Review – Glastonbudget Festival, Sunday 26th May 2024

Young Elton on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Reviewed by Adam Piotrowski

Glastonbudget 2024 overview & vlog

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This was my first time to Glastonbudget and I was looking forward to getting stuck in, so after the necessary unpacking, setting up and planning which performances to cover for the day, we walked, tinny in hand, to the festival entrance.

Skam, local legends, opened the main stage at 11:50 as the crowd started to filter in to their energetic edgy grooves. The lean 3 piece played hard alternative rock and effectively used their self-ware theatrics as an additional instrument, the bass player sticking out his tongue and rolling his eyes back to white so often that I was afraid they would get stuck like that.

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

The singer told us they had played this festival every time since year 2 and that they were making a go of making it in the music industry. One song featured a segue into Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, beats played tightly in unison and a nod to the nature of performances to come in the day. All in all, an entertaining hard rocking affair which set us up nicely for the day.

The Carpenters Experience in the big top. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

After a brief interlude to catch one song in full of The Carpenters Experience, we were to reconvene at the main stage to see The Marley Experience next, using the height of Kevin’s floppy haired friend Steve to our advantage to demark our meeting point.

The festival feeling started to come into full force as the reggae rhythms pumped, the singer’s dread locks swaying in the breeze, singing of One Love and a distinct and pungent natural aroma starting to fog the air.

The Marley Experience on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

The hits came rolling in one after another, Is this Love and a swift downpour during Iron Lion Zion, crowds shifting under umbrellas, Could You Be Loved, and the sun coming out strong on Three Little Birds. Exodus was a highlight, it’s complex bouncy rhythm, the accented cymbal work, the backing vocals shining like the sun.

The Marley Experience was my top pick for the day and they delivered fully, on a line-up which lacked diversity.

We managed to take a moments rest in the beer tent, which I must say, had a great selection of traditional cask ales (£5 each) and a highlight for me, craft beers from the award-winning local Melton brewery Round Corner (£7 each) at comparatively reasonable festival prices. Layover, an orange lager went down especially well to quench my thirst, even more so once the price dropped to a fiver a pint for craft beers later in the day.

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

We lost interest in Tragedy quickly (an ‘all metal tribute act to the Beegee’s and beyond’) when alas no Beegee songs were being played. We stomped our way back to the big top with Kevin spitting muddy feathers as the Jack Black-esque front man sang dangerously high notes on Dancing Queen.

I’m afraid I don’t have many enthusiastic words for Stereotonics – they were polished and quite energetic, but at the end of the day, they lacked any real substance, much like the middle of the road alternative act they sought to emulate.

Stereotonics in the big top. Photo Kevin Gaughan

After a bowl of jerk chicken and rice and a half hour lie down in the tent, I necked the compulsory walk-to-the-gates-tinny and followed the bright sound of Vicky Jackson as Pink to the main stage. A very American sounding Miss Jackson in neon green top and bleach blonde hair led the crew through punchy pop tunes.

Admittedly I wouldn’t call myself a Pink fan, but something about that act at that moment was doing it for me.

Refreshed from my kip, the sun was shining and a refreshing breeze was blowing – the emotional aspect of Pink-the-outcast appealing to me. I thought to myself, there’s much worse things one could do then stand in a field, drinking beer and enjoying live music.

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

Oasish nailed it on the main stage; they had the feel and swagger of the original, the shaggy Beatles do’s and the parka, the stoic stances and the Mancunian banter between songs. Tunes like Some Might Say, a pleasantly funkier Wonderwall, a rousing Live Forever, a sparser – and kudos to them for not keeping this for the obvious closer – Don’t Look Back In Anger, as well as the continued blue skies kept the audience rocking.

They closed with the sing-along hit Champagne Supernova and they were my showstoppers for the evening’s entertainment, easily worthy of the closing slot.

The next act was my surprise show stealer of the evening – I would go so far as to say that for most of my life I actively disliked AC/DC, but I have to hand it to Whole Lotta DC, who played with the same blues punk spirit as the original with a strong attention to detail, replicating those precision guitar leads and the guitar tone itself. They ripped through the alliterative Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, rocked Highway to Hell, and elevated to whole new level of straight-ahead rock with the catchy chorus of You Shook Me All Night Long.

Whole Lotta DC in the big top. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

I can only mark them down for some unfortunate air guitar and an odd strip tease from their ‘Angus Young’ which saw him turn into Mr Bean, mock-clumsily shed his layers. It was all very tongue in cheek, but even so, left a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth. But other than that, it was a very enjoyable guitar roaring party of a time in the Big Top.

Young Elton on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Young Elton closed out the Main Stage as darkness well and truly set in, and spotting his receding hairline made me question the accuracy of his moniker. Bennie and the Jets chugged along rhythmically with the vocals and musicianship bang on, followed by the likes of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and the more upbeat numbers I’m Still Standing and Crocodile Rock.

Young Elton on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

At one point I saw something I’m not sure if I have ever seen, reaching whole new levels of meta – a cover band covering another band, namely Pinball Wizard by The Who (Who’s Next played The Big Top the previous night), which oddly worked really well although I still don’t understand why.

Young Elton on the main stage. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Young Elton had the look just right, was a brilliant singer and piano player, treating the crowd to hit after hit. It was the kind of set that made you recall just how many big songs Mr John had in his long and successful career.

With that the live music element was finished but we weren’t yet done and managed to negotiate entrance into the VIP tent, talking to a rather more astute Bon Scott/Brian Johnson and the Michael Eavis look-alike.

Kevin with the Michael Eavis lookalike

No time for sitting in bean bags under twinkly lights in the chill out area, we made our way to the silent disco, trying to look younger than we are whilst avoiding the mud. We eventually stumbled back to the campsite after being stopped by a couple of giggling women who were convinced that the overhead powerlines were lasers.

I feel like there is a real opportunity to programme more original acts into the line-up, not segregating into a lonely ‘originals’ stage, but intermingling with the covers acts on each stage. But I did really enjoy the surprise show stealing of Whole Lotta DC, the heady vibes of The Marley Experience, and the high quality performance from Oasish.

The days viewing did lead to some pretty frank discussions about what the place of a covers festival was in a time when grassroots musicians have never had it so hard. The pittance musicians earned from streaming sites, the added challenges of touring in Europe post-Brexit, not to mention the cost-of-living squeeze, surely all of this money and business could be better directed to original artists that are struggling to make it, who may very well have the talent and vision to become the next Elton John given the right opportunity.

Still, the crowds don’t lie and I hung on to the hope that some of the many talented musicians we saw may well be full-time musicians who use the more financially rewarding covers act to supplement their budding original projects.

Glastonbudget 2024 overview & vlog

Glastonbudget 2024 Friday

Glastonbudget 2024 Saturday

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