Remote Control: Saturday July 05, 2014

Betwixt the sporting behemoths of Wimbledon and the World Cup, Glastonbury popped up its head for the annual weekend of televisual music making.

Saturday, 5th July 2014, 7:00 am
Dolly Parton wows the Glastonbury crowds

It is 17 years since the BBC took over coverage of the three-day spectacular from Channel Four and digital broadcasting means more hours of music for those at home than ever.

Which is all very impressive if the acts and organisers meet their side of the bargain but this year’s Glasto was, well, a bit dull.

And it doesn’t matter how many times the presenters told us it was “amazing” and “awesome” ( I counted six in one link alone) watching Elbow run through their repertoire of wedding songs hardly makes for spine tingling telly.

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There’s only so much the cameras can do when the assembled crowd stand and stare at the stage with the gay abandon of China’s terracotta army, each adorned with the same straw pork pie hat.

Critics argue the festival has lost its edge as it has become a gathering of the middle class clans escaping the nine-to-five but the BBC’s cast of presenters hardly helped.

Each year a troupe of Radio One DJs emerge from behind their microphones blinking into the muddy fields of Somerset to remind the world some people are better heard and not seen.

Or in the case of DJ Gemma Cairney better not to be seen or heard if her ‘interview’ with the “awesome” and “amazing” singer Kelis was anything to judge by.

The opening, “I’d love to be as amazing as you” suggested this was unlikely to develop into Frost and Nixon territory and this snap judgement was confirmed when she asked the puzzled star for “three tips on being Kelis”.

As if Glastonbury does not already serve to remind music lovers how much we miss the late, great John Peel. Wandering around in his Wellies he would not have shared the building consensus of his successors that Dolly Parton was destined to provide the highlight of the event.

That Mrs Nine-to-Five did end up providing the biggest talking point of weekend for TV viewers kind of summed up this year’s fare.

Was she miming or was she not? My money is on not with the doubts cast by the slight delay between TV picture and sound.

Such counter culture intrigue hardly maketh the stuff of Glastonbury legend.

Mike Hill