Four days after the horrific bombing in Manchester and a week before the latest London outrage, Leicestershire issued a defiant up-yours to the psychotic nut jobs who target innocent people having fun.
Glastonbudget hit capacity as 12,000 people from across the county and beyond, didn't give a monkey's about terrorists, and made their way to Turnpost Farm near Wymeswold for the world's greatest tribute band and new music festival.
there was an armed police presence but that didn't stop the crowd
retracting with demented enthusiasm to some fine performances. The armed officers happily posed with festival goers occasionally, I thought, casting a wistful glance in the direction of the beer tent. I did spot two of them in the main stage camera pit after their shift desperately trying not to bop along and stay professional.
On Friday afternoon and in 25C of spring sunshine the first of the 140 tribute and new music bands took the four main stages. A fine start with the Hair Rock Experience kicking out classic rock anthems from the 70's and 80's while on the main stage The Kinx proved it was definitely a sunny afternoon.
A great start and it got better with the return of familiar faces and the arrival of some newer ones, the whole lot of them giving their all. Familiar artists like Ben, the Michael Jackson tribute, and the Bootleg Beatles knock out superb renditions of these iconic artists. They were joined for the second year by Gordon Davis as Elvis, blinding the first 10 rows with gleaming rhinestones and by Cash, a young clean cut version of the Man in Black rather than the weathered granite block of later years. The boy has a career for life. He could keep on doing that until he's 70 and craggy.
Nick and the mostly volunteer Glastonbudget team know the key to success is not to reinvent the wheel. Their audience know what the want and they get it in spades. And what they want is is wall-to-wall sing-a-longs from the world's best tribute bands. They want to feel like they're actually at a Kasabian or Metallica gig. The popular crowd pleasers are on the main stage, the Big Top hosts the metal and rock, you'll find the smaller break-out bands on the Icon stage and acoustic/folk on Loughborough College's LoCo stage. In between the walls of noise and stalls there's a bewildering choice of world food to chomp though and the massive beer tent shifts thousands of gallons of ale as happy festival goers relax in the sun. It was almost standing room only in the main arena at times.
The performance standard stays extremely high and because there's so much happening, you have to really pick and choose. T-rextasy is the full-on embodiment of Mark Bolan's glitter rock, Totally Tina struts the strut, Mercury poses like Freddie and the Bruce Springsteen tribute is the Boss! From Led Zep to the Black Eyed Peas every musical taste is catered for, no matter how odd. I discovered I really liked the thrash metal treatments of elderly 70's disco as perpetrated by US group Tragedy. Who knew?
Icon Stage is a bit of a weird one. It's great that some young up and
coming bands get their first taste of festival life and it's a shame
that not more people stopped to listen but saying you've performed at
Glastonbudget does carry weight when you're hunting for your next
was a stunningly good natured weekend as Leicester came out to party
but the elephant in the room was the murderous bombing in Manchester
a few days earlier. It lurked at the back of the mind and stayed there except for a minute's silence which was sympathetically and appropriately marked during the Oasish set on Sunday afternoon. You could hear a pin
returns next year for another three day boogiefest on 25-27th
of May 2018. You'd be mad to miss it. www.glastonbudget.org
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