Glastonbury has wrapped up its fun for another year, with Michael Eavis announcing that 2020 may be its last ever year. The floral headbands have been packed away, the glitter mopped up and the litter swept but the music remains on BBC’s iplayer for the next month. There were a lot of highlights in a year with a few eccentric headline choices. Arcade Fire headlining the Pyramid stage on Friday night brought nothing but a resolute “meh” from me. They’re just not my cup of tea and their songs aren’t strong enough for that slot, I felt. The highlight of their show was a group in the crowd who had adorned their clear plastic umbrellas with fairy lights so that it looked like a group of jellyfish were bobbing around. Metallica on the other hand- I’m not really a metal fan but they rocked. I especially enjoyed their more down beat moments such as “Nothing Else Matters.” They won the award for most people on the back of their stage and best rock posturing, with their guitarist choosing to get round the stage by means of hopping like a Russian dancer.
Lana Del Rey gave an ice cool- if short- show. She gets a lot of stick but I like her intriguing broken valley doll shtick and understated performing.
Lily Allen brought half the site’s entire colour quota with her rainbow hair and pink and gold Vivienne Westwood drapery. She looked wicked. She’s sometimes an unconvincing performer, but there were a few gems in her show, especially the closer “Not Fair”.
Lykke Li gave an expectedly spooky performance: all slicked down hair and giant cuffs, quivering out of the mist like a Scandi troubadour for the beautiful and the damned. One of my favourite performances.
Jake Bugg put in another cool performance, nonchalantly throwing out awesome riffs like discarded empties, as if it comes so naturally to him (which it obviously does). That only makes it sexier.
Dolly Parton took up the legends slot of Sunday 5pm on the Pyramid stage and was just as a much of a pocket-sized peroxide dynamo as we all hoped. I especially enjoyed the rendition of Jolene, which still sounded from the heart despite the thousands of time she must have sung it. She explained that the song was based in truth and about a real woman and you could feel the genuine heartache that informs lines like “he talks about you in his sleep.” I was looking to see if she was miming as her voice sounded so good, but I don’t think she was. I think she had a backing track but was singing live too. Her cartoon proportions wiggled and giggled joyously, showing off myriad musical talent, the only lowlight being the cringeworthy Mud Song but you can forgive the woman who wrote Jolene for that.
Kasabian nearly exploded in a bluster of bragaddacio and pomp and were fanastic for it. Everyone hates them, but I like ethir unreconstructed and unironic lad pop rock. Firing rockets, strechcing the crowd singalong as far as it could go, wearing sunglasses at night… their set was pure, unadulterated ego stroking the best kind. Their old stuff sounded better to me but they’ve enough stompers like “Fire” and “Fast Fuse.” “Crazy” made a welcome return as a cover, sounding as good as it ever has.
Jack White continues his one mean music factory, attempting to single handedly make up for the quarters of music that lack real musicianship, with his wild, free-wheeling, manic blues rock. The Black Keys did their usual moody, ear-catching rock but I fell asleep during their set. No reflection on them, I was hungover. Bombay Bicycle Club sounded great with their shimmery, light psychedelia.
I only saw a tantalising amount of Goldfrapp on Saturday so will check out their full show as Alison is the show woman all other show women should take notes from. I still vividly remember being at the front of the Other Stage at their 2004 show, my first proper time at the festival, where she flaunted a horse’s tail and played a theremin with her crotch. I will still check out Paola Nutini, Foster the People and many more.
George Ezra was the discovery of the weekend, with his big raw manly voice in a young dude’s body. I don’t know why Royal Blood’s set was so short. They make an ungodly sound that I want more of.
Best dancing goes to the red-trousered lead singer of the Daptones. Best playing face to Este of Haim’s “bass face.” The BBC’s coverage was warm, lavish and fond: they sent more staff to Glastonbury than to the World Cup. I liked Mark Radcliffe and Lauren Laverne’s relaxed presenting, though I did see a lot more of that giant spider than I wanted, or needed to, and there was a grasshopper style coverage meaning I didn’t always see as much of the acts as I wanted, but that’s necessary at such a huge event. Music geeks like myself can gorge themselves on the coverage, as I have done today. Bring on next year.