Glastonbury: The Holy Grail

Glastonbury has become the world’s most famous music festival, and with damn good reason.

It always has the best lineup of any festival, ever, and despite the insanity of 200,000 people, incessant rain, churning mud, and no sleep for 3 days, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

This year was no different. There was a formidable lineup, including many artists that are now a chance in a million to see live:

  • Metallica
  • Arcade Fire
  • Kasabian
  • Dolly Parton
  • Jack White
  • Robert Plant
  • De La Soul
  • Pixies
  • Interpol
  • Bryan Ferry
  • Jurassic 5
  • Mogwai

This is just a tiny selection of everyone who was playing – and going to Glastonbury without losing your mind is a practice in the art of choosing.

There’s simply no way you will get to see everyone you want to across the course of the weekend. You’ll have to make a choice – have you seen them before? Will you ever get to see them again? Have you heard rave reviews from people who have seen them previously? Will their set have that special magic you can never quite capture elsewhere?

This year, there were a few acts I decided on ahead of time.

Where previously I’ve just turned up and gone with the flow, I’m older and wiser now. I brought proper boots, and we even took an RV rather than messing around with trying to camp.

On Day 1, we made a beeline for The Kaiser Chiefs and Interpol. Rodrigo y Gabriela were an unexpected – but fantastic – addition to the day. Day 2’s priorities were Robert Plant, Pixies and Bryan Ferry. All these old rockers were just phenomenal, really amazing to see. Finally, Day 3 rolled around and Dolly Parton and Kasabian closed the festival with absolutely cracking performances.

Going to Glastonbury is always a bit like taking your life in your hands. It can be nerve-wracking, but it’s so exhilarating that it’s always worth the downsides.

A Brief History of Rock Music

Rock music originated in the United States in the 1950s. Early rock music drew heavily on the rhythm and blues and country music that had become so popular in the 1940s. Over the next 15 to 20 years the genre blossomed, expanding into the United Kingdom outward into a variety of styles and sounds.

The earliest form of rock was what we would now refer to as classic rock. Based on a couple of guitars – electric and bass – with a drumkit and maybe a keyboard. As the 50s drew to a close and the crazy era that was the 19060s rolled in, rock exploded. The Beatles held down the fort on the classic front, but soon the world was seeing a huge diversity within in the genre.

Some of the biggest, most notable developments were psychedelic rock, progressive rock, glam rock, heavy metal, punk rock, grunge and indie rock. While these developments were gradual and happened all over the world, the music scene would never be the same after rock emerged as a real force.

While it has been met with strenuous opposition – from moralists, politicians and alarmed parents – rock has always been an unstoppable force. Often used as a vehicle for political or social statement, it has transcended all the boundaries we humans are so good at putting up against each other.

It’s also become a symbol of counter-culture thinking, non-conformity and anti-consumerism for many people. Modern thinkers might consider the true art form of rock to have been diluted beyond point of being useful, but many of the freedoms they enjoy today are owed to the rockers who have gone before them.