Last year, I said that Glastonbury was the best week[end] of my life, but having just returned from Glastonbury 2014, I can now safely assure you that the past week has in fact been the greatest ever. Sunday was truly Dolly’s day, Rudimental were the real sufferer’s of Friday’s torrential rain, and Chance The Rapper did more than take his chance with a Sunday evening performance. I’ve decided to break up my articles into the three days, kicking off with Friday.
For the opening day of a festival, a lot of the most anticipated acts fell on the Friday, synth-pop trio CHVRCHES were set to rock The John Peel Stage, Rudimental had secured a Pyramid Stage spot, as well as the duke of dubstep- Skrillex, bringing his trademark spaceship to The Other Stage. Unfortunately, as with every festival, clashes were a problem, Haim, Billy Bragg and M.I.A. among others were all victims to clashing and it was a shame I couldn’t see everyone I wanted to. Nevertheless, my festival kicked off with Blondie, who despite having some incredible songs are more than past their prime, at times I actually felt sorry for Debbie Harry who I don’t think is ready to hang up the mic just yet, when ultimately she probably should. John Newman followed, who despite rocking a woeful sleeveless vest was something of a revitalisation despite me not being around to watch his biggest hit Love Me Again. We’d opted to see electro duo Bondax, who tore shit down on the Sonic Stage despite remixing their most popular hits which I think I would have preferred to see in their original state, we also managed to catch the tail end of Hannah Wants who was also decent. De La Soul were an incredible act who unfortunately I only managed to see the end of, but what I did see included Me, Myself & I as well as their verses from Feel Good Inc so in essence we saw the best bits.
Then the heavens opened and it absolutely poured down, it simply wouldn’t stop. Through the entirety of Rudimental’s set, it chucked it down and made their already flat performance even less enjoyable. The problems led with the group’s two vocalists- both were flat and lacked the energy required to match the likes of DJ Locksmith, as well as the band’s music itself. Not Giving In was a minor peak in the performance as well as the singalong Free. Despite an avid crowd reception to Ed Sheeran’s unveiling, the song was shit, and again, the crowd wasn’t on board with the energy not even DJ Locksmith had anymore. Even Waiting All Night wasn’t massively enjoyable, the lack of Ella Eyre was desperately missed and the replacement vocalist wasn’t capable of replicating Eyre’s absence. Still, myself and the rest of the crowd were all in desperate anticipation for Feel The Love, Rudimental needed to smash it in order to have any hope of not being deemed a washout, but then the sky started to rumble, the lights and screened were turned off and Rudimental begrudgingly exited the stage. Their set was cut short and they all trudged out a moment later with nothing more than a bow to the crowd, they were just as disappointed as us.
But this was Glastonbury, and us Brits are never prepared to let a bit of rain spoil our weekend, so we chucked on our ponchos, slid on our wellies and carried on as if it were blazing hot sunshine. Having camped right next to The Other Stage, we overheard and half-watched Foster The People who were pretty good and managed to reel in a more than impressive crowd. 7:45 eventually came around and I braved the mud and the rain, which was still hammering, and headed over to The John Peel Stage where CHVRCHES had been delayed for over 45 minutes due to the rain. Everything had began to ache following Wednesday and Thursday’s house-heavy nights, now I was soaked, my wellies had about 2 inches of water in them, and as you might imagine, I was pretty lethargic. Then CHVRCHES came out, performed their entire album and completely and utterly blew me away, single-handedly one of the best performances I’d ever seen. Vocalist Lauren Mayberry was a tad shy to begin with, and I think the overwhelming crowd got to her a bit initially, but after a couple of songs she was well into her stride and had the crowd gasping and begging for more. They made me wait for my favourite, The Mother We Share, but it was the perfect ending to a flawless performance that I will never, ever forget.
I managed to catch the end of Skrillex last year at Reading/Leeds, so I half-knew what to expect, but how wrong I was and again, I was blown away and so too, was the rest of the crowd. He churned out the hits from Wild For The Night Band and Bangarang, to a slowed-down Latch, as well as daringly punching out many of his new album including Coast Is Clear and DJ Ease My Mind. Following on from Skrillex, we caught the end of a Nero DJ Set, and he didn’t disappoint, a more-than-ready crowd collided with the shock and awe element of the incredible Arcadia stage, and made for a perfect closer for Friday night. What a beginning, and I was only a third of the way through, Friday would certainly take a lot to beat.