Saturday, July 05, 2014

Review: Glastonbury Festival 2014 Part 1

The big day had finally arrived. It was Wednesday 25th of June, the sun was shining and I was heading back to Worthy Farm 35 years after my first Glastonbury Festival. Jacquie picked me up and drove me to the station.I caught the 8.56 train from Westbury to Castle Cary. The train was absolutely packed with excited music fans who were nearly all about 40 years younger than me but I didn't care. It is the likes of me who kept the festival going when it was an unfashionable hippy fest before the word spread about how magical Glastonbury is. I had to stand in the aisle all the way but it only took about 20 minutes to get to the normally sleepy little station of Castle Cary but today it was busier than Paddington Station in London.About 1,000 people piled off the train and traipsed to the front of the station to the fleet of buses that took us to the festival site. I was sitting next to a man from Italy who had never been before and I pointed out Glastonbury Tor to him and he was in awe when the huge festival site came into view. We disembarked at the bus station by Red Gate A and I collected my wrist band and crew pass. I didn't have to queue up to get in which saved time and I was soon back in my spiritual home in the Vale Of Avalon.
             I hauled on my rucksack, picked up my tent and began the long walk across the site to Tom's Field right up by the farm house which is where the recycling crew are camped.I think it must have taken over an hour to get there with rests along the way. I got registered and found a nice spot to put up my tent and I was all sorted in my little home for the next 5 days by 12.00.                                                                                    Then I took a long lazy walk down what is traditionally known as Muddy Lane and met my sister Margaret and her partner Wayne at the Bread And Roses Bar in the Market area.The sun was beating down so Margaret bought me a rasta hat to keep the sun off my head. We had a couple of drinks, took photos and watched the world go by.

 They were working that evening as stewards on pedestrian gate B so eventually we took a slow walk back. That evening I went for dinner in the workers marquee where free food is provided for the workers. It was all vegetarian but I must say the food this year was delicious.Well done to the caterers. After dinner I went for a long aimless wander around the vast site.I walked up past the Leftfield and Arcadia to the Park and up the hill past the Ribbon Tower right to the top of the site where the Glastonbury sign is. You could see most of the site below. The view was incredible and I shot a couple of minutes of footage. I had a T Shirt on which said 'F*ck Google, Ask Me' and lots of people stopped me to ask questions which was really amusing. Eventually I wandered back and stopped at a few bars along the way. I was quite sensible this year and stuck to the same drink every day which was Thatchers Gold Cider. That was another good thing about being a worker. In the bar in Tom's Field it was only £2.50 a pint. I don't know what time I crawled into my tent but it had been a long and enjoyable day. 
I didn't have to go to work till Friday but my mate Dave had lent me a really good alarm clock which was set for 5.00 because I wanted to get in the habit of getting up early.After breakfast I walked along the old railway track and visited Perma culture and Green Futures and Field Of Avalon.I love this area because I think it is the soul of Glastonbury and reminds me of the old hippy days here. Wandering back who should I spot in Williams Green but Michael Eavis the farmer who has made Glastonbury the best festival in the world.He was chatting to some people and I felt like going over and asking him to book Van Morrison for next year but I didn't like to hassle him so I just took a discreet photo. Then I met Margaret and Wayne and at 4.00 it started raining just as the weatherman had predicted but a drop of rain doesn't bother us old Glastofarians.

                                                                               Thursday evening was the traditional recyclers party and lots of people came in fancy dress. There was live music and Michael Eavis was there and I managed to get a nice photo of himself and Fiona who organises the recycling and I had a little chat with Fiona who said she remembered me but she might have just been polite but what a nice lady she is. I also had a nice chat with Odele who I met here last year and at the Larmer Tree Festival. It was great to see her again. I stayed up at Tom's Field that night because it was raining but also because I had to be up early for work and Friday the music would begin.
The alarm went at 5.00 but I was already awake since dawn. The birds were singing in the trees and I had a busy day ahead. After breakfast I pulled on my wellingtons and marched down Muddy Lane which now was really muddy. I went to INFO in the market where I thought I had to meet my team but at 6.00 there was nobody else there. I was at the wrong INFO. I ran to INFO near the Pyramid Stage and found my team. We were the team responsible for tidying up the markets area. There were supposed to be 20 of us but only 18 turned up. Our leader was called Sophia and she worked on an alpaca farm near Glastonbury. She had the wheelbarrow which was laden with our bags for putting the garbage in. White bags for organic matter like food, paper plates, paper cups, wooden forks etc, blue for plastic and cans and black for stuff that can't be recycled. I was easily the oldest by decades but after 4 days I had made friends with all of them. My favourite was called Dani who had just left university and came from Liverpool. We each took a bag of each colour and tore into the work starting at the Cider Bus which is one of the filthiest areas but we soon had it looking pristine. When we filled a bag up it was left by the side of the road to be picked up and taken to the recycling centre. The time went really quickly and by 12.00 we had all the markets looking really tidy. We were really lucky with the weather as well. I think in the whole 4 days we only got caught in one big downpour. I volunteered to push the wheelbarrow back to base, Sophia gave us our meal tickets and our first shift was done. I had a quick shower, another benefit of working is that there are great showers and no queueing for them unlike for the normal festival goers. Then lunch which was a delicious Greek salad that day and then it was finally time to hear some music.

                  I walked down to the Pyramid Stage and there was a band on called The War Against Drugs. I had never heard of them before but I think they are American. The singer sounded a bit like Bob Dylan to me and they had a great guitar sound. That is one of the great things about Glastonbury, discovering new music. After that I wandered off to get a drink and then came back for the next act. It was Rodrigo Y Gabriela who are a male/female guitar duo from Mexico and they are quite amazing. Some of the most incredible guitar playing I have ever heard. I think De La Soul  were next and I know they are a really influential band but I got bored after a while and made my way to the Acoustic Stage which has always been my favourite stage at Glasto. Someone  called Hozier was on when I got there but I wasn't that impressed.
 Later I saw Holly Williams who is the granddaughter of the legendary Hank Williams. From a distance with her long straight blonde hair she reminded me of Johnny Winter but she was great. My favourite song was Angel From Montgomery written by John Prine. I should have written down the setlist but I didn't bother. Another great singer I saw that afternoon was Tony Joe White who sounded like he had crawled out of a Mississippi swamp. He was great and I didn't even know he was still alive. Eventually I made my way back to base and caught a bit of Rudimental's set as I walked past the Pyramid Stage.
 At dinner I met up with Margaret and Wayne again who told me that they had met people who knew me and lo and behold it was Viv and Julie who were the best friends of me and Kim on our recycling team back in 2005. I hadn't seen them since. I think that is because they got promoted to working in the crew office. It was brilliant to meet them again and we took a couple of photos.While we were talking a thunderstorm began which strangely was the worst storm I can remember here since 2005 when Kim, me, Viv and Julie were caught in it. This year lightning hit the Acoustic Stage and the ground near the Pyramid Stage which caused a delay in the music but it stopped after a while and Viv, Julie and I headed back to the Acoustic because Doctor Feelgood and The Blues Band were due on but when we got there because of the delay it was some shanty singers from Cornwall called Fisherman's Friends which wasn't my cup of tea at all so I said cheerio to the girls and wandered on and went for a walk through the Theatre and Cabaret area and had a drink in the Theatre Bar.
 I strolled back to the Pyramid via West Holts field and Lily Allen was on. Lily has been coming here since she was two and used to camp here with her dad and Joe Strummer so she loves Glastonbury and the crowd love her. I was really enjoying her performance until she started making a speech saying " This is Glastonbury Festival of music and performing arts, not Glasto. It doesn't need abbreviating so stop calling it Glasto". Well I have been calling it Glasto for years so I don't need any lectures from young Miss Allen thank you very much. Later I saw a great performance by Manchester band Elbow. They obviously love Glastonbury as well. It was really emotional and the perfect band to see as the sun was setting over Avalon. Then I returned to the Acoustic Stage to meet Margaret and Wayne again who had just finished work and had got drenched in the storm. We watched a great band called Tinariwen who are Tuareg's from Mali or Niger or somewhere like that. They had all the Tuareg costumes on and they were brilliant. Eventually I made my way home and listened to a bit of Arcade Fire as I walked slowly back up the lane. What a great day it had been.

To be continued.............................................

1 comment:

Kazooboy said...

Absolutely brilliant Pat. My wife is getting sick of me reading out Pat Corley quotes. Your Glastonbury experience sounds great. Love all the details - both great and trivial.