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Glastonbury Festival 2017-Sunday 25th June

glasto sign hill                              The view from the top of the hill.

After four excellent days at the festival the end was drawing near as we now entered the final day. I had another reasonably early start as I decided not to do too much of the late-night stuff this year as I wanted to be able to spend time with my family in the daytimes without feeling too rough. Although I love a lot of the afterhours action I’m going to another festival later in the year where I can party as much as I want to so I usually headed to bed around 1.30 this year which is earlier than usual however it was the right decision as the hangovers were far milder than previous festivals.

After another early start, I decided to go over to the Other Stage to check out Slaves via a quick stop for a bacon sandwich. I have to admit I didn’t know too much about the two piece from Kent but I had heard great things about their live shows. As soon as the opening riff hit I knew this was going to be something great, especially with the racket that was coming from just two people. My nephew was also loving despite showing some reluctance to go see them in the first place, unsurprisingly he appreciated the exotic language, as he called it, he heard at this set and at many other places at the festival. With a hugely energetic performance Slaves really got the Sunday morning crowd into their set and we both agreed that the raucous Where’s Your Car Debbie was a highlight of a highly enjoyable start to the day.

With not too many acts that I felt I must see it was great to mooch around the site and spend most of the day together, this included a couple of visits to the Greenpeace kids field where my tireless nephew seemed to be setting some sort of world record for number of times going down a slide. Whilst wondering we also caught most of London Elektricity Big Band’s set, which saw the drum and bass producer recreate his tunes accompanied by a big band giving them a new sound. The songs were full of vibrancy and taken to a whole new level which got the whole crowd dancing to yet another superb performance.

joe goddard                       One of my favourite photos from the festival

One of my nephews favourite DJ’s is Seth Troxler so when we saw the house and techno aficionado was playing nearby we had to go see him, although we only stayed for half an hour it was great to have a boogie to someone who we are all into. After watching a bit of Kano I headed over to West Holts for Justice but unfortunately the sound for where I was stood was really poor which meant I just couldn’t get a feel for the set. This did mean I got to see the last half of Metrononmy’s set though which is never a bad thing as every time I’ve seen them it’s always been fantastic and it was great to see them play some of the newer songs live too, making their electro pop majesty a brilliant way to end the weekends music.

I decided to wait a week before writing anything about the festival just to let it all soak in and now I’ve had time to reflect I can certainly say that 2017 has been my favourite Glastonbury so far. This was down to several factors one of which the company and bringing my nephew along as it was great to share this experience as a family and see how much he enjoyed one of my favourite places. The great weather we had also made an enormous difference compared to the extreme mud of last year although even when conditions are bad it is still a wonderful place to be, it’s just simple things like being able to sit on the grass in the sun with a nice cold drink that make things that much better.

It really is impossible to do everything at Glastonbury and I usually just tend to pick a couple of things that I’m going to do and then just see what happens really depending on whereabouts I am as nothing can prepare you for just how vast the site is. Having said this there is no right or wrong way to do the festival and if you like to plan everything there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. After trying for tickets for so long I feel so privileged to have been able to attend four festivals in a row and will hopefully be making a return in two years’ time as 2018 is set to be a fallow year. If anyone reading this has any doubts about going I would advise anyone to try it, as even after doing this piece over five parts I have not even touched the surface and could quite easily so much more about the place, so good luck to anyone trying for tickets on the future and see you in 2019.


Glastonbury Festival 2017-Saturday 24th June

bsp                      British Sea Power

After resisting the temptation to stay out too late after Radiohead’s glorious performance the previous evening I awoke on Saturday morning feeling only slightly hungover, which is no mean feat considering Fridays level of alcohol consumption. After picking up some breakfast I then did something which I wasn’t expecting and checked out the Depeche Mode tribute act, Speak and Spell. I must say they really surprised and I had a wonderful time hearing some of the songs live as well as being a great start to the day, this was also a perfect opportunity to crack open the first can of the day as a great thing about Glastonbury is that you are allowed to take your own alcohol into the main stages and areas which is a nice change from other festivals. Speak and Spell fired through some of the famous electronic hits that we all know and love however it was their rendition of Enjoy The Silence that garnered the best reaction from a crowd that had been into the gig from the get go.

I then strolled over to the Other Stage and relaxed with a drink while waiting for two consecutive acts that I was really looking forward to, the first of these being British Sea Power. I even made the decision to make it reasonably close to the front which is something I don’t usually do but it wasn’t too crowded and every time I’ve seen this band they’ve been phenomenal so I wanted a good view. From the opening notes of Machineries Of Joy to the aptly titled Waving Flags I was absolutely enthralled with the bands quirky take on indie rock. Having not seen them perform for a couple of years this was one of my favourite gigs of theirs I had seen and it ended perfectly with the glorious The Great Skua which sounded absolutely massive.

wild beasts                               Wild Beasts

After a toilet and bar break I then made my way to the front again for Wild Beasts, who to quote themselves were in fact part 2 of a Cumbrian takeover of the Other Stage. This was a band who I have admired for a long time but have never been able to make it to one of their shows so I was excited for this one and as soon as the heavy bass started rumbling through the audience I knew I would not be let down. Opening with tracks from their latest album the guys immediately hit their stride and made me realise how much I’d been missing my never catching one of their shows before. Their synth heavy sound is right up my street and I love every one of their albums, it is testament to how good the gig was when I could think of several more songs I would like to hear live. However, every tune was immense and they had the crowd moving throughout, I would like to give a special mention to Ponytail which had such a full sound it was close to bursting as well as the sublime Hooting & Howling probably my favourite song by the band so I was ecstatic they played that one.

I then headed over to the Pyramid to see Run The Jewels who had a pretty tough act of following up the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who absolutely packed out the field to the point where I couldn’t even see the screens when I arrived. I don’t claim to be a hip hop expert but there is something about this duo that have always drawn me towards them and it’s no surprise with their big beats as well as inventive and humorous lyrics. Appearing straight after the political figures speech seemed to work really well for Run The Jewels as some people seemed to hang around meaning they had a massive crows for an afternoon slot. You could see how much it meant to them too and the energy they provided onstage radiated towards the crowd meaning everyone witnessing this amazing show seemed to be absolutely loving it and there were thousands of smiling faces around.

joe 2                      Joe Goddard

I then met up with everyone else and we decided to head up to the Glastonbury sign at the top of the hill in the park area of the festival. Even though this was my fourth festival I had never actually gone up the hill before although I was going to do it last year but when I was at the bottom of it I soon realised it would have been hard getting up there in the extreme mud. Being able to get such a good view of the sight was a great way to get ready for heading back down to the park stage where Joe Goddard of Hot Chip was about to perform a solo set. Although I had heard his latest album a couple of times I wasn’t overly familiar with it, but I knew I liked the sound of what I had listened to. I was expecting to enjoy Joe’s set but my breath was absolutely taken away by the sheer majesty of his performance as well as they extremely talented Valentina who provided vocals on some of the tracks. His take on electronica was absolutely sublime and being able to take it all in as a family as well is something I will not forget for a long time as all three of us were having a blast. As Joe got everybody dancing more and more he finally built everything up into the mass crescendo and party feeling that the excellent ending track Home gave proceedings.

Night time was well and truly upon us so I thought going to a Jon Hopkins DJ set on Arcadia, a giant mechanical spider would be a good idea. And I was proved right as Hopkins played an astounding array of tunes and although I haven’t seen hundreds of techno sets I would certainly put it up amongst the best I’ve seen. I stayed at the spider as TQD were playing next and this trio of DJ’s had produced the brilliant UKG album earlier in the year. I think part of what attracts me to TQD is the fact they were all DJ’s so this just seemed to start as three mates having fun which ended up taking on a life of its own. This felt like an absolute journey through dub and bass music and every time the tunes relented, giving you a false sense of security someone else would take over the decks and hit you with a bassline that left you shuddering.

Click here for day 5.

Glastonbury Festival 2017-Friday 23rd June

hacienda                         Hacienda Classical on the Pyramid Stage.

Friday is when the main stages open which means it’s when the big acts start coming in thick and fast, which also meant I had an early start as I was hoping to see the Pyramid Stage openers Hacienda Classical. Graeme Park and Mike Pickering provide the beats accompanied by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra which sees the tunes from this famous club soar to new heights. There was a superbly held minutes silence for the victims of the recent Manchester and London attacks in addition to the Greenfell tower block fire, which provided a poignant start to the day. There were plenty of house classics being dished out as well as cameos from the likes of Peter Hook and Bez, however the set reached its pinnacle on the astounding version of You’ve Got The Love with the powerful vocals of Rowetta.

After grabbing a bite to eat we headed back to the Pyramid to see Blossoms, a band who I may not have seen but I was keen to see someone that my nephew was excited to see as well as seeing that last year’s debut album had received rave reviews. In the end, I was glad I saw their brand of infectious indie pop and was very impresses by their set and could definitely see them moving up the line-up at future festivals. Despite not knowing any of the tunes the infectious hooks and melodies ensured that Blossoms were thoroughly enjoyable before they closed with the bona fide hit Charlemagne.

With not much on the agenda we had a wonder around the theatre and circus fields which is always entertaining highlights included Exception-Elle a hip hop collective whose audience interaction really helped to make everyone feel a part of it. We also chanced upon a guy called Bruce Airhead who bizarrely enough ended up inside a six-foot balloon, while inside he managed to change into an Elvis costume in spectacular fashion. All this is such a fine example of why you sometimes it’s great to just wonder around as you soon become engrossed in something you wouldn’t expect.

Next up was Dutch Uncles on the William’s Green stage, the band only had a forty-minute slot which helped them blast through their great set with an enthralling sense of urgency. Having recently released their fifth album I’m sure Dutch Uncles could have played for much longer however their synth infused indie set was brilliant in addition to being brought to a fantastic close with a funked up version Kiss From A Rose.

I then returned to the Pyramid Stage to see The XX a band who I was stuck in two minds about seeing as I have a chance to see them later in the year, however I made the correct decision as what I witnessed was truly astounding and absolutely blew the crowd and myself away. As soon as the trio strolled onstage and began with the apt tones of Intro they immediately had the entire field in the palm of their hands. As they continued to set a compelling mood with tunes stretched across their three albums The XX then played a rousing version of the Jamie XX song Loud Places which really helped cement this set as a classic. There was a also an endearing humbleness about the band as well as a real sense that they were so pleased to be there which means things like this along with the sheer quality of musicianship and stage presence could certainly see The XX as future headliners.

flags pyramid  The famed seas of flags on the main stage.

I had now seen three acts in one day on the Pyramid Stage which matched the total number of bands I had seen on there in an entire three previous festivals and the next act would take the days number to four meaning I would have seen more people in one day on the main stage than ever before. Not only this but this was the band I was most looking forward to for the whole weekend as well as being the first ever main stage headliners I’ll have experienced at Glastonbury so excitement levels were high. The band I am talking about is of course Radiohead who I had never seen before as the fates have always seemingly conspired against me however being able to see them at one of my favourite places felt like retribution.

Now I’m sure some of you have read mixed reviews of their set I for one found it absolute perfection and following up that performance from The XX made for a glorious Friday evening. Kicking off with the soft tones of Daydreaming which demonstrates the engaging vulnerability which Thom Yorke shows on the bands more introspective moments. The low key opening disappointed some of the more casual fans of which a few started to make their way out, however that gave me a better place I the crowd and I was already loving the set. Everything was building up superbly and I’m not sure if I’ve heard a more perfectly crafted set which really got going with a pounding version of Idioteque. In pure joy across the mass of humanity that was in the field. After ending with Street Spirit Radiohead appeared for an encore which included a chilling version of Fake Plastic Trees which saw many a tear shed in pure joy across the mass of humanity that was in the field. I usually find encores contrived and a bit of a cliché so imagine my surprise as I was over the moon to see them come out for a second encore which finally drew proceedings to a close with the wonderful Karma Police. I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced anything like that last hour of the set which kept rising to another level, which undoubtedly left me thinking Radiohead would definitely be one of the highlights of my festival.

Click here for day 4.

Glastonbury Festival 2017-Thursday 22nd June

ribbon tower                            The Ribbon Tower lit up at night.

I arose on Thursday morning feeling a little bit groggy but nothing too serious and certainly well enough to take myself out for a brilliant full English at a cafe near to the campsite. After the much-needed pit stop we headed over to the Greenpeace kids field, an area I had never been to before, which is just another demonstration of how the festival is catered for all ages as well as allowing us grownups to have a sit and chill out while the child in our group was having an absolute ball tearing around the huge pirate ship situated in the field.

We then decided to swing by the stone circle where a world record attempt was about to take place, this was for the world’s largest human peace sign. An impressive 15,000 people showed up which smashed the previous record by an approximate 10,000 and it was an inspiring moment to see everyone come together in what has been some challenging times for the nation and the world recently. I then headed out and purchased a little memento for my nephew, which was a fantastic illustrated map of the site done by artists Kate Chidley, these maps are wonderful and really encapsulate the Glastonbury spirit so I can’t recommend Kate’s work enough.

As some of the smaller stages were starting to open I took the opportunity to head over to The Avalon Café to check out Josephine And The Artizans who have previously featured on the blog so I was curious to see how their ‘Hip-Hopera’ style would transfer to the live setting. It’s safe to say I was far from disappointed with this tremendous set so I picked a great first band to see whose performance was driven along superbly by the incredible vocals of Josephine herself. They worked through plenty of tracks from their EP’s in addition to effortlessly making the amalgamation of contrasting genres work perfectly while thoroughly entertaining the decently sized crowd which had been attracted to this unique sound.

JATA               Josephine and The Artizans on The Avalon Café Stage.

I then re-joined my group as we payed the bandstand a visit to see the enigmatic Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip. Mik is a staple of the festival and made 12 separate appearances at this year’s festival so if you ever attend please go check him out as his observational humour and pure charisma ensures he always puts on a great show. Shortly after this I spent a few hours wondering around and decided to go and see what I thought to Napalm Death. The booking of this band was quite a big deal as the festival has often been accused of ignoring heavy metal so this was always going to spark interest and although I had a massive metal phase when I was younger I never really got into this band, however I enjoyed the few songs I saw but the stage was just too full so I left solely down to not being able to get a decent spot.

One venue I really wanted to see was Love Bullets which was being hosted by the famous club night Elrow that evening and I must say it was an absolute spectacle with a massive carnival atmosphere that really brought the party to The Glade area. As I was in the area I decided to visit the Glade stage for the ambient tones of The Orb, the huge sound system ensured the bass rattled right through your body in addition to an incredible light show which made me enjoy my time there more than I thought I would on this great setting hidden away in the trees.

I had planned on spending the rest of my evening in the Silver Hayes part of the festival however the huge crowd for Kolsch meant I was outside of the speaker perimeter causing sound levels to be low for where I was so I made a last-minute decision to head to the Stonebridge bar for drum & bass veterans Fabio & Grooverider (F&G). When I got to the venue there was a DJ called Madam X playing and she was in full swing spinning all kinds of lovely bass music and really getting the sizeable crowd moving. I was previously unaware of Madam X but I absolutely loved the tunes she was playing which made a pleasant surprise as well as introducing me to someone new which is never a bad thing. DJ Fabio then took to the decks for the first part of F&G’s set and he immediately got the crowd involved in a wondrous cacophony of hard hitting drum and bass tunes that vibrated through your body as well as bringing back fond memories of my days listening to Radio 1. I absolutely loved his set and although I considered hanging around for Grooveriders part of the set tiredness, alcohol and a long walk back to the tent made me reconsider this, hence drawing Thursday to a close.

Click here for day 3.

Glastonbury Festival 2017-Wednesday 21st June


After much deliberation, I have decided to blog my experience at the Glastonbury Festival 2017, I have also decided to put it into five parts which will be published daily just to avoid any piece dragging on too long.  This year’s event also had quite a therapeutic sense for me as I went through a few misfortunes during the past year, none of which I’ll bore you with here.

After many years of trying for tickets to attend Glastonbury I was eventually successful in 2014 and was now attending for the fourth year in a row, which I feel truly grateful for.  I had a good feeling about this year as I would be attending with my sister as usual, however we would also be taking my nine-year-old nephew to his first Glastonbury so I was excited to see how he would find this place that I truly adore.

We set off on a coach from Manchester at around 8.30 and had our tents pitched up by 3 o’clock in the blazing sunshine, which despite being rather sweaty was an absolute treat compared to the 14-hour journey we endured last year as well as being one of the muddiest years too.  Despite the festival’s main stages not starting till Friday there is still so much to see and do before then, which ensures there never seems to be enough time to do everything you’d like.


               All pitched up in the sunshine

Once we got settled and unpacked the first thing on the agenda was to go and sample some of the culinary delights Glastonbury has to offer.  The food at the festival really is second to none in addition to provide pretty much any cuisine you could imagine at a reasonable cost too.  The youngest of our party opted for some crispy squid, whilst I got myself a burrito which was delicious and I also made the wise decision to get a regular which was very filling so I couldn’t imagine how big a large would have been.

As the evening set in we just wondered around the site whilst checking out some of the market places where you can buy all sorts of goodies as well as there being postcard stalls dotted around.  It’s so easy to pass hours by without even realising so it soon became the time when I was left to my own devices. 

Glastonbury is somewhere I feel incredibly comfortable on my own so I decided to take in a few bars whilst covering quite a bit of the site.  After visiting areas such as The Common, The Park, The Glade and West Holts I then settled around the Theatre and Circus parts where there is all sorts of weird and wonderful things happening in addition to plenty of bars pumping out tunes till the early hours.  Unsurprisingly enough I found myself to be a tad intoxicated after all this, something which becomes a recurring theme, so I decided to call it a night.

Click here for day 2.


The Dark LP-Places

The Dark LP

Leeds based alt-rock band The Dark LP are set to follow up the success of their 2015 EP with latest single, Places.  Since the release of the aforementioned EP The Dark LP have gone on to play live shows at various venues which has seen them build up a keen following which should see this latest track ensure they can continue to grow.  The single itself is a wonderfully crafted tune full of great riffs that add to its more melodic moments making for an instant hit.  The chorus also features a hook that draws you into this infectious song which when accompanied by the emotive vocals only leaves you wanting more from The Dark LP.


The Passing Fancy-The Passed EP

passing fancy.jpg

The Passed is the latest EP from The Passing Fancy, the solo project of Wakefield based musician Paul Bateson.  Kicking off with the reflective yet bouncy All I Wanna Do (Is Get Drunk Today), which instantly makes you want to be down the pub singing along to the chorus.  Beer & Wine (I’ll Be Fine) screams of heartbreak, pulling at your heartstrings while also seeing a great take on traditional folk music by accompanying some wonderful strings along with guitars that meld together perfectly.  The Passing Fancy then jump into a short sharp burst of garage rock on Let Me Know (Or Let Me Go) which sees a change in direction for them all be it a good one.  Despite coming in at less than six minutes the EP is splendidly put together and with the promise of new music for later in the year it leaves me looking forward to hearing more from The Passing Fancy.

You can get the EP here.