Obtaining tickets for this summer’s Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts proved relatively straightforward last Sabbath morn. The married Coles and our eldest child who shall be fourteen in the month of the festival will all be attending. I’m actually really looking forward to the weekend but, after witnessing at first hand (and foot) the mud at Green Man last August, I earnestly hope for very dry weather. Ticket sales, I note, are down and, for the first time in many a merry year, the event failed to sell out within an hour or two. I am certain that all tickets will sell though. I felt a touch underwhelmed by the headliners that were announced earlier this year and wonder if other punters have withheld their custom because of a fairly lacklustre trio of main acts for the Pyramid Stage? Of the three, I suppose Kings of Leon are the most palatable. I quite enjoy their ditties when played on the wireless, but quite enjoying a combo’s ditties on t’wireless does not equate to exuberantly anticipating a live set. I have no axe to grind wi’ the hip-hop/soul community – heaven forbid - but I can think of no conceivable reason why I am likely to want to witness Jay-Z a-rappin’ ‘n’ a-rhymin’ on the Saturday night. The Verve, a nasty little third division indie band, headline on the Sunday and I shall be avoiding them like the ruddy plague. I can imagine the cigarillo lighters held aloft during Bittersweet Symphony now. Yuk.
Anyhow, it shouldn’t be about the headline acts. I have attended the festival thrice, my visits straddling the decades known fondly as the eighties and nineties so there must have been nine headline acts available to me and I can only recall watching a couple, Elvis Costello (who was fabulous) and, sorry, Tom Jones (who was Tom Jones). Perhaps there were more and I hope that S, who would have loyally been by my side for most of these weekends, will remind me. My favourite moments took place at other stages, within and without the world of music. The comedy tent is always marvellous and just strolling around visiting the stalls and sideshows makes for a pleasant hour or so. Because of work commitments, this is the first year I’ve been able to attend since, staggeringly, 1992* so it’ll be, if nothing else, interesting to see how the festival has changed.