What is the best UK tribute festival? Well, according to its website, Glastonbudget is the world’s biggest and best tribute music festival. This is a hefty claim, but we’re actually inclined to agree. Glastonbudget had been our annual warmup festival since 2013 and it’s the first one we book again every year.
This year, we got chatting to Philippa and Gemma, a party duo from Manchester who are at Glastonbudget for the first time.
FVL: Hi, Phili and Gem. It’s good to see you here.
PHILI AND GEM: Hi, it’s great to be here.
FVL: Conveniently scheduled to take advantage of the bank holiday at the end of May, Glastonbudget is a fantastic opener to the festival calendar. Tribute festivals are flourishing these days. They’re popping up all over the country, which means there is now a circuit of top quality tribute bands that are getting better and better every year.
Apart from being great fun, very friendly, big enough to have some atmosphere but small enough to get anywhere on site within 10-15 minutes, it’s tremendous value. For less than £100 for an adult weekend camping pass (2020 prices) and cheaper still for an early-bird ticket, you get to sing along to 3 days of the top 10 hits of some of the world’s biggest bands. There’s no “I’m going to indulge myself by playing 5 obscure songs from 22nd album”, it’s audience participation all the way.
There’s music to suit all tastes and ages. Bands such as Oasish, Mercury, Four Fighters, Absolute Bowie, Jilted Generation, Steriotonics and The Dark Side of Pink Floyd are regular fixtures and well worth catching anywhere.
Bruno Marz has blown the top off the Big Top for the last 3 years. It’s definitely one of the festival highlights but not to be taken lightly, with seasoned moshers being brutally taken out by eight-year-old girls in multi-coloured tutus brandishing sparkly wands. It’s not for the faint hearted.
FVL: Phili/Gem, so what brought you to your first Glastonbudget?
PHILI: Well for me it was down to our lovely friends that always raved about Glastonbudget and how I would love it, so this year I made sure I planned it in for the May bank holiday. That done, I immediately text Gem to make sure she was free which, luckily, she was, and despite already having a flight to Spain booked on the Sunday after the festival, she was still up for it! It’s that commitment to fun that makes me love her.
Joining the two of us were my mum and her boyfriend as well as the seasonal Glastonbudget go-ers that had encouraged us to go in the first place, so I knew we were in safe hands!
GEM: I found out from Phili and I’d personally never heard of it but said yes straight away. When I later went on the website and looked at all of the photos on social media from the previous year I was even more excited and counting down the days. Plus anything ABBA related has my full attention and credit card details.
FVL: Glastonbudget is a fairly mixed bag music-wise. What would you normally listen to? Any guilty pleasures?
PHILI: So, I’m the friend who is never allowed the AUX cable on a road trip or allowed to control the playlist at pre drinks and I get slated for my “terrible” taste in music. I basically have very little interest in chart music but absolutely love hits from the 70s and 80s and all of those one hit wonders. Personally, I don’t see what the problem is but I do get that sometimes a bit of Celine Dion doesn’t get you in the mood for a party. My favourite ever band are Queen and even though it wouldn’t be nearly as good without Freddie Mercury, I would absolutely love to see them when they tour with Adam Lambert – it’s the very top of my bucket list.
GEM: My all-time fave band is ABBA. Great music, great fashion and great fun! Pretty sure my obsession with flares originates from Agnetha. Unsurprisingly, my favourite film is Mama Mia and I also saw it live on stage at the Palace Theatre back in 2009. I’m like Phili in the sense that I have zero interest in 2019 music – AJ Tracey who?
FVL: What do you think of Glastonbudget so far?
PHILI: Absolutely loving every second of it and can’t wait for May 2020 already. Mercury was insane and I think there were moments where I definitely forgot that it was a tribute act. Tina Turner’s whole set was 10/10 – she smashed the whole impersonation, including outfit changes, backing dancers and even the famous Tennessee accent.
GEM: I haven’t done a festival in a good few years now so as soon as Phili asked me and told me that Abba, Queen and Tina Turner were just some of the acts, I knew that it would be a fabulous weekend. As I hadn’t heard of it before I thought it would be quite a low key event but actually it exceeded all my expectations and all the tribute acts went all out! I think the group we were with made it extra special too and I loved getting to know all of Phili’s family friends. It’s a very friendly festival and easy to get chatting to people generally.
FVL: We like the bars at Glastonbudget. There’s a good range of drinks, a nice ale bar, decent cocktail bar and a cute, home-made token system so you lose track of what you’re spending. What’s your favourite festival tipple?
PHILI: We’re both quite partial to Pims or Gin. The cocktails in the arena bar were great but we also brought our own supplies to be on the safe side.
FVL: Everyone makes a festival blunder. Do you have any regrets or things you would do better next time?
PHILI: I’d say being naïve and expecting British summer nights to be as hot as the daytime temperatures; only to then experience the coldest night I’ve ever had once the alcohol coat had worn off. I had to resort to layers upon layers, sleeping bags, blankets, coats, all my clothes, everything! I could just not get warm – even the emergency chips and gravy didn’t help. Then waking up in the morning, dripping with sweat after sleeping in what is essentially a small, portable greenhouse.
GEM: Regrettable moment was definitely the pre-festival ultra-dark spray tan. Safe to say I didn’t end up looking like the bronzed goddess I imagined, more of a tango-d umpa lumpa! (Next year I’ll definitely go a few shades lighter). I also never thought that Tina Turner’s Simply the Best would rally hundreds of teenage boys into an excitable mosh pit frenzy. More of a funny surprise than a regret. I can’t decide if it’s hilarious or terrifying that that can even happen!
FVL: Is there anything you think would improve Glastonbudget?
PHILI: I can’t think of anything really, there were plenty of sparkling clean toilets, the drinks were cheap, loads of room in the camping areas and the whole festival felt very well planned out and safe! I thought the food options were great and not just your usual burger vans! We had loads of different food over the weekend, stone baked pizzas, fish and chips, dirty fries, falafel and it wasn’t too overpriced either. I was impressed!
GEM: Sounds cliché but I don’t think there is anything. We even showered one morning which is usually unheard of at a festival but these were so clean with actual hot water! If I had to suggest anything it would be for at least one food truck to serve vegetarian gravy – not that I cared that much at 2am!
FVL: Have you been to other festivals before?
PHILI: I’ve done Wakestock, Leeds, V Fest, Parklife and a few random day festivals locally. I loved Wakestock which is where I lost my festival virginity. It’s a pretty chilled easy-going weekend. It’s also a kind of leavers right-of-passage event for my old school and the majority of our year group were there. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Parklife, I think part of the reason was that it’s a no camping festival which kills the fun and having to cram in all your pre drinks at 9am and then getting the hangover from hell before it even gets dark.
GEM: I’ve done exactly the same apart from Parklife. I enjoyed all of them, they were all a bit different from each other. But, I can honestly say that even though you’re not seeing the real deal and they’re tribute acts, Glastonbudget was by far my favourite because you know every single song and all the music was right up my street!
FVL: Any top tips for maximum festival fun?
PHILI: Plenty of layers, glitter and alcohol. I’d also recommend either a decent tent with a porch or a gazebo so that if you do get the crappy weather (luckily we had a scorcher of a weekend), then you’ve at least got somewhere to chill. Or, do what we did and make friends with the campervan crowd!
GEM: Baby wipes, cheese and onion rolls and wine bags to stuff down your shorts and smuggle into the arena. I also think those who have a fear of camping need to get over it; sleeping on the hard ground in a tent is a lot comfier after a daylong drinking session! Oh also, put a flag on your tent or do something to personalise it to avoid any awkward wrong-tent encounters. Enough said…
FVL: Would you go to Glastonbudget again?
PHILI: Absolutely! We’ll be booking out 2020 tickets and gathering the troops ASAP!
GEM: Definitely! I’ll even try and persuade these AJ Tracey lovers to give it a go!
FVL: It’s been really nice chatting to you. Pleased to hear you’ve had a good time. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Glastonbudget for more tribute awesomeness.