Glastonbury 2015 review


With the gates closing for yet another year, litter-pickers out in full force and many punters nursing the hangover from a week of excess, we take a look at some of the highs and lows of Glastonbury 2015

Many of the revellers arrived last Wednesday and were treated to some great smaller acts on many of the little stages dotted around the park, however Thursday is when some of the medium-sized stages started producing the goods.


The Hell Stage hosted a variety of acts this year. There was a characteristically fun, rabble rousing set from Beans On Toast, which included dozens of random picket signs distributed amongst the crowd. This was followed (in usual Glasto’ style) by something completely different: John Fairhurst produced one of the performances of the weekend with his distinct style of electric blues-influenced axemanship. Citing Hendrix as an influence, his musicianship really shone through, with less emphasis on his gravelly voice live, and more on his guitar playing.

Over in the Greenfields we were treated to a lengthy session honouring the late, great Andrew Kerr – co-founder of the original Glastonbury Fair in 1971. Nik Turner’s open jam spawned some fantastic psychedelic riffs, and I’m sure Mr.Kerr would have approved.

The centrally located Bandstand produced a few goose bump inducing moments. None came close to beating Showhawk Duo’s sing-along performance on Thursday though. A certain Mr K.West should take note on how to do Bohemian Rhapsody without completely butchering it.

Finally, The Rum Shack played host to Ghost Lights, a collaboration between Reeps One, Dizraeli and Bellatrix. This group’s multi-instrumental, multi-influential skill cannot be called into question. What didn’t seem to work was the time and location of their set. The beatboxing mixed with acoustic guitar and ambient double bass would have worked really well in The Acoustic Stage, or maybe the Leftfield Stage mid-afternoon. The fact they were playing in a dance area after the sun had set meant it never really took off. My advice would be to check out these talented guys whenever you can, and don’t judge them on this set.


Friday saw the official start to the music. The second stage (superbly titled The Other Stage) grew a massive crowd to the opening act. It was the first unannounced set of the day, with vacant TBA slot now a usual feature. A massive cheer went up when the floppy-haired Tim Burgess came skipping on stage. The Charlatans were here to get us up and dancing. Delivering all their hits, they managed to give a performance to remember.

Over on The Park Stage King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard blasted out a confident set of their own. A big crowd had shown up to hear their enthusiastic take on psych’ with a performance that proved my recent review of their album was no reflection on their live set. I may even need to sheepishly retract my negative review. Great performance lads!

The Leftfield tent was packed with Glasto’ goers who flocked to see the festival staple that is Billy Bragg perform. One of the biggest cheers of the weekend went up as Mr.Bragg dedicated Sexuality to the recent equal marriage laws in the US. The anticipation for his set was heightened by his Thursday appearance at Toad Hall tent – the crowd for that show was so big even Billy Bragg himself had trouble getting in. Luckily all those who decided to see his Leftfield performance would leave happy.

The Pyramid Stage highlight of the day (for yours truly) would be the mighty Motörhead. Opening with We Are Motörhead, the ageing rockers showed why they are still considered a main stage act. A stunning guitar solo brought out the sunshine, whilst an epic drum solo saw the sun set behind the icon Pyramid Stage. Finishing with singalong Ace Of Spades and fan favourite Overkill, Lemmy and the gang were in great form. A welcome hard rock addition to the lineup.

The second big reveal of the day came from The Libertines, which was probably one of the worst kept secrets at the festival. The reformed original lineup stepped in to fill the Pyramid Stage slot left empty by Florence’s bump to headliner. Sometimes euphoric, often shambolic and always as you remember them, The Libertines delivered great singalong indie anthems.

Those wanting to experience everything Glasto’ has to offer could do much worse than checking out The Bimble Inn. The little stage and bar located in The Park area gave those avoiding the thousands who flocked to the main stage an opportunity to have a dance and join in with KaraUke – the karaoke group who perform well known songs to happy sing-along crowds. Unsurprisingly it was here I witnessed the weakest vocal performance of the weekend, with the inhumane murdering of Radiohead’s Creep. All in the best possible taste, of course. The friendly bar staff, cute little hospital beds to rest weary bones, fairy light-adorned tent beams and many happy hippy faces reminded you this is a true wonderland.


Saturday proved one of the most varied days in terms of the lineup. The popular Park Stage played host to Kate Tempest, whose poetry inspired urban beats brought in a huge crowd. Blowing away the cobwebs, she gave an energetic set and a heart-felt thanks for the support she’s received to be able to play at this level.

Following on from Kate was the enigmatic Father John Misty. With a performance full of o.t.t. gestures and outward emotion, he managed to keep the vast majority of the crowd interested. As a songwriter his lyrics sometimes inspire and sometimes confuse, and this is largely how I felt about his show. There is no denying his ability, however sometimes I felt the performance lacked sincerity.

The West Holts Stage featured the strongest lineup of the day. Sinkane gave a lively set that hopefully converted a few to their unique blend of funk, soul, R&B and everything-else-but-the-kitchen-sink. Today they proved that they are as good a live act as their most recent album suggested they would be. Gregory Porter added his brand of soul to an eager audience enjoying the afternoon Somerset sun. His performance highlighted why he was awarded Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2014 Grammys. Rounding the day off on the West Holts Stage was the huge show of The Mothership Returns. The Family Stone, Funkadelic, Parliament and George Clinton produced one of the best headline performances of the weekend. For those wondering if they were missing out on Kanye West’s Pyramid Stage would not be disappointed. A huge turnout danced the night away. Thank you Glastonbury. Funk quota fulfilled!

Speaking of legends, The Acoustic Stage had a surprise or two over the weekend too. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis took their blend of rock‘n’roll and swing to the next level by bringing out Eddie “Tan Tan” Thornton to perform trumpet, taking their groove up to the next level.

Two of the day’s pleasant surprises came from Avalon Cafe and the Poetry & Words Stages. 90’s indie stalwarts Space Monkeys brought an enthusiastic crowd to the small Avalon Cafe to show why they were considered greats of their genre. The audience was about half old time supporters of the band, and half newcomers. Their upbeat set was filled with eagerness and pep, with the band clearly enjoying their time back on the stage. The Poetry & Words Stage also hosted a legend in his own rights. Murray Lachlan Young took to stage with no more than 8 people in the audience. By the end of his set he was cheered off stage by a tent full of newly converted poetry fans. It’s no surprise this talented performer was dubbed “The Million Pound Poet” when he was awarded a recording contract with EMI. A very capable artist that I could not recommend highly enough.

In a day that saw great variety of performance across the stages, the Pyramid Stage had a few gems of its own. Aussie singer Courtney Barnett turned her brand of anti-folk up to 11 with a bombastic performance. At times akin to the other Courtney (Love of Hole fame), her grungey style added some great buzz saw guitars and genuine angst to her entertaining back catalogue of songs. She is a performer that seems perfectly at home on one of the most famous and largest stages in the world.

Showing how entertaining hip-hop influenced pop should be done, Pharrell Williams brought a suitably large entourage to the stage. Packing in a career spanning set, including N.E.R.D. hits alongside those he produced as well as his own solo material, the Glasto’ faithful were treated to an upbeat set that lacked a lot of negativity surrounding the main stage headliner of the day. Personal highlights included Happy (cue crazy dancing with the icecream van lady at the side of the stage) and an energetic performance of Rock Superstar.

For my dose of electronic music, I headed to the beautiful Glade Stage. Public Service Broadcasting found much deserved recognition with their most recent release The Race For Space. Full of samples and analogue video looping, the pair brought a full band to perform a pleasing set of rhythmic hits. My only criticism would be the small stage seemed to contain them somewhat, and they would have been most at home on a larger stage with more space to shake a leg or two. Performance wise however, second to none in their genre.


Sunday would bring the usual afternoon legend slot to the Pyramid Stage, but for me I wanted to see a legend in the making. Adam Cohen, son of the one and only Leonard, performed to a largely hungover crowd on The Other Stage. Adam proved that sometimes amazing songwriting and singing can be genetic. He certainly falls into the category of a talented artist in their own right, that lives in the shadow of a famous relative. With such ability it seemed confusing he wasn’t on the main stage with a few thousand singing along. A true entertainer, and one to keep an eye out for.

The Pyramid Stage did host a couple of legends of its own. 70’s anarchic singer Patti Smith celebrated the 40th anniversary of her debut album Horses with a fantastic set. Some of the most enthusiastic sing-alongs of the weekend came from Smith and her group. The crowd were in store for a monumental moment half way through her set too. Another person celebrating an anniversary is the Dalai Lama, turning 80 years of age. Patti read an emotional self-penned poem honouring His Holiness, before welcoming him on stage to a round of Happy Birthday to You. After cutting his cake, and passing on his words of encouragement and wisdom, the Dalai Lama left the stage to a warm applause. Cue big sing-along Gloria and a risky cover of My Generation. Very rarely does a mid-day artist attempt to perform one of the headliners tracks, but with great respect Patti burst into set closer My Generation. Along with a guitar breaking performance, she inadvertently replicated Dave Grohl’s on-stage accident. Luckily she could jump up to finish her set, screaming “I fell on my ass at Glastonbury, but I don’t care ‘cause I’m a [bleep] animal!” As the Dalai Lama pointed out, she may be grey-haired now, but Patti Smith still has enough energy to put on the performance of a weekend.

Over on The Park Stage we witnessed a moment of “the master and the pupil”. The hype machine that is Fat White Family produced a throbbing set of country influenced psych’ and indie that had many fans jumping in delight. Post-punk pioneers The Fall have influenced their aesthetics and music, which is very apparent… One of FWF’s biggest songs to date is entitled I Am Mark E. Smith, (Mark is the lead singer of The Fall). The set was not without the usual controversies that surround FWF’s gigs however, with singer Lias Saoudi revealing a little too much. A couple of sets later The Fall themselves took to the stage. We were in for a treat as the band rarely play Glasto’, after Mark E.Smith believes they were once banned after taking issue with organiser Michael Eavis’ political views. They certainly made up for lost time, blasting out some very incomprehensible songs – Sparta F.C. being one of the weekend’s highlights for myself.

The Godfathers of Mod, the one and only, the band many came to see… The Who closed the weekend with a big performance, poking fun at Saturday night’s headliner Kanye by saying “Oh yeah, who’s the biggest [bleep] rock star in the world?” (in response to Kanye’s claim the night before he was “the greatest living rockstar!”) They certainly proved their worth, ploughing through the hits, including I Can See For Miles, Behind Blue Eyes and Amazing Journey. It was set closer Won’t Get Fooled Again however that packed the greatest punch, bringing the greatest festival in the world to a timely close. That is, until next year… See you down the front!

Author: Ian, Marketing