Glastonbury 2016: 14 things we learned

The mud was miserable, the music was majestic, and many inexplicable things happened along the way. It could only have been Glastonbury.

Here are some of the things we learned over four days at the festival.

1) THE FLAGS WERE FANTASTIC

There’s a fine tradition of crafting flags to bring to Glastonbury and this year, the designers surpassed themselves.

Flaggy McFlagface became a minor celebrity on Twitter. But this effort was our favourite.

2) ADELE HAS A FUTURE IN STAND-UP

We came for the hits, we stayed for the comedy.

Best bit? When she burped in a fan’s face and declared: “I had a dirty burger before I came on, that’s why.”

3) JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT CAN’T GET ANY MORE MUDDY…

Literally and figuratively, the mud sucked.

When we arrived, the ground had the consistency – but not the taste – of chocolate mousse. By Sunday, it was taking wellington boots hostage.

This all came as a terrible shock to Earth, Wind and Fire – who closed the West Holts stage with the grooviest set of the entire weekend.

“We didn’t know it was going to be mud-ville,” groaned Philip Bailey.

“I haven’t had a pair of boots on in many, many years. You don’t have to wear these in Los Angeles.”

Welcome to our world, Philip. Welcome to our world.

4) THE SHIRES WENT FROM DELIVERY ROOM TO THE ACOUSTIC STAGE

Two hours before their headline slot on the Acoustic Stage, The Shires’ singer Ben Earle was still on his way to Glastonbury. Why? He’d just spent 48 hours in hospital. Or rather, his partner had…

“Ben’s fiancee gave birth this morning,” said his bandmate Crissie Rhodes. “We had a safe arrival this morning and it’s a baby boy. Baby River.”

The singer made it to Worthy Farm just in time for the band’s set, where they unveiled Save Me, the first song from their second album.

5) EVERYONE REMEMBERED PRINCE AND DAVID BOWIE

It used to be Glastonbury tradition that, on Friday night, a rumour would circulate that David Bowie was going to be playing a surprise set. For definite. And Prince was coming too.

This year, those rumours were laid to rest, for all-too-tragic reasons.

But the stars’ presence was felt everywhere. Joe Rush’s magnificent sculptures were a permanent reminder of their genius; while Madness, The Last Shadow Puppets, Jess Glynne and Beck dropped covers into their sets.

But the best tribute came from Fatboy Slim, who mashed up Prince’s 1999 and his own Right Here, Right Now during his packed-out set at the John Peel tent. It kicked off, to put it mildly.

6) THIS HAPPENED

And we have no idea why.

7) THIS ALSO HAPPENED

Nope. Still nothing.

8) ZZ TOP HAVE A STRICT BEARD ETIQUETTE

Recreating a classic Smash Hits question, we asked ZZ Top whether they slept with their beards over or under the sheets.

“Well it depends on the evening,” replied Billy Gibbons. “If you’ve had a nice, charming evening out for dining, the good chance is that the leftover food will not be present in your beard. That way, you can put the beard under the covers. On the other, unforeseen, nights it might have to stay out.”

9) MADNESS SHOULD HAVE PLAYED THE LEGEND SLOT

The Nutty Boys lived up to their name on Saturday afternoon. Suggs came out in a shaggy brown wig, announced that this would be a re-run of Top of the Pops, and allowed his guitarist to sing a perplexing cover of AC/DC’s Highway To Hell.

And yet… they prompted the biggest, most good-natured singalong of the weekend.

It was a classic Sunday afternoon slot – which makes you wonder how ELO, whose songs simply aren’t as etched into the national consciousness, blagged the better billing?

10) BECK WANTS TO LAUNCH HIS OWN FRAGRANCE

In an attempt to compete with Beyonce and Britney Spears, Beck has decided to launch his own eau de toilette.

He will call it “Ether” and it will “smell of nothing”.

We hope this isn’t a joke.

11) CHVRCHES COULDN’T WAIT TO GET BACK TO GLASGOW

Lauren Mayberry flew into Glastonbury from the West Coast of America (how fancy) but it was merely a stop-gap on her way to her hometown of Glasgow. In fact, she couldn’t wait to leave.

“I haven’t been back in Glasgow for a while and I’m quite excited to eat some Indian food, because there’s really amazing curry in Glasgow.

“Drunk me is very keen on reheating curry that’s in the fridge. If drunk me sees a leftover Saag Paneer? Boundless joy.”

12) ROMANCE WAS IN THE AIR

There were proposals in the crowd during Adele and James Blake’s sets on Saturday night; while Gregory Porter helped Tom and Zoe – two of his crew members – with a proposal on the Pyramid Stage.

As Porter explained: “Tom came to me and said, ‘I’m going to propose,’ and I said, ‘she can’t say no on the Glastonbury stage.'”

After Zoe said “yes”, Porter serenaded the couple with Real Good Hands – a song he wrote about proposing to his own wife.

“I get maybe 10 requests to come and sing that at somebody’s wedding or to have someone propose at one of my concerts every week. Sometimes I can’t do it… but it’s a pleasure. It’s my song, it’s my story, I love doing it.”

13) DON’T GET IN A FIGHT WITH WILL YOUNG’S MOTHER

Here for his 12th Glastonbury (and third as a performer) Will Young brought his mum along to sample the atmosphere.

“If you see someone small with an Indian umbrella, that’s her,” he told us. “But watch out, she uses it as a weapon.”

14) THE SECURITY GUARDS ARE GIANTS

That’s not just perspective making the guards look big – they’re all related to Game Of Thrones’ Jason Momoa. Just ask James’ frontman Tim Booth, who tussled with one as he tried to crowd surf on Friday.

“There was this amazing giant security guard. He was 6ft 8in and he didn’t want to let me go in. He kept on grabbing my leg and then, finally, I hit him with my microphone and he let go.

“I must have gone 40 yards into the crowd and I spun over and he was there! He’d followed me in! And he put me on his shoulders and walked me back like a bag of carrots.

“He was a massive warrior and I was a twig man on his shoulders.”

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