Home Festivals Glastonbury 2022 – the Disneyland for adults

Glastonbury 2022 – the Disneyland for adults

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The last two years were like a bad dream. What was unthinkable suddenly became the new normal, and phrases like lockdown, quarantine, and keep the distance were our new reality. The world was slowly waking up from this nightmare, and some smaller and bigger events were trialled last summer, but for me, it didn’t feel right without Glastonbury Festival. So when the gates finally opened, after three long years, it felt like coming home.

Ziggy Marley – Pyramid Stage

Thanks to BBC coverage, Glastonbury is probably one of the best and, oddly enough, one of the worst documented festivals in the UK. Everyone could switch on tv and watch the live broadcast from any of the main stages or even catch up with iPlayer on-demand if you missed the live event. But Glastonbury is not about the main stages. Sometimes the best gigs are happening in the smaller tents, and one of the most popular topics over morning bacon sarnie is not who plays headlining slot but speculations about who will fill one of the festival’s TBAs (To Be Announced). Those treats are not to be found in BBC broadcasting.

If you think the festival looks impressive from your sofa, you would be amazed to know how BIG the site is. Walking 30 minutes between one stage and another is standard. And if you add the crowds, sometimes getting from point A to B might take you about 45 min to an hour. So if you manage to secure a golden ticket, take your best walking boots with you. To give you an idea, my Fitbit showed, on average 25-27k steps per day. You can also check the link below and compare the Glastonbury Festival site to your local area so you can get an idea of its size. Enter your local postcode to get a festival overlay in your local area.

Glastonbury Overlay Interactive Map

Friday brought the reggae vibes from Ziggy Marley opening the Pyramid Stage, while Libertines, followed by Kate Tempest and Blossoms, took up the second-biggest platform – The Other Stage. Every year there is speculation about the Spice Girls secret appearance on one of the stages. The myth is part of the Glastonbury culture, along with a secret Monorail supposedly connecting all stages and leading to Shangri-la. Of course, the monorail is still a myth, or maybe wishful thinking of exhausted revellers, but the Spice Girls, well, that one might be now partially true thanks to Blossoms, who brought Mel C on stage for Spice Up Your Life cover.

Blossoms

Meanwhile, in another part of the festival, at Avalon Stage, the American husband and wife duo, known as War & Treaty, mixed up some Southern soul, gospel, country and good old rock’n’roll. I rocked up to their show, unsure what to expect, and I was blown away by their energy, connection with the crowd and a perfect mixture of tunes to soothe my soul.

However, I braved the long walk in the scorching heat because of the next act on Avalon StageTanita Tikaram. The award-winning singer/songwriter performance is a rarity I could not miss. Her unique, deep voice somehow became even deeper through the years, and as she opened her set with Twist In My Sobriety, I could feel chills and a shiver going down my spine.

Idles @ The Other Stage

Friday evening saw me rushing back from Avalon to The Other Stage to catch Bristol’s finest rock piece – Idles. Their gigs are always full-on energy feasts with fans and band members jumping on and off the stage. “Fold your chairs, or you’re going to lose them”, Joe Talbot warned the audience as their set progressed. Mr. Motivator, Mother, Rottweiler and a cheeky All You Need Is LoveThe Beatles cover were the highlights of their set.

Clashes at Glastonbury are legendary. So Friday was one of the toughest days to decide where to go next. The Other Stage brought St. Vincent, while Sam Fender took over the Pyramid Stage. The puzzle continues in the evening, as the Pyramid Stage welcomes Billie Eilish, Foals headline The Other Stage and on John Peel Stage closing act was Primal Scream. But, as always with Glastonbury, at the end of the day, it’s not who you missed but who you saw, so I stayed to enjoy St. Vincent and rushed through the crowd to John Peel and catch up on funky dancefloor beats delivered by Scottish hit makers – Primal Scream.

Saturday started early with a secret gig from Idles opening BBC Introducing Stage. The set was one of TBAs, and even given very short notice – 30 min before the performance- the area filled up quickly, forcing organisers to temporarily lock the access to this part of the festival.

Friday set from Idles at The Other Stage confirmed their status as rock stars, able to perform any size of the stages. But the small tent of BBC Introducing brought the sweaty, crowd-surfing experience essential to bands like Idles.

Smaller stages are one of the biggest treasures of the festival. The best memories are from the acts you just wandered or happened to be in the area when they performed. I always brought a few bands I discovered at Glastonbury. This year I stumbled upon Dream Nails – punk rock at its finest, performing at Greenpeace and Williams Green, Beabadoobee breaking all borders of music genres at John Peel Stage and Honeyglaze – a gem on the BBC Introducing Stage.

Glastonbury delivers a mixture of new and upcoming bands and trusted rockers with proven status. It is up to you to decide if you are off on to a new music adventure or if you want to get closer to living legends. Skunk Anansie took The Other Stage on Saturday afternoon, filling the air with love, energy and the greatest hits mix.

While Noel Galagher gathered crowds at the Pyramid Stage, John Peel’s tent filled up with a younger audience waiting to see Yungblud.

Yungblud

“Glastonbury! Are you ready to go fucking crazy? Cause I’m Yungblud, and I’m crazy!” shouted an energetic singer/songwriter before making the legendary John Peel Stage his own. He was jumping, bouncing, changing music genres, proving that there is no right or wrong in music as long as you put your soul into it. His set includes fan-favourites like Memories, I Cry 2, The Funeral, alongside Tissues – a brand new track from his upcoming album.

The final act on John Peel on Saturday evening was Jamie T, performing to a packed tent; at the same time, another legend – Paul McCartney, was topping the bill at Pyramid Stage. The summary of Glastonbury – terrible clashes and hard choices you must take.

Sunday brought two more TBAs – George Ezra at John Peel Stage and Jack White at The Park. However, my biggest surprise on Sunday was the Swedish quartet – Little Dragon performing at John Peel Stage. The electro-pop quartet delivered an almost theatrical experience, using lights, backgrounds and costumes to fill their music story. Their set and audience were much different to what came next – Charlie XCX closing the final night at John Peel.

With a look that Xenna: The Warrior Princess would approve, Charlie XCX rocked up on John Peel Stage. The Boom Clap and I Love It hitmaker delivered a dynamic set that was a feast for the eyes and ears. Her performance gathered the younger festival-goers while other generations were dancing along to the greatest hits of Pet Shop Boys at The Other Stage, swinging to Suzanne Vega in Acoustic Tent or watching Kendrick Lamar closing The Pyramid Stage.

And that was Glastonbury 2022 completed. But when the lights go off on the main stages, it is the best time to hit the road leading to Arcadia and dance underneath the spider or lose yourself in the South East Corner and Shangri-la. But this is something for another story.

Words and photography – Edyta Krzesak

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