Glasto '15 etc

6th Jul 2015

Packed up Si-John Polar Bear Ruby Lionel crowds Dalai Lama Scott

At the moment I’m sitting in my van in N Wales waiting for some rain to pass over for some filming with the Hot Aches’s been a busy time leading up to this.
If I’m honest the highlight has been going to Glastonbury festival last week with my sister Ali, more of that in a minute but I’ve also been trying to get out on the Peak Limestone (weather permitting). Just before leaving for Glastonbury, I did a route that I tried a few years ago but never revisited at Two Tier in Cheedale. It’s called ‘Why Me’ and was given f7c until the new BMC Peak limestone guide came out recently and it’s now gone up to f7c+. It was definitely hard for f7c and I’m not complaining that it’s gone up but it seems strange that that route out of so many other tough grades in the Peak has been upgraded. Nowt as subjective as grades and there’s always something to grumble about when a new guide comes out! I also did a f7c called Celebration the day I did Why Me, it was a good last climbing day before the excesses of Glasto!
And of course Glastonbury was incredible, if I’m honest I wasn’t overly psyched about the headliners but there was plenty to keep me busy: in fact you could just walk round the festival with no agenda whatsoever and I guarantee you’d never be bored. Some of my best moments were just stumbling upon unexpected gems, be it a street performer, a beautiful sculpture, a drumming circle, or simply sitting by a fire in the evening and meeting new people or giraffes called Kanye!      

(see image below)

The musical highlights for me were:

Kate Tempest; incredible energy, she really connected with the audience and her performance was exciting and intense. Awesome woman!
Roni Size and reprazent: back to the good old days of Bristol. Ali and I were at the front and danced our socks off. My old mate Si-John was playing bass and it was great seeing him do his thing (see image left).
The Moody Blues (see image right); you can’t beat the golden oldies and when the whole audience sang along to Nights in White Satin, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The highlight was Michael Eavis coming on near the end and playing tambourine to Question, I was slightly drunk and was screaming along at the top of my voice, it was a proper Glasto moment!
Patti Smith; not being overly familiar with her music but definitely intrigued, it was great that she didn’t disappoint. Horses was incredible and then when she started chewing her guitar strings off at the end with her teeth, it was a proper rock and roll moment. What a lady, I was inspired. But to top that off the Dalai Lama came on half way through (see image bottom left). I have always wanted to see/be in the presence of the Dalai Lama and like a numpty had missed his talk up by the stone circle earlier that morning, so to see him make a surprise visit to the Pyramid stage was unbelievable. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to him (it’s his 80th) and then he gave a short insightful talk...again there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
I don’t know what it is about Glasto, a combo of the unique atmosphere, tiredness and probably alcohol but emotions run high and a lot of positive crying seems to occur.
My non-musical highlight was:

Ruby Wax (see image down and left) I stumbled upon her talking up in the Green Fields and was transfixed. I missed her actual talk but caught all the questions at the end, I could've listened to her all day. She was talking about mindfulness and depression, doesn’t sound scintillating but it was.
Our tent was in a great spot, looking down over the Pyramid stage. This unique position didn’t happen by accident, Ali and I queued in the car park from 10pm until 8am when the gates opened on Wednesday morning with no sleep. It was cold, fun, boring, entertaining but on reflection worth missing a night of sleep; it meant we were well placed for sitting listening and watching whomever was on and could easily pop back during the day whenever we fancied. We were overlooking a path and the crowds trekking up to see Lionel Ritchie on Sunday were ridiculous (see image five on the left), so many people gathering just to see one guy. It almost looked as busy as Dolly last year!
So it’s over for another year, I’m still in recovery and already looking forward to next year’s installment. I don’t really care who plays but it would be perfecto if David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac could make an life would then be complete.
Oh and the best bit was my nephews in their band The Jacques, playing their first ever Glasto. They did two gigs, one at West Holts Bar and the other was on the bigger William’s Green stage. The four of them did a great job and pulled in a good crowd...bring on next year...John Peel?

William's Green, where The Jacques played...

I am now a climber again and looking forward to some Pembroke trad in a couple of weeks. It’s been a while since I’ve been there and long overdue. Here in Wales, the weather still isn’t playing ball, so instead of climbing I am just day dreaming about being back at a hot and sunny Glastonbury surrounded by happy people and flags!

Image below: Me not impressed with the mud outside our least the sun was shining.


Image left: Ali (my sister) getting ready to head off to Antarctica with Scott!