Why I love End of the Road festival

DISCLAIMER: I apologise in advance for the weepy, corny sentiment of this post. But End of the Road ending always leaves me feeling a little emotionally fragile. Sorry about that, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This year marked my sixth trip to End of the Road Festival. Every year people ask me why I keep returning to this particular festival and why I love it so much. There are many reasons. They went round in my head while I was there, and now I have written them down:

Because the first thing we watch all weekend is the Jungle Book outside a packed out cinema tent with a cute little popcorn stand to my right.

Because I get to star in a movie myself, as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in a horse-box film studio and a blue pineapple playing Toto.

Because Eels play a storming set in Adidas tracksuits, under a double rainbow. When they run out of time to play My Beloved Monster and Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues, they do an impromptu mash-up of the two, and follow it up with a heart-warming band group hug.


Because after stumbling back to our tents from the forest one night, my friend and I watch the sunrise with our neighbours who consist of a ‘male hen party’ in One Direction T-Shirts. Like Eels, we too share a group hug and it’s lovely and warm.

Because the sunrise and double rainbows may well have been beautiful but are nothing on the gorgeous pink hues of the sunset on Saturday night- End of the Road always has the best sunsets.

1175612_960149049292_701344533_n (1)

Because the sun always shines on End of the Road.

Because I rock up to the David Byrne and St Vincent set expecting it to be just ‘quite nice’ and it ends up being a total hoot. Talking Heads songs, a brilliant full brass band, an on-stage conga and a brand new girl crush.

Because it basically feels like the 10,000 nicest people on earth congregate annually in a field.

Because when I run around throwing glitter onto strangers’ faces I genuinely feel a sense of achievement.

Because of all the new bands I discover every year.

Because of all the lovely new friends I make every year.

Because when Braids are late on stage because of a traffic accident, they are so wonderfully sweet and apologetic they are totally forgiven. They’re forgiven harder when they deliver a mesmerising set.

Because of The Walkman’s impassioned performance of The Rat.

Because there are adorable postmen and postladies delivering mail to campers based on visual descriptions from secret admirers around the site.

Because lying in the woods is a plethora of amazing things to see and do including:

  • ‘Showeroke’- a shower based karaoke fixture complete with shower cap in the woods.
  • Art installations which are basically baths with things hanging off them and bits of fancy dress in them.
  • A games room featuring table football and Guess Who.
  • A library.
  • A recording studio.
  • A phonebox displaying postcards sent from us to a dial-up poet who is roaming the site.


Because although the clash between Belle & Sebastian and Dinosaur Jr.’s headline sets is annoying, the flitting from twee indie pop to grungey punk is actually quite a satisfying bit of genre jumping.

Because it attracts creative types – and Public Service Broadcasting’s set may be the most creative set of the weekend.

Because as if our ears and eyes haven’t been spoilt rotten enough, our tastebuds are treated to a host of incredible food- North African stall Moorish is always a winner and the flatbread pizzas with rocket on top are delicious.

Because wailing Boyz II Men (guess which song), TLC and Destiny’s Child at what is essentially a folk and indie festival prompts a forest sing-along rather than scorn.


Because although Robin Ince and Mark Watson both make me howl with laughter on the Comedy stage, they were still not as a funny as a child called Morgan throwing marshmallows at the crowd, and a five-year old boy who sells me a joke for a very reasonable 20p. (The joke in question: “What’s orange and invisible?” *points to empty hand* “This carrot.”)

Because Tia Maria coffee is absolutely the best way to start any day.

Because the secret piano stage stays open later this year. And the sense of community makes me feel slightly emotional as people take it in turns to jam prompting mass sing-alongs.

Because although I’m enjoying the sing-along jams, the majority favouring Stairway To Heaven over my repeated requests of the Home & Away theme tune means it’s time for me to leave. At which point my friends arrive and mischievously drag me to the flashing dancefloor.

Because dancing on a flashing dancefloor to Northern Soul is probably the absolute pinnacle of pure joy.

Because actually maybe twerking in a forest to the Pixies and rolling around in foliage could top that joy.


Because the weekend ends with my friend twerking so hard atop a cider bus that her pants split.

Because it really is as magical as I hope I’ve made it sound.

Because every year it feels more like home.

…‘Til next year, EOTR, when I’m sure you’ll give me yet more reasons to love you.

Special thanks to my friend Holly Fisher for providing all pictures and facepaints featured in this post.


1 Comment

Filed under Live Music, Music

My Hollywood Debut


Eat your heart out Michael J. Fox.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

End of the Road Festival 2011

Change is a difficult thing to deal with for some. So when I rock up to my fourth End of the Road Festival to see an extension into a new area and a new main stage, I am not really sure what to think. Since 2008, this festival has held a special place in my heart, and as much of this festival’s magic lies in its intimacy, I initially feel a bit uncomfortable with this expansion. My friends and fellow EOTR regulars are dubious on their arrival too. But hey, I figure that a festival where the main headliner is one woman and her harp is hardly going to be a large corporate affair so I try to leave my worries behind.

After a bit of a lonely Wednesday night, my friends finally arrive on Thursday and the sun is beaming. The sun always seems to shine on End of the Road; I think Mother Nature must have good taste in festivals. Being in the unfortunate position of having extremely low sun tolerance however, tonight I leave the cider in my tent in favour of gallons of water. So a fairly quiet but nonetheless pleasant evening is spent catching up with friends and watching Herman Dune.

I am volunteering this year, which often has its pros and cons. In this case, the pros (free ticket, amazing free food) heavily outweigh the cons- which are missing Best Coast and tUnE-yArDs– (“best thing I’ve seen so far”- everyone. Thanks guys). So the first act I’ll see on the Friday is Lykke Li on the new ‘Woods’ stage. Thankfully, she gets the festival started in true style. Dressed like some sort of gothic princess, she throws her tiny frame across the stage with sweeping drama whilst frantically banging the drums. The set starts off in gentle brooding darkness, as she croons songs of melancholy, pouring her heart and soul out into the crowd in Sadness Is A Blessing. Eventually the set erupts into stomping fury with the feisty Get Some.

Headlining tonight is Beirut, and there’s clearly a lot of excitement in the air to see these guys. Not least from me, Gulag Orkestar is one of my favourite albums, and I’m intrigued to see how the orchestral sound translates into the band on stage. Turns out very well. They sound wonderful, magical even. Postcards From Italy sounds particularly charming and as the crowd all sway in unison and the fairy lights twinkle over the stage I am overwhelmed with joy. Other reasons to be cheerful include having bought a sequinned crop jacket with shoulder pads earlier in the day from a fabulous vintage stall. So time to celebrate! And where better than upon the flashing dance floor in the forest disco. Dancing amongst trees to UK garage, garage rock and every genre in between is definitely my idea of a good time.

Saturday starts, as any good day should, with some face painting (I opt for ‘tribal’), and a wander through the enchanted forest. Treefight For Sunlight start the day’s musical proceedings with a surprisingly worthy cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Next up is Bob Log III. I saw him play this same festival two years ago, and I was left feeling confused, amused and utterly enthralled. So of course I want to see him again. Entering on stage in his trademark motorcycle helmet and a fetching blue velour cat suit with silver linings, the loud fast music and surreal banter culminate in a charming love song entitled ‘I Want Your Shit On My Leg’, performed with four girls sitting on his lap. Wonderful. After that I think we all need to calm down a bit, so we head to the idyllic Garden Stage to watch a solo Phosphorescent set, which sounds just lovely.

Just as I thought my day couldn’t get any more exciting, another of my friends arrives clutching a bottle of Skittle vodka, jumps on us, teaches us some ‘zumba’ moves, and before we know it, it’s time for Wild Beasts. When the ‘Oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-they-weren’t-nominated-for-a-Mercury’ band come on stage they keep everyone’s feet dancing or at the very least their toes tapping, and needless to say we put our new zumba moves into practice. Fluctuating from crazed falsetto to soothing low mumblings, Wild Beasts deliver a wonderfully creative and virtuosic set.

And with a touch of M. Ward, a smattering of Mogwai, a good dose of booty shaking and a whole lot of laughter, Saturday night is over.

Sunday is pretty great food wise. A delicious flatbread pizza for lunch, and we hit our favourite food stall- Moorish for a dinner of a North African platter which is as pleasing on the eye as it is on the taste buds.

And yet, these aren’t even the highlights of the day. Incidentally, the highlight of the day, and probably my life- is spent in a trailer van in front of a camera. But more of that in a moment. Whilst having the obligatory morning face painting session (today I opt for ‘floral’), we watch Emmy The Great. Who, unfortunately doesn’t really live up to her name. The music is okay. There are moments of real promise- Dinosaur Sex and Iris sound pretty nice in the sunshine. But many of the lyrics sound a bit amateur, a bit teenage, and therefore a bit embarrassing. Not nearly half as embarrassing as her attempts at inter-song banter however, which is cringe-worthy, moronic and incredibly irritating, which just makes her set excruciating.

So onto that trailer van- and my chance for Hollywood stardom. All courtesy of a group called Videopia, who offer the frankly amazing opportunity to go and remake a condensed version of a classic film. We opt for Back To The Future. I bag the role of Marty Mcfly and we’re all given our costumes, props and lines. I can safely say that this is the best thing I have ever done with my life, even though doing it put my life in danger after nearly dying of laughter. (ATTENTION FILM DIRECTORS- the video will be online soon, so look out for it, and consider that I am currently looking for a job). Hollywood here I come.

Another adjustment to the festival is the extended comedy area, of which I can say I fully approve. My friend and I wander into a small tipi and take a seat on a rug. A very nice man approaches and softly whispers one of my favourite ever sentences; “Would you like a cup of tea?” As we sip our tea, we are treated to an acoustic singer and a lady telling an improvised story about a boy entering a secret door hidden in a tree. It feels like all the best bits of primary school. We all then exchange jokes and I wonder why life isn’t like this every day. After some futile attempts at juggling and successful attempts at making myself a new hat, we head back to the Woods stage to catch Tinariwen and Laura Marling.

It is during Laura Marling’s set that I truly start to appreciate the new stage. My doubts are slowly thwarted by the sheer quality of the stage’s acoustics. Every little sound is heard in crisp, clear purity, giving the gorgeous rich tones of Marling’s voice the best platform it could possibly have. Laura Marling is, as always, a real pleasure to watch. So I’m on board with the festival’s little makeover, as long this is the extent of its growth- any more, and it could lose its sparkle.

Oh dear. Looks like Mother Nature is in a huff. It’s raining. I hope she’s a fan of Joanna Newsom… Meanwhile, I catch a bit of John Grant and Darren Hanlon. And then as I head to the Woods stage to see Miss Newsom, it would appear that Mama N is a fan- it’s stopped raining, hurrah!

Joanna Newsom and her harp sit waiting to enchant us. Much like Iron & Wine last year, her gentle, sweet music silences the crowd. Everyone is stunned by this woman’s immense talent. The harp is a beautiful instrument, and seems like the only logical accompaniment to Joanna’s unusual childlike vocals, while the forest-like setting of the stage compliments her ethereal lyrics perfectly. She opens with the lovely Bridges and Balloons and an hour and a half set includes personal highlights Cosmia and The Book of Right On. The whole thing is beautifully captivating, and any fears I had of this festival losing its intimacy are disproved in this time. During the songs she embodies a medieval princess- enchanting and divine. Surprisingly then, in between songs she is disarmingly funny, sweet and down to earth. Surely the perfect combination on stage. “I want to be her friend” squeal my friend and I. When the set ends I sadly wonder where the time has gone. Even sadder is the following morning when I begrudgingly have to say goodbye to friends old and new and leave behind my favourite festival for another year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Live Music, Music


I hope you’re remembered for the right reasons.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Book Review: Caitlin Moran- How To Be a Woman

Feminism is a word I’ve struggled with, wrestled with, resisted and desperately wanted to believe in. Up until now, most, if not all of the ‘feminism’ I have encountered has been overly righteous, whingy, seemingly concerned with female superiority over equality or makes mountains out of mole hills. It’s enough to put anyone off. This book makes feminism accessible, strips it down to its common core of common sense and most importantly, it has a sense of humour.

‘How To Be a Woman’ is, it’s important to point out, filed under ‘humour’. First and foremost, this is a funny book, rather than a serious academic one. The wonders of modern technology meant that I discovered Caitlin Moran’s writing on Twitter. Her hilarious tweets have had me chuckling and nodding emphatically for quite some time, so when a book was announced, I was excited. Like Nigella Lawson, I am  ‘addicted to Caitlin Moran’s writing’. Thankfully everything that is so charming about Moran on Twitter is carried over into this book- the witty and clever yet informal style and those all important capital letters and exclamation marks (SCREAM!). The book has me giggling throughout; jokes about Chevy Chase being related to Cannock Chase, anything her sister Caz says and her gobby pleading attempts to become a musician’s muse, to name but a few.

She is wonderfully candid throughout, leaving any potential barriers well and truly smashed down. The inclusion of early diary entries make for a lovely journey through Moran’s transformation into womanhood. And I find myself agreeing whole-heartedly with most of her sentiments (yes, money spent on Brazilians would be better spent on cheese and berets, and yes, high heels are stupid). I only wish I’d had this book earlier in life, to help me through the teenage years. But then I also wish I’d spent my teenage years in the 90s, when young girls happily wore Doc Martens and no make-up, instead of the following decade, when young girls wore low-rise jeans with diamanté encrusted thongs deliberately creeping out from them and alarmingly high heels (me not included).

The book never gets too ranty, ultimately Caitlin Moran’s outlook on life and people is infectiously joyous and rosy. I’m torn between not wanting to put it down, and stalling it because I don’t want it to end.

So even though this book is more entertaining than it is revolutionary, it has contributed to me finally feeling comfortable with the ‘f’ word. I want to be as cool as Caitlin Moran. Do I know how to be a woman now? Probably not quite yet, but I think I have a better idea.


Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

Live Review: Pulp at Wireless Festival, Hyde Park 3/7/11

I find it hard to even think of Wireless as a festival, it’s ‘sponsored’ by Barclaycard, it’s in London and it’s rife with uninspiring food stalls. If Michael Eavis has any worries about Glastonbury becoming too middle-class, he should come here for reassurance. If I had a pound for every time I nearly trip over a tweed jacket, picnic blanket, Pimms glass or tub of strawberries… well I’d probably have just about enough for a pint. They’re pretty expensive here. Everyone must have popped over from Wimbledon, and until Pulp arrive, apparently they can’t be bothered to have fun. Which is a shame because the line-up is pretty good.  It is also a shame, that the bands are given a rather pathetic half hour set. Let’s just call it a ‘day event’ instead.

After what seems like a lot of queuing and sadly missing Summer Camp and Yuck, we enter to Metronomy’s set. They sound great, but I can’t help thinking they’re too disco-ey for this time (mid-afternoon) and place (in front of an apathetic crowd). Mind you, The Look, from their latest album really excels in the sunshine, before the set ends all too quickly.

Next up, is the The Horrors. When The Horrors emerged onto the scene in 2005, they were all silly nicknames, ridiculous hair and unimpressive shouty songs. Today, they look great, and sound even better. 2009’s Primary Colours marked a real musical shift for the band, as they suddenly went from slightly annoying, to completely brilliant. Today they leave behind their shouty days and shine with their soundscape of dreamy shoe-gaze and Simple Minds-esque noises and an abundance of on-stage coolness.

In stark contrast to the brooding Horrors, on come The Hives, who have certainly dressed up for the occasion- in top hats and tails, and they’re here to deliver some hard, fast raw rock. Lead singer Pelle Almqvist is determined to shake up this less than alive crowd. He is a little bit crazy, a little bit idiotic, a little bit frightening, but certainly entertaining. He threatens to kill us if we don’t “fucking clap and scream!”, “SAY YEAHHH!!! SAY YEEEAAAHH!!”. He’s not called Howlin’ Pele for nothing. Their biggest hit Hate To Say I Told You So in particular sounds electrifying.

TV On The Radio deliver another good set, although devoid of much banter or particular showmanship. Nonetheless, Dancing Choose and Wolf Like Me sound brilliantly chaotic and Will Do is lovely. I enjoy all of these despite being stood behind the most inappropriately placed picnic ever with people moaning about their blanket being trodden on. Either they were totally unaffected by Almqvist’s earlier threatening attempts to get everyone up and dancing, or so badly affected that they are hiding in fear.

Like The Horrors, Foals converted me with their second album, and I want to see their later material live. However, with everyone clearly here for Pulp, I can’t risk going to a different stage in the slot before their arrival, so I opt for Grace Jones instead. She goes through an impressive number of costume changes, rocking a number of headpieces and storming through her hits. It’s a good show, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with seeing this much of an older lady’s bum. And the pole dancing? No, I’m not enjoying this bit at all. Where’s Jarvis?

At last, it’s Pulp time. And oh, they’re such teases. A screen carries various slogans taken from the Pulp People website, building up the suspense and tension in the crowd as we excitedly await their arrival. When they finally do arrive, to a great opening choice of Do You Remember The First Time? The crowd roars and streamers burst out of the stage, the spectacle and drama perfectly reflecting how special this is for everyone involved. I don’t remember the first time, this is my first time seeing Pulp, so it’s certainly a big moment for me.

In my eyes, one of the most wonderful things one can be a part of is crowd solidarity, and here is one of my favourite examples of this to date; as the band launch into underdog anthem Mis-shapes, the entire crowd joyfully bounce, emphatically singing along with every word. This is like one massive collective ‘fuck you’ to all the people who picked on us in school. Every last one of them. You know who you are (although I can’t imagine many of you are reading this). It’s almost as if every torturous moment of those dreadful high school years have all been made worth it by these glorious few minutes, like they were all leading up to this light at the end of the awkward adolescent tunnel. Thank you Pulp. Thank you fellow Pulp fans.

They play, quite admirably I think, the hits. It’s a very Different Class heavy set, which is probably going to upset a certain type of fan, but it’s what the majority want to hear, and with good reason- it’s a great album. It is inevitable too, as this is the classic Different Class line up of the band.

Jarvis Cocker is the perfect frontman. Full of wry wit and a fantastic singer, and he moves his gangly limbs so stylishly that his dancing rivals the likes of Beyoncé. His DJ-ing experience at BBC 6 Music is really put to good use tonight. Endearingly corny links between each song comprise the inter-song banter; “I’ll dedicate this to everyone… because we were all babies once…”, “It was as if something changed…”, “If I were wearing a glove what colour would it be? (cue audience “PINK!”)”.

Cocker turns on the sleazy charm for the wonderfully seedy I Spy and This Is Hardcore. The latter, along with set highlight F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E., sounds as thrilling as they do on record. In fact, the whole set is note-perfect, to incredibly impressive standards. Sorted For E’s and Wizz is atmospheric, Something Changed is beautifully mellow whilst Disco 2000, Babies and set closer Common People are ridiculously fun. The whole set feels a bit surreal and I feel like I never want it to end. As the band vacate the stage, Jarvis says “see you again in 15 years”. I hope this is another one of his wry jokes, I don’t think I can wait that long.

Leave a comment

Filed under Live Music, Music

My Glastonbury 2011 Diary

Glastonbury festival is probably my event of the year. This year the fun begins before I even get there. The coach journey down to my favourite farm on Wednesday is full of friendly and excited people making for a great start to the festival. I arrive and eventually set up my tent, wander round the site, marvel at the beautiful sunset, enjoy some fireworks, catch up with old friends and make new ones, and chill out in the delightful Stone Circle.

They say that you can attend Glastonbury, watch no bands, and still have an amazing time. The Green Fields may be the best indicator of this. I spend much of Thursday here. This is a lovely area of the festival, a hippy haven with plenty to see and do. My friend and I see the word ‘free’ preceding the word ‘tea’ and promptly follow them. They lead us to a welcoming Burmese tent filled with information, petitions regarding  political prisoners and an abundance of free Burmese tea. In the spirit of the festival, we’re sat at a tiny table with some new people to chat to whilst a lovely blend of green tea is served to us in very cute cups. Onwards we stumble, this time across a band of old men in fancy dress singing farm ditties complete with animal noises and Tom Jones covers. The day gets even better as I get my face painted and receive lovely gifts from my friend which she picked up on her travels in India.  Better still, as we stop at a bandstand to enjoy a bluegrass version of 2 Unlimited’s No Limits. Awesome. The night belongs to Shangri-La and Block 9- the premier night-life hotspots of Glastonbury festival. Plenty of weird and wonderful sights and raves.

All this before the festival even officially starts. The official start is great though, seen in with hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan. I couldn’t look much less ghetto wrapped up in my rain mac and clutching my can of Pimms & lemonade, but the clan themselves are bizarrely dressed in towels and bathrobes so anything goes I guess. They assure us, over and over, that this is the best hip-hop show we will ever witness. Not sure this is entirely true, but it’s pretty good, and Gravel Pit gets the crowd wooping and wiggling despite the rain. Excitement for Bright Eyes is riding high, but nothing prepares me for Conor Oberst’s forest-like cape and the  revisiting of so many old favourites. Namely Bowl of Oranges and The Calender Hung Itself, which are real highlights of the set, perfectly flaunting Oberst’s melting pot of mental instability and poignancy. What follows is a decision I’ve been deliberating all day. I’ve been excited to see Morrissey since I got a ticket. But rumours are rife of a secret Radiohead set at The Park. (Note to Radiohead, next time you play Glasto, how about you stop trying so hard to be understated and just headline? Note to Morrissey, I am deeply sorry for not choosing you to begin with. I should have). So I foolishly decide upon Radiohead. Of course, everyone has heard the rumours, and The Park stage- wonderful as it is, is without screens, and does not accommodate a band as big Radiohead, especially for fans as vertically challenged as I am. Realising that wherever I stand I will be unable to see or neither see nor hear, I run through the mud, rain and thousands of people to rectify my decision. I am not one to normally run, particularly in deep sticky, mud, but Morrissey is the light at the end of the tunnel and run I do. All the way across the festival. Twenty minutes later and I make it to Mozza. Totally worth it as I manage to catch a cover of Satellite of Love, a rant involving calling David Cameron a ‘silly twit’, Meat Is Murder, Irish Blood, English Heart and This Charming Man. I am so excited to hear This Charming Man live that I have tears in my eyes. Although the band lack that Smiths sparkle and the guitarist is far from a match to Marr; in terms of vocals and passion, Morrissey is on top form. I find out I have missed loads of Smiths songs which upsets me, so I cheer myself up with a delicious bacon and avocado wrap and head back to The Park to see Caribou for the third time in ten months. I’m not sure what more I can say about Caribou as a live band, except perhaps that they’re so good that they make you feel happy to be alive. Night time festivities take me back to Shangri-La, to Club Dada, which has a host of electro-swing, which might just be my new favourite combination of genres to dance to.

Saturday begins with Tame Impala on the Pyramid stage, who start off well with their brand of dreamy psychedelia and a worthy cover of Massive Attack’s Angel, but drift a little and my attention gradually wavers. I wander into what appears to be a big Bhangra party, and don’t hesitate to join. It is a band called RSVP, who are full of exuberance and fun leaving me filled with energy. I decide to channel this energy creatively, and head to the crafts area of the Green Fields. I happily play with some clay and make a snail. I’m pretty pleased with my creation so I put it on display before going to see Graham Coxon and The Walkmen. Coxon is adorable and rock  n’ roll in equal measure before The Walkmen arrive in suits, sounding as sharp as they look. There is possibly no better feeling than seeing one of your favourite songs live, so as they launch into The Rat I beam and well up with sheer joy. Strong rumours circulate of Pulp being the special guests at The Park tonight. I love Pulp, but after my Radiohead ordeal, I am not going to make the same mistake again. And anyway, I’m seeing them next week at Wireless. So I make the excellent decision to go and see Elbow. The plan was to leave their set early to try and catch some of Janelle Monaé‘s. But they are so good that I cannot tear myself away. The sun is out, but it wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t, Guy Garvey radiates enough warmth and loveliness as it is. If ever there were lessons on how to get a crowd going, this man should be the teacher. ‘Reverse Mexican waves’ creating a rippling effect through the whole crowd, responding to the crowd’s requests to down his pint and an abundance of audience interaction- it is hard not to love this man. But these are all secondary to Elbow’s rousing anthems, seemingly perfect for the time and place. Perfect Weather To Fly, Open Arms and One Day Like This are absolutely gorgeous and surely melt even the coldest of hearts. After Elbow, more running. This time to the Wow! stage in the dance village to see Neneh Cherry, who performs what is sadly a very short set but to a nicely intimate crowd. She appears to have bypassed the ageing process and is ridiculously cool, whether she is stomping around in her wellies to Manchild, tripping over and laughing it off, rapping in Buffalo Stance, or belting out the set’s highlight- 7 Seconds, which even has the security guard singing along. My headliner decision tonight is Big Boi. I have already seen the Chemical Brothers, but walking past them to get to West Holts is painful as they sound fantastic. But thankfully, so is Big Boi. With the aid of a band dressed in matching green Adidas tracksuits, and some very unlikely looking dancers, he rips through lots of Outkast classics with a whole load of energy to a crowd which is filled with a sense of hip-hop community spirit. Afterwards, I make the mistake of having a little lie down. Needless to say I miss out on tonight’s night-life. But tomorrow is a big day. It’s Beyoncé day, and I need to be fresh for it.

After a long slumber, I awake ready to prepare for Beyoncé. My friends and I are sick with excitement to see the queen of booty, and spend a good couple of hours trawling the festival for something suitably ridiculous to wear. We settle upon matching metallic hotpants in varying colours. I opt for gold, they are far from flattering but somehow they seem wholly appropriate for tonight. I split my afternoon between the Noisettes (what a great frontwoman!), Laura Marling (so proud she’s made it to the Pyramid stage!) and Paul Simon (okay, too excited for B to care about anyone else by this point). Early evening is spent making sure our faces look as sparkly as our newly hotpanted booties. The glitter is piled on, and on, and on, until skin is a distant visual memory. Various Beyoncé slogans are temporarily tattooed onto our arms and we are ready to go.

I am trembling with excitement. Beyoncé is one of my heroes and as she emerges onto the Pyramid stage to Crazy In Love I feel like I might explode. This feels like such a special moment. Not only for us, but touchingly, for her too. After a fierce opening, a string of hits including Single Ladies, Naughty Girl, and Baby Boy (which confusingly features Tricky, what is he doing there exactly? Not sure he knows himself) and fireworks, she tells us this is her dream; “Glaston-berry! I’ve always wanted to be a rock star!” she beams. She certainly rocks it. She is so incredible that I doubt whether she is even human. Her elaborate and sassy dance routines would leave anyone else out of breath, but no, she manages to belt out her astonishing voice alongside the moves and all the while she looks insanely fantastic in a dazzling gold jacket, black hotpants and massive hair, maintaining a careful mix of sexy and classy.  She takes a moment to ‘soak it up’ mouthing “Oh my god” to herself, which is a humbling moment. Here is a global superstar, who is overwhelmed by her audience. Such is the power of Glastonbury. Her audience interaction is great- “sing it to your ex!”, “put your hand in his face and say woah oh oh!”, particularly  in Best Thing I Never Had and Irreplaceable. The audience sound awful in comparison, but they are clearly enjoying themselves.  She radiates a deep affinity with music throughout, but makes some strange decisions. A cover of Alanis Morissette’s You Outta Know is excellent, but Sex on Fire I can do without. She is far less annoying than Kings of Leon singing it, but a shit song is a shit song, and the time could be better spent on Deja Vu or Work It Out. She also cuts down the brilliant Run The World (Girls), and yet lets the much weaker 1+1 drag on. Pleasingly though, she does lesser known Why Don’t You Love Me. She asks if she has any Destiny’s Child fans in the house. I scream so loud my lungs almost collapse. No sign of Kelly or Michelle despite rumours, but she performs  many of the DC hits in a medley which makes for one of the most exciting moments in my life and the definite highlight of the set. Halo is an emotional end to a mind-blowing set. There is girl-power brimming right from the back of the stage all the way up to the top of the hill. I feel empowered. Tonight Beyoncé confirms herself as the greatest performer of our generation.

I leave reluctantly on Monday, my heart heavy with the knowledge that I must make the depressing adjustment to real life and wait another two years for the next one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Live Music, Music