HALF a lifetime ago, I made a promise to myself. It was the mid-1990s and as a music fan, I spent my summers attending every festival I could afford: Reading, the V Festival and, several years running, Glastonbury.

Back then, and how times can change, Glastonbury had a reputation for always having good weather: something about the summer solstice people would opine mystically.

Then I went to Glastonbury in 1997. The week before the festival, it rained non-stop. By the time the music fans arrived, the topsoil had slid off, leaving a stickier mud underneath that threatened to keep hold of your shoe every time you moved.

The result was some of the first cases of trench foot in the UK since the First World War. I remember huddling in my tent on the stormy first night and listening to the screams as people’s tents blew away in the dark.

The music might have been great – Radiohead headlined the week OK Computer came out – but I swore to myself that I would never, ever, camp at a music festival again.

Last weekend, with much trepidation, I broke that promise. The Love Supreme festival, which took place at Glynde in the South Downs, is the largest outdoor jazz festival in Europe. Much had changed since the last time I camped.

At Glastonbury in the mid-90s, you could count the number of showers available on one hand. I remember, too, Billy Bragg leading the crowd in cheers at the fact that mobile phones didn’t work there (back then, they were seen as a preserve of the rich).

Now, as long as you didn’t mind queuing, there were showers and hot water agogo. And if your mobile phone ran out of battery, there was a van on hand where you could pay to charge it up. Unlike Glastonbury in 1997, it didn’t rain – the only weather hazard was getting sunburnt.

One person I told I was camping asked, ‘Are you having a mid-life crisis?’ My own psychological issues aside, that’s a misunderstanding of where music festivals are at these days. Rather than being the preserve of the young, those attending were all ages.

The same was true of the bill itself. Much was made of Paul McCartney, aged 80, playing Glastonbury this year. Love Supreme trumped that with 84-year-old Charles Lloyd, the world’s greatest saxophonist, playing with Bill Frisell.

Elsewhere, the current crop of stars – Ezra Collective, Julian Lage – strutted their stuff, while the new generation stage heralded the rising talent following in their wake.

Jazz is about being in the moment, Herbie Hancock once said. At the moment, if this festival is anything to go by, jazz remains in supremely good health.