Saturday, 28 June 2008

No, I am NOT at Glastonbury this weekend

All of my friends presumed I would be at the Glastonbury festival this weekend, but I haven't actually been the that festival in eight years and I doubt I will ever bother going again, as I have now discovered that continental Europe festivals are in better locations, have much better line-ups and cost less to attend. Having to wear wellington boots and walk around in mud everywhere doesn't appeal to me and I stuck through all of that at Glastonbury in 1997 and 1998 when it was the worst weather conditions the festival had yet! One clear memory I have of Glastonbury 1998 was watching Robbie Williams on the Pyramid stage in pouring rain with two of my friends. We got so soaked that we had to go back to our hotel, take all our soaking clothes off and dry everything on the heaters in the room! Yes, you see I've always cheated by staying in hotels and never camped, apart from in 1999 I camped out with a friend at a private campsite ten minutes drive from the festival site and barely got any sleep there because it was so damn cold at night and my friend snored, so I dread to think what it's really like camping onsite! I've always been one for my comforts and the thought of camping at any festival sounds like a nightmare, unless it's backstage camping, but that would probably be equally as bad with all the free booze on offer! What a lot of people don't know who have never been to this festival is that it is not even in Glastonbury, it's actually on farmland in a really small little West country English village called Pilton which is about a twenty minute drive from the town of Glastonbury. The nearest train station is in the middle of nowhere and taxis anywhere are hard to come by and expensive. There are about two village shops to get food, unless you want to pay a fortune for overpriced noodles and other crap at the festival, so yes, the four days of being at Glastonbury probably costs the same as it would flying abroad for other big music events like Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring in Germany, Roskilde in Denmark, Benicassim in Spain, Pinkpop in Holland, Pukkelpop in Belgium, Lowlands in Holland and loads more. So many festivals and so many bands. If I won the lotto or any large amount of cash anywhere, I would definitely try and go to as many of these events as I could. A shame that isn't possible to just be able to go now!
I have been disappointed with the acts who play the Glastonbury festival and it came as no surprise that this year was the first year in it's history that the tickets haven't all sold out in record time. Apparently there were still 3,000 tickets still available last week, which is a major disappointment. Just who wants to pay about £150 (almost $300) to see Jay-Z headline an event that is famed for hosting rock legends and the biggest British and American alternative bands around...? Wrong kind of move booking an American hip-hop artist for a traditional hippy style music festival! I wasn't that impressed by some of the other bands on the bill this year or last year. The reason why Glastonbury has lost it's charm is because of stiff competition from the overseas events and the fact that the Download festival is just two weeks before and has better bands playing.

I am quite satisfied with watching any acts I do like on the BBC TV channels. I am watching Amy Whinehouse right now and despite having been in hospital for something (what's new?!) she seems to have managed to entertain everyone well on the Pyramid stage without collapsing or fluffing her singing too much. Her hair couldn't possibly get any bigger that it is now!! The rambling on about her junkie husband Blake was something we could do without. She says he's now out of jail! How long will it be before he's arrested again for another drugs offense? I give it a few weeks. Why the public love this girl so much is easy to see. As I'm watching her performance at Worthy Farm in Pilton on the television right now, she is singing Rehab and singing it as she's going around shaking hands with all the fans in the front row who have probably been standing there in front of the barrier in that crush for hours. She is making a real effort to put the critics to rest here. Good for her.
Leaving out the bad press and totally disfunctional lifestyle, she is a unique talent and there is no other female singer anything like her. Eccentric ex-junkie, boozer, whatever, I'm one of many people hoping that Amy Whinehouse puts her troubles behind her and will be around for a long time.

A random shocker from Jay-Z as he came onto the Pyramid stage, he opened his set with his own version of the Oasis hit Wonderwall! Who would've ever thought an American rap star would perform a cover of a famous British pop song and Glastonbury favourite...?!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

My favourite Rock Im Park photos

Just some of the best shots I took of bands and scenes at Rock Im Park last weekend. I'm giving Download at Donnington Park a miss, too expensive hotels and too much of a pain in the ass to get to from Surrey! Next festival I'm going to isn't exactly a festival, but an indoor arena show in Madrid, Spain, called Under 18 Festival with Panic at the Disco and Simple Plan. Then it's back to the Uk for Reading in August. Several good side shows are happening around the festivals in the next two months, Panic at the Disco have just announced a couple of UK shows which I'll be at, so hopefully I will be able to get some pictures from these upcoming shows.
The full set of Rock Im Park photos can be seen here:

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Rock Im Park in Germany last weekend was a blast!

I returned home from Nurgemburg in Germany last night, after a fantastic weekend at Rock Im Park. Apart from a thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon that got me so soaked that I left in a shuttle to the hotel and had to totally strip off and get dry, then needed a couple of hours to wait for the rain to stop to get back to the festival site, it was a great weekend!
I only had a photo pass for the Alternastage and Clubstage, but the bands on the Alternastage were actually the main acts I really wanted to see above any of the bands on the Centerstage. So it worked really well in the end, although I have to say that Metallica on Sunday night were as awesome as ever and thank God it didn't rain during their set like it did during Rage Against The Machine the night before! I got lots of good close-up shots of Bullet For My Valentine, HIM. The Verve, Manic Street Preachers, The Fratellis and Paramore and some scene captures of the event.

For all the best live photos and some of the sights and scenes, the photos were taken specifically for the Virtual Festivals website, go here to see the photos: