Stevie Wonder, Muse, The Gorillaz, Snoop Dogg, Flaming Lips, The Pet Shop Boys, Fatboy Slim, Willie Nelson, LCD Soundsystem and Faithless all graced the two main stages at Glastonbury this year. Not bad work for a festival ruin by a bushy bearded farmer.
So who stole the show? Well Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips rolled atop the crowd in his giant hamster-ball during the band’s headline set on the Other Stage, before heading back to the stage so they could play an awe-inspiring set spanning the entirety of their near twenty year career. Stevie Wonder rolled out the hits as he closed the festival, finishing with a duet of ‘Happy Birthday’ to celebrate Glasto’s 40th Birthday. Muse brought the usual array of lasers, LEDs and giant screens, and even managed to fit in a cameo from U2’s the Edge amongst Matt Bellamy’s rabid guitar solos.
Mumford and Sons set the record for most teenagers crammed into a tent on the Friday evening, Laura Marling’s blissful set in the Park was made complete with the engagement of two members of the crowd partway through, and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood staged perhaps the least secret secret-gig of all time, and were met by almost deafening cheers from their falafel-holding crowd.
There were disappointments, but at a festival of Glastonbury’s size that can hardly be avoided. The most high profile let downs were headliners Gorillaz, with Damon Albarn forgetting to introduce any of his thousands of guest stars, resulting in one crowd member mistaking Lou Reed for Fabio Capello. Damon’s voice was sketchy, and most of the crowd seemed to have only come for ‘that one with the fat bloke from the Happy Mondays on it’. Elsewhere the Pet Shop Boys managed to perform the most underwhelming set in the festival’s history, the BBC continued its tradition of ignoring the Park Stage (host of The xx, Laura Marling, Empire of the Sun and Stornoway amongst others) and for the second year in a row there was a disappointing lack of mud.
Overall though the fortieth year was another huge success, with the great performances far outweighing the poor, and speculation for next year has already begun, with U2, Radiohead and Kylie Minogue currently being the bookies favourites. But even if the artists are unclear, it’s bound to be another sell out when tickets go on sale on the 3rd of October, so if you’re planning on going, you’d better not blow all that student loan in Welcome Week!
Charlie Rawcliffe, Music Editor