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Was it the mud or the line-up or the plethora of new rivals that made it a struggle for Glastonbury Festival to sell all its tickets this year? As a Glasto regular since 1990, I’d suggest none of the above. Personally I think it had to do with the Vibe.

Disbelievers may scoff but the legendary “Glasto Vibe” — enhanced, no doubt, by the numerous ley lines which are said to converge on the dairy farm in Pilton, Somerset where the event has been held on and off since 1970 — is what has always separated this mother of all festivals from its pallid imitations. During last year’s frigid mudfest, however, the Vibe appeared to have gone AWOL.

For me the defining moment came on the Friday night in front of the main stage when, squeezing my way forward through the packed crowd for a better view of the (very overrated) Arctic Monkeys, I met little but curses, obduracy and intense ill will.

Nothing odd about that, you might think. No one likes a queue-barger. But the point is that in 12 or so Glastonburys this had never happened to me before. Not once. Not even in front of bands 10 times better than the Arctic Monkeys with twice as big an audience. At Glastonbury, grumbling about crowd pushers is — or at least was — totally infra dig.

The reason it’s infra dig is because the festival’s special peace-and-love atmosphere encourages an extraordinary degree of empathy among the 130,000 or so revellers. When someone tries to squeeze past you — usually very politely, for such is the Glasto way — you don’t think, “Idiot! Why didn’t they try to get here earlier?” Rather, you think, “That could be me in a few hours’ time.” And such are the ever-changing requirements of a revellers’ day at Glastonbury — food, drinks, loo breaks, cigarette-paper runs, and what have you — it very likely will be.

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Junk Male
June 2nd, 2008
11:06 AM
I don't think the acid is as good as it used to be either. Just a thought....

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