Saturday, June 27, 2020

"A glowing, thrilling realm of communal feeling"

My first Glastonbury, in 1998, was a formative experience. I'd already had my teenage mind blown by Reading in 1996, but Glastonbury was another thing altogether. Sure, the torrential rain and apocalyptic mud required serious levels of mental fortitude and cider consumption, and meant that I missed all of the Friday night headliners (most prominently Portishead) hunkered down in my tent hoping to stave off hypothermia. But the setting, the atmosphere, the sheer scale of the site and an extraordinary Sunday Pyramid Stage line-up (Tony Bennett, Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and finally Pulp) under sunny skies meant that I left Worthy Farm determined to return - and I did, every year between 2000 and 2011.

Jude Rogers had her youthful Glastonbury epiphany three years earlier. She's written about it in an article for the Quietus - and, beautifully, about the joy of festivals and live music in general. It's a joy of which we've currently been robbed, but she remains determined not to get downhearted and defeatist: "It's made me realise how bonding with others in person - both friends and strangers - is something we should never ever again take for granted. It's made me realise that connecting and disconnecting from the world is a powerful modern malaise which needs to be conquered. ... We may have to reconstruct our communal realm of feeling out of the rubble of an unsupported, devastated industry, too. But there are too many of us who care about that realm to let it go, to let it die, for it to be lost forever." Now if you'll excuse me, I've got something in my eye...

No comments: