Review of Glasgowbury 2008, Draperstown, Co. Derry
Well, we came, we saw, we were conquered... and sunburnt (in a nice way).
To the street with all these corporate shindigs like Oxegen et al. Glasgowbury is where it’s at and that ain’t no lie! A festival on top of the Sperrin Mountains in Co Derry, Eagles Rock to be precise, with some of the finest musical talent on the island, a festival where yet-to-be-friends help you across the camp site with your gear and help you set up whilst sharing a beer and announcing the bands they reckon are going to rock the ‘rock!
Who'd have thought of such a hair-brained scheme? Well a music legend by the name of Paddy Glasgow, not sure if anyone else could have pulled this off... the man lives music, and the promotion of it, not for money, kudos, but for the betterment of its soul.
In a nutshell...Glasgowbury 2008? It was 4 stages, 3 of which were indoor (the G-Session's, The Acoustic and The Spurs of Rock) and 1 outdoor stage ('Small but Massive Main Stage') and it all took place over one day 12 noon to 12 midnight, and a night's camping in a couple of fields (we were assured by the powers that be that no sheep were hurt in the making of this festival).
We arrived early on the Saturday morning, the campsite already alive with the sound of camping novices cursing the limited instructions the 10 quid throw-away tent they came with. A few 360 degree turns to take in the breathtaking beauty that is the Glasgowbury setting, this really is something special. A few still cold tins downed in the comfort that there were no suits, computers or Starbucks in sight, nor no pop drivel, daft Dave or broadband adverts to be heard.
Then off to explore… You know that feeling you get in your stomach when your walking into a festival, flanked on all sides by your nearest and dearest, filled with the buzz of life, the distance thud of some champion yielding his bass axe, well, if you could bottle that nervous, excited feeling, Smurfit’s bank balance wouldn’t come close. Bars, clothes stalls, stages, jugglers, stilt walkers, St John’s finest primed and ready for action (thanks for the masking tape if your reading)…time to roll.
First stop was the G-Sessions stage, and Hybrasil. Technical hiccups sorted, the guys came on stage 10 mins late and for a short and very sweet time, blew the socks off the place with a set of new tunes, not a note from the superb Monkey Pole, but none the lesser for it, exchanging guitars for drum pads, moogs, korgs and other wonderous gadgets with exact precision, live, these guys are something else.
It was all a bit weird with the merciless sun blazing, the factor 40 mixing with sweat seeping into the eyeballs as we caught a fine set from Limavady’s finest Furlo who were as tight as a tinker’s cuss.
Quick ice cream, cool pint, catch up with few people I forgot every existed - festivals are a great place to reacquaint and relight old friendships. Now where’s that Spurs of Rock stage...
Remember the 80's? Remember the Mama's Boys? Well Pat 'The Professor' McManus was in the Mama's boys, and he cant! For a while they were Ireland's rock saviours, and for one night only on a mountain in the middle of no-where, The Professor delighted us all a blistering set of, well, em, ahh, err, rock! A huge crowd assembled and left smiling, arm in arm... Result.
And so I Watched you from Afar, Ireland's answer to Explosions in the Sky played a blinding set from their highly acclaimed "This is our Machine and Nothing can Stop It”, these guys really are the shit, ending their set with, at the last count, about 40 folk on stage dancing out, bing bong. The meat in So I Watched You From Afar and Fighting With Wire were the wonderous Oppenheimer, using some kind of weird wizardry to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
Fresh from signing a big deal with Atlantic, Fighting with Wire had a right old homecoming, rocking out like the back door on a windy night with a moshpit to rival that of Triggerman’s earlier in the day.
Ash finished off the day’s music with a storming set of their classic singles' back catalogue, everyone arm in arm jumping in unison, cows darting for the nearest wunny bush and village folk were heard bolting the window latches awaiting the impending avalanche. Ash, whilst not the greatest album band, are a fine fine festival band, with a cannon of peerless tunes. Why didn’y they play Petrol? Who knows, but they did dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s with Jack Names the Planets from the same Trailer EP ...bing bong.
With so much happening, the only downside was missing bands like SuperFreakz, Panama Kings, The Beat Poets, Ed Zealous, General Fiasco, Mantic, La Faro etc etc etc
The campsite partied and laughed 'til the wee hours and as we all packed up and trounced up the road to various trains, boats and planes, sore, but happy heads, we thanked the sheep for a loan of their home. Life really doesn’t get much better. Until next year.