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There's decent weather when we arrive on Friday, and as is traditional we set up camp in the hottest part of the day, leaving me sweaty and grateful I can bring our own booze into the campsite and enjoy a cooling beer once we're set up. When I do wander into the arena I take time to get my bearings by wandering around the site, noting the central ring of food traders. There's plenty to explore, with the site having changed slightly since my last visit two year's ago.
There's an additional Vintage Fayre area with plenty of seating (handy when it rains), the new Viva (punk) Rock Stage, The Big Cheese Cave has moved but still smells cheesy, and the Funky end has it's own covered area. There's an additional Jack Daniels Bar, it doesn't sell Jack on draught, and a disco offering the chance to groove, more stalls, a Ceroc Dance tent complete with chequered dance floor and glitter ball, with the Surrey Advertiser, Acoustic Stage, and Live Club stages a familiar sight. The kids area was a secluded and mysterious as ever, with happy noises emanating from the secure field. The Nintendo Zone was back, as were the fish in the foot spa. There was a new computer LANed virtual paintballing area, karaoke truck, The Zone for teens with it's pool table, and two zorbing zones, one by Eco Play offering water zorbing.
There's a fair few choices of decent food on offer too. I start the weekend with some old school punk rock in the Viva La Rock Stage, and Funky End for some Dready Glenn before continuing my rock flavoured thread with Attack! Attack! and The Outcast Band, before settling at the Main Stage for Echo and the Bunnymen, who have far more hits in their locker than I thought they had including 'Lips Like Sugar, 'Nothing Lasts Forever', 'Bring On the Dancing Horses', 'Seven Seas', 'The Killing Moon', and climax with 'The Cutter'.
Food prices were reasonable with most meals around the £6 mark, and snacks available from £2.50, although a fiver for a portion of chips seemed a little steep. There was a decent range of food available with local stalls offering the tastiest treats. Pasha's Lamb Kofta being my favourite of the weekend. There didn't appear to be any panda burgers (only ostrich) despite the tie in with the festival and the WWF who are celebrating 50 years. Drinks too were averagely priced, although I mainly sampled the ales, there was no real cider only Brothers on tap. GuilFest Ale was priced at £3.80 with various guest ales popping up over the weekend at £4 a pint.
The crowd for Roger Daltrey is more reduced than I expected as he performs songs from the classic Who album, film and rock opera 'Tommy'. The set is hampered by two things, noise issues which are uncomfortably loud, and the fact that Adam Ant is returning to the live music scene on the second stage. We do get a feast of Who material from the openers, 'I Can See for Miles', 'The Real Me', and 'Pictures of Lily through the Tommy track list including highlights 'Pinball Wizard', 'Miracle Cure', and 'I'm Free' to 'We're Not Gonna Take It'. The encore includes 'Who Are You', and a fantastic 'Behind Blue Eyes'.
I leave at times to sample what's on offer on the other stages, which have all drawn decent audience numbers. There's a huge crowd at Adam Ant having a blast, the theatrical lead singer delivers an upbeat set that included 'Stand And Deliver', 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier', and 'Ant Music'.
It was such a shame that both these acts had been programmed against each other, as I would have preferred to have seen all of both sets. I wandered back to my tent to try to get some sleep amongst the hordes of young revellers marauding through the site, stood in groups beside their tents, the last thing I remember is the rallying call of, "Alan!"