Page 1 2This year it didn't rain, prompting people to claim it was the first sunny Glastonbury in ages - despite the fact that (aside from a few brief showers) the previous two festivals have been sunny as well.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I had to leave Sunday morning which was extremely disappointing, but up until then I had been having a great time.
The week before the festival had been spent making sure I had everything I needed (though food would of course be purchased last minute) including plenty of batteries as I'd be taking a AA phone charger. The first one I purchased didn't work with my mobile-of-choice so I got a second. However I kept the first as it worked on my backup mobile and featured four types of connectors that might fit the phones that other members of our group would take (they didn't). The reason for the charger, rather than my usual trick of a slightly knackered but super battery life mobile was so I could take my actual phone. I'd then be able to take photos without the need for the separate camera of previous years. And videos.
In 2009 there had been massive problems with traffic, but this year things would be different. Although the festival gates would open at 8:00 on Wednesday, the car parks would be open Tuesday at 21:00. One of our group would have to wait around Wednesday morning (having only been able to get a coach ticket for the festival) but the majority of us travelled throughout the night, encountering no delays and eventually arriving at the car park at 2:15.
After (at most) 30 minutes accumulated sleep it was 5:30 and talk on the car park was that the gates would actually be opening at 6:00. People were heading up (and I had seen people at 4:00 doing the same) so we joined the increasingly long queue. At 6:30 we were told that actually the gates were opening at 8:00 after all. Also we were queuing in the wrong place so could we kindly move over to the side of the field where the actual queue should be.
When they did start letting people in, it was a slow process. Actually considering the number of people it wasn't too bad, but we had already spent a couple of hours not moving so it was not much fun.
I was initially pleased with the spot we'd found for our tents as it appeared to be close to the Park stage and the three main stages as well. I can only assume it was sleep deprivation that led me to this conclusion because it's not possible to be close to all four of those stages at once (something I know from past experience) and in fact we weren't particularly close to any of them. Aside from watching England's World Cup game (which was shown on the Pyramid stage) and getting sunburnt not a lot else happened on day 1. After a barbecue I decided to try and get some sleep and surprisingly I managed it. I awoke ready for some music.
Of course there's not just music for you to see at Glastonbury: there's a circus, a theatre, a healing field and much more. This year I finally visited the Sacred Space/Stone Circle. Loads of people there but it was very peaceful. Some interesting things nearby too.
Just outside the entrance to the Sacred Space was this fella. (click to enlarge)
Inside was this dragon:
There was plenty of other artwork around the festival including paintings and this sand sculpture. (click to enlarge)
I also liked Club Henge, located in the Dance Field. Amusingly one stall in this field had a sign reading “shit camera: £1”.
As it was the festival's 40th anniversary there were various birthday signs around and if anyone was celebrating their own fortieth birthday whilst at the festival they could head to the John Peel stage for a meal. The same stage was also offering backstage tours in exchange for (if I recall correctly) whisky.
I didn't see many people in fancy dress until day 4 but there was quite a variety. There were as usual a few Where's Wally?'s and Clockwork Orange droogs as well as a bunch of bananas and Rocky and his various opponents.
People were as usual pleasant and helpful to one another. OK there was the occasional person who would force their way past and someone stole one of our chairs on the first day, but generally Glastonbury folk are decent sorts.
Our group did our own bit of helping out when one night our campsite became a place for lost festival goers. First up was Cat (or possibly Kat) who was sure her tent was nearby, but just couldn't find it in the dark. We sat her in front of the fire for drink and chat and I charged her battery. She was good at guessing accents and job occupations (well 4 out of 5). It would be her birthday on Sunday (day 5) and she and her friends planned to dress up as “German wenches”. Whilst heading for the toilets she found her tent which was—as she thought—just a few away from ours.
About half an hour before Cat was reunited with her tent we were joined by Rob who could only be described as cold. He was less sure he was camped nearby and was still shivering for quite some time after taking his place in front of the fire. A steward would eventually help Rob find his tent but before then there was some chat. Whenever talk turns to “what do you do?” I'm sure to mention I write the occasional review - purely because I'm amused by how people's brains refuse to process it. To my surprise Rob actually asked some questions. It wasn't an in-depth discussion but I'm so used to people just staring blankly at me I think I momentarily went in to shock.