Already being hailed as the best incarnation for decades, Glastonbury 2009 had it all, (some) bad weather, shocking news, slit throats, 400 BBC employees and of course, more music than you can shake an iStick at.
There was no Jay-Z this time, taking the headlines were Bruce Springsteen, the reunited Blur and Neil Young. Filling the token hip-hop slot this year was Dizzee Rascal and we suppose Black Eyed Peas, if you count a white lady backed by Will.I.Am - who had no idea that Glastonbury did not take place in London - as filling. Still, any band who smack Perez Hilton in the face are friends of ours.
The festival started on Thursday under a metaphorical and a literal rain cloud. With music festivals being largely disconnected from modern communication, the time is perfect for bizarre rumours to run rife. You can kill anyone, make anyone molest kittens or claim that Razorlight made a good album and for three days, people will believe it. Thus, when Thursday night saw the ejection of Michael Jackson from the mortal coil, people took more than a little convincing.
Certainly aware of the situation were the immense BBC contingent, showing sensitivity to the public outrage over spending of public money by sending over 400 employees to the festival and putting them all up in accommodation one-thousand times nicer than the tents the rest of the proles had to endure. Here's the run-down of their entourage:
The outrage was so severe than one man decided to slash his own throat at 3am in the morning on Sunday. The 32-year-old probably had his reasons, but all we can think of is that someone wrote "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" on his jugular and then gave him more drugs than a River Phoenix curated Woodstock inventory.
On to the music then. Bruce Springsteen's overly-long set was considered so good that Michael Eavis judged it worth £333 per minute, since he faces a £3,000 fine for letting 'The Boss' go nine minutes over the curfew. Eavis remarked “I gave him 10 minutes and he took nine. I’ll pay the fine - £3,000. Paul McCartney - 2004 headliner - paid me back. I’m going to pay the Bruce Springsteen one myself. It’s not a lot because it was fantastic. The last nine minutes were spectacular." None of the extra runtime or ardent cries of the fans convinced the man to perform 'Born in the USA' though. In a lot of ways, it's like trying to get Fear Before the March of Flames to play 'On the Brightside, She Could Choke', only it's Bruce Springsteen and a completely different song.
Providing the "glamour" of the event was Stacy Ann Ferguson, La Roux, Lady GaGa and Lily Allen. When we say glamour, we guess we mean inexplicable nudity, firework-firing bosoms, middle-finger salutes to nationalistic and racist parties, and the kind of mime-art which would not be allowed on "Give Us a Clue".
It was probably a coincidence, but Lady GaGa comes to town and suddenly we have cases of suspected swine flu doing the rounds?
Returning to Springsteen, the man also made a surprise appearance with (for anyone who's never heard...) The Gaslight Anthem. The two parties have already expressed admiration for each other's work and thus during Gaslight's set on the John Peel stage, The Boss adorned the tiny tent with his presence. Springsteen picked up guitar and vocals and joined the band in performing their new single "The '59 Sound". To return the favour, Gaslight Anthem’s front-man Brian Fallon also joined Bruce Springsteen for the song ‘No Surrender’.
“Bruce just turned up backstage yesterday,” explains Fallon talking to Absolute Radio. “He asked if he could play with us and today he said ‘Hey, I’m going to play with you’. I guess God likes me a little!”
“I’m amazed how gracious he is,” he continues. “You’re aware of his presence, his stature, the history he has and his legacy, but you get the sense he’s encouraging us, like an older brother would be. We’re carrying on in the traditionalism of rock n roll and you could tell he is super supportive of that and that means the world to us. The fact that he’d join us to play makes us the ‘beautiful loser’ as they say. The underdog triumphs!”
Pulling the final curtain on the event was the recently reconvened Brit-Pop superstars Blur. Damon Albarn took time out from his bizarre array of monkey-obsessed side-projects to re-front the band whose most famous lyric is either "woo-hoo" or "you should cut down on your pork life, get some exercise". Or for the really elitest fans: "lives in a house a very big house in the country". It can be no coicidence that both Albarn and the fans present had the collective time of their lives. The stories also go that Albarn literally broke into tears during their performance of "To The End". That's the kind of touching moment that makes you want to slash your own throat... no wait, it really doesn't.
A lot of sources seem to agree that Kasabian played at Glastonbury, what nobody seems to be able to recall though is any single memorable moment of the entire gig. Does anyone remember when they used to be cool and mysterious with the whole Soviet-style image going on? Y'know, before they fired the talented ones and became a barely-more-stylish incarnation of Oasis. Why, to make that gig memorable, you'd almost have to return to your tent and cut your own larynx... no?
Seemingly lacking any charm, charisma or any other words that begin with 'ch' (Chihuahuas, cheese, Chichester, chesticular cancer) N*E*R*D decided to show up late to the party and then refuse to leave. Yes, like a middle-aged protester, front-man Pharell Williams insists that the crowd "paid 200 dollars to see a full show," as he reason for refusing to vacate the stage. We seriously wonder if anybody actually told him that all these people weren't actually here to see him. Sigh, if this was Reading, he'd have been bottled by now, if this were Leeds, he'd have been taken back to his tent and had his throat slashed... wait a brotherfudging minute.... damn, he was in Somerset.
The other major story doing the rounds post-Glasto is the various bizarre requests made by various artists to the provisions department to make their time in Somerset a little sweeter. Kasabian requested nothing remotely interesting whereas Lady GaGa had six kinds of vitamin water, starfish tuna, three coffee tables, three floor-length mirrors, deli meats, a get-out-of-Take-That card as well as a knife and a map showing the location of the nearest 32-year-old male. Ah, it all makes sense now!