We arrive early at the site and after a short chat with some Marvel superheroes (this festival is fantastic for fancy dress) we decide to go to the Big Top tent and check out Neon Sarcastic, primarily because we like their name. We soon discover that although you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you perhaps can judge a band by their name because these boys are brilliant. An indie rock version of Rhianna’s ‘Umbrella’ has the crowd on their feet and bouncing as charismatic front man John Wilson provides a high energy performance that definitely attracts our attention. ‘Misery is a Four Letter Word’ is a powerful piece of pop punk that suggests influences such as All Time Low and You Me At Six, closely followed by ‘Codename: Disaster’ which has a rapturous response from an audience that clearly came to see the band in front of them. In a nod to the fact that we are at a tribute festival, Neon Sarcastic turn Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ into a believable bit of rock rage against mindless materialism . ‘Everybody Wants’ is a catchy festival anthem, a lively number that shows that a Neon Sarcastic gig is the place to be if you want to have a good time. Ending with a thundering finale of You Me At Six’s ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, Neon Sarcastic leave us breathless and begging for more.
The festival gets the fun in unbelievably early on the Main Stage with Madness tribute One Step Behind. Cue a ska stepping crowd to the sensational saxophone solo from the track ‘One Step Beyond’ with front man Ian Soulsby whirling around like a dervish and lots of smiling faces. Soulsby has the cheeky chappy chat down to a tee and saxophonist Mike Brown looks very dapper in a purple iridescent suit . Brendan Phipps tinkles tantalisingly the tune to ‘My Girl’ and then the jaunty melody to ‘It’s Raining Again.’ Thankfully it is not actually raining despite the ominous sky and the crowd are playfully pogoing to beat. ‘Shut Up is a slightly scary experience for me as some very young children who are real Diablo demons are attempting to launch their equipment through the stratosphere. I am also momentarily distracted as a bearded guy dressed as a cheerleader slops by skanking energetically. The whole field is full of festival fans energetically enthused by the band as they rocket through ‘It Must Be Love’, ‘The Bed and Breakfast Man’, ‘Embarrassment’, ‘Our House’ – which inspires a fantastic side-ways crowd surfing attempt, ‘House of Fun’, ‘Baggy Trousers’, ‘Madness’ and ‘Night Train to Cairo.’ One Step Beyond are a non-stop party machine and the Glatonsbudget crowd were clearly loving it.
Over at the Big Top , the Blues Brothers UK are tearing up the tent with a frantic fever of rock and roll and soul. The audience are joining in with dropspins and whirlygigs all over the place to an entertaining set including ‘Twistin’, ‘Soul Man’, ‘Baby Loves Rock and Roll’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock.’ The tent is exploding with energetic enthusiasm as the audience rock out with inflatable guitars. On the Main Stage, the Bryan Adams Effect recreate 80/90s soft rock with a set including hits such as ’18 Till I Die’, ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’ and epic anthem ‘Everything I Do’ that had the crowd swaying and singing along. ‘Run to You’ really gets the crowd dancing with the duelling guitars on stage seeming to defy the rain which accepts defeat and quits. ‘When You’re Gone’ has a whole host of oompa lumpas next to me singin lustily away (fancy dress is big at Glastonbudget.) The festival crowd love the rendition of ‘Cuts Like a Knife’ and singalong with the chorus. The distinctive guitar intro of ‘Only Love’ gets an enthusiastic response and the crowd sing the first two lines of ‘Summer of ‘69’ to be joined by the band and then into an extremely well-loved ‘Free Bird’ indicating that many people in the field have spent many frustrated hours trying to complete the tune on Guitar Hero.
We are just walking past the Saddlespin stage, where up and coming acts will be showcased throughout the weekend, when our attention is caught by Bad Touch. ‘One Last Chance’ is a soulful rock song which builds up to fantastic harmonies which has real single potential. A cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ shows the exciting energy and stage manship of the band. ‘Down’ is a high-octane number with classic rock guitar riffs and twirling drum sticks during the performance. Vocalist Stevie head bangs enthusiastically along to the beat and Bad Touch become part of Lyric Lounge’s ‘One to Watch 2012’ list.
On the Main Stage, Vogue, inject some party pop in the festival crowd with Madonna hits such as ‘Borderline’, ‘Vogue’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, ‘Material World’ and ‘Holiday.’ A sing a long version of ‘American Pie’ warms up the crowds’ vocal chords . Backing dancers and elaborate costumes ensure an enjoyable show. A heavier sound is emanating from The Big Top later in the evening courtesy of Guns2Roses. The band have an extremely enthusiastic crowd moshing away to a variety of hits right from opening number ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’ With a fever-pitched performance, the band rapidly recreate the stadium sound and rocking revelry of one of the world’s biggest rock icons.
Michael Jackson UK’s frontman Ben jumps onto the stage to ‘Jam’ amidst much eager anticipation from the crowd. Under the fierce spotlights, Ben’s silver top shimmers as he sings with a voice uncannily like Jackson’s and executes established Jackson dance moves like the crotch grab and slide step flawlessly. ‘You Wanna Be Starting Something’ sees tremendous twirls and twizzles and Ben tries to include as many hits as possible by splicing numbers such as ‘Keep It In the Closet’ and ‘Another Part of Me.’ The crowd are dancing and singing along to hits such as ‘Human Nature’, ‘ABC’, and ‘Rock With You.’ The festival fans then show their own ability to follow a choreographed routine during ‘Blame It On The Boogie.’ Returning to the stage in a leather jacket to perform ‘Bad’ and ‘Beat It’ and then performing superbly choreographed dances to ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Thriller’, we are truly getting a real show here. Returning to the stage in a sparkly black jacket, a huge cheer from the crowd reverberates as Ben moonwalks across the stage. ‘Man in the Mirror’ is poignantly dedicated to Jackson and another slick routine to ‘Smooth Criminal’ ends a sensational show.