appearing yet again. Their excellent cover of ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie picked up the set and they didn’t let up for the rest of the gig. Their power rock sound of ‘Disarm’,’Tonight Tonight’, ‘Today’ and ‘Stand Inside Your Love’ (to name just a few) showed us how it’s done.
I finished the weekend with a late night trip to the Gully stage to see the Congos, who’s album ‘Heat of the Congos’ from 1977 is a must have in any reggae fan’s collection. It was 11.15 at night and their second show of the day, but there was no tiredness in these guys. They had more energy than a lot of the bands I had seen earlier in the day despite them being over 60.
The Congos backing band started playing and the four members of the Congos took front stage with a microphone each. There was great camaraderie between all four guys, who looked like they were having a ball. ‘Children Crying’ was played with all four singers dancing about and swapping microphones. ‘La Bam Bam’ had all their vocals in perfect harmony and sounded superb. Both of these were stand out tracks in the 45 minutes set, which had reggae bass booming out and everyone dancing along. A fitting way to end three days of music.