Thursday, 24 June 2010

My Glastonbury Preview Overview

This was featured in the Bath Chronicle and Somerset Standard and Guardian on June 23

Hundreds of local music fans will be making the short journey to Worthy Farm in Pilton this weekend to join in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Glastonbury Festival.

The event, which offers the chance for local bands to ply their trade along side some of the biggest names in the world, will be in a real ‘happy birthday’ mood – a fact helped by a line-up which organiser Michael Eavis describes as ‘staggering’.

Although there was understandable disappointment that prestigious headliners U2 had to pull out at short notice due to singer Bono’s need for an urgent operation, there is no doubt that the variety and quality of the line up they leave behind is still amazingly strong.

The big musical battle was always destined to be between U2 as Friday night’s headliners and Saturday night’s top-of-the bill, Muse. With U2’s departure, Muse now have the opportunity to dominate and dazzle the whole festival in a way that Bruce Springsteen did last year.

Muse have a reputation for having an enormous festival sound and they have promised a visual treat to match the grandiose nature of their music. It should be quite an occasion.

Taking U2’s position on Friday night was always going to be difficult – a fact not helped by wild speculation about who would take over the slot. As such when it was announced that The Gorillaz were to do so there was a bit of anti climactic feeling in some quarters but the band have a chance to cement their place in Glastonbury history if they can grab the unexpected opportunity with both hands.

Glastonbury is, and always will be, about variety and so Sunday night’s headliner – the much admired Stevie Wonder – should finish the weekend off in real style. One of music’s genuine good guys, held in esteem by musicians throughout the world, Mr Wonder is expected to delight music lovers of all ages and there is no doubt he will send festival goers home with broad smiles on their faces – although nobody’s smile will be as wide as the great man’s himself.

Elsewhere, the line up is littered with a mixture of real eclectic quality covering virtually every musical genre possible. Dance favourites such as Dizzee Rascal, The Scissor Sisters and The Pet Shop Boys will get people popping in the proverbial aisles (i.e. fields) and for the rock fans there is a chance to catch up on bands of the quality of Editors, Ash, The Flaming Lips, new American heroes The National and even the legendary guitarists that is Slash who should really liven up Sunday afternoon’s proceedings.

Elsewhere legends like Ray Davies and Willie Nelson will be delighting the faithful and will enjoy sharing the limelight with some of music’s brightest young things like Florence and The Machine, La Roux and Marina and The Diamonds. And if you wanted any further proof of the variety of acts on offer in the main arenas both Snoop Dogg and Rolf Harris will be sharing the Pyramid stage spotlight on Friday.

Beyond the main acts and the main headliners, however, there is a wealth of high-quality material to look forward to throughout the whole of the weekend and what should be particularly pleasing for local punters is seeing the bands making their tentative debuts on some of the smaller stages who will then go on to be playing in front of the much bigger arenas next year.

All told, Glastonbury 2010 looks like being a hugely enjoyable and very unpredictable weekend. And it is fitting that the 40th anniversary will probably end with Stevie Wonder singing Happy Birthday To Ya.

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