Once again I enjoyed the festival courtesy of the BBC, in my home lounge - and entirely via the Internet. I still feel like I would want to check it out ’on location’ one of these years - as long as I had guarantees of good weather, and could attend ’Kate Moss’ style - i.e. being flown to and from luxury 5 star hotel at the start and end of every day.
Following my minor critique of the Big Weekend website, BBC are making ever more concessions towards the social Internet, and although those social elements still aren’t quite as slick as YouTube’s Coachella coverage, they’re not too far away now, and the BBC Video archives offer so much more!
With my newly acquired iPad, it was interesting to see that the only coverage available for the iPad was via the BBC’s excellent iPlayer App. The main BBC Glastonbury website is still largely flash, and the Mobile site is not really up to par with the latest advances in technology. The tipping point will be when the main Glastonbury site is done in HTML5.
Anyway, as for the 3 day festival - I quite enjoyed Friday Night headliners U2, although there were no real surprises here, same goes for Saturday’s Coldplay who featured some great new material, but did not surprise really either. Sunday’s headliner Beyoncé was magnificent though and in fine voice and full fitness dance prowess. Her set opened with a bang, and those who thought she might have front-loaded it with ’Crazy In Love’, ’Single Ladies’ and ’Nasty Girl’, were in for a surprise as her set continued to deliver the goods throughout. She included all of the Destiny’s Child hits, as well as excellent cover versions of Prince’s ’The Beautiful Ones’, Alanis Morisette’s ’You Oughta Know’, Kings of Leon’s ’Sex on Fire’ amd Etta James’s ’At Last’ there were also some lovely little mashup touches including a segment of Mark the 45 King and The Eurythmics’ ’Sweet Dreams’. Shame on all the detractors who tried to belittle Beyoncé’s performance. Beyoncé and her all-female all-in-white band performed magnificently throughout.
Another magnificent female performance came courtesty of Janelle Monáe, who had little communication with the crowd, but managed a mesmerizing performance nevertheless. The exuberant performance of ’Come Alive’ was out of this world. I also though Jessie J was in particularly fine voice and performed admirable with a broken leg - there are not many performers that would show up at Glastonbury with such an injury.
I caught most of the BBC coverage, and most of the highlights, and in addition to the girls, I enjoyed parts of Chase & Status, The Chemical Brothers, Elbow, Friendly Fires, Kool & The Gang, Little Dragon, Pendulum, Primal Scream, The Streets, Tinie Tempah, TV on the Radio and Wu-Tang Clan - certainly a little bit of eveything. It always suprises me how vehement the critique is on various media’s message boards - where some users profess their detestations of a performer or entire musical genre - seriously, if you don’t like it, don’t watch / listen, and if you really don’t like something like a genre then your opinion does not really count. It’s like a marmite hater trying to write an objective critique of marmite!
There still seem to be some accusing Michael Eavis / Glastonbury of selling out, and not being represenatative of the true spirit of Glastonbury! What a load of self-centered b******* - Glastonbury is simply keeping in step with the times, U2 have just recently completed the world’s most successful / highest grossing tour, making them officially the world’s biggest / most popular rock band, Coldplay have been a feature of Glastonbury for well over a decade, this being their 5th appearance and 3rd headline performance ... and as for Beyoncé - you just needed to see the crowd-reaction to know how well she was appreciated by the audience, let alone the immense audience turnout.
As far as I’m concerned it was a vintage year for Glastonbury - with one of the most eclectic line ups of all time.
As a final note, it would be nice also if the BBC could open their site to more social media contributions, so that we can get more of a flavour of what goes on on the smaller stages and numerous far-flung venues. For instance there was no coverage of Radiohead’s and Pulp’s appearances on ’The Park’ stage.