In a swirl of lights that engulf the Glade stage at Glastonbury, DJ Bushwacka! plays his renowned mix of acid and tech house to a crowd hungry for the past.
Bushwacka!’s set is a hark back to the rave-heavy early 2000s. “It reminds me of sweaty archway nightclubs in London around 2003,” crowd member Jeff from London says. On his second Glastonbury, Jonboy from Kent echoes the sentiment: “This music reminds me of raves from about 2006.”
The Glade stage is one of the more underrated late-night areas at Glastonbury. Nestled in a wooded location, draped by trees, the stage turns into a rave pit as the sun dips past the horizon and the area feels like a microfestival in itself, a tree-lined club with glitterballs illuminating branches. Thursday night had seminal UK artist John Digweed, playing after George FitzGerald, known for his vast discography, warmed the crowd. It was Bushwacka!’s set, though, that drew the crowd in and made them realise how vital this stage is for dance music.
“I walked past and immediately decided to stay here,” Zimbabwe-born Bong says during the set. “Where I’m from, house music is a big thing in Southern Africa. I instantly got all my mates to come here,” he continued.
Drops, bangers and old-school classics blare out the speakers as a small dance circle gathers under a canopy to the left of the stage. Friday night legendary act Fatboy Slim attracted people looking to get away from the main stages. Australian DJ and producer Late Night Tuff Guy rounds off the bill on Friday night to a crowd sweating and heaving with energy. For Nick, from Brighton, who has been to four Glastonbury’s, the Glade is a bit of an escape. “You got all these people condensed into certain areas, this one is a bit quieter.”
With legendary producer and DJ Carl Cox set to spin a five-hour set at the Glade on Saturday, audiences not looking to follow the masses at Glastonbury know they have a home here. “This is my fifth year,” Sarah from Enfield said. “I saw a band here a couple of years ago and they were amazing. It’s my favourite stage.”