Glastonbury 2010 – Part 3

Part One. Part Two.


To my favourite part(s) of the festival.  Shangri-la/Arcadia.
I include The Common/Block 9/The Unfair Ground in this, but I didn’t make enough time to explore these properly.

The South west side of the festival site was given over to a number of areas specifically geared towards late night shenanigans.  Shangri-La even has a backstory!  Last year it was “a dystopian vision of a citadel ruled by a corrupt regime” that was “in a relentless and futile battle with the rebels of the alleyways”.  This year things have moved on, the regime was overthrown and the gates thrown open to “pleasure-givers from all corners of the known universe” the obvious result presumably being making nightmare-inducing mannequins…

Photobucket Photobucket

Most of my pics had to be taken in the day, as at night without the flash it was blurry as hell and with the flash it looked awful with added dust everywhere!

The place was outstanding, like artwork you could walk around in.  You’d come across parts of it that you’d be genuinely unsure if they were a venue or stall you could go inside, or an art installation.  Most were both.  Alleyways made a maze of parts of it, with lots of hidden things you might easily miss.  The walls were graffitied and stickered by staff and punters alike.  Walking down one alleyway in the day I passed one wall that was a caravan, but at night was the smallest live stage of the festival.

Many of the venues in Shangri-La had conditions to get in.  Terry went into the Hotel to go to a slumbarave (trade in 1 item of clothing for pyjamas/dressing gown etc) and to get in you had to blag your way past the bouncer.

This is the Snakepit.

To get in you had to have a tattoo.  I had to get myself a temporary one.

Turned out it was a parlour of… exotic dancers.

Oo-er missus. We left before the burlesque strip shows, I’d like to claim it was due to my dislike for the smuttiness of it all, but more alarmingly it was to see a man play folk music, so there’s probably something wrong with me….

The Unfair Ground housed some interesting things, including freaky art installations.

Whatever this was

And, scariest of all, a venue compared by Bez!

I saw a number of these dotted around the site, and it’s amazing that – with so much to see – you can actually miss these things.

Also in The Unfair Ground was a crashed plane.  You heard me.  At night, a host of dancers with flags and bottles of lambrini pretended to be .. er.. I think … stewardesses and pilots of the crashed vehicle.  Well no wonder it crashed.

What made it cool is that in the early hours of the morning it opened it’s emergency exit and became an incredibly small nightclub.

I didn’t investigate The Common and Bloc 9 areas nearly enough.  Bloc 9 contained more night clubs that kept going until after the sun had come back up, one of which was The London Underground, which had a bit of an accident.

I was pretty gutted to discover that The Common area had the ‘Wall Of Death’ (motorbikes that go up and round and up and round wheeeee), but worst of all, I only found out afterwards that NoFit State Circus had acts there. Sadface.

I got scared of a giant robobunny, and went to another strip club…

These were in Arcadia, which was host to my favourite event of the weekend.  The area had some loose backstory to it, or at least it seemed so from the comic strip on the wall (by the bunny).
There were robotic structures everywhere, almost everything was metallic.

The robot stripper was part of a tent that included a robot DJ (im sure the fleshbag by the turntables was just an assistant).  Despite the racket from outside (more on that below) it was surprisingly soundproof.

It must have taken a lot of work to get this all put together, but it was a feast for the eyes.

And the senses.

Especially when this happened.

Oh my, yes. Arcadia liked fire.

A huge tripod structure dominated the area.  At night, the DJ booth in it’s (control) centre was manned and a fantastic sound system pumped out dance music at volume while from seemingly every corner of the structure there would be a flamethrower.

The fire worked with the music, when every build up exploded to life, the flames would spout higher.  the heat, the noise and the light made it a massive assault on the senses, but it was phenomenal.

More than that, there were structures nearby, including a metallic dragon that looked like a pyromaniac Zoid, plus cranes holding women in silver alien bodysuits held in nets, plus figures suspended on ropes with faux ‘abdomens’ full of helium balloons. A little to the left of the construct was a fountain they were feeding gas pockets or flammable liquid into it that made this happen.

Most amazing of all – and pretty much impossible for me to take a decent picture of – during one of the Fire Shows, two figures in dark mesh suits had… how can I put this… had a fight with lightning.  Whatever their suits were made of, it allowed them to channel electricity through them safely, so they started hurling lightning bolts at them, like the dude from Big Trouble In Little China.  They even picked up flourescent tubes that lit up and sent slivers of visible electricity all over the place.  Jaw-dropping.

So good I went back twice.

That’s your lot for pictures of fire. One more blog to do, and maybe a video if I can find the time.



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