By the time Saturday comes at Glastonbury, most festival goers are pretty battle-hardened. Amidst the festivities, the fancy dress and general bonhomie, you begin to notice people who either resemble Vietnam veterans or simply look as though they went for a swim in the mud.
But off the beaten track remain lovely areas of calm for those whose morning heads need soothing. The healing fields maintain a fire pit and benches around which to rest your thoughts and mud-splattered body. We passed a pagan wedding, a happy couple tying the knot by jumping over sticks. And, at 4pm there’s talk of Travis playing a tiny tent at the lovely area of Croissant Neuf.
That’s the same Travis who, in 1999, actually made it rain at Glastonbury by playing their song “Why Does It Always Rain On Me”…
Not that we need to encourage rain this time around.
Bottom line: Travis looked genuinely pleased to be playing the packed out but tiny tent to five hundred revellers (and more outside).
“We were worried no-one would turn up” said a humble and likeable Fran Healy, “We wanted to connect with people”. The band were warm, fun and played for an hour, including all their hits, a couple of decent new songs and a great cover of The Band’s “The Weight”.
Oh, and this was the first time I ever saw a guitarist play his solo and drink a can of lager at the same time.
Good effort, that one.
After that another Glastonbury moment: John Grant playing “Glacier” in the John Peel Stage. Debilitated by flu, Grant was supported by three fantastic backing singers and a supportive crowd who hit all the high notes when Grant was unable to. The set accentuated the funk in Grant’s new material more so than on the LP, and Grant’s dancing -part parody, part Grant enjoying himself – helped this along, but “Glacier” was an extraordinary, moving highlight, and GMF not far behind.
Next: Art Garfunkel in the Acoustic tent, hearing a man who will be seventy five this year still able to sing that well is quite something. He plays “The Boxer”, “Sound of Silence”, “Bright Eyes” and to conclude, a lovely “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Sublime.
Time to hot foot it to Mercury Rev on The Park Stage. Jonathan Donahue whipping up spells with his bow-saw for “The Dark is Rising” and a sing-a-long “Goddess on a Hiway”. It might have been my heightened state of refreshment, but it all seemed magical.
Then a dilemma: Adele or New Order?
We decide New Order: an encore of Love Will Tear Us Apart makes us feel better whilst we suspect Adele is killing it at the Pyramid Stage…