The weather is set, the tables and chairs are in place, sourdough, grapes and a deliciously ripe brie adorn the chopping board, the children are wriggling excitedly in their seats and as we relax with the first glass of bubbles, we revel in how lucky we are to have an evening of entertainment ahead of us. Where are we? We are at Glastonbury's Annual Extravaganza!
Now in it's 22nd year the 'part day into night' concert kicks off by celebrating local talent and goes on to headline with a international BIG name! In past years, the vibrant town of Glastonbury has seen the likes of Van Morrison and Bryan Ferry. This year we have Paloma Faith to take us to new heights.
This event sells out fast and we can see why. The whole show is orchestrated in the back-lit Abbey grounds and makes for a wonderful back drop - especially as we were to get the best sunset to accent the silhouettes of trees, ruins, waving arms and twinkly lights.
Organised by the well respected Michael Eavis and his team, the Glasto guys ensure that the vibe and atmosphere are pumping and this year they were put to the ultimate test – the headline cancellation of Paloma Faith! Did they falter?No they didn't.
The announcement came quite shockingly so as a visually upset Mr Eavis walked on stage after an afternoon of fantastic Brass Band playing by the town's local band, who really got the crowd going with a few old favourites, and his own rising star pick Yazzie, who can confidently be dubbed as the next Adele. Yazzie's own written sombre forlorn love songs took the crowd into a reminiscent late afternoon muse with a voice as powerful and wide ranging as the soon-to-be-appearing headliner.
However, due to acute laryngitis, Micheal announced that the headliner (after three doctors' advice) would not be singing. She had to cancel her slot in the show. A clearly disappointed crowd were however reassured that after some serious favours being pulled in, the concert would still go on with two replacements; one Rodney Branigan and Tom O'dell! Both being pulled out from other commitments, a gig at Hampton Court and a family BBQ!
There was a bit of a wait to get these new acts to the stage, one being police escorted in from London and another being choppered in to Millfield School - but it all added to the drama and excitement! What better way to fill the time, bring in the DJ - who did a cracking job to get the crowd up and on their feet with some club classics. By the time we saw the helicopter do an obligatory fly over – all was forgiven.
Time for an unknown act to do his thing and boy did he do his thing. Rodney Branigan can play two guitars at the same time! He was mesmerising as people stood and stared, mouths to the floor. No-one was quite expecting that and we were all very pleased with this surprise act, all shouting for an encore!
Now it was the new headliner's turn to show us his skills and as a heavy Paloma Faith turnout dubiously waited to see what Tom O'dell could bring, he played his heart warming Real Love from the christmas advert which warmed the crowd. He then bravely covered a Paloma Faith song to win their hearts. Job done.
As always the evening is celebrated with a momentous firework display that can be heard and seen from miles around, it really does feel as though you are standing next to the explosions as the ground absorbs the bangs. The best way to end an evening of surprises, twists and turns and if you ask me great value for money. To expect three great acts and receive five surprisingly talented and brilliant replacements on such late notice is testament not only to the Glasto team but for the respect that there is for the founder Micheal Eavis.
This is a wonderfully friendly and welcoming event, which is ideal for a family get together in the summer months whilst the kids have no school to get up for. Let them stay up and enjoy a magical night never to be forgotten - whatever the line up!
Find out more on the the Abbey's events here: www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk