Culture House Daily

Crusties, trustafarians, Chris Martin and mud: the deadly predictability of Glastonbury

26 June 2014

1:47 PM

26 June 2014

1:47 PM

Glastonbury weekend is upon us, and the bores are out in force. West London buzzes to the sound of hoorays buying drugs, and the army surplus stalls of Portobello Market are making a killing. Conversation in these parts has been reduced to a long in-joke. Ask what’s so funny and you’ll get the same response: ‘Yah, sorry darl – it’s a Glasto thing.’

The same is probably true in every posh postcode in Britain. I’ve never been to Glastonbury and probably never will – but God have I heard enough about it. ‘Veteran’ friends look at me as one would an idiot child, explaining the life-changing wonder that I’m missing. Frankly, the only thing duller than festival talk is drug talk, and since the one invariably follows the other, I’m yawning pretty hard at the moment.

It’s all so predictable, yet the coverage never stops. We know exactly what’s going to happen: it will rain. The BBC will run a story about mud. The guy from Elbow will do an ‘impromptu’ turn in fancy dress and Michael Eavis will round it all off by saying it’s been the best year yet.


As you might have guessed, I don’t like music festivals. I went to a few when I was a teenager, and even then the forced jollity and bogus rebellion left me feeling bored, angry and ripped-off. It’s not that I begrudge festival-goers their stupid hats, their wristbands or their right to get shitfaced in the dirt for three days. I just don’t see why they have to be so bloody smug about it.

But maybe that’s the appeal of spending the rent money on a ticket. The fact that Glastonbury is held at a place called Worthy Farm should tell you all you need to know. Everything about it reeks of eco-hippie self-approval. The inevitable TV spectacle of crusties, trustafarians and Chris Martin joining hands in a field is as neat a picture of sanctimony as you could ask for.

The Glastonbury pilgrims aren’t the worst. No, for a true picture of just how tiresome people can be, look across the Atlantic. If you’ve met someone who’s been to the desert free-for-all that is the Burning Man festival, you’ll know exactly what I’m on about. It creates evangelists, of whom the Brits are by far and away the most zealous.

The list of festival-related gripes is endless. (For reasons of space, there is no point giving more than a mention to the freewheelin’ types who bring their children.) As for Glastonbury, expect a lot of snore sagas about the mud when the weekend hippies come back. And if ever you meet someone who uses the phrase ‘the festival season’ as a synonym for ‘summer’, run for the hills.

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Show comments
  • The 22 Yard Stare

    Miserable Londoncentric writer complains about Londoncentric people going to the countryside.

  • Snipkokken Balsov

    No one has mentioned the Glasto’ diversity deficiency.

    Shouldn’t “the” luvvie tribal gathering be self aware enough to realise that so many providers of enrichment, enhancement and vibrancy are conspicuous by their absence?

    If only the BBC was there in force to tell the truth to power.

  • Dutchnick

    What a sad miserable load of comments. I have no wish to go to Glastonbury, I do not like that sort of music but thousands are having a wonderful time with the statutory ear damage, mud and discomfort. Gosh some may be wealthy, even more reason for poisonous bile to spew forth! Get positive, and admire the enthusiasm and stamina and let us have more festivals. As for the BBC, well if it is the answers it must have been a stupid question, grossly overmanned, totally PC and hidebound by leftie lovies yet much of the output is great but needs a realistic control to prevent their agenda being so promoted.

    • Tahitiholiday

      According to Brendan O’Neill it’s not nearly as fun as that. It’s a thought-police nagfest. No thanks!

  • Kitty MLB

    Relatives of my husband live near Glastonbury.We once took the
    wrong road and accidently ended up in the middle of a huge
    mismatch of cars…students were in the road eating food,
    older long haired men singing and all sorts..
    And lest we forget the brightly coloured wellies, they are imperative.God makes rain especially so they can be worn.

  • Amanda

    No, the life-changing wonder is ‘Burning Man’. I’ve no idea what it is, but people are even sillier about that than they are about Glastonbury.

  • William_Brown

    Oh, you old curmudgeon, you. Let the liberal faux left have their weekend off and let us hope that those nasty scoundrels of the ‘working class’ don’t steal too much of their stuff whilst they gaze ‘ironically’ at Dolly on Sunday.

  • Chris Hobson

    If the liberal left intelligentsia stay in power these are your future masters, so be nice to them.

  • Kaine

    What I never understood was, if it’s so enjoyable, why does everyone who goes have to down a cocktail of mind altering chemicals to get through a long weekend?

  • logdon

    This was the first proto-Glastonbury in Shepton Mallet, pre-Eavis and what a line-up.

    I did go and living in Bristol at the time was a quick ten mile journey into deepest Somerset.

    Parked the old Ford Prefect in a lane leading to the ground and slept in that.

    I still remember the excitement when Zep came on at the magic sundown moment and the tumultous applause accompanied by the spark of a thousand zippo’s.

    This lot would have been derided to the rooftops as the fakes they are and back then the old saw, it was much simpler then, is for once true.

    • Katy

      Cor, you miserable whinging bunch. You’re just jealous because you’re not young, beautiful, full of enthusiasm and in possession of a bunch of similar-minded mates and, most importantly, not there. This piece surely must really have been written by Ed Reardon whose speciality is, let’s not forget, reviewing things he’s never seen. Leave those kids alone and go and have another Sanatogen. I’ve been, and the smiles, chatter, fun and sheer good humour everywhere is infectious – try that in London – and I can’t wait to go back. And anyone with a name like Digby Warde-Aidam is, I suspect, probably actually there, in a trustfund-backed batik yurt.

      • Metallica

        You don’t make clothes for Emperors per chance?

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    I once met a man who, without encouragement, told me that as a child he’d been at the Isle of Wight festival and seen Hendrix. Is there anything more boring than people who do that?

    • Simon Fay

      I dunno. I suppose if he’d remarked upon your ironing-board cover’s similarity to his own you could attribute it to jealousy that he wasn’t the one getting ready to go out to the Bros gig.

  • Michael H Kenyon

    I went 1979 to 1984; the first one impressed me greatly as i was 18. By the final one I hated the whole damned place and thing bar the music and hedonism. And even that was tired.

    • jbjbjb

      Haha – very good Ant. For if there is one thing that is worse than a festival bore, it is a “festivals-aren’t-what-they-used-to-be” bore. Genius. Doff of the cap sir. Bravo.

      • Moob

        Yet it happens to be true in the case of Glastonbury it really isn’t what it was, a bit like London.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Talking of smug, sanctimonious worthies, how many BBC employees will be partying broadcasting there this year?

    • TJB

      Over 300 i read somewhere. Our money well spent.

      • The Masked Marvel

        Presumably only right-wing enemies of the BBC would dream of questioning it.

        • dado_trunking

          you dont watch it?
          shaaat aaap!

          • The Masked Marvel

            Why should someone who doesn’t watch it be forced to pay for it all on penalty of law? Fascist.

            • Kaine

              You don’t. You pay a license to have the receiving equipment in your home, just as you have to pay a license if you want to own a gun or, until recently, if you owned a dog.

              Don’t have a telly and you won’t have to pay. Why would you want to watch stuff you seem to think is propaganda anyway?

              • The Masked Marvel

                What nonsense. Money paid for a dog licence doesn’t go to the Kennel Club, nor does money paid for a dog licence go to, say, Boss & Co. I suppose you also believe that your annual payment for the tax disc on your car goes to Vauxhall.

            • dado_trunking

              you cannot afford a state broadcaster?
              shaaat aaap!

              • The Masked Marvel

                Why do you want to put undue burden on the poorest and most vulnerable among us? Some socialist you are.

                • dado_trunking

                  you don’t trust your own people?
                  shaaat aaap!

                • The Masked Marvel

                  Another one who can’t debate the issue at hand.

        • Simon Fay

          It really belongs on BBC3 if anywhere.

      • will91

        As Peter Hitchens would call them – ‘bourgeois metropolitan trendies’

        • The 22 Yard Stare

          As Christopher Hitchens might have called his brother – ‘grumpy miserable religious Eeyore’.

  • ant

    I went to 3 consecutive Glastos in the mid 1990s, and I can’t lie they were all brilliant, because we the acts back then. But those events bear no relation to the unending c*ntfest that Glastonbury has become. Anything that is still sponsored by the Al-Queada/ISIS style mob that is Greenpeace needs torching.

    • dado_trunking

      “… by the AQ mob that is Greedpiss”
      Just like that great eco(nomic) fascist that was FATCHA, hey?

  • Simon Fay

    I suspect that the sheer noisy crowdedness alone would be enough to send me fleeing within the first three hours, quite apart from the ‘types’ and the typical acts found there. I’m glad to get out even from shows I’ve enjoyed so the prospect of being locked in a non-stop open-air gig for several days brings a shudder.

  • you_kid

    Just look at these crazy middle class fun loving monied up Green Party voters.
    Not a single miserable skinheaded hoody amongst them.