As a hardened festival-goer, I arrived equipped with wellies, sowester, flask of steaming hot Bovril, sleeping bag and 24 tog quilt, Kendal mint-cake, two towels and a good book. How was I to know that this was going to be three days of baking hot sunshine, rendering my festival arrival kit useless except as a platform for helping me see over the ocean of boiled heads?
Friday kicked off with Pixies and Throwing Muses doing whatever it is that inspires slavish devotion. I'm not sure what their hold is over people, but both groups are adept at finding flowers in the dirt. All About Eve looked perfectly at home in this situation, warbling their gipsy mysticism to that portion of the crowd who were stopping over 'til Tuesday night to worship the summer solstice in their velvet dresses and whale-bone cords. The Wonder Stuff looked less at ease with their surroundings, pumping their way through an average set, eager to reach the point where they could say "We're the Wonder Stuff, thank you, goodnight!". Suzanne Vega was ... Suzanne Vega, which is nice. Her perfectly rounded, concise songs hung in the air, listened to attentively by a largely impressed audience.
Saturday was the day when Van Morrison shuffled on stage an the world stopped to listen. He was good, and those in the know said he was godlike. Fairground Attraction practically disappeared into the haze, their easily digested, Angel Delight music failing to cut through the merry banter. The Proclaimers fared better, though a few more jokes wouldn't go amiss. Hothouse Flowers wiltered on endlessy about nothing particular. Elvis Costello appeared, unaccompanied, his voice bitter and cutting. Not a joyous way to end your day, but faultless and engrossing.
Sunday was a wash-out (not literally), bar a remarkable set by the Waterboys, whose appropriation of Celtic folk is becoming more appropriate. I chose not to stay for the solstice, afraid of being labelled a hippy by Sandy Gaul.