Sunday, June 30, 2013

Glastonbury Festival 2013

Hands down - Best Music Festival I have ever experienced!

When my friends first brought up the idea of attending the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, a 5 day music festival and camping trip in a huge farm in Somerset, England, my first question was - "What about the bathroom situation?"

The last time I went camping, I was 11, and I remember desperately trying to hold my pee for 2 days because I was unwilling to go by the bushes.

Well, the festival had actual toilets, but sharing them with thousands of people in the farm? Um... they were as bad as I had imagined... but just as my friends have explained - it really is just something you have to deal and get over with because in hindsight, it is only a tiny price you have to pay for one of the most amazing musical (and gastronomical) experiences of your life. And they were right! (The trick is to put some vaporub by your nose, close your eyes and just go! And always have baby wipes!)

All 135 thousand tickets for this year's festival were sold out in an hour and 40 minutes in October of last year. We have been planning this for over 9 months (in fact, I planned my whole Round The World Trip around this festival), and finally arriving at the gates of the farm was pretty surreal!
Glastonbury 2013 Queue
The queue to get into the farm. It took us more than 2 hours to get in!
Glastonbury 2013 View from Sign
Totally worth the wait though :)


Glastonbury 2013 Tents

We got there on Wednesday morning, bright and early to set up our tents and explore the area. The musicians don't actually start performing till the third day of the festival (Friday). The first two days are just a "warm up", to get everyone acclimatized to the grounds and the "way of life" in Glastonbury-ton-field-ville!

Glastonbury 2013 One Man Tent
Presenting: My One Man Tent! It's a little tight, but cozy :)
The farm is a whopping 900 acres, so there definitely was a lot of room to explore. The Glastonbury Festival is notorious for rains and floods, which is why their app symbol is a pair of wellies (rain boots)! We were extremely lucky that this year it only rained on one of the 5 days (Thursday), and the rest of the time we were basked in sunshine, and I've got a very heavy tan to prove it!

Glastonbury 2013 Tipi Huts
Bright and Sunny Worthy Farm

Rainy Day in Glastonbury 2013
On the one day that it rained...
Everyday we'd wake up, brave the toilets, heat some water from a portable stove for tea and coffee, then set off for the day. We walk for miles everyday, so much so that I am aching in muscles I never knew I had in my legs! I thought it was really interesting, being cooped up in the farm with 135,000 other people. All of us living in tents (some nicer than others), all of us having to use the same facilities, eating from the same array of street food, walking the same ground under the same sun.

Beautiful View of Glastonbury 2013
Surprisingly, there was a lot to do and a lot to see! There was a cinema (where they held the world premiere of Monster's University), a Kidz Field (where I spent most of my time, obviously ;) ) a Greenfields area where all the peace and earth loving people were, a Stone Circle, a Tipi Village, a Shangri La (where Mick Jagger and Prince Harry were spotted), and a big Glasto sign very much like the Hollywood sign that made me feel right at home!

Glastonbury Sign 2013

They had everything anyone in the world could enjoy! We were a big little community, all there for the same reasons... A little bit of nature, good food, a zest for adventure, and a big love for music!

Glastonbury 2013 Food Shop
In Glasto... we were ALL Hippies! :)

Glastonbury 2013 Ukulele Lessons
Having Fun at the Kidz Tent with Trinity! Uke Lessons by Eartha :)

Glastonbury 2013 Tipi Hut Area
The Tipi Huts!


Now, on to the good stuff! The festival had several music stages (Pyramid Stage for the biggest acts, Acoustic Stage for acoustic acts, etc..), and you can choose which act to see at a given time. It can get a little overwhelming because two artists you might like could be playing in different stages at the same time (which happened to me on one occasion).
Glen Hansard Glastonbury 2013
Glen Hansard at the Acoustic Tent
I was really excited to see Glen Hansard perform at the Acoustic Stage, especially since I have just seen Once, The Musical in the West End, and I am still on a high about how great a show it was! Glen is such a passionate musician, and plays so much better live! 

Gabrielle Aplin Glastonbury 2013
Gabrielle Aplin
Gabrielle Aplin was someone I was so looking forward to see as well. I love her songs, and she has such a beautiful and soothing voice... She looks a little bit like Nora Jones, but sounds like a better version of Birdy and Ellie Goulding.

Lianne La Havas Glastonbury 2013
Lianne La Havas
Lianne La Havas was a big pleasant surprise. My friends were big fans of hers and I tagged along. She was amazing! Sounds like Alicia Keys!

The Lumineers Glastonbury 2013
The Lumineers! Hey! Ho!

I managed to see a little bit of The Lumineers. I didn't realize they were so big in the UK - they performed in one of the bigger stages and there were thousands of people!

There were several other artists that I managed to see a little bit of, like Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Rita Ora, Ben Howard, and Beady Eye (Liam Gallagher).
Beady Eye Glastonbury 2013
Liam Gallagher
I also spotted a British celebrity - Dominic West, a brilliant actor who was nice enough to oblige to a photo. :) I did also see Chris Martin from Coldplay but he was with his kid... My cardinal rule for Celebrity stalking is - if they are with their families, then they are off limits. I do have my boundaries. Sometimes.

Dominic West Glastonbury 2013
Celebrity Alert! Dominic West from The Wire, Chicago, A Midsummer Night's Dream, etc  :)


The Rolling Stones Glastonbury 2013

The big headliner of the festival were The Rolling Stones. Apparently, Michael Eavis, the farm owner and Glastonbury organizer, has been asking The Stones to play this gig for over 50 years, and this is the first time they've finally agreed to do it! More than 100 thousand people turned up at the Pyramid Stage to see them, and the energy of the crowd was electric!

Mick Jagger Glastonbury 2013
Mick Jagger is a BEAST
All I can say is that Mick Jagger still has the 'Moves Like Jagger'! (Too corny? Haha...) I honestly do not know how that man could still prance around the stage like that -- he had the energy of a toddler high on chocolate, and his voice is as steady and powerful as it has ever been!
Dude - The Rolling Stones were amazing. Being there felt like I was a part of music history...

Keith Richards Glastonbury 2013
Keith Richards NAILING IT!


Mumford and Sons Glastonbury 2013

Now these guys were the ones I was looking forward to seeing the most! Mumford and Sons closed out the festival despite one of their members having a scare with a blood clot in the brain! Thank goodness he's alright... you wouldn't have thought anything was wrong seeing them play the way they did. They were incredible!
Mumford at Glastonbury 2013

I was actually in the middle of seeing Gabrielle Aplin perform at the Acoustic Stage when I heard the familiar chords of, "I Will Wait" blaring from outside her tent. I feel slightly bad about this, but I ran out of her tent and dashed onto the Pyramid Stage where I knew Mumford were 'waiting for me'.

Mumford and Sons at Glastonbury 2013

Mumford's unique stringy sound and beautiful catchy melodies have made them a regular in Glastonbury, making this their 5th time performing there, working their way up from the smaller stages up to the closing act in the Pyramid Stage. Seeing them perform was a really great end to an amazing and legendary 5 days.

The complete gang (plus a couple extras) all together for Mumford on our last night 

The Glastonbury Festival costs 205 GBP, and tickets for next year's event will go on sale sometime on October this year. So if you guys ever want to experience music in an epic, absolutely legendary way, I'd recommend keeping tabs on the Glastonbury website to secure tickets. I guarantee you will have a blast, and it will change you forever. :)

At least that's how it was for me. <3

Peace and Love from The Fam.