DON'T believe the hype.

It's a well-worn phrase that's stood me in good stead for much of my life; from a music-crazy adolescent to an overly-cynical middle-aged man.

But sometimes, the hype is to be believed.

That is undoubtedly the case with the Glastonbury Festival.

And the 2019 edition of Somerset's biggest event was a particularly vintage year.

The weather was good (although it was a touch too hot); there was no mud to be seen (although, don't believe the hype on that, it's still amazing even when it rains); and every performer it seemed raised their game.

To get the obvious bits out of the way, my highlights were Declan Welsh & The Decadent West, The Burning Hell, Sheryl Crow and the Kidz Field (because it is just amazing for the little ones).

But Glastonbury is, of course, about so much more than that.

This year, with a ban on plastic bottle sales and non-compostable cutlery and plates, plus the surge in coverage of climate change around the world, the festival's core eco-ethos was really brought to the fore.

No longer do areas like the Green Fields or Permaculture feel like they are off the beaten track, some sort of green sideshow, visited only by bored punters between bands.

No, now they have rightly taken their place at the forefront of the event, with more and more people taking a very serious interest.

Yeovil Express:

And therein lies much of the beauty of the Glastonbury Festival.

A beauty too often ignored by much of the mainstream media, who attend only for pictures of mud-soaked festival goers, young people behaving badly, or to write 'the dirtiest toilets on site' clickbait.

Thankfully, people actually going to the festival cannot ignore issues at the heart of our society.

And they can find out about them properly - in one place, at their leisure - all while enjoying some of the biggest acts in the world.

The fact these issues have assumed a place at the top table of news items means perhaps more visitors are prepared to take those messages in - and act on them.

Glastonbury, whether intended or not, is the perfect filter for positive change and this year it became even more relevant in the wider world.

Climate change is not an issue confined to fields in Somerset once a year.

Also worth noting was the gender balance of this year's line-up. I wish it wasn't something worthy of remark, but it is, as so much gender bias still exists in the music industry.

Look again at the line-up with an eye on the male/female performer makeup and it is clear Glastonbury has done amazing work to make the bill truly representative.

From Kylie to Lucy Spraggan, Miley Cyrus to Cat Power, as one wondered the acres of Worthy, it was fantastic to hear so many different voices.

Yeovil Express:

The atmosphere in 2019 was up there with the best.


READ MORE: Glastonbury Festival News


Not just because it was friendly, genial and inclusive (it is always those things), but because this year it felt like all of us, all 200,000 or so people, felt we were part of a positive change taking place around the world, in our own small way.

The people who make Glastonbury what it is, from performers to stallholders, campaigners to volunteers, should be extremely proud of themselves.

Not just for this year, but for continued efforts to raise important issues - often going against the grain of mainstream, 'popular' thinking. (As an example, the first time I learned about agricultural firm Monsanto was at Glastonbury some years ago).

So don't believe the clickbait stories so eager to slam people who took a plastic bottle to Glastonbury, or who abandoned a tent or camping chair - they were a huge, huge minority.

Instead, focus on the massive difference the festival makes in raising the profile of issues such as climate change, and the debates it hosts about our society past, present and future, and the impact this can have on where we are heading.

For once, DO believe the hype.

PAUL JONES