Glastonbury 2013: Unexpected Highlights

The huge hubbub around Worthy Farm at this time of year means that writing something interesting about Glastonbury becomes increasingly difficult. Rather than write about everything I enjoyed and the headline acts that you’re probably bored of hearing about, I have decided to just include the acts that took me by surprise over the weekend. In a good way…

Acts are listed according to order of appearance, not preference.

Kodaline

The lead singer of this band has such a beautiful voice. Mesmerising is a suitable word to describe it. Kodaline grabbed my attention even from the very edge of the John Peel stage on Friday afternoon.

Solange

It can’t be easy being Beyoncé’s younger sister but Solange’s pop voice backed up by a seriously funky band made her chilled-out set really special. The crowd even came up with their own dance routine.

The 1975

A seriously fun set. Highlights were their more pop-like numbers, Chocolate and The City.

First Aid Kit

Beautiful harmonies and a lovely set from the sister duo. Check out The Lion’s Roar.

Tom Odell

I didn’t expect Tom Odell to make this list. Winner of the 2013 BRITs Critics’ Choice Award and with so much talk about him at the moment I had already expected him to be great. But backed up by a really great band Odell blew my already high expectations out of the water with a fantastic set on the John Peel stage. His humility and astonishment at such a great reception from the crowd was also very lovely to see. Beautiful voice, beautiful piano, great artist.

James Blake

I spent an entire hour staring open mouthed at this 24 year old musician and his amazing band (just a guitarist and a drummer, if you can still call them that with all their gadgets and gizmos). The three of them blew my mind with their incredible musicality and songs like Retrograde. Definitely one to see live if you ever have the chance.

So there we have it. This list by no means covers the acts that I enjoyed over the weekend, just those whose brilliance I had not quite anticipated. I think you should research them all. Enjoy!

Wychwood Festival

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Big Top

I made a fleeting visit to this ‘family friendly summer festival’ for a sunny Friday afternoon and not really knowing what to expect, I had a good look around. Set in the Cheltenham Racecourse surrounded by idyllic rolling hills, the festival offers three live music stages and a host of small arts and crafts tents, food outlets and more.

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Bubbles at Wychwood

The festival really lived up to its family-friendly reputation as parents danced alongside their children and even their teenagers. Here are some of my personal highlights.

John O’Connor

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Artists and Makers tent with John O’Connor Sculpture

Making my way to the Big Top I was stopped in my tracks by the large figurative sculptures for sale by John O’Connor. Some of them were simple figures standing still which reminded me of Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ (which is perhaps why I liked them – see my earlier post on Antony Gormley). However O’Connor’s sculptures are not as human as Gormley’s figures and carry an air of intrigue. See more of O’Connor’s work here: www.johnoconnorsculptor.co.uk/artwork

Victoria England

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Upcycled Bunnies by Victoria England

Inside the Artists and Makers tent was a stall of unique items made by Victoria England. Mostly producing handbags, all of England’s stock is made from 100% recycled retro and vintage materials. I particularly liked these bunnies!

Not A Full Shilling

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Recycled Penny Pendant by Not A Full Shilling

Stuart Andrews calls himself a ‘recycler of old coins and silver cutlery’ and creates these striking pieces. His tent was full of cufflinks, wind chimes, necklaces and more all made from recycled coins and cutlery.

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Half Crown Pendant by Not A Full Shilling

 I really enjoyed looking at all the different designs on display and you can even design your own piece. Have a look at their website for more information and unique pieces: notafullshilling.co.uk

Emily and the Woods

The main reason I went to Wychwood was to see these guys play in the Big Top. Emily and the Woods are a four-piece band headed up by gorgeous vocals from Emily. I should say upfront that I may be a bit biased having grown up through school with the three boys in the band. However, hear me out: they are no average-kind-of-alright-and-I’ll-just-like-them-because-I-know-them kind of band. If you want proof then check out Emily’s beautiful voice here: emilyandthewoods.com

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Emily and the Woods (sorry for the awful quality)

The crowd loved their set at Wychwood and shouted for another song when the band ran out of time (which the sound man thankfully allowed). We were treated to their brand new song ‘Helios’ which had a more dancey feel and the whole set was just lovely!

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But don’t just take my word for it, go and see them for yourself – they’re going on tour later this month!

All in all Wychwood Festival was a great day out. The sun was shining, there was a friendly atmosphere and lots going on. I loved all the little stalls showcasing some beautiful arts and crafts and innovative recycling ideas. Find out more information about the festival here: www.wychwoodfestival.com