Some people think spending ?250 from Ebay for a ticket to Reading is a good deal. Some people believe that if you haven’t queued for an hour and paid ?4.00 to get a beer it isn’t worth it. Some people have never heard of the Glastonbudget Festival. For all of these misdemeanours you will of course be forgiven BUT ONLY ONCE!!

What’s All This Then?

In 2005 the Glastonbudget Festival began in the middle of a field in the middle of England playing middle of the road rock to a predominantly middle-aged audience of around 700 people. Well received, however it made a loss. That would have been the end of the story except that people began to talk and talk so much did they talk that the organisers out of sheer love put on a second festival this year. And by Christ was it something else.

Day One

We arrived fashionably late (or as some people would have it “you’re fired” late) just in time to hear the first of the new acts playing as we set up our tents. They sounded dreadful – and upon closer inspection our suspicions were confirmed – so as the rain came down…..

Staying at home (1 point)

We camped out under the welcoming cover of the nearest bar which was a converted London Routemaster bus. (And although this has something to do with London I am not going to say anything about it except – it was nice to see it). Just as we were beginning to despair at the first band our hopes were brightened by a piece of festival cheer – Beer was only ?2.50 (the same as in the pubs back home!!).
Glastonbudget Festival (1 point)

We still had a while until the Dead Hot Chilli Peppers were on stage so we set about tarting for freebies and soon were inundated by a piece of paper with a website address on it by a band called “Wildhouse” – Unfortunately this was not a tribute to “The Wildhearts” – but as it turned out this band were outstanding anyway– the guitarist did not solo enough which was a shame as his riffs were crunching enough to made ACDC look like amateurs. They would have been mentioned more were it not for “Black Manilla” giving us a much better freebie – a laminated flyer and a free condom with “Coc Roc” emblazoned upon it.

Glastonbudget Festival (2 points)

We never got to hear Black Manilla though but still, it’s all about the marketing (or at least I think that is what Bill Hicks really meant).

Anyway for three hours it had been raining so it was timely when the Chillis came on stage that it stopped and we were treated to a day of bang on the money / well rehearsed performances from all bands. From the start the Chillis strutted around topless and really giving everything to get the crowd gong – Perhaps they laid the sympathy on a little thick by shamelessly offering their single status to all and sundry in the audience. Some of the women gasped and offered their services and many of the men held on to their partners.

So then the Chillis left and they had got the festival started with such a display which marked the level of the entire festival. As the Antarctic Monkeys were followed by the Stereotonics we were secretly waiting for “One Step Behind” the Madness tribute. Not a fan of the whole indie thing we scattered ourselves around the stalls. The usual hippie stalls had set-up selling hippie clothes and hippie food with hippie piercing and hippie incense and every stall was populated by metallers. I think there is an irony there somewhere but no time to dwell because about that time a couple of Mancunians weirdboyz came up to me and asked me for my autograph because they thought I was the drummer in the Antarctic Monkeys. I told them I wasn’t, but when they insisted I thought why waste a good joke and signed one of the guy’s arms with my signature and the line “This Means Squat.” I like to think he woke up the next day confused.

When the Madness Tribute began, the whole festival seemed to have turned up (which incidentally was about 2,000 people). For those who pretend they don’t like Madness – you are excused from reading this bit, but for us normal people – ‘One Step Behind’ were amazing – the whole crowd began dancing like dads at a wedding and with the trumpets and trombones blasting out and the sun occasionally peeking out from the clouds – the festival spirit began passing over us all like a big cosy blanket. The Glastonbudget Festival is all about the sing-along – Madness began it and as they were followed by U2 and Queen from that point on the singing never stopped – young joined in with old in renditions of “Still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” And “Bohemian Rhapsody” The rain never fell again and these two bands were easily the most popular of the two days. Great performance, all the band members looked like they actually lived their lives as their characters (a little sad perhaps, but necessary I think to be that good at it.) Lighting and smoke all used to great effect – I am too young to know Freddie Mercury really, but those that were old enough said that “Mercury” were excellent in their singing and stage presence.

Glastonbudget Festival (100 points – competition closed)

Where now? All back to our place!

The trouble with throwing such a great festival line-up where everyone walks back to the tents in harmonious union is that when you get back to the campsite people are still wanting to carry on. And as luck (or good planning) would have it – go on you can, as on both nights there were impromptu acoustic sets from other people who felt like playing. People sat in the dim camp lights and it was a really chilled wind down to the night. We didn’t wind down, and I am ashamed to say that we kept up the poor people next to our tent awake till 5am with our pointless jokes and football style commentary to the couple nearby screwing audibly coupled with a chorus of “I’m Spartacus” and “Tuna Sandwiches” throughout the campsite and having completed our breakfast order we decided to call it a night after a call of “Big floppy donkey d**k.” Was answered with “Shut your f***ing face unclef***er.” That seemed a perfect time to end.

The morning after during the weekend now

Waking up is hard to do, but as the smells of premium sausages and thick sliced smoked bacon wafted through the air – we found it easier. The breakfast bar was beautiful – you might think that is a flouncy word, but that describes the food perfectly. Welcome indeed and the tea hit the spot combating hours of excess on the JD front (screw you coffee drinkers – tea is the key!)

Returning to the tent to catch up on the Sunday line-up we again ran into our new acquaintances who had the pleasure of camping by us – apparently they genuinely enjoyed our conversations on “Why are there no famous parody bands?” and “Where is bloody JD gone?” We later learnt that the couple whose sexual endeavours we had commentated on had left their tent only to be caught by the local farmer as they continued in his field and scaring the sheep (or was that scarring).

These kind people, who we ended up sharing the rest of the day with, kindly offered us a vodka and coke wake up drink – and as the first of the new acts for the day came on we made our way to the arena. Now Rory Gallagher died a long time ago and this band although looking nothing like him sounded very much like him – they won’t be upset if I said their solos weren’t of the Gallagher style, but to start off the Sunday with some blues rock really was perfect, the only thing that could make it more perfect would have been some sun. And as if the local council were somehow listening to my thoughts and controlling the weather – out the sun came.

There are some people who will take exception to this next statement – I am ashamed to say we missed The Clone Roses – I apologise – people said they were great and I am sure they were – but I am of the Green Day generation (both ‘Dookie’ and ‘American Idiot’) and so only after The Roses had left did I make my way to the tribute stage. Green Days were (I’d like to say spot on the money, but…), they really brought Green Day and the Festival to life playing all the favourites, but occasionally they did miss the words. If you’re not going to have the common decency to sing your own songs then at least get other people’s songs right!!! Ho hum, complaining over – That was a comment for the purists out there. Green Days were great and I hope they come back. For the punk purists out there avert your eyes at the next bit – The final song of the Green Days set was a rendition of the Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen” song by – the Noel Gallagher singer from Oasish.

To my mind everything else today is just a footnote.

(The actual) ‘Chas & Dave’, ‘The Rolling Stones’ and ‘The Jamm’ were up next and being before my time we left it to the old folks and went to see a band called ‘Stiff Naked Fools’ (unfortunately not a tribute to ‘Bare Naked Ladies’ or ‘Stiff Little Fingers’) but a reggae band from Leicester. Again very good chilled Sunny Summer Sunday afternoon music and as I took a photo of a parent with an inflatable guitar (Man – is he going to rue the day he posed for that one) I realised that I had neglected a part of this festival.

Real ale

An entire tent was dedicated to the tradition English past time of Real Ale – I usually drink one every now and then – I don’t talk about Doctor Who, model railways or classic cars and neither did anyone here. This is the thing London people – real ale is OK to drink – outside the South East of England away from the Home Counties dullards proper drink is drunk by most, which means you all should too.
Thus endeth the lesson.

To be honest it made a change from the lager and still more JD.

Meanwhile, back on stage

The Jamm began playing “Going Underground” – during the night we had entertained many with the famous parody: “London Underground” and during the day if only we had been nearer the stage we could have really ruined their set – as it happened the song passed with only minimal disruption.

Suddenly a great surge of female hormones swept towards the stage – the male contingent of the festival drew back unable to penetrate forward. With limbs flailing everywhere and the decibel count reaching ear-shattering levels. The men struggled to see the reason for the crescendo of girlish screaming – as the sounds of rock piano and trumpets sounded across the speakers, Robbie Williams burst on to the stage. I spent some of the time having an inflatable baseball bat battle with some kids. That only lasted one song and I soon managed to get collared by the girly brigade who having realised that they would never speak to the Robbie Williams singer would make do with the nearest man and sing the words to him instead. Man, I love being drunken sing-shouted at by women!!

After the massive set by Robbie Williams which really began the evening off in earnest, Pink Fraud seemed a little tame. In their defence the guitarist was really struggling with his pedals and spent the first three songs bent over such that I thought he was having difficulty with his shoelaces. With the trauma over and my having launched my friend’s inflatable baseball into the audience (He was not impressed!!) the rest of set was just like the real Pink Floyd, although without Rodger Waters getting uppity.

The finale

‘Gun ‘n’ Roses’ – with Axel Rose having the monopoly over the name, and the new tour, minus Slash, looking rubbish – this tribute band was very welcome and if ever you wanted fireworks at the end of a set then you could either see Metallica set themselves on fire again or you could see this. I’m not a fan of high-pitched rock singers, but as darkness fell and the strobe lights kicked in and the opening bars of “Live and Let Die.” Came wafting across the night air I knew we were in for a treat. That we were – that we were. Many would say this was not the best choice of final act and I can see why as far as a sing-a-long goes, but in terms of performance – this was energetic and full on for the entire set. All the classics came out except to some peoples’ chagrin not, “November Rain”

A massive bank holiday weekend – great weather on the Sunday – cheap drink – cheap drink – no security issues – the whole event had a real small time feel about it, but the performances were true ‘stadium.’

We’re all going back next year and taking a squadron of us – you will be there too – no questions – no discussion – we are all going and we are all going to love it.

Here endeth the lesson

Amen to Glastonbudget


1) Ok, Ok – I am a tight fisted so and so – what about the penny in my pocket?

PRICE: ?47.50
DURATION: 2 days (3 nights if camping)
STAGES: 2 (large)
BANDS: 15 tribute bands and 22 new acts
Facilities: 4 food tents / 2 bars and 1 real ale tent / loads of toilets / bouncy castle / sumo wrestling / various hippy shops frequented by metallers / festival “essentials” shop / first aid

So – you can see the price is outstanding, but I haven’t sold it yet – here are the tribute bands:

Queen / U2 / Green Day / Stone Roses / Pink Floyd / Arctic Monkeys / Stereophonics / Rolling Stones / Red Hot Chilli Peppers / The Jam / Oasis / Gun ‘n’ Roses / Madness / Robbie Williams and the Actual Chas & Dave

Highlight New Acts: Ictus / School for the Gifted / Wildhouse / Stiff Naked Fools amongst others

If I haven’t sold this yet – then you are a moron – this is the ultimate sing-along festival and I was truly happy to see people of all ages from 5 years old to a cracking old boy of 78 who had come in his own “off-road” wheelchair = now that is Rock ‘n’ Roll people!!!

2) If I closed my eyes would I think Freddie Mercury or Billy Joe was on stage?

Every tribute band was bang on the money – in
mannerisms and
playing ability –
you could tell though where the bands that were talented in their own right took a solo and made it their own. Everyone at this festival had a blast and as Queen, Pink Floyd and Gun ‘n’ Roses are no longer touring I can help but think tribute band festivals are going to take off.

It was also obvious that some bands had been going for a while and the dedication in looking like their characters were extraordinary.

Great choices of songs and the lighting and sound quality was excellent.

3) If I were a woman, would I use the toilet on the last day?

If you don’t know the answer – you’ve never been to a festival

4) I hate insects and have a fear of open spaces – can I go camping here?

Plenty of space with the usual late night impromptu performances and customary shouts of “Tuna Sandwiches” going on until daybreak.
A Breakfast bar was available and when I say “bar” I mean “food” serving fairly good quality hot breakfast – the sausages were definitely premium which was very impressive.

5) I am impatient even lying in a massage parlour – How long am I forced to stand in a bar queue?

About 5 minutes at the worse times. The bars were not that busy, but this probably because each were quite long and were staffed well. The real ale was running out quite fast which will be rectified next year – it seems demand was crazily high. Anyway plenty available – even the smoothie hut was doing quite well also.

6) I am a right hippy what can I buy to ward off evil spirits?

Plenty of stalls selling dream catchers / didgeridoos / jambee and piercings along with T-shirts, etc, etc

7) I am a fussy eater – can I eat or should I bring my own sushi and vine leaves?

The food was limited during the day with the choice of either burgers, hot dogs or a vegetarian falafel stand – but in the evening chicken and vegetable curry with rice came out and was absolutely gorgeous.

8) I have a 24 carat gold tent and carry an ipod everywhere I go will I get mugged?

Security was fine, although given that there were only 1,800 people there – it was hardly Fort Knox – having said that we saw and heard nothing – there were no shouts of abuse, no reports and no fisticuff situations at all. This truly was a well natured festival – I was a little surprised really. While you were not supposed to sneak drink in – you could take plastic bottles of coke – cue vodka mixed with coke in 10 litre water containers.

9) I get road rage, train rage, bus rage and wave rage down at Fistral beach – can I get there with all my hair still on my head?

The website very helpful with all attempts at transport. Loughborough station was closest. A bus was put on from Leicester station also which at ?6.00 return was great value.

We went by taxi from Loughborough and paid ?12.50.

And that’s it – this was a riot of a time and I am going next year (hopefully I can get Press Passes again – if not I’m going anyway)

I shall repeat this review nearer the time and anyone who is thinking of going drop a note in my guestbook.

Information again (for the forgetful)

PRICE: ?47.50
DURATION: 2 days (3 nights if camping)
STAGES: 2 (large)
BANDS: 15 tribute bands and 22 new acts
Facilities: 4 food tents / 2 bars and 1 real ale tent / loads of toilets / bouncy castle / sumo wrestling / various hippy shops frequented by metallers / festival “essentials” shop / first aid