Glastonbury The Movie
Directed by: Rob Mahoney
Stars: The Verve, Back to the Planet, Omar
Born in 1993, this film transported me back to the first year of my life; opening my eyes to the culture that raised me, but that I could not stand a chance of remembering. It presented itself as an epoch of optimism, freedom and creativity, allowing for the now outdated possibility of peaceful madness. The renowned Glastonbury Festival epitomized this attitude, with its mere three days capturing the spirit of a forgotten approach to life. Thanks to the probing cameras of director Rob Mahoney’s crew, we can be submerged into the experience from sunrise Friday until sunset Sunday. A rare insight into the ways of festivals before they were started to be broadcasted on television, no part is left unexposed, taking us from stage-side, to toilet-side.
As the amount of hippy vans in the car park steadily mounts, so does our anticipation. Sunrise brings characters in their thousands, from theatrical performers attending the festival in a torn flowing wedding dress and chanting Hare Krishnas, to naturist demonstrators wandering naked (save for orange body paint) grooming each other in an exemplary primate manner. There are painters and sculptors, to families bringing toddling poncho-draped babies, spooning them baby food created on a camper stove. There is not a dull shot of footage, but overarchingly there isn’t a dull moment of sound. This montage of moving memories is accompanied by blasted hits and footage from some of the most iconic musicians of the time. With up close performances from The Verve, Back to the Planet and Omar (to name a few), and the creative genius of a one man percussionist band, Airto Moreira, the relentless bombardment of visual and auditory stimulation leaves our mind never free to drift off.
Even if you saw the original ‘Glastonbury, The Movie’ when it was released in 1995; it is no excuse to go and see this latest release. The original production team, headed by the visionary Mahoney, have spent years resifting through their footage, discovering previously unrecognised gems, and implementing an editorial re-haul of the original film. With the advantage of drastically more advanced technology, the imagery and sound has been completely re-mastered, enhancing the shots to new vivid levels. Most pivotally, the benefit of hindsight has allowed the team to discover moments that, whilst may have seemed like normal behaviour at the time, to the modern viewer they provide raucously funny flashbacks to the now seemingly-absurd approaches of the time. With footage of one fervent campaigner who believed that his work would undoubtedly mean that all music festivals would become free to the public, his optimism is now our amusement, having seen the price of tickets rise from £58 to the now hair-raising £200. We cannot forget the open confessions of the stereotypical drug-addled youth, concisely describing himself as a ‘conceptionalised metaphysical neo-realist’, to the confused children being thrown by their parents against a Velcro wall where they stick. The modern viewer with their constant health and safety thoughts, will watch, nostalgically entertained.
Whether you are a music aficionado, or just someone longingly reminiscent for a more relaxed era, this documovie will satisfy your curious or nostalgic cravings. Particularly recommended for those born in the eighties or earlier, if you are intrigued by the transient values of English culture, this footage provides unparalleled insight. But for those mourning the decline of such widespread creative expression, ‘Glastonbury, The Movie’ provides a welcome blast from the past, where the festival doesn’t have a camera phone or a pair of Hunter wellies in sight.
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