For the first in our new series of Q&As with the organisers of Glastonbury’s fields, stages and venues, we caught up with Shangri-La‘s Creative Director, Debs Armstrong.
1. How would you describe your area of the Festival to someone who hasn’t visited it before?
Glastonbury’s after-hours pleasure citadel, a warren of Blade-runner style twisting alleys and digital futuristic mayhem hosting over 30 venues. You will get lost and you may not remember much but you will have a good time.
2. Have you made any changes/additions for this year?
The narrative, artists and set evolves every year, we always aim to keep it fresh but last year we ran out of space so we had to go up – welcome to The Skywalk…
3. Which of your acts are you most excited about in 2011?
Can’t tell you. It’s bad enough having 150,000 people headed your way without telling them who to expect when!
4. Do you have any good food recommendations in and around your area?
We call it Picnic Alley, serving those most crucial and oft hard-to-find aspects of night-time festivaling… quality food and a place to sit!
5. How/when did you first get involved with the Festival?
2002 Lost Vagueness, no wait, it was before that, in a surreal little no-name venue in backstage Jazz…
6. What’s the best thing about running an area at Glastonbury?
Coming up with crazy ideas with fun people, then watching all the different parts materialise and become inhabited. Then, bizarrely, hiding from it in order to spend good time with the endlessly fascinating people that create it.
7. And what’s the worst?
That’s the sort of question that makes me sigh. Erm, can I say not being allowed to stay home and watch it on telly? (Ooh, the horror, the delight!)
8. Is there anything outside your area at this year’s Festival that you’re particularly looking forward to?
I’m particularly blinkered I’m afraid and rarely make it outside of the naughty corner, so much to see, so many lovely peeps, too much action for my own good quite frankly.
9. What’s the best performance you’ve ever seen at Glastonbury?
Florence and the Machine, 2006, in the morning in the Guardian Lounge the year before she made it big. So intimate, made me cry.
10. Finally, what’s your top Glastonbury tip for people coming to the Festival for the first time?
Lose your friends, lose your phone, be sensitive to and follow your gut instinct.