Glastonbury thoughts

This won’t be the long delayed wrap up of  my trip stories, but I just wanted to record a few random musings as Glasto has been very much on my mind the past few days.

As the days since the trip have rushed past I’ve realized that the entire experience changed me in ways that I never expected.

Lots of people ask me if “I’d go back”.  My stock answer has been that it was a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t likely want to try and repeat it again.  But, as the days pass I find myself checking back onto the eFest boards and looking at the discussions.  Yesterday they announced the on sale date for 2011 and I had a huge twinge of wanting to try and get another ticket and go back….for reasons that I honestly can’t quite even explain.  I recall the rush last year of making a ticket deposit at 1am and realizing that I was going to take the plunge.  Part of me wants that focus back.

Since I got back from the trip I’ve been a bit adrift.  I spent so long obsessing about going that with it now done…I’m not sure what my next focus should be.  In a way I think that’s why I’ve delayed writing about the last parts of the trip here.  As long as it’s still living in my head it’s not completely finished and wrapped forever.

Do I have regrets…many of them.

I feel like I didn’t get to see every band (even though that would have been a physical impossibility), I missed many of the art and dance areas.  I did all I could do…but, like life itself…there was too much to experience it all and you have to pick and choose.  (Lots of these things were said to me by festival veterans, but they don’t really come into focus until you’ve had the experience of being there.)

Maybe I drank too much, maybe I drank too little…maybe I slept too much, maybe I should have rested at different times…Maybe I should have seen more at the Park Stage, the Pyramid Stage, the Dance Village…maybe I should have eaten different foods…

Should I have seen Stevie Wonder instead of Jackson Browne?  Jackson Browne was my best act of the whole festival…yet, did I  miss something better?

See what I mean?  It’s like life…you choose things, but you can’t help but wonder how a different choice would have turned out.  I guess that’s why people go over and over to Glasto.  Some of it may be the fear of missing something.  Some of it may just be the vastness of the choices that let you live a magnified version of “life” in the span of a long weekend.  I could have gone 100 times and had 100 different experiences.

I even said that to someone on site, that Glastonbury is exactly like a limited version of life.  You are faced with a stream of choices and they will define your experience, and not all of it will be good.  But, you survive the bad to reach the good stuff, and having done so, the good stuff is made even better by the context.  If everything went perfectly on a Glasto trip it would actually be boring as all hell.  You need the “spice” of the collapsed tent or the uncomfortable bed so that when you see the perfect sunset while at the Other Stage you understand and appreciate it more because of having struggled some just to get to that point.

I have a vivid memory of washing my hands on Friday.  It’s so vivid because I’d been using hand sanitizer for three days and I stumbled upon a tap with running water and bars of soap.  I scrubbed my arms up to the elbow and I’ve honestly never felt so happy in my life about the simple act of washing my hands.  But, the great thing about Glasto is that it (at least for me) provokes further thought.  I realized that millions of people don’t have running water and don’t get to experience that feeling at all on a regular basis.  Suddenly a simple act took on no only significance in the moment, but it opened me to a bigger picture and made me appreciate more each time since then that I’ve scrubbed my hands how there are others who are as fortunate as me.

Now, I sit here tonight listening to Ray Davies, Florence & the Machine, Midlake and Hot Chip….thinking about each of their performances and the experience of seeing each of them at the Festival, I realized that I’m going to carry this festival around with me forever and at least parts of it have really changed me forever (hopefully in good ways).

And, I also suspect that I have been impacted in ways I’ve likely not even discovered….but, I guess that’s what this blog is for, to document the “beyond” that expands out from my Glastonbury experience.



Filed under Glastonbury

6 responses to “Glastonbury thoughts

  1. Steve

    Just stumbled across your blog, really enjoyed it. You had quite a different Glasto to me but I suppose that’s part of it’s appeal.

    • Hi Steve, thank you for the comment and the kind words. Yeah, I agree with you. I think no two people ever have the same experience, even if they spent the whole time together. I suppose that’s one of the coolest things about Glastonbury. It’s so much and so big, that there is something to please everyone. Are you going back this year?

      • Steve

        Definitely, I got into it fairly late and have only been going for the last three years but couldn’t imagine not going. I guess the fact it’s only a two hour drive makes it slightly easier for me than your commute! Favourite part of last year was Jamie t followed by a fun night in silent disco. Biggest disappointment other than watching football on the Sunday was not exploring enough. I went with a big group and went with the group flow too much so didn’t get to see as much as I’d have liked.

        How about you? Making a return trip?

      • Hi Steve,
        No return trip in the near future. it was a huge expense and quite an undertaking. But, I would like to try it again someday. Being two hours away does make it much more feasible. I’d say my most special moments were Jackson Browne, Paul Heaton and Ray Davies…Waterloo Sunset still takes me back to that field each time I hear it. I wore myself out exploring…and I feel like I missed at least half of the place. No way to describe to anyone just how massive it is until they are actually there. A group would be fun, but I can totally see doing it alone again. There is something to be said for having complete control of your time and schedule.

        Drop back and let me know how it goes this year for you!

        I’m going to keep posting here on the shows I do see.
        I have tickets to three shows already this year. Jeff Beck w/Imelda May, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Richard Cheese…still trying to stay eclectic…:)

  2. Steve

    Hi Jon,

    What do you think of this year’s line up? On the whole I’m pretty happy with it, slightly disappointed QOTSA are headlining the Other stage on Sunday as I thought Pulp were nailed on for that spot. Plenty to keep me occupied for the weekend though!

    • Well, as always I think there are plenty of good bands that I’d be happy to see. But, overall I prefer last years line up just slightly more than this one. I’m sure I’d still be thrilled to be going.

      Last year places like West Holts were just amazing and this year I’m not as thrilled with what I see. Kool and the Gang for example as a headliner….I’ve actually supplied sound for at a few corporate gigs they played back over ten years ago, and even then it was mostly new guys in the band.

      The Avalon Stage looks pretty strong, but no schedule to see what they clash with so far. I don’t see the Queens Head Stage at all, and I saw some very good bands there last year. Beyonce doesn’t impress me that much, nor do Queens of the Stoneage (who I saw open for the Rolling Stones a while back and didn’t like). I’m also not sure how Eels will translate to the Other Stage, they just seem like a more intimate act to me. So, lots of question marks in my mind.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’d go in a heartbeat and I’m sure have a great time. It’s just on paper this year doesn’t wow me quite as much as the last couple years have.

      I hope that you have a GREAT TIME! (I’m sure that you will)….Drop back by and let me know how it goes.

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