Glastonbury kicks off, the most important music festival in the world | Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar will pass through the English venue

It’s true: it was a postponed party. In the year 2020, the glaston bury festival He was going to celebrate his 50th birthday, when the pandemic hit and the whole world went on hiatus. The celebration had to wait two more years to take place but it is here and Glastonbury is back with everything.

To think of Glastonbury is to think of pilgrims. This collective pilgrimage undoubtedly has to do with the love of music. One hundred and fifty thousand people they would not willingly concentrate on a farm in the heart of England if they weren’t passionate about music. But Glastonbury is much more than that and that is the secret of the world’s biggest rock festival.

According to David Crosby, Joni Mitchell – who missed Woodstock to go on a television show, on the advice of her manager – composed the most relevant song about those famous days of “love and music” that took place in 1969 and that put the cornerstone of the rock festival as a transcendent event. That is why, when thinking about the Glastonbury pilgrims, that phrase from Mitchell’s “Woodstock” theme comes to mind, which says “we are stardust, we are golden, and we have to find our way back to the Garden…” capital in the word garden is not idle, because it is an Eden lost somewhere along the way. What was the poisonous apple that you bit? Ah, that’s the big question. The one that these 150,000 people who year after year, and without even knowing which artists will participate, Glastonbury sells out within 24 hours of going on sale.

Paul McCartney will close the day on Saturday. AFP photo.

Now, with Monday’s result, when the festival’s line-up is known, they are right. Who would want to miss the recital number 500 of Paul MCCARTNEY closing the day of Glastonburiano Saturday? And speaking of living legends, who wouldn’t want to witness the parade of hits from Diana Ross, from the time of the Supremes to his successful solo career? But Glastonbury is not a monument to nostalgia: in the same stage – the main one, the one with the Pyramid– will be exclusive figures billie eilish (Friday 24) and Kendrick Lamar (Sunday 26). And they will parade too Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Wainwright, Ziggy Marley, Lorde, Haim, Crowded House and signatures follow.

It’s hard to give in to the easy temptation of enumeration, but Glastonbury boasts at least ten main stages and dozens of other prosceniums far and wide Michael Eavis Farm, starting with the Other Stage, the place for artists on their way to consecration and for great cult heroes and heroines. In 2022 they will be there St. Vincent, Idles, Pet Shop Boys, The Libertines, Foals and Lianne La Havas. And that taking the list at random…

Glastonbury never neglected tradition, but always put an eye looking to the future. That is why it has two scenarios for the deployment of new talents: parkwhich is in the hills from where you can see the entire festival grounds, and the John Peel Stage, which is a tribute to the great English radio host, a champion of those sounds that make those who think only of the radio of the majority frown, and the less complicated the music and the easier the message, the better. Peel peed on them and it wasn’t easy for him to keep his space on the BBC, but a large silent minority loved him for it. In those two scenarios there will be experimental music of all kinds, from electronics to four-tet to the elegant neo-existentialism of dry cleaninggoing through the confessional stanzas of Phoebe Bridgers and the current Australian punk and unleashed from Amyl and the Sniffers. Without forgetting his compatriot Courtney Barnett and the former leader of Pulp, Jarvis Cockerwho hides under the pseudonym Jarv Is, he will know why.

Billie Eilish will seal her consecration at Glastonbury. AFP photo.

It is also worth noting that there is a stage called Acousticswhere there will be legends like the guitarist Richard Thompson and the distinguished American singer-songwriter Laura Veirsbut you have to leave an open space to sing praises to the stage West Holst where the largest cornucopia of genres and styles takes place; where the burning African sounds of Seun Kuti & Egypt 80Y Angelique Kidjo with the British neo jazz of Nubiyan Twist, and the indefinable and revolutionary rock of Black midiand there is still room for the virtuosity of Snarky Puppy and Caribou.

52 years have passed since farmer Michael Eavis had the epiphany of organizing a rock festival that was, at the same time, a meeting of soul mates, a union of people with a mindset for change, using art and more specifically music as a platform. . And that’s where that other aspect of Glastonbury is worth noting: the planetary consciousness, not only because of the conspicuous presence of environmental organizations like Greenpeace, Oxfam and others, but because of the festival’s own intention that people take home more than just music. That is why the thematic venues, where the dangers and contradictions that devastate our planet are exhibited -sometimes with a truly dramatic tone-; but also the Green Fields, those green fields populated by artisans, philosophers and therapies of all kinds, aimed at reconditioning pilgrim souls who need a little existential push. That is why the presence, in addition, of other branches of art and entertainment: theater, circus, cinema, pantomime, stand-up comedians…

Kendrick Lamar, good hip hop to put the bow on the festival. AFP photo.

And before all that is the “previous” Glastonburiana. Because the festival itself lasts three days: the Friday, Saturday and Sunday following the summer equinox, the beginning of winter in Argentina. Those three days is what will be discussed in another note, later. Who touched what and how. But first is Thursday. On that night when the main stages of the festival are still closed and the early risers gather in the theme fields, on the south side of Worthy Farm, an hour and a half west of London, and start a Pagan party which includes beautiful sounds, perhaps not so well known but equally seductive and scorching. Latin, African, Asian, Western sounds. Rock, ragas, merengues, salsa… A lot of dancing and many happy faces and bodies that let go, in a word, that returned to the Garden. Night of dance and romance, night of liberation.

It happens that Glastonbury, even in the preview, is a unique experience.

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