Glastonbury 2011 - Sunday Review

Sunday starts with a bout of hay-fever affecting me, we decide to take our camping gear back to the car to leave on Sunday night (a friend lives 20 minutes away and the allure of a hot shower on Sunday night is too great after three long days) so my day starts at 1pm with Esben & The Witch at the Oxlyers in west tent.

I've not seen Esben since last May when I saw them supporting Warpaint in London, they've released a stunning debut since then and their progression has translated well to the live stage, the dark, ominous soundscapes are intense and huge. A captivating spectacle as the songs blend together as transfixed audience looks on. Pedals, percussion and droning guitar haze washes over the dance tent, temporarily turning it into a blood curdling witches cove. A band to see live.


Next to the John Peel tent, Foster The People are the second terrible band I watch primarily to get a decent view of the next band. FTP attract a large, large crowd (mainly consisted of youthful girls) and I know I'm in trouble as soon as it starts, a combination of boy band, Cold Play and MGMT follows, I'm glad when it ends, if John Peel would have liked this drivel then I'm the next in line to the throne. It was perhaps worth putting up with to guarantee front positioning for The Joy Formidable who arrive on stage some twenty minutes late (there was a problem with the sound) meaning a song is cut from the planned set.


What we do get from TJF is simply fantastic, for fourty minutes they blow the roof of the John Peel stage. It's relentless, as ever, the energy the three piece create is second to none. Noisy, beautiful noise fills the air as the crowd lap up the six tracks played. "Cradle" goes down well but the biggest cheer is saved for the last track "Whirring" sounds like a monster as it cumulates with Ritz chucking her guitar into a gong - the only shame is length. TJF need longer.

The set finishes too late to head to the Pyramid to catch Laura Marling so I decide to go for a wander and food, a mid afternoon lull means I have a few spare hours. I head to The Crow's Nest and catch Sweet Baboo. I wait for a while out of the sun and as evening arrives Sea of Bees take to the same stage. The raw and sparse acoustic set is a perfect compliment to the days glorious sunshine.


Next it's down the hill to the main stage to see Lykke Li, I was looking forward to catching her, I'd only seen her do a small in-store gig at Rough Trade before and her show doesn't disappoint. She takes to the stage dressed in a black and with a veil covering her head. Heavy dominance on percussion, at times every band member and Lykke herself are bashing away at drums and
cymbals. It's brutal and her moody demeanour suits the theme of the tracks from 'Wounded Rhymes', the theme of the show is certainly dark, everything is black.

Through clouds of smoke machine fog Lykke asks the crowd to dance on more than three occasions, it's a bit hard to do after four days in a field with little sleep and with your feet stuck in mud but some oblige, probably not enough to please. My highlights were the more tender beautiful moments of "I Know Places" and "Sadness is a Blessing" though the more danceable "Get Some" reserved for the finale perhaps is the best received.

The heat, hay-fever and tiredness take their toll and combined with a lack of a real headliner that I want to catch we decide to call it a day and head on the long walk back to the car and then a short journey back to where I'm staying. I'm home even in time to see a bit of Beyonce. It lasts about two minutes before the red button is pressed and I watch Hurts' set, a band I would have seen if it wasn't for a clash. I feel I made the right decision coming home early as I'm lying on the comfortable sofa as midnight approaches.

So ends Glastonbury 2011, my review one week late hs given me time to contemplate the festival more. Overall it was pretty good, not as good as 2010 in my opinion but good. I'm not sure if I'll return in all honesty, the festival is now huge, too big for me and with the increasing BBC coverage it seems the organisers are more interested in putting on mainstream acts on the main stages to please TV execs. I don't really agree with that, thankfully The Park area more than makes up for it. Though I do think it's time to end the 'Special Guests', they'll never beat Radiohead and Pulp and it makes The Park area too busy and lot's of unhappy punters who get turned away. Still in summation, it was an enjoyable, tiring experience.

Sea of Bees - The Woods
Esben and the Witch - Marching Song
Youth Knows No Pain by LykkeLi