An American’s Guide to Glastonbury

by Lindsay Davis

Please welcome Lindsay Davis to the ever-growing roster of Anglophenia contributors. Lindsay will be helping me cover the world of British music, starting this week with a post about the Glastonbury music festival in the UK. I’m happy to have her on board. – KW

International footballers from around the world won’t be the only ones enjoying outdoor play on grassy fields this weekend. Bands from the world-famous to the unsigned and little-known are descending upon Glastonbury, UK for the Glastonbury Festival. For the next few days, it’s all about the music in a tradition that reveres rock legends and stems back to the days of hippie frolicking and Green Earth love. (The first Glastonbury festival was held on September 19, 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died).

You may have heard that U2 was supposed to headline the festival but withdrew after Bono got injured. Stepping up to the plate is the electronic pop virtual band Gorillaz, known to many for their catchy hit “Feel Good Inc.,” animated videos, and virtual-identity frontmen. In case you don’t know the men behind the cartoons, here’s Damon Albarn (of Blur) and Jamie Hewlett having some fun on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross last November. Good thing Damon didn’t quit his day job.

I’m looking at the incredible full festival line up, and there are big Brit names like Muse, Pet Shop Boys, Faithless, Florence and The Machine, and Dizzee Rascal. Speaking of Dizzee, how could you not love his “Shout for England” performed here with Gavin & Stacey‘s James Corden on Britain’s Got Talent? Mashing “Shout” and “No Diggity”, what?! Yes:

On the American side, there is Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, Norah Jones, Scissor Sisters, and even Snoop Dogg, not to mention Mos Def and the legendary Willie Nelson, who I imagine will be the American who feels most at home in Glastonbury.

To close, I’ll bring your attention to three British acts who I would be checking out if I were on the ground in Glastonbury instead of holding it down here at BBC America’s New York office:

Let’s start with UK musician/producer/DJ Simon Green – better known as Bonobo – who will be performing his atmospheric, downbeat sounds on the West Holts Stage. Love, love, love Bonobo.

Then there is jazz sensation Nicola Farnon. This Sheffield-based swinging vocalist also plays double bass, and her voice is crisp, clear, and gorgeous. She’s making her way onto the international scene with her “Divas of Song” tribute show full of classic songs by female artists. She’ll be on Glastonbury’s Bourbon Street stage.

Finally, we have Theory of Six Degrees (or T6D as they’re known to their tween-set fans) and I’d check them out simply because they are the youngest band ever to perform at Glastonbury. (The oldest member is 14.) I can’t really tell from their Myspace page whether they are more Hanson or Fab Four for the Twitter set. Check out “Your Mum’s in the Mosh Pit” and let me know.

It’s going to be an incredible festival. Full coverage can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/glastonbury/2010/.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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