Header photograph courtesy of Steph Edwards Having heard all the stories from friends, seen all the footage on a loop every summer on the BBC and lusted at the photographs in magazines, it was time to sample the legendary festival up close. After a last minute dash for wellies (Yup, the inner idiot in me thought I might not need them following days of good news from Metcheck), it was time. Due to the nature of the beast, this experience will in no way what so ever reflect the festival itself; this is just one person’s experience. A thousand completely different stories from a thousand different people are available from a thousand different places. This is one from a 405-er. Thursday Bands this year started on a Thursday, with Maximo Park given the prestige of kicking off the festival in the late afternoon. Well, for those that actually managed to see them; barriers had to placed up across the path near the Queens Head where they playing, crowds unable to get through. A ridiculously small venue for when there’s no one else to actually see - something to be sorted out next year. Oh well, off for some heavy quaffing at the Cider Bus in the by now sweltering sun, what a terrible shame. Highlights from the Cider Bus are sketchy. One memory that sticks was the sight of the legendary Michael Eavis driving around in his Landrover with what can only be described as a 'shit-eating-grin'; surveying his millions coming in. Metronomy After much mooching/stumbling around sampling the atmosphere/cider, it was time to get down to the Queen’s Head in ample time for Metronomy. Though it was on this journey that the Michael Jackson rumours started to spread like wildfire. A Glasto wind up was the first reaction, then confusion and conflicting rumours to his state of consciousness were abound, but it finally hit home the King of Pop was actually dead, a genuine shock to the site. Every single conversation that night (and many the following day) overheard included mention of Jacko, essentially part of our pop-culture childhood having gone. Not quite exactly the spontaneous candle light vigils and plethora of tribute graffiti scrawled everywhere that some media might have you believe. Though an obvious ‘Where were you when…’ moment realisation immediately. Metronomy as per usual were razor sharp live, having matured hugely with heavy touring, and suiting the packed intimate tent of the Queens Head, a terrific way to end the night. My Heart Rate Rapid had the crowd buzzing, though their set was cut short abruptly as time had run out. Fear not, they would be on again the next day for a full-set. Friday The rain heavy rain that started the previous night is still clinging on, turning parts of the site into a muddy chocolate cake. Those that put up shiny new colourful tents by walkways now had blotchy brown tents due to kicked mud from passers-by. Following a study of the guide for today’s proceedings, it was remembered that Friday was the day of nasty clash-age. A session of heated debate, circling bands with pens and calculating walking times ensued. Names were called. Mud was flung. Ponchos stained. Ego’s punctured. Cider promised. Regina Spektor After noon the rain cleared in time for the first taste of Pyramid Stage music with Regina Spektor. Playing much stuff of her new album Far, the quirky songwriter just seems delighted to be there judging from the huge Cheshire cat grin on her face. Old hits such as On The Radio and Fidelity prove sing-a-long joys for the charmed crowd. Never get why Begin To Hope get so much stick from Spektor enthusiasts. Start to make way through the cooing crowd early to get to The Other Stage to see The Maccabees – Fucked Up are on at the same time, who have a great live reputation and very nearly veer that way – the first cruel clash. A more than solid set mixing their two albums, the result being the filler from Wall of Arms is thankfully absent. Smashing chaps it seems coupled with smashing music, Precious Time injects energy to an energy-sapping day. Much of surprise guest N.E.R.D is caught from a far, in-between cider and food and cider and tent runs, and has the main stage crowd eating from the palm of his hands, bouncing the word here. A complete u-turn is offered by the very hairy and very sweaty Fleet Foxes, possibly the perfect act to mong-out to on the ever increasingly oppressive afternoon sunshine - with a cider, but you’ll probably take that as a given if you’ve been reading at all closely. White Winter Hymnal sounds majestic, quite astonishing to see them on the main stage in front of tens of thousands of people considering they’ve only one full length album under them. Though I still insist that one song just repeats ‘Labia’ over and over again. Fleet Foxes A welcome break from the sun in the John Peel tent if offered by Metronomy: Part 2, just as perfect as the previous day but with a full-fat set. They end on an old nameless track rarely played, and much rockier than anything of previous. Just as catchy, as during a toilet visit after it is THE song that is being hummed/whistled/Dum-de-dummed. For the next few hours it’s time to dance off our proverbial arses, with a short journey to Dance West where the ever-reliable Annie Mac is present. But the reason for this excursion for The Whip at 8:00, who play a stormer of a set and have the intimate crowd moving body parts I didn’t know the human body was even capable to move. Friends are made. Feet are blistered. Shapes are popped. Idiots made of ourselves. Established electro favourites such as Trash and Blackout are interplayed with salivating new material that goes down well. A highlight of the weekend. Part of the Crookers set is caught as the body demands more moving, but has to be cut short for the long footslog to The Park Stage to see now Krautrock inspired The Horrors. The Horrors It is on this journey that another rumour surfaces, ala Jackson the previous day. A horrifying rumour… that on the main stage Lady Ga Ga had her ‘foof’ out. A quick jig to Annie Mac again outside the Radio 1 Live Lounge (she sure does travel fast) by The Park Stage soon erases the mental image. Only half of The Horrors set is caught, the one major regret of the weekend, where they play album Primary Colours in its entirety, in order. Faris Rotter continually jerks about spasmodically intensively on stage. The finale of Sea Within A Sea is as hypnotic live as you would expect, leaving little hairs tingling at the intimate stage, probably the most scenic venue at the festival with fabulous views and bowl shaped banks. The Silent Disco close by proves hugely entertaining and districting, quite hilarious hearing a couple of hundred people yelling ‘I NEVEEEEEEERRR’ to The Killers without music; strangely melodic also. So distracting it is, half of Animal Collective’s set is missed at The Park. However, most likely due to where we are placed to the left of the stage, the acoustics are disappointing, as sound struggles for balance. Though for those that were in the perfect place, feedback is hugely positive on Panda Bear and co. A massively extended rendition of Fireworks is a highlight; the set feels almost enchanting especially given the surroundings, coupled with light show from AC, a powerful synergy. A perfect feast for the senses for stoner’s, and stoner’s aplenty there most certainly are. Animal Collective So brings us to the end of Day 2 - music wise at least, as the night is still young, though limbs feeling very much not so. Part 2 available here The 405 Glastonbury Spotify playlist: Part 1