Thursday 22nd June.
Awaking and rising from my first outdoor slumber of the festival season brought two very grateful realisations. The first being that the hazy first experiences of Glastonbury the day before was not some dreamworld fantasy, and secondly that I had managed to sleep through till 10am. An investment in the Quechua Fresh and Black range had proven a roaring success, keeping the beaming sunlight out of the tent throughout the morning. Almost 24 hours into the Glastonbury experience, and as of yet everything had gone even better than to plan. Added to this, but the various weather God’s had blessed us with a reduction in temperature, dropping to a pleasantly warm 22 degrees. After the sweltering heat of the first day, I suspect that this was hugely welcomed by everyone on site.
Our first engagement of the festival was a morning amble up towards the Stone Circle from our camping spot in Kidney Mead, to take part in a world record attempt. For the second festival in a row, an attempt was to be made to create the largest human peace sign ever seen. For a festival so steeped in left wing tradition, much of its grounding emanating from the CND movement, such an organised attempt was bound to create a buzz of excitement. Without getting too far into the politics though, the occurrences of the past year in the UK and across the world seemed to have added further meaning to the arrangement, with approximately 15,000 people coming together to form a giant CND symbol, later to be confirmed as a definite world record. Peace signs were thrown to a passing camera crew in the sky, and an impromptu rendition of ‘Hey Jude’ burst across the crowd. At the time it was difficult to comprehend the image, but photos that have emerged since the festival are seriously impressive. I’m there on the right hand side somewhere….
As the day wore on we continued with our wide-eyed exploration of the largest and most renowned festival in the world. We wandered in awe through the Green Futures and Healing Fields, where opportunities for festival-goers ranged from making rings and wicker baskets, to the enjoyment of a free massage. For those like us that had travelled the day before, this was one of the most welcome treats one could find.
Whilst the afternoon began to disappear, the genuine excitement of finally experiencing some live music at Glastonbury was closing in. At precisely 5pm, we headed towards a packed out Williams Green stage, where the evening sun was beating down upon thousands of cider-nursing individuals all frothing at the mouth at the prospect of some live music. The opening evening run of acts at the Williams Green was sensational, and incredibly cleverly programmed. With a cider in one hand, and a bottle of gin and lemonade (strange combo, I know) in the other, we headed in to catch our first sets of the week…
17.00 Williams Green: The Smyths
As the evening sun beat down upon us festival-goers with everyone itching for a first fix of music, a well-known tribute band was bound to get the juices flowing. Although we could not squeeze ourselves into the tent for this set, hundreds more were singing and dancing in unison outside of the stage itself. Rolling through an extensive list of The Smiths classics such as How Soon Is Now?, William It Was Really Nothing, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Panic (complete with a rapturously received “Hang Theresa” refrain in the chorus), The Smyths truly got the party started on the Thursday night.
Best Track: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
18.00 Williams Green: Showhawk Duo
The first mindblowing discovery of the Glastonbury weekend was found on the first night of live music, in the form of Showhawk Duo. Two of the most talented acoustic guitarists that I believe I have ever seen combined to present an eclectic instrumental covers set, somehow working their musical magic to provide uncanny covers of 90s rave anthems. The sheer talent of this duo was genuinely breathtaking, and they had the crowd within and outside of the tent bouncing as if they were watching a global superstar DJ. To further add to their show, they invited a pair of rappers on stage to run through tracks by the likes of Tupac and Gorillaz. Showhawk Duo’s set was incredible, and I’ll be checking them out another time without doubt.
Best Track: Rhythm Of The Night
19.00 Williams Green: Rationale
This is now the third time I’ve seen Rationale and, musically, him and his band get better every single time. For such an under the radar artist, it is incredible how tight and on point the band are as they rack through his so far short list of releases, ranging from funky numbers to smooth R&B tunes and deep ballads. Rationale is an artist with a true range of styles, and a uniquely brilliant voice to boot. His performance was one that I looked forward to, and he and his band sure did not disappoint. Although his stage presence could be brushed up, there is no doubt that Rationale lets his music do the talking. Plus, whilst dancing away to his tunes we became aware of Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille swaying away right next to us – so I suppose that was kinda cool too.
Best Track: Reciprocate
20.00 Williams Green: Pumarosa
After ducking out for a quick toilet and drinks break, it was back into the Williams Green tent for Pumarosa, a band who have released one of my favourite albums of the year so far. Led by stellar vocalist Isabel Munoz-Newsome, their 40 minute set showcases the very best psychedelic rock / pop that they have released as of yet. Her voice and enthusiasm are infectious, and it is a well performed set, with Priestess and Red being major highlights.
Best Track: Red
21.00 Williams Green – Circa Waves
When it comes to the music, our night was ended with a (not so) secret set by Liverpool pop-rockers Circa Waves. It is the second time that I have seen them now in a festival environment and, whilst they put on a good show, there is little new about what they offer. Similar to the likes of Twin Atlantic et al, Circa Waves are a band that are likely to build up a relatively large following, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them higher up festival bills in the near future. The set was good fun in an increasingly packed out tent, and a good way to end our first night of real live music at Glastonbury Festival 2017.
Best Track: T Shirt Weather
Whilst Showhawk Duo were probably the highlight of Thursday’s musical escapades, their music exists in the form of covers and thus does not appear on Spotify. Therefore I have plumped for the second best set of the night from Rationale, and my favourite track from his set, Reciprocate. It is a funky R&B number, simple to dance, clap and sway along to; a great way to open a weekend full of exceptional musical moments.