“What was your highlight?”
That’s the one question that everyone seems to ask after returning from Glastonbury 2014.
It’s difficult to explain to those who haven’t been that Glastonbury is so much more than a few isolated moments. It really is the sum of its parts that make it, to use a cliché, an 'experience'.
But for those that have asked and for those who haven’t but are interested, here are our 5 Glastonbury highlights, but they're just pieces of a much bigger part of a jigsaw.
1. Dancing in the NYC Downlow.
Down at the dystopian looking setting that is Block 9 we found the NYC Downlow. On the outside it looks like a dilapidated hotel – the sort of thing that might crop up in a Scooby Doo cartoon. Entrance was only allowed if you sported a moustache (false ones were acceptable and available). Inside you were greeted by dancing drag queens, a dark 70’s styled club environment and lots of disco music. Whilst the masses were watching Metallica we were dancing to Donna Summer. The only gay club where everyone was wearing wellies and a rucksack. Bizarre but more than brilliant.
2. Arcade Fire’s Pyramid Stage performance.
The Pyramid stage experience is often far from perfect. The crowds, the flags, the lack of engagement with the often physically distant performers can make it a pretty soulless. What makes for good TV doesn't necessarily make for good reality. Yet Arcade Fire’s experimental art rock reached out through its showmanship (patterned and glitter costumes, dancers, papier-mâché heads, ticker tape and dry ice explosions, fireworks) awkwardness (the beginning of their show false started) and the downright bizarre (an airhorn assisted mini DJ set featuring past Glastonbury headliners including Pulp, Jay Z and Oasis) sucked us in. “In a lifetime of near-impossible things that have happened to our band, this is the highlight.” announced Win Butler towards the end of their set. It was certainly one of our highlights as well. By the time they hit closer Wake Up with its fiery ‘woah-oh’ chorus you would have had to have been dead to not feel your heart flutter a little.
3. Discovering a bar that sold 6.2% ciders (perry and handmade ‘Firestarter’) at £4 a pint.
Compare this with a festival like Field Day selling cans of Miller at £5. We know which we thought was better value.
4. Confirming that we were 'right'.
Seeing a band that we’ve supported since the very start on the blog, a band that have become our favourite of the last 2 years, play a huge tent with thousands of people bellowing along to the words, then looking round and realising that there are people that love this band’s music as much as we do. Hearing the lead singer of this band sing a little snippet of Dolly Parton’s Jolene. That band was of course, Chvrches.
5. Jungle dropping the cool, smiling like idiots and loving it.
Jungle received the equivalent of a standing ovation for Busy Earnin’ (except people were already standing) and they appeared utterly overwhelmed. It was a Glastonbury moment, if only because in that moment we realised that Jungle is no longer just something that is big on the internet. The album promises to be the sound of our summer.