Tuesday, June 30, 2009


From film diary



Glastonbury was filmed by Julien Temple and aims to tell the story of the festival and show some of the highlights from down the years in a way that is very much in homage to / blatantly ripping off the Woodstock film.

Temple had access to a much greater range of footage than Michael Wadleigh did when making Woodstock though and so he attempts to get a hand around roughly 35 years of the Glastonbury festival, from its creation as the Glastonbury fayre, through the Pyramid festival, right up to the Glastonbury festival of Contemporary Performing Arts that it is today. In this manner it sort of meanders through the decades in a haphazard fashion. We get grainy footage of hippies from the 70s, apparently dancing to the Scissor Sisters, cut amongst festival-goers of the 21st century.

Mr Eavis thinking of all that cash...

It does attempt to tell the story of the festival. A bit. Michael Eavis funded the film but, having given Temple a free hand to make it as he saw fit, it doesn't go over the top in painting him as the hero of the piece. In fact, he's shown being a pretty miserable bastard to a bunch of travellers who wanted £10 each for their contribution to the entertainment. He also does admit to a news reporter that it's primarily about the money....

Some of the performances are fantastic, though are - for obvious reasons - weighted towards the more recent years. There's Bjork, Bowie, Pulp, Massive Attack and loads more. Sadly, other's are less great: The Bravery surely only got into the film thanks to the bassist playing naked....

As such, the film really has no idea whether it's concert footage or a documentary. We get a vaguely chronological story, broken up by decidedly non-chronological songs. It all feels a little muddled at times.

Nick Cave

... and his crowd

The redeeming feature is definitely the footage of interviews with the locals of Glastonbury during the early years. We get the grumpy man who responds the the question "will you be going to the festival?" with the fantastic "Yeah.... with a tommy gun", but the clincher is surely the friendly local who struggles with the hippies' anti-social smell:

"It's not just a matter of body odour, for some of these people it's really evil smelling. Someone has to make a stand against there very dirty, very unwashed people."

Overall then, watch it if you've been to Glastonbury, watch it if you're going to go to Glastonbury, watch it if you'd like to go to Glastonbury and watch it whilst crying into a pint of cider if you try and fail to get tickets to go to Glastonbury.

But if you're not particularly interested in Glastonbury, don't watch it expecting a riveting story...

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