Glastonbury Festival 2022: Our review of the Worthy return...
- Credit: Paul Jones
"The people are rewilding..."
It had been 1,088 days. 26,112 hours. 1,566,720 minutes. But we were back at Worthy Farm.
Last week the Glastonbury Festival returned for its 2022 edition, the first since 2019 following two years lost, like so much else, to the pandemic.
The sun shone as thousands poured through the pedestrian gates, the warmth an embrace from an old friend, so pleased you could make the reunion.
And what a reunion it was.
They waited for hours before the gates officially opened, like family members outside the delivery room, keen to hear news of their first grandchild.
From the first moment to the last, everyone in those hallowed fields seemed determined to make the most of it - to make up for lost time.
- 1 A-level results 2022: Backwell School celebrate 'fantastic grades'
- 2 A-level results 2022: Students at Gordano School 'fly high'
- 3 A-level results 2022: 'Outstanding grades' at Clevedon School
- 4 Prestigious new development of one, two and three-bedroom apartments
- 5 'Do not eat' - Lidl recalls product over bacteria fears
- 6 New 24-hour gym to open in Portishead
- 7 Council and First Bus agree to save X5 service
- 8 Lib Dem councillors demand First Bus bosses 'reverse cuts now'
- 9 Deal means Portishead to Bristol rail line will open in 2026
- 10 Backwell solar energy company to expand into Clevedon
Tents were erected in no time, and spirits remained high, alongside the myriad of flags fluttering in the summer breeze.
The Park was the go-to destination on Wednesday and Thursday, it seemed, before music began in earnest.
Viewed from across the site, Pennard Hill became an ants nest, and endless buzz of movement as thousands upon thousands gathered to savour the air.
"And if you gonna stay then you bring your suitcase
And you make it 10 days
'Cause I hate these flying visits
I'll show you upstairs to your blow-up bed
You know you're my best friend
Don't say it's a flying visit"
The first band of the week for me was the fast-emerging Ferris & Sylvester, on Thursday night.
It was also the first time I'd really settled for a performance at Strummerville, the area dedicated to legendary former Clash frontman (and Bridgwater resident) Joe, who was a festival devotee.
And what a spot it is - top of the hill, hidden in a small wood, Joe's fire burning throughout the festival.
It is, like its founder, punk personified - beautiful but raw, aggressive but controlled and almost laid-back.
And the charm kept coming as Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester took to the stage.
Billed as a 'folk' act, much of the set was actually full of Led Zep-style blues riffs that got everyone stomping their feet.
But it is in the heartfelt beauty of songs like Flying Visit (the tale of how a three-year-old sees visitors) where they really strike a chord, one so often left untroubled during loud, raucous festival sets.
But not at Strummerville - the perfect setting, and the perfect start.
As you leave the wood and gaze across the almost 1,000-acre site, the sheer scale of the event hits you.
The skill is in having areas so perfectly constructed, musically and physically - from the techno, industrial metal of the Truth Stage, to the alternative, almost grungy fashionista vibe of The Park.
Everything at Glastonbury is just so well done. It's not bands on a stage, it's bands on a stage that fits, so the music becomes an accessory on the jeans and T-shirt of the setting, finishing off the outfit perfectly.
That's what wows you wherever you go.
"I believe in what I'm feeling and I'm falling for you
This world is gonna end, but till then
I'll give you everything I have"
Friday saw the Pyramid Stage sporting the likes of Crowded House - the perfect act as the mid-afternoon lull begins to creep in - while the mighty Kidzfield also kicked into action, ablaze with colours that will forever be burned into the retinas of the young people who, like their elders in the wider festival, spend hours attempting - but not succeeding - to try everything on offer.
What a place.
But after the big stages got into their stride, you expected things to settle down perhaps, find a rhythm.
Yet this was no ordinary Glastonbury.
It was busier - with an extra 7,000 tickets sold to punters this year and even more extra staff - so there was perhaps a little less time to enjoy your stroll between stages, and longer to wait for that food, or your amber nectar.
But as with everything else, you soak it up, enjoy the ride.
And what a ride it is.
Just ask Sam Fender, whose emotion-filled, sweaty evening set took the nervous energy of the crowd and translated it into an hour of adrenalin-filled rock, performed by a band - and a songwriter - who mean it.
Strummer would have been proud.
A headliner in waiting.
Elsewhere, another with top-of-the-bill potential was performing with a different kind of intensity.
Sigrid, like Sam Fender, hits harder than you'd think in the live environment.
Behind those radio-friendly melodies and synth-pop simplicity lies a weighty live energy that packs a punch.
She's now stormed the Other Stage in 2019 and the John Peel in 2022.
The next step looms.
"I've just seen a face
I can't forget the time or place"
If Friday was about up and comers, the top of the Pyramid bill on Saturday was all about legends.
Legend is a word worthy of the farm, but is banded around far too casually elsewhere.
We wake to news of a surprise appearance by one legend - Greta Thunberg - on the Pyramid.
She delivers a sobering message that so many still refuse to hear.
But like the festival she graces, she perseveres, continues through seemingly futile struggles, and has done so, so much good.
Here, her words get the respect they deserve and the world needs to take more notice.
Musically, in the form of Noel Gallagher and Sir Paul McCartney, you could put their pictures in the dictionary under the word 'legend' and everyone would know what it means.
Manchester's former bad-boy pin-up Noel is more relaxed these days, mature even, and that was reflected in an uncontroversial set full of the singalong anthems that became his family's trademark.
And then to the main event for so many.
Sir Paul McCartney, whatever you may read or saw of his show on television, rose to the challenge of the top spot with casual ease.
An enormous crowd gladly stood in dropping temperatures for over two and a half hours, enraptured by the endless string of classics being faultlessly performed before their eyes.
A far cry from the punk persona of Strummerville, this was pop perfection from one of modern rock's founding fathers.
When he spoke, it was like our old mate 'Macca' was talking directly to each and every one of the 100,000-plus people before him.
And as the clock passed 11pm, almost two hours in, when some were starting to wane, a flick of the Beatles legend's hand brought two more contemporary rock gods to the stage to liven things up.
I can't imagine The Boss or modern rock god Dave Grohl would travel thousands of miles to play a couple of songs for many people.
Paul McCartney is one of them.
Don't believe the naysayers - this was a seismic set so perfect for the occasion.
"Little things that I should have said and done
I never took the time
You were always on my mind"
Sundays at Glastonbury have become like Sundays at home - because I am at home.
I spend the morning lazily trying to absorb every little detail as we stroll for breakfast, or to clean teeth, as I know it is coming to an end.
The now-dog-eared posters on every surface, the sound of tent door zips opening and the thumping bass of a far-off stage.
Breathe it in.
I don't take in much music, instead savouring the madness of the Theatre & Circus Field, chatting to crows on stilts, toasting a Papier Mache-headed Boris Johnson, and picking up the Sunday papers from the Glastonbury Free Press.
I keep moving, hoping to pick up pieces of the atmosphere as I pass food stalls, bars, stages, as I snap countless photographs of seemingly-inane objects and chuckle at overheard conversations, almost slurred and nonsensical after four days of Glastonbury goodness.
I am stopped in my tracks by PP Arnold, who shows she has lost nothing of the voice that’s wowed millions for decades, with a rousing set on the Avalon Stage.
The first cut is indeed the deepest, and Glastonbury leaves a scar on your heart that never heals. But that skin needs some attention when it dries out - and three years is too long to leave it.
My 2022 Glastonbury Festival began with the sun's warm embrace and the touching melody of Flying Visit by Ferris & Sylvester.
It ends with the words 'you are always on my mind' in the distance.
Did I watch everyone I wanted to? Eat everything I fancied? Spend enough time in the places I adore? No. But nor should you at Glastonbury, because life is happening over there, and in these fields, that is everywhere.
It was good to be home.