I’ve longed to stand at the pyramid stage waving some kind of banner proclaiming a statement of importance to the masses gathered at Glastonbury, what is to me the festival of festivals. Every year, thousands gather at the annual Glastonbury Music Festival and prove why American music lovers are vain cunts who embody Kurt Cobain’s chorus to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. This weekend will be no exception. The calvacade of drugs and wigs pouring into Glastonbury prove it. We’re outgunned. We’ve lost our kindling in this country to the point that even if there were a bold new artist standing with hands cupped around a tiny spark he would have nowhere to set it and no one would notice when it was snuffed out in the digital snow. We take ourselves too seriously, and it’s impossible to hear the message when you’re busy chattering about yourself to your psychiatrist.
My experiences with Glastonbury have been lived vicariously through YouTube and the British media. And because what I can extract from the festival is filled-in between videos of fans going bug fuck crazy I can only imagine what it’s like to be touching something artistic and actually feel a pulse. I’m shocked at how bands who were quickly dismissed by fickle American audiences still receive the kind of love and attention they enjoyed when that one song they did was still in rotation. Perhaps it’s loyalty, or maybe the fans over there just want to have fun, but if this country still retained even a fraction of that confidence over being labeled as “hippies” or “loons” by the stewards of old enterprise we wouldn’t need to look to the establishment to pull ourselves out of this mess. You can’t have a revolution without art & science… just saying.
Here are my five favorite Glastonbury performances that I experienced second-hand.
1. Fun Lovin’ Criminals – “Scooby Snacks” 1999
2. Jay-Z – “Wonderwall/99 Problems” 2008
3. Arcade Fire – “Wake Up” 2007
4. Radiohead – Their Entire Fucking Set 2003
5. The Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony” 2008