soundCHECK 104 – June 23rd 2011

By the time you read this, Glastonbury Festival will have already begun. Thousands of people will be in the giddy throes of a special kind of spiritual self-discovery that’s spurred by dressing up in 80s Day-Glo and rolling around in patches of mud like delinquent toddlers. All while poisoning mind and body with a heady and copious cocktail of toxic substances.

This alleged nirvana is soundtracked by some of the best bands in the world. Let’s not forget that. After all, there are plenty of regular Glastonbury-goers that would happily try to convince you that Glastonbury is all about ‘the experience’, usually while affecting the kind of condescending, belittling and self-righteous tone of voice that acts as a pretty effective stimulant for violence. Note: defecating in the same fetor-filled plastic cubicles as 160,000 pretend hippies is not an exclusive experience. Glastonbury is a music festival. Attending it does not make you Gandhi. No amount of stupid dancing, body paint or silly hats will change that.

No. The beauty of Glastonbury is in the diversity, breadth and supreme talent of its musicians. And one of them taking to the stage this year is a local lad. He’s called Phil Smith. He’s from Monkleigh. And he went to Great Torrington School and North Devon College, where he studied music. His band, Centrefolds – based in Bath but frequent visitors to North Devon, play at Fluffy Rock Café (I don’t even know what that means) on Saturday (25th) at 2.30pm. You can find out more at

Those of you without plans to leave Devon this summer needn’t go without. My plan next week is to give you a little rundown of this summer’s regional festival action, which is encouragingly diverse. Whether or not that actually happens shall remain a hook of suspense that I’m going to leave swinging like a literary pendulum for seven days. It could go either way.

I’d also like to offer some advice to anyone attending their first festival this summer: get good at holding your breath while locked up in them cubicles. Once you subject the olfactory apparatus to that level of abuse, it never really forgives you. The nostril-scything stench of eau de toilet shall forever be with you.

Finally, don’t forget Black Hole’s clubnight at The Palladium on Saturday (25th). Jackdaws headline. They’re one of North Devon’s most exciting bands. So it’s worth trying to catch them.

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