“It’s not just about the music” is an idiom that comes hand in hand with Glastonbury festival. With theatre shows, comedy sets, flash-mobs, and impromptu skits taking place in every single corner of the site, the many hundreds of bands playing Worthy Farm is just the tip of the festival’s iceberg. In fact, it’s easier than you think to while away an entire five days without going anywhere near the Pyramid.
A whole fleet of entertainers are set to descend on Worthy Farm in just a couple of weeks, and the offerings are limitless. From stunt performers and trapeze artists, to drag queens, burlesque troupes, magicians, and something called Mr PeeWee The Drumming Puppet (lord knows!) it’s all popping off.
Ahead of the festivities, we caught up with the most intriguing shows on the bill.
Television’s favourite anthropomorphic fox will be a regular fixture for the whole weekend. He’s popping up every single afternoon at Kidzfield Big Top…
Look – everyone’s watched Basil Brush on telly before. But what’s a live show like?
“Our show is four dimensional mayhem. It’s a fun packed family show just as much for the grown up children as the young ones. So many laughs, some will be in the right places even! Everything you would expect: some singing, dancing and terrible jokes… a bit of magic and lots of boom booms! Lots of audience participation…”
You’re a hardcore Glastonbury veteran. What’s the best thing about it?
“My favourite thing is the atmosphere. It’s just one huge party from midday to midnight. I love the smallest disco in the world, I love the comedy tent, and that huge pyramid! I wonder what goes on there?! Oh… and the best Thai food around. Who’d have guessed it in the middle of a field!”
You’ve got quite a small stature, Basil – how do you cope with the mud?
“Mud mud glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.. a great song for Glastonbury. Yes, mud can be a problem because I can’t get it out of my fur for weeks, I was at the wettest Glastonbury three years ago and I needed a small boat to get around, and at only 18 inches tall I was up to my hooter in smelly mud. Well I hope it was mud! Ha ha boom boom!”
Would you ever wear wellies, or would they clash with your suit?
“I quite like wellies, because you can get really colourful ones nowadays. I only need little ones to cover my paws.”
And have you met Michael Eavis?
“Oh Mr Michael was very nice to me, I thought he was going to chase me since I was in his chicken house! But he was very gentle. We had a cuddle, I stroked his lovely grey beard and he said, “Get off my land!”. But then he realised I was Basil Brush, not just any old fox after his chickens. Ha ha!”
Puppetry of the Penis
Simon Morley and his mate David Friend have a somewhat unusual talent. If you’re intrigued, pop along to the Cabaret stage on Saturday night, between 00:50-02.00am. This one’s NSFW – but luckily you’ll have booked the week off.
Could you briefly explain your show, for people who might not be able to work it out from the act’s name alone?
Simon: “It’s two guys on stage exhibiting some of the most shameless behaviour you’ll ever see. It’s an old school vaudeville show where we manipulate our nether regions into art installations. Let’s call it genital origami. For those up the back we have a huge video screen and cameras so there isn’t a bad seat in the house.”
Right! So how on earth did you originally get into this line of work?
“Let’s just say I had a little too much time on my hands. I was a comedy promoter in Australia, and realised that every time I made a shape out of my genitals I got a much bigger laugh than the comedians I was working with.”
What’s the normal reaction? It sounds like quite the sight!
“It starts with a mix of shock and nervous laughter, quickly escalating into screams and wild laughter.”
And what, erm, state does the penis need to be in for optimum moulding potential?
“We usually are in a nice temperature controlled theatre, but have done a few chilly shows in my time. We do warn people to expect a shorter show when its cold, but reckon we’ll be well charged and hot to trot by midnight. It’s most important than we remain flaccid as we need to bend and twist, hence our motto “we never work hard”.”
Is mud a concern for the Glastonbury show?
Good lord I hope not!
Do you reckon you would be able to create a likeness of any of the musicians playing the festival
“I’ll be doing a Miley Cyrus, and reckon I could do a pretty good Liam Gallagher.”
YUCK Circus’ award-winning acrobatic antics will be a daily fixture at Glastonbury’s Circus Big Top
What’s your act all about, then?
Georgia: “Let’s get into the grit of it: we’re coming for your bloody ‘female standards’ and rough Aussie norms. Our award-winning Western Australian company of circus chicks are tackling the uncomfortable through dance, circus, and beaut’ comedic timing. It’s bingeing on a jar of Nutella, it’s the thwack of the tampon, and it’s the contemporary Australian story. We’re talking menstruation, addressing toxic masculinity, and trying our best pick up lines. We want people to come along and have a bloody good time, and maybe learn something along the way! YUCK is fun for the faint hearted, the strong willed, and the everyday battler.”
And this is your first Glastonbury?
“Us girls are thrilled! For some of us it’ll be our first real go over anywhere near the UK, and to kick it off with the glory of Glastonbury is a dream come true. To know that within our first year of show creation that we’re able to present with the big-dogs of the world is something to write home to Mum about! It’ll be the first time any of us go to Glastonbury, and we can’t even begin to imagine the scale of it. We’re comforted knowing the variety of work being presented there, and the strong community that comes with it. To scroll through the Glastonbury website and see pages and pages of artists just like us given a good crack is completely inspiring! When we were originally chatting shop about coming across, a good selling point was that our home-girl Kylie Minogue would be showing her face there too. Us Aussie girls got to stick together!”
Are there any disgusting memories that stick with you from other festivals?
“Oh my, what a question! I’ve got endless lists of blokes not quite making it to the portaloo for the classic festival vom, but I think a good one was the year we copped a massive flood. To see a punter’s laptop floating downstream to the paddocks is disastrously hilarious!”