By: Jerry Sparks
Photos: Ian Lewis
The Flowergirl, The Bard, & The Kings of Avalon
The mythical isle of Avalon, the home to the legend of King Arthur, Excalibur and the lady of the lake supposedly being a beacon of peace and tranquillity, of fairness and equality in medieval times. 25th June 2010 and the isle of Avalon reappeared for a brief glimpse of life at its best at Worthy farm, Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The home of the Glastonbury music festival, this year celebrating forty years since its first flower powered inception.
It wasn’t the fact that the sun smiled on the festival this year as opposed to the accepted – and dreaded – English summer rain but the expectation of something special was tangible. With a line up as diverse, quirky and unusual as any year the acts ranged from Blues, Rock, RnB, Folk, Punk, Dance and everything in between.
Slash with Myles Kennedy on vocals…
For me to write about the usual clichés of festival foods, toilets, extortionate prices would do the weekend a disservice, maybe they aren’t great but those aren’t the memories that (thankfully) I left with, my magical moments are too many to write if words would even do them justice, but here are a flavour of those which took my breath away and captured the spirit of this special place.
Florence & the machine, quirky much loved vocals with a sense of joy and boundless energy which manifested itself under the summer sun as a perfect afternoon. Florence Welch’s love for the festival and spellbinding stage presence standing amid stage like a radiant beacon lifts the mood of everyone watching, songs such as ‘Dog days are over’ have a packed field of festival goers smiling and then when we believe the set is at its crescendo they push things one notch further with a nod toward musical giants Fleetwood Mac with a breathtaking cover of epic song ‘the chain’. Jaw droppingly good.
Sometimes when you least expect it the most magical things can happen by chance, trying to find your way around 1,100 acres of land in the blazing sun amongst 120,000 wandering people isn’t easy so now and again it’s a good idea to stop take in what’s going on around you. Finding myself in a place called the ‘park’ there was an act just starting and as the sun was beginning to set decided on staying to listen for a while – the act was listed in the guide as ‘special guest’, remember, magical things happen when you least expect.
I couldn’t see the stage, but then the people that had the same idea were struggling to see also, the sun was directly behind the stage now but it didn’t matter. As the sun set the unmistakable voice of Thom Yorke joined by his Radiohead compatriot Johnny Greenwood filled the air, the crowd silent and held in the performance hanging on each word. The penultimate song of ‘Karma Police’ left the crowd singing the final coda long after the band had finished playing. One more spine tingling moment as ‘Street Spirit’ took our breath away, if the ancient bards of Avalon were looking down, I’m sure their smiles mirrored those of the crowd that day.
The Kings of Avalon.
If there was a single act to claim this title then this would be made all the more easier, in truth there were several acts which played which could lay claim to the throne (Snoop Dogg & Slash surprisingly, Stevie Wonder certainly) but on this day perhaps Knight of the realm is more befitting for these as the honour of Kings go to the headline act for Saturday. Headlined by Muse, no fireworks, no laser show, no gimmicks just the raw power you would expect from the amazing trio from Teignmouth. With one small exception. After playing a set list which blasted the main stage and the thousands of expectant faces with songs such as ‘New Born’, ‘Time is running out’, ‘Feeling good’ and with an intense set finish of ‘Stockholm syndrome’ the band rejoined the stage for their encore. It was at this point lead singer Matt Bellamy simply uttered the words “this is our friend THE EDGE”, cue mass hysteria as the spot light fell on the U2 guitarist. Seriously. Launching into an amazing rendition of ‘The streets have no name’. Did I mention that Glastonbury is a place of Legends?
A dreamscape festival that welcomes you into its embrace, the mythical isle of Avalon, a place where legends can be reality.
**Thank you Jerry and Ian for this amazing piece, submitted to Dipped in Cream EXCLUSIVELY. Much love and appreciation. ~ j