Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Glastonbury Abbey 1999


A few weeks after the festival in 99 Kim and I were back in Glastonbury for the Extravaganza at the abbey which Michael had organised. He does this every year to thank the local people for their support and the profits help towards the up-keep of the abbey. We stayed at the George & Pilgrim which is just across the High Street from the abbey grounds. It is about 600 years old and originally it was an inn for pilgrims going to the abbey. It is also reputed to be haunted. Our room was brilliant, we even had a four-post bed which Kim thought was great. The concert was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with guest soloist Evelyn Glennie. We brought along two fold up chairs and a little table, lots of nice food and a bottle of champagne and had a picnic. Kim was in her element, she liked this sort of thing, she thought it was posh. They even had the local boy scouts there with wheel barrows to carry your stuff to where you wanted to sit. I spotted Michael Eavis as soon as we arrived and I wanted to go over and thank him for the tickets. Kim refused though because he was talking to people and Kim didn’t like to bother him. On the Pimms stall though, who should be serving? none other than Arabella Churchill, Sir Winston’s grand-daughter. We had a bit of a chat with her. What a nice lady she was. Along with Michael, Jean & Emily I think she was one of the main reasons for the success of Glastonbury with her founding Children’s World which evolved into the Kidz Field and also her developing the theatre & cabaret side of the festival.

The concert was fabulous. This was the only time in my life that I ever saw a world renowned classical orchestra. I’m not an expert on this type of music at all but I particularly enjoyed the Karelia Suite by Sibelius from Finlandia. They even had water features shooting up fountains of water in time to the music. The percussionist Evelyn Glennie was wonderful, especially when you realise that she has been profoundly deaf since birth. She doesn’t hear the music, she feels it. A great evening came to an end with a spectacular firework display. Since that night, I have been back to the extravaganza quite a few times, to see Van Morrison there on three occasions, also Robert Plant, George Ezra and Ray Davies.
If you want a great night out in beautiful historic surroundings, then go to Glastonbury Extravaganza at the abbey. It is on Saturday August 5th this year but they haven’t announced who is on yet.