So what with the Glastonbury Festival’s penchant for secrecy, surprises, and 20 mile walks between stages, it’s kind of hard to do an accurate guide to exactly what you should see and at what time. Fortunately this is DiS – we spit on accuracy, offer precision a wedgie, and laugh at the very idea of your puny ‘time’. So here’s a rough, rumour-soused guide offering some vague thoughts on what to do with your Glasto ’09 – please post tips, ideas, rumours and alternate suggestions below.
You should really get down here on Wednesday, because:
- You can indulge your inner hippie by not even having to worry about seeing any of those pesky bands for an evening.
- Leave it too late to arrive and you will discover couples with excessively large tents have blighted the fields of Glastonbury like some sort of obnoxious pox - snag somewhere good, do it EARLY.
- You can maintain something amazing happened on Wednesday to latecomers.
The Thursday night line up is probably better than the Friday of last year's, and you’re hitting the giddy heights of dementia too damn soon if you don’t at least check some of it out.
DiS would recommend commencing festivities early by heading over to the Queen’s Head Stage and watching Maximo Park kick the whole shebang off – okay, it’s up for debate as to whether Paul Smith and friends didn’t peak with their first record, but they’re a formidable live band and ought to provide meaningful affirmation that this party has indeed started.
Now obviously we’re unsure of stage times, but let’s make one thing clear: if you don’t go and see East 17 you are a heartless monster who takes no joy in pop. They’re on in the Dance Lounge, probably early evening..? Psychedelic cider is nothing to hugging your nearest and dearest to ‘Stay Another Day’.
Afternoon-wise, then assuming there’s no clash with East 17, head back to the Queen’s Head and check out the Wendy Roby-tipped We Have Band and Stornoway, both of whom our fragrant singles reviewer has tipped highly in recent weeks. Alessi’s Ark and Golden Silvers are agreeably melodic evening viewing, but the fun should come to a head with the danceable double whammy of French electro-punk mentalists Kap Bambino and Metronomy’s deliciously bloopy electro pop. If you still wanna boogie, Annie Nightingale’s Opening Party at the Dance Lounge or Greco-Roman Soundsystem at the Stonebridge Bar would seem a more than adequate way to round the warm up day off.
Video: Maximo Park: 'Graffiti' (live at Glastonbury 2005)
So DiS has heard an advance on the rumour that Kanye West will be joining his obscure soul pop protégé Mr Hudson as he plays the first Other Stage slot of the weekend. We’ve heard West will come onstage for one song, but only if it’s not raining. Apparently that’s in his contract. We choose to believe this absolutely, though whether it would actually encourage you to go is debatable. No doubt Jo Whiley will declare it to have been the best thing that happened at the festival if it indeed comes to pass.
Then a nice rousing bit of Fucked Up over at the John Peel Stage, methinks, before settling yourself in at the Park Stage to see the pleasing folk-pop of the much more intense live than on record Emilíliana Torrini, sandwiched between two sets of ‘surprise guests’. Various sources have conspired to suggest that barring Pete Doherty getting jailed for his latest bout of law breaking, The Libertines will constitute one of the Park Stage guest slots, either one of these two or the one on Saturday. Hard to be as excited about this as two or three years ago, but it’s worth staking out the stage in case it does come to pass, as doubts will surely melt in the face of those still-wonderful songs. And even if it doesn’t happen, it won’t take too much time out of your day to scout out those conveniently close together guest slots and pray there's no crushing anticlimax. [EDIT: according to user lovelessrapture, one of these slots is apparently the property of Supergrass spin-off Hot Rats, who have a Bestival exclusive. That'd be anticlimax one, then. Best guess is that Litertines are the second slot, if they do actually play].
If you have time to squeeze in Regina Spektor on the Pyramid then you probably should – she’s maybe not entirely suited to a stage so big, but new album Far is sounding pretty good and an afternoon singalong to ‘Fidelity’ would be just peachy. Apparently the Pyramid special guests are just N*E*R*D, whose presence can’t be noted for contractual reasons or something. Yawn.
Fleet Foxes will doubtless provide joy for many, but we’d probably rather go and dance around to Little Boots and that funny bleepy instrument of hers. Lily Allen on Pyramid and Lady GaGa on Other is shaping up to be some sort of guilty pleasure showdown; DiS would opt for the latter for sheer trainwreck value.
The Specials were oookay at Bestival last year, not astonishing. Go to tick a box or have a good singalong (bearing in mind ‘Ghost Town’ is unlikely), but don’t think it'll be like a portal to ’79. We’d probably opt for what may prove a fairly awesome Horrors set – ‘Sea Within A Sea’ at sunset, plz – or possibly venture over to the Avalon stage and catch British Sea Power’s tucked away little turn.
Animal Collective vs Neil Young may split the vote for some, but reports of Shakey’s recent form/the fact he’s not playing very much off Fork In The Road would suggest AC are best saved for another time (and bear in mind that with Deakin still out it’s hardly a career-spanning set on offer from the Baltimore gents). Then to bed! Or not.
Video: Neil Young: 'Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)' (live)
If you’re in any way up in time, head to the Park Stage to see Swedish youngsters First Aid Kit to hear a spot of their compelling, old before their time folk laments... or, um, not, if you’re on a comedown.
Rolf Harris. Hmm. Well, it feels like a Glasto rite of passage. Won’t actually be ‘good’, we wouldn’t expect, but there is a sick fascination in heading over early to the Jazz/World stage to see him. (We will probably be singing along to ‘Sun Arise’). In continued comedy, Eagles Of Death Metal followed by Spinal Tap on the Pyramid is just too good an opportunity to pass up – if there is any truth whatsoever to the notion of ‘Glastonbury moments’ then surely some sort of collaboration can be arranged, seeing as EODM are more or less a Tap tribute act.
If you’d like something a bit more musically satisfying, maybe instead opt for the bittersweet wordiness of friend-to-DiS Emmy The Great over on the Queen’s Head, then perhaps warm up for an evening’s Broooooooooooce-watching with a spot of The Gaslight Anthem, who’ll be bringing their blue-collar ways to the John Peel stage in the late afternoon. Stick around for some fey college-dance wibblings from Passion Pit, or else hotfoot it back to the Pyramid to see how the pop-star incarnation of Dizzee Rascal fares now that the majority of the crowd actually knows some of his songs; brace yourself for a guest appearance from Calvin Harris, mind. Would generally prefer a nice snooze than Crosby, Stills and Nash, but it’s not impossible that Neil Young will pop back out to join them, which would be dead exciting, like.
[EDIT: Reasonably solid internet rumour would have it that The Klaxons have today's Park Stage guest slot. Remember that nu-rave, eh?]
It’ll be a question of timetabling as to whether it’s practical to skip Kasabian and catch somebody else pre-Boss, but if so we’d recommend either the dolorous beauty of Tindersticks on the Acoustic stage, or else the hypnotic weaves of Baaba Maal on Jazz/World duty.
Then it’s Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. Fair enough, haterz. We’ve heard your objections. He’s old. You’re one of the surprisingly large number of people who still don’t know what the lyrics to ‘Born In The USA’ are actually about. The odour of masculinity and car oil is too strong on him. One listen to ‘Thunder Road’ makes you feel pathetically inadequate about your own torpid excuse for a day-to-day existence. You hate everything that is good in everything. Those are all fine excuses and Jarvis Cocker or Bon Iver are not terrible shouts by way of alternatives. The rest of us will be hollering out blue collar anthems, punching the air like lunatics, and getting vaguely annoyed that Eavis didn’t allow him his customary three hour set time. It will be awesome.
Again, not sure on running times, but the Africa Express Soundsystem over at Club Dada was one of the highs of last year, and Mr Albarn will surely be in attendance, so a hotfoot over after Springsteen is well advised. [EDIT - looks like this will be more than do-able, but still hotfoot it as this is going to be RAMMED]
Video: Bruce Springsteen: 'Jungleland' (live)
Potentially Status Quo and Ou Est Le Swimming Pool? may actually be on at the same time on early Sunday afternoon, thus allowing you a choice between the worst band of the entire past or, quite possibly, the worst of the entire future. Ooooh dear. Much, much better to kick your day off with the rough’n’ready polygon pop of Micachu & The Shapes at the trusty old Park Stage.
After that; well as is the way with Sunday, it’s a splash on the drabber side, with the Park in particular having its dullest line-up by far. Maybe ensconce self at the Other Stage for the middle of the day for a rousing dollop of Brand New followed by a sit down and a chuckle at Enter Shikari, before charging to the front for a baffling low-placed Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the moody turmoil of Bat For Lashes. If he’s not too drunk a splash of Roots Manuva over at the Jazz/World stage could definitely be fun, but really the day is leading up to the last two acts on the Pyramid Stage.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have no particular album to promote and a back catalogue that easily goes toe-to-toe with Blur’s – expect the fire and brimstone tumult of ‘Tupelo’, ‘Red Right Hand’ ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!’ et al to give Albarn and co a scare at the very least. Still, even Stuart Braithwaite himself would probably acknowledge that the one-time Britpop figureheads’ reunion is the ‘event’ of the festival, and with advance word on their warm-up gigs pretty much ecstatic, you’d more or less have to conclude they’d have to repeat their previous headline appearance – 1998, when they pretty much skipped the hits in favour of Blur and 13 album tracks – to fluff this. We're expecting you to give us a perfect ending, y'hear, Albarn? [NB oop - just the one 13 track in '98, but check out Melody Maker's damning review of the set]
Video: Blur: 'The Universal' (live at Glastonbury 1998)