Glastonbury 2017: An Idiot's Guide
Glastonbury, Glastonbury, Glastonbury. If you have a ticket and are heading down to Somerset on the 21st (or maybe you’re one of the lunatics who sleeps in their car the night before?), you have been truly blessed by the great gods of music festivals. As per usual, the tickets sold out within an eye blink, and the the resale was similarly brutal. Be grateful and make the most of it, as Headliner brings you a handy guide on which acts to see, the heartbreaking stage clashes to consider, and the many random things you can do in between the music.
WHO TO SEE, AND THE CLASHES TO AGONISE OVER...
Let's start with the face-meltingly obvious. Radiohead. For goodness sake, make sure you watch Radiohead. Easily one of the most important, inventive, and all-round phenomenal music acts in a generation. Thom Yorke and co headline the Pyramid Stage on Friday night, after last year’s critically acclaimed ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool, last year.
Warming up for Radiohead is another British act, also carving themselves a huge status in the UK music scene, The xx. And in true Eavis-style, the Pyramid Stage begins the entire festival’s music proceedings with something different — Hacienda Classical brings you 90s dance anthems, played on classical instruments. Whyever not?
If you’d prefer some ‘hands in the air’ tunes to Radiohead’s avant-garde jams, Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac headlines the John Peel stage, with violin-pop group Clean Bandit playing there just beforehand. Grime legend Dizzee Rascal heads up the action on the West Holts stage. And if you fancy a late one, there are many a DJ to rave out to, with Boys Noize headlining the nightmarish, flame-throwing spider otherwise known as Arcadia. Drum and bass legend Goldie plays the Glade stage at 11.25. Make sure you wander around the smaller stages too, as you’ll likely unearth a gem!
Saturday at Glasto isn’t messing around, either. If you took my advice on Goldie and Boys Noize, chances are you won’t be up in time for Gabrielle Aplin’s piano-based crooning at 11am on The Other Stage. Once you get past the noon mark, things start to get seriously busy. Feeling jazzy? Get yourself to the Pyramid Stage for Jools Holland & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for 13.15. He’s followed by the recently revitalised Craig David - that’s enough to mess with anyone’s head after some chilled blues. Then, if you leg it over to the Avalon Stage, allow Busted to remind you what they went to school for, and about that time they went to the year 3000.
**Clash Alert!** Although admittedly, this is only an issue if you enjoy both mancunian indie and sugary pop, and are then torn between the recently added Liam Gallagher on The Other Stage, or one of the most prominent pop stars of recent times, Katy Perry. The advantage of opting for Liam Gallagher is that you’re then perfectly placed for the grime fest that follows — the godfather of the genre himself, Wiley, hits the stage at 19.15, a set that promises early noughties nostalgia, and hits from his recent album. Next up is Stormzy, who celebrates his meteoric rise from the grime scene to international stardom with the 20.30 slot on The Other Stage.**Clash Alert!!** This clash is more likely to leave some punters sweating — the Saturday night headline slot is a toss up between indie-quirksters, Alt-J, or the behemoth rock superstars, Foo Fighters. Yes, Dave Grohl and co. are very keen to make up for missing out on their 2015 slot where their frontman suffered a broken leg. Expect mass singalongs and jumping as favourites like Learn To Fly, Everlong, and Best Of You get an airing. One things certain — run like the wind to The Sonic Stage straight after, if you want to catch the legendary Fatboy Slim breaking out all his own hits.
It’s the last day! Waaaaaaa. But have heart, the quality isn’t fading by any means here. To the point where this is the day with the most nasty clashes. If ol’ Jools didn’t satisfy your jazz craving, young Jamie Cullum also gets some Pyramid Stage action at 12.45, followed by folkstress Laura Marling. Next up is the classic 4pm slot, reserved for the likes of Lionel Ritchie and Dollie Parton. This year, it’s disco/pop/falsetto hero Barry Gibb. Expect many a singalong as the last remaining Bee Gee will certainly be playing some gold-studded hits like Stayin' Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, and Night Fever.Kiefer Sutherland is best known for breaking the faces of baddies in the hit show 24, but he’s also very nifty at the old country-rock music, so be sure to go check him playing his tunes on The Avalon Stage at 16.50. Then, sisters are doing it for themselves as HAIM play The Other Stage at 17.35. **Triple Clash Alert!** God help us! Mind you, these are more overlaps than outright clashes, so it’s more a case of slinking off early, that is if you’re hoping to see disco-legend Chic, UK indie-pop sensation Lucy Rose, and then nu-jazz, electronic outfit, The Cinematic Orchestra. Radio One-friendly rockers, Biffy Clyro, launch into a singalong set on The Pyramid Stage at 19.30, following the success of latest album, Ellipsis. Another toughy is choosing between London Grammar, Moderat and Kano around the 21.00 mark, who are all playing about as far apart from each other on the site as is physically possible.
**The Final Clash Allert!** Again, this clash will only affect a very specific group of people. The question is: do you prefer the combination of loop-pedals, folk-pop, and ginger hair, or something a tad more aggressive from the world’s biggest grime collective? That’s right, you’re daunted with the choice of Ed Sheeran, the world’s most unlikely and yet biggest pop star, or North London legends Boy Better Know.
If you’re not planning on hitting the road at 6am on Monday morning (or if you don’t care either way), the party doesn’t end there. I’ll certainly be over at that terrifying robo-spider Arcadia, to see the grime-dance of My Nu Leng, followed by Fabio & Grooverider, playing their 25 Years Of Drum And Bass set.
WHAT TO DO BESIDES THE MUSIC
You’ve probably noticed that big gaping hole between the gates opening at 8am on Wednesday morning, and the music starting on Friday. Well, don’t you worry. Glastonbury is such a magical experience, you’d have to lie face-down in the grass in order to not find something to do. Watch the sunset at the stone circle. Go for a sauna - great for sweating the booze out. There are also so many amazing food stalls, the culinary choices will keep you occupied as well. Head to the Healing Fields when it all gets a bit much, to try some mediation, yoga, and other healing type activities. Climb to the top of one of the surrounding hills to enjoy the spectacular view (Hitchen Hill is a great place to camp for this reason). Listen to a political lecture at the Left Field Tent (or not). Have a nap in a hammock. There’s a cinema, there are theatres, there are poetry readings. But your number one priority, however, is to soak up the overwhelmingly positive vibe that only Glastonbury has. Happy Glastonbury, one and all!