Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts


We came, we saw, we Glastonburyed.

The iconic festival drew us to its bosom and spat us out five days later after an orgy of music, world food, mud, tenting, smelly, dirty toilets, and the visitation of the biggest ego in rapping – Kanye West, who, despite flashes of genius, failed to deliver the musical boner that he promised.

Oh well, what Kanye couldnt grasp, a red-headed goddess known as Florence eagerly grabbed. For it was this 29 year old mystical indie rocker who, on Friday night, seized the chance to replace the planned headliners Foo Fighters and make a million hearts flutter with her incantations of the likes of ‘Dog Days are Over’ and ‘You’ve got the love’. She ran, she jumped, she embraced the crowd. She was undoubtedly the queen of Glasto 2015.

The Who, who headlined the final day, were the polar opposites. Despite being ageing grandads, they are still channeling the rage of youth by virtue of some of the best songs in the rock and roll canon. Opening with ‘Who Are You?’ And then running through all the greats including ‘I can see for Miles’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. And yes, despite being 70, Daltrey nailed the scream at the end of the latter. In case you don’t know it is probably the most famous scream in Rock’n'Roll, and enough to send most of the 100,000 crowd at the Pyramid Stage into a frenzy of sorts.

Glastonbury has its critics – particularly as the lineup this year was a bit lacking – but it is the Oasis of festivals. It doesn’t give a toss what you think because it is the most amazing and best loved festival in the UK by a country mile, some would say in e world.

On my first day I spent a glorious couple of hours in the ‘Green Fields’ which is the location for craft and healing stuff, but my eyes and ears were averted by a crowd of 30 or so souls surrounding a piano, placed in a clearing for anyone to use. Various festivalgoers were taking turns on the piano while the crowd sung along. It was a special moment delivering smiles and laughs aplenty. It felt that this was what Glastonbury was all about whatever the big acts delivered – just people making and enjoying music together in the sunshine.

I knew in a moment why people come year after year.

Art is emotional honesty? Discuss

“It’s all about emotional honesty.”

You can’t take Paranoid Android really seriously – unless you’re a critic.”

In perhaps one of the best rock documentaries ever produced, the band members of Radiohead talk about what it means to be in one of the biggest bands in the world. Intercut with song videos and performances, the interviews are staggeringly honest and unrushed and give a unique insight into the mind of the artist. Why are so few band profiles as good as this?

Lindsey Sterling, Dubstep Violin Pixie

Not as though you hadn’t noticed, but I can’t help remarking that the world of music is changing. New, cheap, technology is allowing all manner of new sounds to be created, leading to exciting new fusions between electronic sounds and those derived from more traditional instruments.

Solo violin doesn’t usually tend to have mass market appeal. But how about if you mash it up with dubstep? Lindsay Sterling, a 26 year old from Utah is doing just that. She broke into the music business after appearing on the 2010 America’s Got Talent. It’s hard not to think Kate Bush has been reincarnated at a violinist for the new millennium. But instead of moving like  she just came out of drama school, this girl takes gyrating with a violin onto a whole new level.

It’s a reminder that if you combine the art of video making with a bright young talent and a fresh new sound, you might just have something with huge appeal.
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Rachel D’Arcy, ukelele mistress for the Facebook generation

Please ‘Like’ me. Please please ‘Like’ me.
I like you, oh won’t you like me too?
It’s just a little button on your computer screen
Please won’t you press it, oh don’t be so mean
We could be friends in cyberspace
Share our photos; connect the human race.

These are the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of jazzy chanteuse Rachel D’Arcy, from her song Like Me, perhaps her signature song to date. The words are accompanied by her jaunty ukelele strumming and the bassy backing of imposing beat boxer Alex Blake-Pink.

George Formby it ain’t. Listen to some more tunes here.

It’s always exciting to discover emerging talent on the London music scene, and Rachel D’Arcy, self-appointed mistress of the ukelele, would appear to be the real deal.
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