Ignore the cynics, Glastonbury's still got it

It may be more mainstream than ever, but Worthy Farm is still the first stop for magical memories, says Rob Sharp

I'm still trying to work out whether I'm looking forward to Glastonbury, later this week.

With its endless nights, Met Office baiting, diverse age-range – which isn't useful for anyone apart from the organisers, really – and Top of the Pops talent, it could become a bit of a schlep. To go there to work is a privilege, but grafting at a festival can sometimes feel akin to going to a party and being told to stand in the corner. Don't get me wrong, I can see the appeal of getting messed-up, amorous tumbles on heathery hillsides, cementing future memories of bands to soundtrack your life to. But these days much of my enjoyment can depend on the random divinations of a hormonal cocktail influenced by sleep and how my mood chooses to greet alcohol and caffeine. Without the buoyancy provided by a large group "getting the lagers in", maybe it'll just eke out a faint echo of what used to be.

Whatever happens, though, I'm certainly looking forward to Worthy Farm more than Brendan O'Neill. Writing last week in The Spectator, O'Neill, editor of the often-provocative online magazine Spiked, and a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, maligned what he perceived as Glastonbury's "Nanny State" – the attempts by police to catch criminals by planting tents with their flaps purposefully open, for example – and the widespread use of CCTV. "Now older, greyer and more money-minded, they think that the young are not trustworthy or sensible after all, and therefore must be prodded and goaded like cattle," he writes.

How provocative. On the one hand, we have O'Neill's insistence that people regard Glastonbury as an isolated island of "mud, drugs, drunkenness, moshing, free love" – er, free love? – on the other, we have his libertarian aversion to over-policing. Angles are like bottom-holes in journalism, everyone's got one, but O'Neill seems to have got the two confused. Summing up the experiences of 130,000 people like this is akin to stating New York "isn't what it used to be", shamelessly reductive.

My experiences last year were exactly the opposite – I felt like "young people" were dominant, I certainly didn't feel restricted in any way – but would feel somewhat embarrassed about expanding that into a jeremiad. All I can say is that in 2009 the most enjoyable elements were Neil Young's titanic performance, Blur's comeback and Damon Albarn breaking down on stage – I now find "The Universal" almost painful to listen to – and renting a convertible, like a poor emulation of the reckless human I would like to be, and careering down the motorway at 90. But maybe I'm not cool enough to climb fences.

Glastonbury has become a mainstream event, akin to Hay-on-Wye or the Edinburgh Film Festival, and that slide has gained momentum over decades. While I'm disappointed at the selection of Muse to headline this year – it seems to be a cynical attempt to reprise their success in 2004 – the possibility of seeing the show Gorillaz took to Coachella makes me excitedly foam at the mouth. And who could appeal to more people than Stevie Wonder? The XX? Woodstock is as anachronistic as England's World Cup win in 1966. Good bands are certainly there if you look hard enough – Dirty Projectors, LCD Soundsystem – and if you're looking for new ways to have a good time, 900 acres seems like a good place to start. I think I'll give Glastonbury a proper shot, after all. Maybe I'll massage my endorphin peaks with righteous indignation. Not against "The Man". But against the protectors of a world that no longer exists – "this new morality of 'safe sex'... is the polar opposite of 'free love', which was based on the idea that exploring other people's bodies and minds is a fun and uplifting thing to do," writes O'Neill – seeking to stifle the enjoyment and well-being of others with sensationalist diatribes against safe sex and security.

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map