The A-Z of Glastonbury at home, from Adele to Ziggy
Updated: Feb 3
Glastonbury 2020 has been cancelled. We all know that by the time I'm writing this. We'd like to think we've come to terms with it by now, with everything else in the events and arts industry being cancelled due to the pandemic. However, the spirit of Glastonbury still thrives, living strong through people that have attended this outstanding festival before. I have had the privilege of working and attending Glastonbury pretty much every year since I moved to London ten years ago. To me, it was a foreign concept, as we don't really have such large scale events back in Rome, that giant amphitheatre takes over most the space anyway. The first time I attended Glastonbury I was 24 years old and running one of the stages, with one of the most amazing companies I have ever worked for. I believe I cried after a couple of days during the build period, it was the muddiest place I ever been (I was on site for ten days and it never stopped raining once) and the last time was last year when I got to go as a punter to a festival for the first time ever - what a feeling! I'll never forget the queue to the public toilets. The slams of those doors, ah!
I live with a really great gal called Ziggy (you see what I did there...) who has, despite being a borderline obsessive music fan, never made it to Glastonbury. How is that possible?! I'm hoping you're more on my side here... Apparently, there are still some music fans out there that need to be convinced that they have to attend Glastonbury at least once in their lives, just to be able to understand how the greatest place on Earth makes you feel.
Just the other day I was on WhatsApp with one of my former coworkers, all we could do was moan about how Glastonbury was not happening - and how hard it was to explain this feeling to our friends that have never been there. I saw tons of people posting photos of their first Glasto ever, with people going way back to memories of the 70's - a little before my time...
So, I decided to fix this nostalgia and stop moaning (no guarantees though) by hosting a three day live streaming, courtesy of the BBC, for my flatmate. I started on Saturday daytime (it should have been on Wednesday as per Glasto traditions but I'm kinda busy despite the pandemic, as I'm the creative freak who decided to start a company during a pandemic). I started with Lorde - my flatmate heard 'Green Light' from her bedroom, got excited and ventured out to watch it with me (usually not even the smell of my delicious food can draw her away from her comfy bed). We ended up watching all of the live streaming until 1am, the highlight, without a doubt, being iconic 2016 headliner Adele.
Sadly I wasn't there when Adele headlined, so it was actually a first time watch for both of us and - oh boy. We haven't stopped crying ever since, goosebumps, followed by laughter, followed by slightly over-enthusiastic singalong, belting out at 'Someone Like You' and being caught by our neighbour, never being able to show our faces in the garden again...
I went to bed bursting with nostalgia, alongside a bittersweet feeling, soothing myself with thoughts like "oh well, it was bloody raining all the time this year anyway".
The thing I didn't realise until the morning was that my flatmate had stayed up all night to catch up with Glastonbury. Yes, she had pulled an all-nighter to watch more and more playback performances from over the years. When I woke up in the morning to get my coffee, the first thing I heard was "I watched Pulp's set from 1995 and Jarvis said something cute. He said "it's been 25 years of Glastonbury, here's to 25 years more". He's talking about this year, the 50th anniversary is TODAY!" That's when it hit me, albeit with the help of strong espresso - I did it. I had transmitted my love for Glastonbury to someone who has never been there and has built their idea of it around my words, my experiences and my memories.
We're now at Monday night, after watching live performances from Amy Winehouse, Stormzy, Kylie, Foo Fighters, Adele (again of course, once is never enough) and decided to end the night watching the headlining set of my flatmate's namesake Ziggy Stardust, while she sings along - "ch-ch-changes..." clearly thinking about the proofreading she's about to do on my blog.
Glastonbury, you did it again. Despite not happening, despite all that's happening in the world, you managed to reach out to someone who has never made it to you. You beat the pandemic. Just more proof that music, arts and events change lives - in case anyone still needed convincing.