Glastonbury festival occupies a unique space in the national psyche as a mass haven for hippies, revellers and music lovers. For almost 50 years, festival goers, old and young, have flocked to Worthy Farm to let their hair down and party like its 1969. This year was my first visit ever. I went as a volunteer for Shelter, working in the Meeting Place bar run by Avalon, a busy, noisy, fun-filled space where people came to drink and dance their socks off until the wee hours. My learning curve was steep – no bar experience in over 30 years to professional mojito and cocktails mixer who could juggle a frozen margarita, a couple of real ales and four pints of cider on the side. No problem.
When I wasn’t working ( 3 x 8 hour shifts over 5 days), I was immersing myself in the fantastic, friendly atmosphere and catching some of my favorite acts: Radiohead (awesome), Rag n Bone man (heart and soul), Biffy Clyro (spent too much time ogling tattooed body to really listen), London Grammar (exquisite). In addition to the big stages, Glastonbury offers a host of smaller size venues with an eclectic mix of bands and artists. I was delighted to catch 2 bands who hail from Bristol – The Peoples String Foundation, maestros of gypsy jazz and marvelous smiles, and and Cut Capers, whose fusion of swing jazz and rap kept us all jumping. If I’d had more time I’d have explored the circus and comedy tents, spent longer in the healing and Green fields (where my old Friend Steve Murrell was doing the sound for Speakers’ Forum – when he wasn’t accompanying me to gigs and events and shooting the breeze!)
On my second night I joined a throng of friendly,energised people up in the field by the ‘sacred stones’ for the annual Summer Solstice celebrations. They didn’t disappoint. A giant wooden phoenix ready to be lit, drummers in fluorescent body paint, hordes of fire twirlers, an opera singer in angel wings, a choir, incarnations, and… fireworks! It felt as if a whole nation’s budget for the year was being let off in one night – fantastic.
The only negative I have to report is that the amazingly dry weather led to a bit of a dust storm during the first few days and I suffered from a tight chest and scratchy voice for the whole week- no singing for me 😦 Since returning home I’ve been exhausted and my symptoms have mushroomed into a hacking cough which makes it hard to sleep and still no singing voice! But would I go again? Would I !!!
Ps No, I’m not going to discuss the toilets. Unmentionable.