Most days, Glastonbury is a quintessentially British town, located in the South-West of England. A picture-perfect place, complete with cobbled streets, cheery-faced locals, and Sunday-Roast pubs. Essentially, it’s The Shire. Surrounding this lovely town is the Great British countryside, flanked by sporadic forests, and farms. One in particular, Worthy Farm, is host to the iconic Glastonbury Festival.
On a wholly inoffensive British summer day in 1970, a hippy named Mike inaugurated the first Glastonbury festival. In the summer of love, the festival was part music, part arts & culture platform, and part drug-fuelled orgy. These humble roots gave birth to a world-renowned, 5-day festival synonymous with the British way. But why does it suck so ruddy much?
Over the years, the festival has fallen so deep into its own self-righteousness, that tickets are sold before the line-up is announced. Yes, you read that correctly. Because of the demand, this means logging onto the website, praying it won’t crash, and purchasing a ticket… only to find out that Metallica is headlining an infamously vegetarism-touting, finger-painting, cuddle-buddy mud-fest.
True of all British festivals, Glastonbury pushes waste management engineering to the absolute limit. A staple feature of this festival is the traditional garb of “wellies”, or rain-boots as the yankees call them. Such is the debauchery, that the festival has become synonymous with mud, people flock from all over the world to frolic around in it. It’s all fun and games on the first day, until you realise that you’re bringing a guest back to your tent.
Glam-what? Much like “chillax” and “frenemy”, glamping is the unwanted portmanteau of glamorous and camping. Given that Glastonbury is an on-site festival, revellers bring camping equipment of all shapes and sizes, usually devoting the first day to setup. The festival organisers decided to start selling camping packages to alleviate this burden. Glamping packages include anything from fancy bathrooms and large teepees, to VIP prosecco lounges. All this on a smelly, muddy farm. And they sell out almost as quickly as tickets.
Another idiosyncrasy of festivals that Glastonbury pushes to the boundaries of human experience: port-a-pottys. After 5 days of 150,000 unique bottoms leaving their trace, no amount of art, body paint or wet wipes can remove the stench above the Worthy Farm. One year in particular, the festival got so wet that the septic tanks leaked into mud. That’s right: people pre-bought tickets to literally swim in their own bat truffles.
Much like their Yankee counterparts, entire legions of basic girls flock to the festival clad in nothing but wellies, Pocahontas skirts, crop tops, bandannas and John Lennon sunglasses. Glastonbury, however has an entirely different breed of male bros to their Yankee EDM-peddler counterparts. This is a refined douche: a boarding-school, Hugh-Grant-mini-me complete with pastel face paint, floral shirt and the complete genetic inability to grow facial hair. A toff, if you will.
In all fairness, Glastonbury has hosted some legendary artists: Dolly Parton, Muse, Radiohead, Adele, The Arctic Monkeys, ZZ Top, Foo Fighters… the list goes on. The issue is, people set expectations that their entire iPod will headline, before even knowing the lineup. This has resulted in massive backlash against Metallica and Kanye West, to name a couple. As far as a live music experience goes, it sucks for fans to be surrounded by cross-armed moaners armed with a look of disapproval. In the words or the Arctic Monkeys “why can’t they be pleasant, why can’t they have a laugh”?
This may come as a surprise to some, but Glastonbury isn’t taking place in 2018. Some say it’s due to Radiohead leaving a cloud of self-indulgence over the town that still hasn’t cleared. Others say Kanye West’s god complex has left an inhospitable could of smugness in the air. The true reason, in fact, is because this year is a “fallow year”. What the crumpet is a fallow year? According to Wikipedia, “fallow years” are taken mostly at five year intervals, intended to give the land, local population, and organisers a break. Because why wouldn’t they need a break after a pretentious stool-and-mud caked orgy?
The author has never been to Glastonbury, on account of tickets selling out before the line-up is announced.