By Daniel RobertsWhen I was about thirteen I went through a ‘60s phase. I grew my hair and wore a woollen cardigan; I greedily devoured accounts of Jimmy Page riding his motorbike through hotel lobbies and listened to Dark Side of the Moon for hours in the glow of my lava-lamp. And how I wished I could have gone to that crowning event of the hippy era: Woodstock. Not for the acid trips, or the ‘free-love’, you understand, nor perhaps even for the music, but rather for the spirit, that essence of the age that brought so many people together to celebrate music and life. I couldn’t go to Woodstock of course, but there was one place where that spirit seemed to live on, a place of pilgrimage, a music festival with so much more that devoted punters requested that their ashes be scattered on its site after their deaths. And so experiencing Glastonbury Festival became high on my list of ‘Things To Do Before I Die’. I ditched the cardigan, but not the fascination, so this spring, just like several hundred-thousand other hopefuls, I awoke at a ridiculously early hour, commandeered two computers and a phone and I emerged as one of the lucky purchasers of a golden ticket to Glastonbury.With such high expectations it was perhaps inevitable that the festival would be a bit of a disappointment, and so it proved to be. First of all there was the famous Glastonbury weather. Much as festival-goers love to claim that the mud and rain can’t dampen the fun I couldn’t help spending most of the weekend thinking about how much better it would all be if I wasn’t wet, and the loudest cheers of the festival were reserved not for The Who or the Arctic Monkeys but for the rare glimpses of sunshine that tantalised the crowds before giving way again to the deluge. Second, despite the festival’s reputation as a musical Mecca, the line-up this year was decidedly uninspiring. V stalwarts like James Morrison, The Fratellis and The Kooks rendered the Pyramid stage almost devoid of interest, and neither The Killers nor The Arctic Monkeys managed to justify their position on the bill: the former masked their plodding, hollow ‘anthems’ in pompous bombast while the latter were fishes out of water as headliners. Add to this the fact that all the best music was dispensed with over a few hours on the Friday (Bjork, Hot Chip, M.I.A. Trentemoller and Fat Boy Slim – how about that for a clash…), and one can’t help but think the festival could be helped by some more challenging and edgy bookings in the headline slots.Despite this, there was still much to enjoy. The site was dotted with some fantastic pieces of art: clearly a lot of preparation had gone into the organisation, and the location was unbelievably large: there was always a new area to explore and a delightful surprise round every corner, and given the festival’s stature the joy and pride visible in the performances of many of the newer British bands made for some electrifying concerts.But ultimately the Stonehenge installation constructed from portaloos by artist Banksy summed up Glasto’s predicament: at first Banksy’s guerrilla graffiti struck a chord with its fresh perspective and challenging themes, but now he sells paintings to Hollywood stars for tens of thousands of pounds. Similarly the popularity of what was formerly a genuinely meaningful and politically charged gathering has proved to be the festival’s downfall. With the masses came homogenisation and now there is just very little magic to be found in the ‘green fields’ at Glasto. Don’t get me wrong, Glastonbury is anything but a bad festival, and it is by far the best of the major British offerings. The problem for Glastonbury is that in this age of increasing demand for the live music experience the options increase as well, and with some of the alternatives on offer abroad it’s hard not to see why soggy Glasto begins to look less appealing. Benicàssim offers glorious sunshine and a pristine Spanish beach. Norway’s Hove Festival plays out against a backdrop of stunning mountains and fjords. And Eastern European festivals are becoming an increasingly popular budget option.One such foreign alternative, and the one that completed my festival summer, is Denmark’s Roskilde. Located thirty miles from Copenhagen the festival arguably has an even richer history than its English counterpart. Founded in 1971 by a couple of high school students this non-profit event was modelled on the peace and love ethos of Woodstock and has a focus on recycling and the environment, plus an eclectic musical smorgasbord showcasing the best talent from Scandinavia and beyond. All in all it was, whisper it, better than Glastonbury.There’s the tantalising way the organisers add a few bands to the line-up every week from March or so, leaving you desperate to see if your favourite band will be one of the announced every Wednesday. There’s the wonderful refund system, under which beer bottles, cans and cups can be exchanged for money, meaning that not only can you buy yourself a meal by going around picking up a few cups, but the festival is noticeably cleaner and tidier into the bargain. There’s the fact that the Main Stage is called the Orange Stage not because it has anything to do with a phone company, but because it’s, well, orange. There’s the train service that goes right from the festival site to the town, or even to Copenhagen, for a pound or two a pop, there’s the swimming lake, the cinema, the naked run (which does exactly what it says on the tin, the prize being tickets to the next years bash). Not only does Roskilde have four days of fantastic music to Glastonbury’s three, but the main event is preceded by a five day ‘warm-up’: you pitch your tent, meet your neighbours, enjoy some smaller bands and generally have an unbelievably good time. It’s the atmosphere at Roskilde that makes it truly memorable: the audience at the festival is significantly more multicultural and eclectic than its British equivalents. Glastonbury may have its hippy enclave, but in truth the crowds it attracts these days come from a relatively narrow demographic. Our campsite at Roskilde was populated by Swedes, I chatted to Australians in the queue to get in, an Italian called Paolo kept us awake with his broken but noisy English. We were also paid a visit by a dazed looking Norwegian clad in rainbow spandex and flying goggles who introduced himself as Ola and proudly showed all comers how he could almost do the splits, and I discussed the significant merits of The Whitest Boy Alive’s dream pop with a bloke from Leeds dressed as a banana. The music was great as well: headliners Bjork, Muse, The Who, and Queens of the Stone Age provided familiar thrills, and the festival is the Scandinavian equivalent of Glasto for emerging talent; a host of up and coming Nordic acts gave their all, Datarock, Band Ane, Peter Bjorn And John, 120 Days, Jens Lekman and Mando Diao providing just a few of the more memorable shows.‘Well’, I hear you say, ‘you clearly only enjoyed it more because of the awful weather at Glastonbury’. Not so. This Roskilde was subject to 95mm of rain, more than double the previous record (they even sell t-shirts emblazoned with the legend ‘Roskilde 2007: I Did All 8 Days’), but it just didn’t seem to matter. I’d love to give Glasto another try some time, but next year, rather than frantically scrabbling for a golden ticket to Somerset; I will be making my way to a little slice of wet and beery heaven in an unremarkable corner of Denmark.
… Continued emphasis to be placed on youth developmentFOLLOWING the Annual General Meeting and Elections of the East Bank Football Association (EBFA) last Sunday at the Kuru Kururu Youth Centre, Linden/Soesdyke Highway, Franklin Wilson was returned as president.Elections which were conducted by Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Technical Development Officer, Lyndon France, saw Kevin Anthony and Noel Harry retain their posts as respective First and Second vice-presidents.Also returning was secretary, Wayne Francois. New additions are Ms Dawn Joseph (treasurer), Ms Abigale Scott (assistant secretary/treasurer) and Devon Winter, Dillion Roberts, Orein Angoy and Owan Wills as ordinary members.One Ordinary Member position is still outstanding due to the absence of the proposed individual. This position would be filled subsequently as per constitution.France in remarks congratulated the affiliated EBFA clubs for displaying a high degree of maturity and collectivity with regard to proposing and ratifying a single list of persons that would continue the development of the sport on the East Bank.Wilson in response expressed the association’s gratitude to France, Mr Richard Groden and the GFF for its support in overseeing and conducting the elections.The president also thanked the clubs for reposing a high degree of trust in him and fellow executive members to continue running the affairs of the EBFA for another two years.The meeting was brought up to date with the progress of the association ever since the last AGM and elections in October 2015 at the same venue by way of an address by the President and the Secretary’s Activity Report.The Audited Financial Statement, done by W.E James Consultancy Audit, Accounting & Taxation was also presented to the AGM and subsequently approved.Continued emphasis would be placed on youth development throughout the association where the EBFA would also be organising its own tournament other than those provided by the federation the likes of the GFF/NAMILCO Intra Association and the Pele Alumni Under-15.The NAMILCO league which is nearing its end has been played for two rounds, attracting a total of eight clubs. The Pele U-15 will commence shortly. Also being played is the 2nd annual Ralph Green-sponsored Under-11 league/KO competition which has also attracted eight teams.Kuru Kururu Warriors FC, despite not being able to field a team for the competition, were recipients of 15 association-branded tee-shirts as well as a branded ball by the EBFA, as a means of encouragement for the club which have been excelling on and off the field of play.The EBFA would continue to work closely with the GFF to ensure it achieves fully trained coaches at each club as well as to increase the referee’s pool apart from having club administrators exposed to the relevant training that would assist in the achievement of properly functioning and effective clubs.All the clubs were complimented for their efforts to compete in tournaments; Highway United, on the verge of receiving full membership, and Kuru Kururu Warriors were commended for their unflinching investment in ensuring participation in competitions.Meanwhile, the association will be running off a one-day 5-a-side women’s tournament to help stimulate and encourage the development of the female arm of the sport. Kuru Kururu Warriors have the lone female team in the association.This scenario is expected to change following this tournament which would be held at Kuru Kururu, with one bicycle at stake for the Most Valuable Player along with trophies and medals for the top two teams.The aforementioned items have been donated by the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club which also presented a number of hand rags to the association that were handed over to the clubs last Sunday.