Glastonbury 2011: Mark Radcliffe on his festival hopes

Why the 6 Music presenter is reluctant to pitch a tent

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What are you most looking forward to?

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Taking my youngest two for the first time. More than the music, I can’t wait to see what they make of the “other” Glastonbury: the kids’ field, the circus and theatre tents, the weird sights and sounds you see just wandering around – people dressed as praying mantises and the like.

For a kid, I think it will be like going to wonderland. Entering a world where the rules no longer apply.

Have you opted for tent, tepee or decadent hotel?

My wife is very keen on camping. I’m not. I’m almost 53 and a grandfather now; I don’t need to get trench foot to feel good about myself. I’d rather be in a comfy hotel with flushing toilets.

So what did you decide?

We are camping. If I look even more dishevelled and bleary-eyed than usual, you’ll know why. We’ll be in a tent. We thought about a tepee but they seem pretty pricey! We can be utterly uncomfortable in something much cheaper.

I have to be honest: I do have a hotel room backup in case the weather is dreadful. The excuse is that my eight-year-old will get very tired but secretly it’s for me.

Standout year?

I was there on my 50th birthday. My folk-rock group The Family Mahone played on the Avalon Stage and the whole crowd sang Happy Birthday to me.

Then I stood on the side of the Pyramid Stage and watched Leonard Cohen doing Hallelujah while 70,000 people sang along. Sublime.

Which other festivals are worth a visit?

I really like the Cambridge Folk Festival. It’s a tiddler compared to Glastonbury – a mere 10,000 people – and very friendly and unpretentious. You see things you’d never see or hear anywhere else.

Such as?

My first year there, a friend insisted I see this diatonic accordion player from the Basque country. That sounds a bit esoteric, I thought.

He was playing the diatonic accordion with two guys stripped to the waist in leather aprons hammering a huge wooden xylophone with poles. With a pint in my hand and the sun on my back, it was absolutely marvellous.

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Mark Radcliffe presents Glastonbury highlights this weekend on BBC2 with Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne and Jo Whiley


On Thursday 23 June from 8-10pm, BBC 6 Music unites with Radio 1 and Radio 2 for a first ever triple cast, live from the Glastonbury site