The Art of Glastonbury

After finally downloading some of my pictures, here’s a belated post about summer fun. If you’ve never been to the Glastonbury Festival you might be labouring under the misapprehension that it’s a music event. In fact, you could have a great time in the fields of Worthy Farm if you don’t do to see a band at all. A city of two hundred thousand people, three miles across, descends on the Somerset countryside and it is a city of wonders. I think the first time I went was 1992. I remember catching sight of the place and thinking I had stumbled upon Tina Turner’s Bartertown, from the Mad Max movies. There was just so much going on and here are a few pictures away from the music side:

Much of this year’s art was on a gigantic scale, set in some sort of post apocalyptic dystopian future. Here in an area of the site known simply as Block9 is “The London Underground”, a 50ft tower block complete with a crashed Tube train near the top.

Opposite “The London Underground” is another extract from an urban cityscape, the magnificent “NYC Downlow”. Dare you cross the road to enter what for the Glastonbury campers might still appear to be luxury accommodation. Yes the bathroom’s exposed to the elements but, hey, at least there’s a bath.

Shangri-La was a nearby area of the site that had “been contaminated”. It was a Blade Runner-style world with a mixture of hope and desperation. You entered underneath a neon banner proclaiming “We are all sky” which is something that’s always had a special resonance for me in my more poetic writing.

There was a rumour (that I started) that Bono’s plane had been shot down on leaving the festival, ending up as another club in one of the outlying fields. Or maybe this is an allusion to Lord of the Flies, that if the mud becomes too deep we’ll all revert to savages. Whichever, I think the styling’s extraordinary.

Here’s your chance to begin again in the off-world colonies. Now we’ve seen the final space shuttle flight it might be the only way to go there.

There are more conventional creations (but none the less disturbing) like this oversize sand baby. Basically everywhere you go that’s away from the very central area you’ll see something.

And, after his performance on the Friday night (I was on the front row, so confess I did see some music) where better to give thanks the Temple of the Blessed Bono?

If you go to the festival in 2013 (next year they’re having a break) then make sure you do more than sit in a field listening to faraway music.

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~ by keithmansfield on August 14, 2011.

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