The Glastonbury Experience.

Glastonbury 2014. I had been told by every punter that it was “the best experience you’ll ever have” and by everybody that worked it that it was an “exhausting and unforgiving” experience. I was about to find out for myself at my first Glastonbury…

After a long bus ride with the 20(ish) strong NME team across to Glastonbury from London, in true British festival fashion, it started to rain as soon as we pulled up to the festival site. And it didn’t stop. For four days. We lugged our equipment and clothes across the site for ten minutes and eventually made it to our yurts. A quick change into Dunlop wellies and Sondico waterproof trousers and within 10 minutes of my Glastonbury experience my fashion ideals had gone out of the window.

A short meeting ensued, handed our schedules of what bands we were shooting, then eight photographers and countless writers trudge off into the Somerset mud for one night off before Friday begins and it’s time to create a 92-page Glastonbury special that’s going to print on Monday (it’s already Thursday night)…

I see old friends. Party in Shangri-La. Go to bed at silly o’clock and then wake up in a sweat box of a yurt on Friday morning.

My first highlight didn’t actually come until Saturday afternoon - I hadn’t seen any of the Wolf Alice crew since the last day of their UK tour on 28th May which concluded at the Scala in front of their biggest ever headline crowd. On the Saturday they were about to make their Glastonbury debut. To cut a long story short, I took some photographs before/during/after the show, DK (guitar tech/merch/Irish hero) turned to me and said “I’m going to cry” when the band blasted into the ‘Bros’ chorus, the entire band ended up in the crowd and champagne was shared around the crew shortly after an explosive set to a packed John Peel tent. Pictures below:

The second highlight come in the form of a lad my age from Nottingham and is known for not smiling much. Jake Bugg was headlining the Other stage later on the day but first NME had a few questions to ask him and I had a portrait shoot booked in with him. I was given thirty seconds with him in between interviews with NME and Q magazine. The lighting (in the form of one flash gun on a tripod) had already been set up and all I needed was Jake. He jumped in and we managed to nail the shot within four photographs which seemed to take him by surprise as he said to me “Fucking hell, are we done? That was quick.” whilst laughing.

We talked briefly about the set later on which he seemed fairly passive about but I got a few laughs out of him and shortly after he jumped back into a 4x4 to the next interview. I shot the show from the pit, side of stage and directly behind him. Watching Jake Bugg behind his amp stack performing ‘Broken’ to thousands upon thousands people was something that will stay with me forever…Shots are below:

I’m not going to sign off with a relentless call for how amazing ‘The Glastonbury Experience’ was but I’m just going to leave you with this picture of me walking to Parquet Courts whilst it was hailing. Taken by Andy Ford (www.andyfordphotography.co.uk). This sums up my experience:

Nah I’m kidding, it was fucking great. See you next year!
J x

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