Michael Eavis knows mud when he sees it.
He’s a farmer and he runs a festival that is notorious for having had some truly atrocious conditions underfoot over the years.
So when he says the 2016 Glastonbury was `the muddiest ever’ you know it must have been bad.
Now I can’t vouch for all the previous waterlogged years, but I can definitely confirm that this year’s was a shocker.
Not music wise Heard some terrific stuff, and you have to be the worst kind of curmudgeon to look at Glastonbury’s 2,000 acts and claim it’s all rubbish.
But getting around the site was akin to one of those fundraising Tough Mudder events. At time I thought someone was actually holding me by the ankles!
However, I don’t want this to be all about the mud.
If you’ve never been you should try to go at least once. It’s sheer scale and breadth are staggering.
Other festivals might be doing individual bits better, but none are the whole package on this level.
Our – by which I mean me Gill, Tony and Helen- 2016 Glastonbury didn’t get off to the most promising start when James were nearly an hour late opening the Other Stage while tractors poured sawdust and woodchip onto the worst of the mud at the front of the stage before the audience could be allowed in.
But whatever else is going on, once a band kicks in everything else takes a back seat and James didn’t play it safe including several newer tracks along with a handful from their glorious past.
And watching a band who were at their biggest more than 20 years ago pretty much set the tone for a lot of what we did over the weekend. Our vintage can be gauged by the fact that we also enjoyed Madness, Paul Carrack, Art Garfunkel, ZZ Top and, particularly, ELO.
Jeff Lynne’s astonishing back catalogue with the latter was a wonder to behold as he chucked out hit after hit backed by what looked like a chamber orchestra and made a miserable, drizzly afternoon a multi-coloured pop delight.
Madness included a nicely judged tribute to David Bowie with a cover of Kooks and if Art’s voice isn’t quite the pristine instrument of old, it’s still good enough to send shivers down the spine when you hear him start `When you’re weary, feeling small…’
There was also a rambunctious set in the Fields of Avalon from the Ben Miller Band who brought some backwoods country-blues to a corner of Somerset.
Honourable mentions, too, for Explosions in the Sky, Ward Thomas and Wolf Alice at various points over the weekend.
You always go with plans to see much more and then don’t see half. But getting distracted is genuinely the other half of the fun.
Still, not long now until tickets for next year go on sale. I’ll have forgotten the mud by then!