I love the smell of Glastonbury in the morning. It smells like… OK, not quite victory. But not quite defeat either. More like bacon, coffee, marijuana, mud, sweat and beers. And, there is no getting away from it, cow shit…
It’s Metallica Headline Day at Britain’s biggest pop-up city and the weather-based insanity continues. Around midday, yesterday’s apocalyptic downpour staged a spectacular comeback show, drenching the festival site all over again. Jokes about the Glastonbury mud are cheap media cliches, but it’s less amusing when you are here among 200,000 people in a valley prone to serious flooding. That’s not funny, it’s a potential humanitarian disaster. Remember Worthy Farm is within squelching distance of the Somerset Levels that suffered horrendous floods earlier this year.
All the same, Michael Eavis and his team seem to be dealing with these regular deluges much better than they used to. In 25 years of coming to Glastonbury, I have never seen so many temporary shelters, metal roads and absorbent piles of emergency woodchip deployed all across the site. In previous years, a flooded festival was extremely unpleasant. This year it is merely uncomfortable. I call that progress. Uncut’s special Punk Rock award goes to all the punters in wheelchairs and mobility chariots we saw slip-sliding through the mud this morning on the way to see Midlake.
“Just in case you came to the wrong stage, our name is Midlake and we come from Denton, Texas.” Typically understated, the band’s recently promoted frontman Eric Pudhilo saves his modest introduction for the middle of Midlake’s lunchtime set on the Other Stage. In an ideal Glastonbury, these easeful Laurel Canyon harmonies and honey-glazed rustic ruminations would be a perfect way to snooze off a Skrillex-induced hangover under blazing blue Somerset skies. Today, they at least provide a sunny Texan antidote to the grim weather. Midlake versus the mud lakes? Let’s call it a draw.