Review – Glastonbudget Festival, Friday 24th May 2024

Guns 2 Roses on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Reviewed by Kevin Gaughan

Glastonbudget 2024 overview & vlog

Glastonbudget 2024 Saturday

Glastonbudget 2024 Sunday

Having arrived Friday midday, after following the sound from the caravan to the main arena, I arrived at the big top around 14:00 to find my first band of the weekend, Fell out Boy – a Fall Out Boy tribute, I was surprised to see the big top heaving with sweaty bodies already! – at previous Glastonbudgets, there’s usually an original band playing to a fairly empty tent on the Friday afternoon – it was usually later on, when the tributes started that things would fill up.

Not being familiar with Fall Out Boy’s music – it did sound great and, given the darkness of the huge marquee with the proper lighting & sound – already I felt myself getting into the zone!

Fell Out Boy in the big top. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

After goggling at the huge selection of real ale casks in the beer tent, I made my first selection en-route to the main stage, to find Fake Boy Slim doing some crazy mixes with some dubious dancing which went down well as my first palette cleanser of the weekend.

It also gave me a few minutes to explore the new layout, which is one (of the many) things that sets Glastonbudget apart from other festivals – rather than have a typical rectangular layout with the main stage at the front with stalls and other stages around the edge, Glastonbudget 2024 had a couple of distinct paths that took you past the stalls then on to a different area, with fairground rides, dodgems and other things to do for children. This gives Glastonbudget more character and makes it much more interesting if you want to go and explore, maybe take a break from the music for a bit.

Nirvanah in the big top. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Back at the big top, I found Nirvanah – again, the big top was packed, all the crowd pleasers were performed well – Teen Spirit being my standout, with the crowd in full dance mode. I was pleased to see the young ones in the front row clearly loving the tunes, as was I.

A decidedly dodgy-looking wig was adorned by the lead singer, but good on him for at least trying to look the part, as they certainly sounded it.

Back outside for a bit of Bon Jovi with The Bon Jovi Experience. After a late start, the anticipation was realised when the intro to Raise Your Hands started – hands fully raised, voices on full throttle, the party was well and truly under way.

Bon Jovi Experience. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Blistering through some of the Bon Jovi back catalogue – Bed of Roses and Blaze of Glory with full crowd participation. With other bangers including Living on a Prayer and a Lay your Hands On Me – Hey Jude medley.

I have to say, seeing the Bon Jovi Experience took me right back to when I saw Bon Jovi at Wembley Stadium several decades ago – job done, and that’s what’s so great about tribute festivals!

Staying at the main stage for a bit, we were treated to Glastonbudget favourites, Abba Revival, having played Glastonbudget on and off over the years, they made a much welcome return to the main stage, although it was after a bit of a wait.

Unfortunately, they seemed to be having gremlins with the main stage, Abba Revival eventually started an hour late at 18:10, which was less than ideal, especially as it meant me missing Metalworks and Music Machine (Kraftwerk tribute) in the big top. But it did give us all a chance to chat to our ‘crowd neighbours’ and make new friends while waiting.

Abba Revival. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

The sound engineer told me they were hoping to claw back some time with shorter change-overs to get the rest of the evening’s bands back on track. A risky strategy, as far as I was concerned, however, it did seem to work, or at least, I didn’t seem to notice as the evening went on.

After the extended pause, the unmistakable piano intro to Mamma Mia echoed across the arena as Abba Revival burst onto the stage and fired hit after hit at the expectant audience – The Winner Takes It All, SOS, Take A Chance and the extended intro to Dancing Queen was a real treat with ‘Benny’ giving it some welly on keys – the crowd were loving it as was I.

Pretty much as soon as the band came on, the delay was forgotten about and everyone got into the Abba zone. Abba Revival never fail to please and were a welcome feature on the Glastonbudget line-up.

Back to the caravan for a breather – actually, I don’t know why I went back to the caravan, but I did, and I regretted it the moment I heard the crowd screaming along to some of Prodigy’s bangers as Jilted Generation were on the main stage – one of the many bands I really wanted to see, but I guess, with a line-up like this, something had to give.

Having made it back in time for another Glastonbudget staple, Guns 2 Roses, just popping my head into the crowded big top on the way past as Spandau Ballet’s Gold drew me in to the Forever 80’s party that was well under way.

Guns 2 Roses on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Guns 2 Roses hit the main stage an hour later than scheduled at 21:00 with ‘Axle’ saying ‘it had been ten years since they were banned from the main stage’. I’m not sure how true that was, but I do generally prefer the more intimate big top.

I did remember, however, being less than impressed with last year’s performance in the big top (see the review here) – having said that, they do set a very high bar with their usually excellent performances. This year, however, I felt it, I mean really felt it – it was so good to have them back!

Highlight for me was November Rain, made all the more poignant by the sun setting over the fields behind the main stage, finally coming to a conclusion with Paradise City, this maturing rocker didn’t want this particular show to end!

Guns 2 Roses on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Having refreshed my pint, I nipped into the big top to see what the Daft Punk Laser Show was all about – and it was pretty good, but not good enough to keep me away from tonight’s headliners on the main stage – Flash (Queen tribute)!

Still running an hour late, not that you’d notice, as all the bands were equally as late, Flash smashed onto the main stage with the spine-tingly anthemic intro to Fat Bottomed Girls!!! Not the usual Glastonbudget Queen tribute, and occasionally unable to reach Freddy’s highest notes, after a short while you got into the zone. Looking the part, musically everything was just about there and the show as whole was amazing.

Finishing the last of their encores with the fitting and somewhat predictable We Are The Champions, I wouldn’t be disappointed if Flash were on next year’s Glastonbudget line-up.

Flash on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Reflecting on the day’s events, I furnished myself with another proper pint in the ale tent while chatting to other friendly festival goers and chilled to the wonderful Foster Brothers who played on the stage in the bar and seem to be a regular fixture now at Glastonbudget.

Glastonbudget 2024 overview & vlog

Glastonbudget 2024 Saturday

Glastonbudget 2024 Sunday

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