Glastonbury Festival is but a few weeks away, to get you on the right path to Worthy Farm Getintothis’ Rick Leach picks some of the highlights to look out for in Somerset.
I was a latecomer to the party.
Ten years ago I went to my first Glastonbury Festival at the ripe old age of 48. It was one of those “I should really do this before I hit 50” things. (Yes, I really am that old.)
I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d never even been camping before and had no idea how to put a tent up. I half-expected to hate it.
But I didn’t. Maybe it was something to do with the fact that my first time was in 2010: one of the very rare times when the whole Festival went by without a drop of rain. My wellies remained unpacked, unused and unloved.
It was baking hot. Everyone had a great time in the unbridled sunshine. The most surprising thing to me was that it was so relaxed. No hassle at all. It was like a holiday. With great music.
It was all so good that I’ve been back every year since. Every year since we’ve had some rain and sometimes a whole lot of mud. Those wellies have seen some use.
I’ve been with mates, family, kids and solo. I’ve worked a bar one year when I couldn’t get a ticket but I’ve managed to get there every time. I’ve even managed to write some books about it all and in turn, writing those books led me indirectly to writing for Getintothis.
So you’d think that with a decades’ worth of Glastonbury under my belt I’d have a clue about how to pick out what acts to watch. A bit of an idea. Well, sort of.
What I do know is not to try to see too much. Like a poor child in a Dickens novel, it’s best not to expect too much. Or rather, not to try to do much.
My first few times I made long, long lists and planned for ages with precise times about what and who I was going to see but things never went to plan. The mud alone can make that impossible.
So now I just work on the basis of three acts per day. Any more is a bonus.
Sometimes I get it right and see something unexpectedly brilliant (Courtney Barnett pissed beyond words and falling over on stage at Williams Green) and other times I get it completely wrong and end up watching utter dross. (The Rolling Stones)
It’s all guesswork really. Maybe it goes to show that despite writing about music a lot, listening to endless music and going to heaps of gigs it’s all a bit of a lottery, yet that what still makes Glastonbury so fascinating.
You just never can tell.
But I’m going to have a go and look into our crystal ball to make some recommendations for this year.
It would be dead easy for me to pick headliners as must-sees for 2019 but we at Getintothis are not about the easy options. Not for a second.
Let’s swerve The Cure, The Killers, Kylie and the rest and without further ado cast our eyes further down the list for our best picks at Worthy Farm this June. We’ve dropped in a playlist at the bottom of this piece as an early treat for your ears. You can thank us later.
Acid Mothers Temple
– West Holts Stage, Friday
Much beloved by Julian Cope among others, Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple bring their long-established psych and incredible sonic architecture to West Holts stage on Friday afternoon.
Something to blow the cobwebs away while you have lunch, it’ll be interesting to see these bunch of veteran noise heads woo over the crowd at what used to be the quaintly named World Stage only a few years ago.
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
– BBC Introducing, Sunday
From one festival to another. Cardiff’s Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are not only tramping through the mud at Worthy Farm this June but they will also be turning up at Getintothis’ Deeper Cuts Festival on July 13.
It’s not for us to say that they’re using their appearance at Glastonbury as a warm-up for what will be the spectacular Deeper Cuts but we suspect they might be.
Whether you catch up with them in Somerset or Liverpool, it’s up to you but we recommend that you try to do both Their Glam Rock inspired and Jagger-esque swagger are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Sons of Kemet
– Park Stage, Saturday
Sons of Kemet blew us (and many, many others) away with last years Your Queen is a Reptile album, a record which rightly made it into many Albums of the Year lists.
Playing to strong new jazz contingent at the festival (there’s also the chance to see the great Kamasi Washington. the awe-inspiring The Comet Is Coming and Ezra Collective on at West Holts over the weekend), Sons of Kemet promise much in the way of completely twisted brass band carnival magic.
– John Peel Stage, Saturday
Low made one of the great albums in Double Negative last year, with what we termed a “record to tug at heart strings.” It is a magnificent record and could be argued that it’s the pinnacle of what they’ve done to date.
If you haven’t yet heard it (and if not, why not?) we strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible. If you’re going to Glastonbury then you’ve got just a few weeks to get your ears around it.
In a live setting, they’re something else altogether as well. Prepare to have your heart well and truly tugged.
– John Peel Stage, Friday
Another superb selection sees us back on the Peel Stage. Get set for a dose of Antipodean psych from Tame Impala-affiliated drone and swirl merchants, Pond.
In the faint hope that the sun is cracking the flags, then Pond will be ideally suited to 45 minutes of lying down on the grass and letting it all wash over you in some sort of drifting haze. And if it’s pissing down then we can stand in the drizzle and nod along. Whatever the weather is like Pond will fit perfectly.
– Truth Stage, Friday
Since Metallica broke the glass ceiling for metal at Glastonbury, there has been a smattering of heavy stuff. Maybe not as much as we’d like to see (after all, variety is the spice of life and all that) but this year we’ve got Venom Prison to bang our heads to.
We covered them in last month’s metal column in some detail where their latest album, Samsara. was described as “remarkable” and the band themselves as “the most important death metal band on the planet at the moment.” With that endorsement Venom Prison are quite definitely ones to watch.
– Williams Green, Saturday
Going to keep this pick short. When I asked a mate what Fontaines DC were like. I was told they were ‘like The Fall if they came from Dublin but a bit more sneery.” That would do for me I thought.
Fontaines DC played a blinder at the recent 6Music Festival in Liverpool and with a boss album winning plaudits left, right and centre surely now is the ideal time to see the heirs to Mark E Smith‘s throne
Red Rum Club
– BBC Introducing, Sunday
Another band who wowed the 6Music Festival, it’s only right we have some local talent in the shape of the great Red Rum Club.
We hope that, no, we know, that Red Rum Club will win legions of new fans with their hearts on their sleeve, high octane and passionate music. This year they’re playing the BBC Introducing Stage. Next year; Pyramid.
Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation
– Glade, Sunday
We started these picks with some psych and now we’re wrapping it up with more of the same. Heavy as a black hole and just as intense, Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation will melt your eyeballs. In a good way.