1. The ravers.
Why they’re here: Drugs, and that moment when the dubstep kicks in. It will be the best moment of their lives. A moment they will have a further 459 times over the course of the weekend. The following week will see them parked at their desks with a perpetual thousand-yard stare. As they turn to the spreadsheet in front of them, a single, solitary tear will land on the keyboard.
What they came to see: Skrillex, naturally.
2. The hipsters.
Why they’re here: In a word? Instagram. In another word? Twitter. Perhaps that’s why “Hipster” has become something of a derogatory term in recent years. But the truth is that this is what being young looks like in this day and age. Yes, they care too much about how they look to their friends on social media, yes, they blithely follow whichever mundane music the industry tells them to like – but that’s fine. Because really, that’s how it always was. It’s what young people look like when they’re having the time of their lives, and who are we to judge?
What they came to see: They came to see pretty much everything. Arcade Fire, Jack White, Ellie Goulding – they shall drink deeply. And anyone who follows them will know it.
3. The hip-hop aficionados.
Why they’re here: Because listening to Jurassic 5 in a private school dorm doesn’t compare with watching them spit deep bars in the flesh.
What they came to see: They did actually come to see the hip hop bands, but they’ll be the ones at the back, gently nodding along, and taking time to appreciate the “flow”. There’s every chance they’ll get bored and go off to see Jake Bugg.
4. The goths.
Why they’re here: It’s a curious time to be a goth. Glasto’s a perfect opportunity for a meet and greet, but in recent years musical sub-cultures have fragmented to such a degree that they’ll be but a tiny section of the crowd watching The Horrors. On the plus side it’s wet and muddy and they’re actually better equipped for the terrain than most of the Glasto old hands. Many women would kill for the ability of the males – let alone the females – to correctly apply make-up in these most challenging of conditions.
What they came to see: They’ll drift around – they might take in The Pixies, Band of Skulls, probably saw Metallica – but above all, each other.
5. The proper hippies.
Why they’re here: They first came to the area in 2004 and never left. This is just one stop on a summer social circuit that takes in Stonehenge and several genuinely unexplained crop circles.
What they came to see: They didn’t come to see. They came to feel. They might just about make it to Tinariwen on the acoustic stage, assuming the munchies don’t intervene.
6. The not-proper hippies.
Why they’re here: Because they’ve got a couple of days to kill before they go backpacking around Thailand. Keep an eye out for certain tell-tale signs: wearing boaters on the last day when their trainers are ruined, an incessant need to comment on the quality of the weed they’re smoking, dreadlocks that aren’t, a tendency to practise their golf swing when no one’s looking…
What they came to see: Publicly? M.I.A. Privately? Ed Sheeran.
8. The lads.
Why they’re here: In the public imagination students used to be nerds: cuddly young Stephen Fry types who smoked a bit of pot and spent their afternoons watching Countdown. But now? Now it’s all Neknomination and tactical chunders. These BANTERSAURESES have taken the BANTER BUS from whichever provincial town they’re currently getting wrecked in, and they’re here to make things “messy”. The thing is, there’s always a degree of irony behind everything these guys are doing. Don’t be surprised if a couple of them slope away from the pack to watch Suzanne Vega.
What they came to see: Kasabian. #lads
9. The Glasto parents.
Why they’re here: It’s all part of Jimmy’s cultural education. And he will learn. He will learn that when he’s a parent he should never take his children to a music festival because he will lose them at least three times over the course of the weekend, have a blazing row with his partner and develop lumbago from carrying tons of supplies around a 900-acre site.
What they came to see: Bryan Ferry and Alison Moyet, but they won’t.
Why they’re here: Still a thing. If you needed reminding, Emo is like goth and punk: it’s one of those sporadic movements that crop up among a nation’s youth, and which is centered around a type of music and a corresponding aesthetic style and behavioral pattern. Like goth and punk, it’s a noun and an adjective: you can be an emo, or just have emo friends. Emo is also, well, like goth and punk. In that it’s basically a cross between the two. Old people find it silly. If youths are going to rebel, do they have to copy trends that are 30 years old? But every permutation of sound and look has been tried. If we were once willing to give glam rock a go, there can’t be much else left.
And the youth of today live in an apathetic age. An age of bland, smooth ineffectual politicians and pointlessly good-looking celebrities, and the sound which sums it up is…meh. Hence Mumford and Sons. Thank God for the Emos: at least they’re trying.
What they came to see: Bit like the goths – could be anything, but above all each other.
11. The metallers.
Why they’re here: Because Metallica are on. Yes it lacks the sheer power of the time they saw Judas Priest in Poland or Anthrax at Knebworth, and yes they’re surrounded by kids who they might well end up severely injuring in the process of moshing like their lives depend on it but none of that matters because METALLICA ARE PLAYING GLASTONBURY.
What they came to see: Metallica \o/
12. The music business types.
Why they came here: It’s work darling and IT’S ALL SO TERRIBLY STRESSFUL. Is Lily going to make it on time? Don’t tell me they’ve got Ed’s rider wrong! Need a line to calm the nerves. Oh GOD there’s a scheduling clash. What do you mean the Beeb don’t want to cover their set on the main channel? Might have another line quickly. WHERE THE HELL HAS HAIM’S ROADIE GOT TO?
What they came to see: None of it. This is WORK, weren’t you listening? Fetch us another gram someone.
14. The people who are really, really struggling.
Why they’re here: Some idiot friend of theirs thought they should go at least once in their lives. Idiot friend was wrong. It’s noisy, they’re sleeping in mud and there’s NOWHERE TO GO FOR A POO.
What they came to see: In retrospect, a hotel room. Which come Sunday, the chances are they will.
16. Actual punks.
Why they’re here: Like the proper hippies, they’re always here and have been for a long time. These days you’re more likely to see them listening to Michael Rosen or Phill Jupitus than actually watching music, although they might just make it to Billy Bragg. These are truly the dog days. There’s no passion in these kids that surround them: it’s all just mobile phones and corporate pop. They try to tell them about what the coalition’s doing. But they don’t care. Still they keep coming. Because one day, their time will come.
What they came to see: The revolution.
Why they’re here: Slightly scary guys from Chippenham or Trowbridge or somewhere who got themselves a nice little earner this weekend. By the end of the weekend they’ll have confiscated enough drugs to keep them high till Christmas.
What they came to see: The contents of your pockets.