Nick Hackworth

Wedded festival bliss

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

This year’s Glastonbury was hailed today as the best in the festival’s 33-year history. More than 110,000 heard performances from REM, Radiohead, the Manic Street Preachers and Moby, as well as lesser-known bands among whom the biggest hits were American eccentrics the Flaming Lips. The weekend also saw a renaissance for Primal Scream and Super Furry Animals.

Alongside the music, a colourful mix of events included unofficial mass weddings in a field dubbed “Lost Vagueness”. Mike and Lisa Whitlock were among many couples who took part. She wore a somewhat unconventional fluorescent pink skirt and veil, while he wore a dinner jacket and bowtie, but no shirt. Festival- goers were only allowed into the casino nearby if they swapped their clothes for one of an array of costumes. The area was packed with can-can girls, transvestites, cabaret singers and absurd performance artists.

In the Greenfields area pressure groups including Greenpeace, War on Want and Oxfam maintained a strong presence. Across the 1,000-acre Somerset site, famous musicians mingled with the crowds. Oasis star Noel Gallagher strolled with girlfriend Sara McDonald. The atmosphere reflected the efforts of organisers to tackle the crime problems and complaints from locals which have dogged the event over the years. Shortly before the end of the festival, there had been 261 reported crimes — compared with 506 at the same stage last year, a fall of 48 per cent.

Even more impressively, for the first time there were no complaints of trouble from local residents in the village of Pilton. Organiser Michael Eavis said: “After 33 years we have finally got it right.”

By Humfrey Hunter and Nick Hackworth