James were opening the Other Stage on Friday, albeit rather later than advertised as some tractor ballet played out in the mud in front of the stage. I'm a Greatest Hits kinda James fan and had been a bit disappointed the only time I'd seen them live, but their festival set was great, a nice balance of new songs and classics, and Tim Booth had a great presence as he kept the stage security on their toes. Next was Will Varley (Greenpeace Stage), mixing whimsical comic songs with more earnest folky offerings and getting into the spirit of things by hitting the audience up for their drinks. There was no short route to Williams Green and I ended up seeing a few songs of Two Door Cinema Club as I traversed the Pyramid Stage (who didn't impress me) and the end of the rockier The Temperance Movement once I got there. I was there to see Yak who were one of only three 'must sees' I had for the weekend [one of whom, Cosmo Jarvis, I missed after being betrayed by my scheduling app]: they were pretty good but neither mud underfoot nor a backpack that won't close properly turn out to be good for hurling yourself around. I headed back up to The Park and managed to catch most of Ezra Furman, who I think I've enjoyed more watching back on iPlayer than I did at the time. We stuck around the area: clambering up to the Crow's Nest where we saw a bit of all-girl rockers Big Moon and poking into our noses into The Bimble Inn to discover fun Irish rock-and-rollers The Hot Sprockets.
Up at the Crow's Nest I'd seen that Yak were doing another set in that much more intimate venue so decided to go back up for that, which was cool although mostly overshadowed by glancing across the crowd at one point to see Jarvis Cocker's unmistakable form loitering around. I walked down the hill to see most of Savages at The Park Stage and rejoin M&E. We decided to head over to the South East Corner before the rush and happened upon some blistering ska in the form of Imperial Leisure at Bez's Flying Bus. After poking around the different bits of the SE Corner, E & I ended up ensconcing ourselves in the Rocket Lounge for the night: taking in the snake-hipped Rev Schneider and the Band of Angels with their trashy country oddity, more straightforward rockabilly/country blues sounds from The Jim Hammond Trio then re-runs of the Catratchers and Black Friday, until we were all danced out.
Having managed to lose M, we started Saturday's music with Nothing but Thieves at the John Peel Stage: I'd seen them before in a small venue in Tooting and it was quite a scale-up, although they have quite a big sound and filled it pretty well. We saw some of folky Tell Take Tusk (the four frontwomen at least) at the Avalon Cafe and the bluegrassy Police Dog Hogan (AKA The Band That Guy Who Writes For The Guardian Is In) at the Avalon Stage. Having regained M, we were there for the next two acts as well: festival staple Beans on Toast and whimsical gypsy-punk chaos from The Destroyers. We popped into Bread and Roses for a bit of comic hip hop improvisation from Abandoman before moving on to the Leftfield tent for earnest folk punk from Ferocious Dog and then the return of [some of] The King Blues, who I hadn't thought I'd get to see again and didn't disappoint.
We opted to head over to the South East Corner early again, whilst people were watching headliners, and were back in the Rocket Lounge so more bluesy-rock, this time from The Johnsons, then stuck around for a re-run of Rev Schneider, as M hadn't seen them the first time, and finally ran into A. We then decided to brave the queue for the NYC Downlow, which is Glastonbury's gay club: I always go out of an odd sense that I 'ought' to but actually really enjoyed it this year and lost a couple of hours dancing to the deep house* on offer, although it was too crowded for my companions. I headed back to the Rocket Lounge and saw some of the Goldmaster Allstars before finally making it through to the 5am set from ska/reggae fusers The Downsetters
Sunday started relatively late but I did watch random indie youngsters Marsicans at the BBC Introducing Stage and caught snatches of Slap Ya Mama, cheerily playing bluegrass to a smattering of people at the Greenpeace Stage, local one-lad-and-guitar Tomy Schnell in the Fluffy Rock Cafe and hulking purveyor of blues/hip hop fusion Rag N Bone Man at the Gully. We left him pretty early to head to Leftfield for Billy Bragg's Radical Round-Up, his daily slot where he alternates songs with several other artists, interspersed with some political chat. His guests this time were Kate Whittaker, Roy McLeod and Grace Petrie. I then headed over to the Circus Tent to finally catch up with my former managee S [half the homeless sector was there it seems: we ran into his current manager wandering around later] and actually saw a few short acts there for once. After a bit of a wander we ended up watching some solid indie-rock from Catfish and the Bottlemen at The Other Stage, then The View back at Williams Green. After the first few songs of Earth, Wind and Fire (funk legends, I'm reliably informed) at the West Holts Stage, I left him to rejoin M&E for Slamboree ("Pyro-Circus Rave Massive") back at The Gully. My intention was to finish off the festival by watching Tankus the Henge again, then the sunrise from the stone circle, which I hadn't done yet, but there was too long a gap and we lost momentum, in addition to the cumulative lack of sleep and additional effort of schlepping through the mud taking their toll. I mostly nodded through a Tell Take Tusk set at the Small World Stage, before admitting defeat and heading to bed.
* Apparently. I don't have the first clue about dance music.