Glastonbury Heartache, again…

by James Hendicott
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music concert, festival

Glastonbury, I have looked into your heart, and you have passed me by again.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Everyone has something cultural that simply speaks to them, deeply. In music, if it’s not a performer, it’s probably a festival. I know a lot of people who brand Electric Picnic the best weekend of their year, every year. I know another guy who wept when the beautiful chaos of Oxegen shut down many years ago. For me, my musical love is emphatic and singular: Glastonbury. 

There’s a surprisingly huge Irish contingent who brave the ferries every year, trekking down to Somerset to sit in a field and watch music, often in the drizzle, and soak up the feels. Every year, the demand gets higher, to the point where to get in now, you have to attempt to navigate, armed with friends, carefully verified registration numbers, and a due sense of dread, the world’s worst ticketing system. As you may have gathered already, this trepidatious voyage didn’t work out for me for 2023, which means I’ll personally have been away for ten years by the time the 2024 sale comes around. 

“Just go to another festival, you spoiled muso,” I hear screamed into your newspaper. Now, I’m not saying one festival can be objectively better than others. It can’t. Except if it’s Glastonbury. It has mega line ups, and you have no idea who will play until after you’ve paid for a ticket. There are more than 100 stages anyway, so every music lover is catered for. The fields of wacky entertainment stretch to the horizon, so much so that after six visits, I’m yet to see them all. You spend five days there, and you leave, dare I say, a slightly different, lighter, emotionally accessible and understanding person. If you’re lucky, you won’t even find yourself on the BBC TV coverage. 

The last act I saw play Glastonbury was a spaced out funk band in a tiny tent in the early hours of a June Monday morning in 2014. Failing to navigate the sale kills a little of my soul every year . I know I’ll cry when I get back to Worthy Farm. This probably sounds awful. You should try it.

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