Festival Review: My top 10 highlights of Glastonbury 2011

Glastonbury Festival is my favorite place on earth. There is no where else which condenses an amazing atmosphere, great music, and a positive spirit quite as well as that place. As Jarvis Cocker said ‘Glastonbury is more than just a festival, its a feeling’, and he couldn’t be more spot on. This year of Glastonbury was my forth year, for me each year gets better, and that was defintely the case this time. Despite the terrible weather of the first few days, we got through and I think everyone their would agree, we had a blast!

I started writing a Glastonbury review, but found I had far too much to say and too many bands to write about! So I have decided to simmer it down and just write about my 10 favorite performances of the weekend. So here goes…

1. Coldplay

Undoubtedly my favorite performance of the weekend was Coldplay. I had never seen them before, but am a big fan of their first two albums, so they were a must see for me. However they managed to far exceed my expectations. Everything about the performance was perfect, an abundance of hits, a fantastic performance from the band and the most incredible atmosphere. I have never been in a crowd quite like it, and I think it is obvious how much everyone is loving it from watching the footage back. Hearing the sing-a-long and seeing every single persons arms in the air for ‘In My Place’, ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Fix You’ among many others, created a moment I will never forget. A proper Glastonbury performance.

2. Pulp

Pulp were the secret, or not-so-secret, special guests in the Park on Saturday. Jarvis and co completely stormed the farm showing they would have been more than capable of headlining the bash (maybe in 2013 they will?). They rolled through hits, ending, of course with ‘Common People’. Jarvis’ rather hilarious banter filled in between the songs, and he expressed his love for the festival which transformed Pulp’s career when they headlined in 1995.

3. Beyonce

I went to see Beyonce partly for curiosity, partly because there was nothing else I really wanted to see, and partly because I knew I would probably never get the opportunity to see her again. And I am so glad I went as I thought she was amazing! There had been some controversy surrounding her performance, does pop belong in Pilton? But I didn’t really see the issue since Lady Gaga, Scissor Sisters and Black Eyed Peas have also been given major slots in the last few years. As Jay-Z did back in 2008, she completely ruled the farm, bringing her big tunes, diva moves and flawless voice to the festival. She too, like so many performers this year, expressed her love for the festival, and said she was living her dream by playing at the farm. Aww!

4. Melanie

Back in 1971 Melanie wowed a crowd of hippies with her stunning voice and flower child songs. And in 2011, I think she did exactly the same. The Spirit of ’71 stage was a new addition to this years festival, hosting many acts who played the original festival as well as other oldies. I also saw the Crazy World of Arthur Brown there, but Melanie stole the show. Her voice is still so radiant, but its her songs and love of life and humanity which came across the best. ‘Look What They’ve done to my Song’ was a highlight and she said that if there was to be a film made of her life, that song would be the soundtrack. If only more artists nowadays had that kind of sensibility.

5. Mumford and Sons

In 2009 I saw Mumford and Sons play the Greenpeace stage, on a bill which also included Laura Marling and King Charles. I would guess the capacity was under 300. Two years later, the same band play the Other Stage in front of one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. And they have only released one album. That’s incredible. But from watching their performance its clear to see why. They have so much raw energy, and really brought the folk hoedown to Glastonbury. I predict future headliners for sure.

6. Laura Marling

And following on from the Mumford comment, Laura Marling played the Pyramid Stage. There were concerns that the stage would swamp her but I knew her voice would manage to fill the space and it did. She put on a wonderful show, all songs with a band unlike normally when she plays a solo set in the middle, but the addition of lots of new songs made up for it. ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’, out September 12th, is going to be very special.

7. Grouplove

I love this band at the moment! So great live and such a fantastic way to start my weekend. They played at 12pm on Friday and attracted a surprisingly large crowd for so early in the day.Being billed so early didn’t stop them from producing the same wild energetic show they normally do. So great!

8. Fleet Foxes

Last time I saw Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury I was rather disappointed. They played the Pyramid Stage but their sound just didn’t fill the space and many punters were left bored. I was disappointed to see that they had been placed on the Other Stage, another whopper, but this year it was a totally different story. They were wonderful, playing a mixture of new songs from ‘Helplessness Blues’ and tracks from the debut. Robin also managed to sneak in ‘Blue Spotted Tail’, my favorite from the new album, so I was very pleased about that!

9. Summer Camp

Since last summer I have seen Summer Camp countless numbers of times in different situations and atmospheres. This was by far my favorite, perhaps since the first time I ever saw them. They played the Crow’s Nest, a tiny tent at the top of the Park with a semi-secret but absolutely excellent line-up and a stunning view of the entire site. Summer Camp played an acoustic set which worked wonderfully in the setting and their pop songs translated brilliantly to the audience. An album should be out soon and I am very much looking forward to it!

Summer Camp- I Want You

10. Emily and the Woods

Emily was one of the finalists of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition which I helped to judge. Treetop Flyers were the eventual winners, and well deserved, but this lady also turned a lot of heads through the competition and the audience in her set in the acoustic tent was surprisingly numerous. I’m hoping that through her sweet attire and stunning set, she managed to gain many more fans on the day too. Get her newest EP ‘Eye to Eye’, its wonderful!

Emily and the Woods- Eye to Eye

Also worth a mention: Sea of Bees and Sweet Baboo in the Crow’s Nest, the Crows Nest in general and Caitlin Rose at the Park. The tipi field, Shangri La, and the wonderful events at the Stone Circle.

Thank you to Michael and Emily Eavis for such a wonderful festival! See you in 2013!

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2 Comments

Filed under Festivals, Gig Reviews

2 responses to “Festival Review: My top 10 highlights of Glastonbury 2011

  1. Di Sender

    I do not know if you can help but I saw a small section of the Glastonberry Festival on tv and I saw a singer with lots of dancers, she was wearing a black and white outfit of top and trousers and it was very 1940’s and it was absolutely marvelous and I thought they said it was Caro Emerald and then when I saw her the other night on Strictly it was definitely not her that I saw and I would really like to know who it was but just cannot seem to find anything out on any of the Glastonberry websites. Can you help???

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