Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Review: Glastonbury Festival 2014, Part 3

One of the things that bugs me about Glastonbury is that when you get home the only thing that people who weren't there seem to want to talk about is rain and mud. I blame the media for that. I bet the BBC get the news reporter to stand in the biggest puddle he can find and report from there. There was a helluva lot more sunshine than rain this year.If the weather was so bad how come my nose is peeling from sunburn?. Sure there was mud but if you have the correct footwear what's the problem? Anyway when I emerged from my tent at 5.00 Sunday morning it was a beautiful sunny day and all I had on was t-shirt jeans and wellies. The perfect day to welcome a legend from Tennessee to Glastonbury. We had lost another member of the team so now we were reduced to 17 brave little soldiers as we began work. Of all the 4 shifts I did this was the toughest because of the mud. As I was saying to Wayne you get 3 types of mud. When it has just been raining and the mud is fresh and slushy it is easy to splash through it, no problem but when it starts drying out it gets more difficult as it sticks to your wellies and is quite tiring walking through it. Then when it is nearly dry and trodden down it becomes easy again and you can just bounce across it. Today, we had the second type. It wasn't pleasant picking the rubbish out of it but we had gloves so who cares.
 I like Glastonbury mud anyway. It is special mud with healing powers.We soon had the markets looking spick and span again. Other teams thought they might be the best but we knew we were the best. One thing I was pleased about was that even at the age of 62 I proved that I have just as much stamina if not more than the youngsters.We made a mistake though of being too good and finished our area too early and were sent to help other teams who were struggling. By the end of the shift we were miles from base camp right over the other side of the Glade on the old railway track. Dani and I made the mistake of volunteering to take turns to push the wheelbarrow home and that was the most difficult work of all because the mud got caked on the wheel so it wouldn't go round and we had to keep stopping to remove the mud. It was 12.45 when we got back to base and I had arranged to meet people at 2.00.

                                                                         After lunch I got a couple of cans of cider and headed back down the lane.It has been a tradition  to meet up with family and friends on Sunday afternoon.I think it was my niece Katherine who started that a few years ago but this year only Margaret and Wayne turned up. We sat outside the Acoustic stage enjoying the sunshine and chatting. At Glastonbury you are in a bubble with no contact with the outside world, no telly or newspapers which is great but stories get around. The big news was that Bobby Womack had died which was sad because I think he had appeared at Glasto only last year. The other story was that a festival-goer had died after a bad reaction to taking ketamine. That is really tragic but in a population of 200,000 somebody is going to die over a weekend. How many people died in Bristol last weekend? I think Glasto must have the lowest death rate in the country. I think ketamine was originally used as a horse tranquilliser so the message is, 'say neigh to ketamine'.

                                                                               I went inside to see who was on and it was another American singer-songwriter called Galia Arad who was ok but I don't think she will bother the album charts much.She was followed by someone called Sturgill Simpson who mean't nothing to me at all. Basically we were just waiting patiently for Dolly.Finally at about 3.50 we decided to make a move. The walkways were jammed with tens of thousands of people heading for the Pyramid Stage but we are clever see, we walked up past the Acoustic,past the top of Kidz field, across Muddy Lane and approached the Pyramid Stage from the top of the field. The crowd was vast,I said to Margaret that it looked even more crowded than for the Stones last year but she pointed out that they had extended the field last year for the Stones. Even so I think that there must have been over 100,000 people there for Dolly Parton. We even bumped into the Norwegian people who we met the day before.            
                   At 4.20 Dolly came on stage looking dazzling in a white suit covered in rhinestones. I have never bought a Dolly record in my life and probably never will but I think she is great, multi-talented with a huge personality who really knows how to get a crowd on her side (Take note Lana Del Rey).She was the perfect choice for a sunny Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury. Dolly played a brilliant set of one hour and ten minutes. I didn't think it was loud enough where we were so I moved nearer to the front and during Jolene I was dancing with four police women who were enjoying it just as much as everyone else.Dolly sang lots of my favourite songs including Coat Of Many Colours,Here You Come Again, Banks Of The Ohio, 9 to 5, and Islands In The Stream,She said that she had been brought up on a farm in Tennessee so she was well used to a bit of mud and she sang a song that she had written especially for Glastonbury called Mud. Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi joined her on stage to play guitar on Lay Your Hands On Me from her new album Blue Smoke and it was great but I hope he wasn't there to check out Glasto for Bon Jovi next year because I don't like them much. Dolly ended her set with the classic I Will Always Love You.Dolly had certainly taken Glastonbury to her bosom.

           In the evening we met up again and Clannad, Alison Moyet and Suzanne Vega were playing in the Acoustic and Yoko Ono on the Park Stage but we couldn't be bothered watching any of it. I was really weary by now so we just chilled out in the Theatre Bar for a while. There was one last band I wanted to see though. Last year when I saw my friends Stuart and Michelle at the Albert Hall Michelle told me that they had been listening to the Black Keys and they were really good so I made the supreme effort to go and see them. I was really glad I did because they were great. I can only remember one song which was called Fever but they were possibly the best band I heard all weekend.After that I made my way home and could hear Kasabian in the distance. I think my niece Lee really likes them so I would have liked to hear more but I was too tired.

                                                                           Next morning it was another hot day and our team tore through the work again cheerfully. The mud had dried so it was a lot easier and finally at 12.00 we were all finished and threw our gloves in the wheelbarrow for the last time. I took some photos and it was quite sad to say cheerio to our little gang who had bonded really well over the four days but we were glad the work was over.

Margaret and Wayne had offered me a lift home and were waiting by my tent when I got back. I got my tent down and had one last delicious vegetarian meal of pizza and salad. I haven't eaten any meat for ten days now and am determined to keep it going. That is one of the subtle little ways that Glastonbury is life changing.Anyway, we loaded up Wayne's wheelbarrow with my stuff and Wayne lead the way to the car-park. It wasn't too bad getting out this year, we had to crawl along the lanes but as soon as we hit the main road it was easy. We listened to Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne and I sat in the back drinking shiraz and blathering nonsense because I was totally exhausted mentally and physically but definitely not spiritually. Soon Westbury White Horse came into view and I was home safe and sound and I bought Wayne a well deserved drink in the Ludlow Arms. Glastonbury 2014 was finally over and peace has returned to Worthy Farm until we return next year. There is no need to say another word.





                                            THE END.

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