Ask anybody what their highlight of Glastonbury was and, if they were one of the 30,000 lucky few that got into the Park area on Saturday night, the answer will be Pulp. Their eyes will mist over and a smug smile will creep over their face as they recount tales of ‘Common People’, the sight of high-kicking, quip-cracking Jarvis taking us back to Britpop’s heyday, and peeks of Graham Coxon watching side-of-stage. I know, because I was one of them. And it was very much a “moment”, as was Radiohead the previous night during their own oh-so-secret set (if a bit wetter and less banterful).
It’s a story that might wind up any of the punters that couldn’t get into the area, not least Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, who rocked up too late to get in and were flatly refused by security, and it begs the question, is it right to keep these kind of shows so secret and so confined?
Both bands were generally agreed to be two of the best of the weekend. Both are worthy of headlining the Pyramid Stage (and indeed both have twice – Pulp topped the bill in 1995 and 1998 while Radiohead closed nights in 1997 and 2003). So is it right to confine them to such a small area? Is the pay-off for the lucky few worth the disappointment of everyone else? And has the secret gig concept gone a step too far?
One the one hand, neither were that secret – The Sun broke the story on both days, despite Emily Eavis pleading they be kept under wraps lest the area became carnage – so anyone with an iPhone and a fully-functioning brain could have got there early enough if they really cared. Plus of course, neither were on the bill (often the reason bands play secret gigs are because they’re contractually tied to another festival), so no-one spent money on a ticket expecting to see either band.
On the other hand, maybe there’s some people out there who found out too late, or couldn’t get in, and who wish they’d been put on the Other stage at least, who feel that these names were just too big to perhaps squander on a tiny show. What do you think?