Glastonbury 1999, Worthy Farm, Somerset, June 1999
I count myself pretty lucky to have got made it to a Glastonbury Festival while I was in the UK. I regard myself as a bloody genius or complete tin bum for doing it in 1999 because 1998 and 2000 were complete washouts, and though I love festivals, and love bands, I hate mud in in Somme-like quantities. I went down with my mate Si (Hammer and Glasto veteran), plus a posse of mad Frenchmen & an Irishman… this sounds like a bad joke? What a ball it was. First off, the size and scope of the site is hard to explain, especially in 1999 because it is believed an extra 100,000 people gatecrashed the site that year, increasing the attendance to an estimated 250,000 people. This makes sense to me because from a high vantage point I thought it was the size of Wellington. Madness: party all day, and all of the night. When the bands shut down, the soundsystems started up, and I seemed to remember we were actually dancing the wee hours away in a clothing stall at one stage. Strangely the whole thing was bookended for us by the Aussie ABBA tribute Bjorn Again on Friday, and Courtenay Pine's soothing jazz on Sunday afternoon. In between however we spent way too many hours in the Dance Tent gurning & sweating to Fat Boy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Gus Gus, Transglobal Underground; then checking out indie heroes Wilco and Pavement; grooving to the chilled the Super Furry Animals; rocking to a pumped-up Ash; going mental to Underworld; and most amazing of all… being sent freakin’ gaga by an astounding Orbital show at the close of the Saturday night. Somewhere in all that we saw tents catch fire; got threatened by a Scouse Mr Bean in a cider tent; ate lots of pomme frtites, drank lots of beer; lost each other in the Dance Tent, found each other in the Dance Tent; sat in an ancient stone(d) circle. Basically we got gloriously messed up and hugged a lot of people we’d never see again. And all in perfect sunshine! Place was amazing - I know it is supposed to be, that it has some sort of cosmic energy… but in reality it was virtually anarchy with a band timetable, and it just seemed to work. I genuinely didn’t hear a raised, aggressive voice all weekend, so given the amount of people that are off their chops at an event like that, I would say it was a success. Though naturally, I possess a large degree of goo-goo-eyed Antipodean naivety about this stuff. I could have walked past 14 major crimes and not realised. After that 72 frenzy, I had to return to reality in London. My father was over visiting from NZ, but I had already planned to go to Glastonbury, so while I was going Mad in Somerset, he was toodling around Camberwell Green with my flatmates, and on my return seemed surprised how tired my pop festival had made me. Bless him. Pick one act, one song from Glastonbury 1999? Easy! ‘Halcyon’ by Orbital, the live version from that very festival that includes the Bon Jovi & Belinda Carlisle breakdown. I admit I may have had a tear in my eye during that one.